SASNET Fermented Foods workshop held in Cairo

The Swedish South Asian Network on Fermented Foods (SASNET-Fermented Foods) held an International Seminar and Workshop on “Fermented Foods: Nutrition, Health Status and Social well-being” at the National Research Centre in Cairo, Egypt on 13-15 November 2017. The seminar was organised in collaboration with the  the Society for Women in Science in Developing Countries (OWSD – Egypt) as a part of the First International conference of the Society for Women in Science in Developing Countries (OWSD – Egypt) on the theme “Sciences for Women: Development and Innovation”.
SASNET Fermented Foods is a forum for scientists of the South Asian countries, Sweden and other countries for exchanging information in the field of food fermentation and its practical application.  It was launched in 2003 by Professor Baboo Nair, Division of Applied Nutrition and Food Chemistry, Lund University, and has has helped to strengthen relation among academicians, researchers and food industry professionals. The network is coordinated by Professor J. B. Prajapati, Head of Department of Dairy Microbiology, SMC College of Dairy Science at Anand Agricultural University, India.
Prof. Prajapati participated in the conference as one of the keynote speakers, and has written a lengthy report on the Cairo workshop. Read his report (as a pdf-file).

Linnaeus Palme grant for Sweden-Bhutan exchange programme on Mathematics

Internationella Programkontoret

The Malmö University team: Annica Andersson, Lena Andersson and David Wagner.
The Samtse team: Johan Westman and Purna Subba.

On 4 December 2017, the Swedish International Programme Office for Education and Training decided to award a Linnaeus Palme Exchange Programme planning grant to the Department of Science, Environment and Society (NMS) at the University of Malmö for a collaboration programme with Samtse College of Education (SCE) at the Royal University of Bhutan (RUB). The aim is to develop and support a more culturally responsive teaching and learning in mathematics and mathematics teacher education in the Swedish and Bhutan school contexts. The new collaboration was facilitated by the NSAN editor Lars Eklund during a May 2017 visit to Samtse, when he discussed with Senior SCE  Lecturer Purna Badadur Subba and Dr. Johan Westman, Swedish ethnomusicologist working at SCE since 2016, the possibility to find collaborating partners in Sweden on the isue of Ethnomathematics.
At Malmö University, Associate professor Annica Andersson happens to be working on Etnomathematics with a strong international network with scholars at teacher education institutions and universities in different parts of the world. Her thesis and research has been based on critical mathematical and ethnomathematical research. Together with Lena Andersson, senior lecturer and the international coordinator at the department, and with a background from the ITP/Sida programme “Child Rights, Classroom and School Management”, they form the Swedish coordination team.  Besides, during the current academic year, Malmö University has a visiting guest professor, David Wagner from the University of New Brunswick (UNB) in Canada. From 2007-10 he was the director of UNB’s projects in Bhutan, which focused on education issues. David has worked in Bhutan on multiple occasions, including in Samtse. Read Lars Eklund’s report from Samtse College of Education.

Uppsala professor keynote speaker at Urdu conference in Khairpur

Professor Heinz Werner Wessler from the Institute for Linguistics and Philology, Uppsala University gave a keynote speach on ”Ecocritical readings in Urdu literature” (in Urdu) at a two-day International Conference on Literature & Ecological Challenges (Pakistani & International Perspective) organized by the Shah Abdul Latif University (SALU) in Khairpur, Pakistan on 13-14 November 2017.  The conerence was held in collaboration with the Pakistani Higher Education Commission (HEC). Prof. Wessler also read a paper on "The Garden, the Wilderness and the Self".
SALU, located in Sindh province, was established after the name of world renowned poet and Sufi saint Hazrat Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai. Read more.

Linnaeus University presents its India related research

Linnaeus University with the two campuses at Växjö and Kalmar continues to be a strong hub for South Asian studies in Sweden. NSAN editor Lars Eklund therefore visited the Växjö campus on Tuesday 21 November 2017, and met Dr. Soniya Billore, Senior researcher at the Dept.of Marketing, School of Business and Economics. He was able to receive a copy of a book just being published, namely ”India: Research on Cultural Encounters and Representations at Linnaeus University”. It is an edited volume by Dr. Billore, and Dr. Kristina Myrvold at the Department of Cultural Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Humanities. In the book, ongoing research projects at the university are presented.

They include articles by Dr. Henrik Chetan Aspegren on ”Statistical Counter-representations of India 1860s-1880s”; by Prof. Margareta Petersson on ”A Danish Family in India: Gendered Colonial Upbringing, Everyday Life, and Cultural Encounters”; by Dr. Radhika Krishnan on ”The Dynamics of Railway Building; Through Joseph Stephens”; by Kristina Myrvold on ”Christian Missionaries and Book Printing in Nineteenth-Century India”; by Prof. Hans Hägerdal on ”South Asian Migrants and Early Modern Colonialism”; by Dr. Stefan Lagrosen on ”India’s Ayurveda Health System, Implications for Western Workplace Health”; and a few other contributions. The book is published by Makadam Förlag in Gothenburg. More information.
Sonia Billore and Kristina Myrvold have long experience of research and studies in India and in 2013 they initiated a working group at Linnaeus University to develop a strategy for academic cooperation with India. They submitted a project proposal to the Network for Internationalization with representatives from all departments at Linnaeus University, and on April 12, 2013, the Network and the Vice Rector, Professor Nils Nilsson, decided to approve the project. Read more...
Among other well-known South Asia researchers at the university should be mentioned Prof. Gunnel Cederlöf at the Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies; Prof. William Hogland at the  School of Pure and Applied Natural Sciences; and Prof. Katarina Swahnberg at the Department of Health and Caring Sciences

Eminent Scandinavian economist full professor at IIM Ahmedabad

Vegard Iversen with IIMA's heritage Louis Kahn Plaza in the background.

In June 2017, Norwegian researcher Vegard Iversen joined the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad as a Professor in the Economics Area. To the best of our knowledge, Iversen is the first Scandinavian economist or social scientist to be appointed a Full Professor in one of India's topmost and publicly funded higher education institutions. Since 2008 he has been a Senior Research Fellow (Hon) at Global Development Institute (GDI), University of Manchester. Prof. Iversen is married to another well-known scholar, namely Dr. Shalini Grover, Associate professor at at the Institute of Economic Growth, University of Delhi.

After receiving his PhD in (development) economics from University of Cambridge in 2000, Prof. Iversen spent six years as Faculty at School of Development Studies (now International Development), University of East Anglia. He has been a Research Fellow at International Food Policy Research Institute's India office, a visiting Faculty at Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi Centre, and a Professor and Vice Dean at Jindal School of Government and Public Policy. From 2015 to 2017, he was an (India-based) Adjunct Professor at Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke. His research is mainly applied microeconomics of development but includes the occasional ethnographic/sociological detour. Recent or ongoing research covers women in politics (using a novel, dynamic entry point); persistence and change in caste-based and other inequality in rural India; agricultural history and the long-term effects of colonial policies on contemporary development; business history; networks and labour markets; social mobility in the Global South.
He received the annual Dudley Seers Prize for the best paper published in Journal of Development Studies in 2008. He has been the Editor in-Chief for the Journal of South Asian Development since 2012 and is on the Editorial Board of Journal of Development Studies. More details about Prof. Iversen.

Noria South Asia Program Research Workshop in Paris

The Paris based Noria South Asia Program (SAPROG) invites to its third South Asia Research Workshop, organized in collaboration with the National Institute of Eastern Languages and Civilizations (INALCO) to be held on Wednesday 24 January 2018 at INALCO, 2 rue de Lille, Paris, France. The Workshop is intended for PhD and advanced MA students in the social sciences working on South Asia-related projects, preferably in the fields of political science, sociology and international relations. The workshop aims at discussing research projects in the making through engaging with innovative methodological and theoretical approaches. The broad objectives of the workshop are to foster collaboration and to create trans-disciplinary research projects on South Asia, while discussing commonalities between various areas of enquiry grappling with the problem of the applicability of Western analytical frameworks in Non-Western contexts.
The workshop will be hosted by the INALCO. It will include two to three thematic panels, each comprising two to three MA or PhD students. Each participant will have her paper discussed by senior researchers and the floor will be open for contribution from all participants. One hour will be devoted to each paper to allow in-depth discussions. PhD students as well as senior Master students working on South Asia-related topics (i.e. India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Afghanistan and the Maldives) are invited to submit an abstract. Presentations drawing from disciplines such as political science, political sociology, political anthropology, conflict studies and international relations are welcome. Deadline for submitting abstracts is 15 December 2017. Full information.
Noria is a network of researchers in international affairs that periodically organizes thematical workshops in Paris for Ph.D. candidates and researchers. The Noria South Asia Programme analyses on-going and emerging socio-political dynamics in South Asia to increase the academic understanding of the region and provide policy-makers expert analysis, cutting-edge research and policy ideas. The first international Graduate Conference on South Asia, “Discussing India and Pakistan: New Dynamics and Perspectives” took place in Paris 17-18 June 2015. It was organized by Noria Research’s South Asia program in partnership with the Doctoral School at Sciences Po Paris, the Centre for International Research (Ceri, Paris) and the Centre for Human Sciences (UMIFRE) in New Delhi.

Kolkata workshop on Flood Disaster and Management


On Friday 29 December 2017, an International Workshop on “Flood Disaster & Management” will be held at Jadavpur University in Kolkata, India. It is organised by the university’s Centre for Disaster Preparedness & Management, established in 2017 with an objective aware and strengthen the mass for Disaster Management. It is approaching towards the collaboration with national and international organization. The workshop is convened by Associate Professor Gupinath Bhandari (photo), who previously has been afiliated to the Division of Risk Management and Societal Safety at Lund University. Internationally renowned speakers will cover the issue of flood disaster and its structural and non structural preparedness in general, including prediction. Due to limited seats, the interested participants are requested to register themselves before December 15, 2017, with filled up form and registration fee. Full information.

Archaeological murder finds in the Maldives verifies lack of sea rise

Huvadhu Atoll

Professor Emeritus Nils-Axel Mörner, heading an independent research institution on Palegeophysics and Geodynamics in Torekov, South Sweden, claims to have solved a 864-year old murder case in the Maldives. In the peer-reviewed magazine Archaeological Discovery, No 5/2017, he publishes an article entitled ”The Reef Woman of the Maldives”, in which he proves that the remains of a woman found on a Maldives beach, was a victim of a murder. She died, was killed or washed ashore at a former Maldives shore at about AD 1150. It has come to be known as “the Reef Woman” of the Maldives or of Lhosfushi. The skeleton lacks its feet, suggesting that the woman was killed on the beach and the feet cut-off. The age of the bones is ca AD 1135 ± 70. Therefore, it seems highly likely that the killing took place at the invasion and takeover of the Maldives by the Muslims in AD 1153. Read the article.
Prof. Mörner, with a background from the Palegeophysics and Geodynamics unit at Stockholm University, and 1999-2003 being president for the INQUA (The International Association of Quaternary Research) Commission on Sea Level Changes and Coastal Evolution, has done extensive research on the Maldives coastlines, proving that the island republic far from being flooded today has a shore higher up than some hundred years ago and with no significant sea rise in recent years. The skeleton find shows that the shore was at the same elevation in the 1100s as today. Sea then rose to about +60 cm, covering the skeleton with coral rubble. Sea fell again to its present position, cementing the shore deposits into beachrock including the skeleton. In sub-recent time, the beachrock was trimmed into a rock-cut platform at sea level of about +20 cm. In the 1970s, sea level fell to its present position, starting to erode a new rock-cut platform at about present high-tide level, by that exposing the old skeleton. 

Impressive Indian cultural programme in Uppsala

On Saturday 25 November 2017, a great India related cultural event is organised in Uppsala. The programme is entitled "Från Fyris till Ganges" and is held at Slottsbiografen, Nedre Slottsgatan 6 from 14.00 till 21.00. it is supported by the Indian Embassy, Uppsala Kommun and Sensus. Follow the journey of the senses between Fyris and Ganges and get a glimpse of the nuances of the diverse Indian culture - in the middle of Uppsala!

Concert & Dance 14.00-17.00. (Konferencier: Maria Af Malmborg Linnman)

*Tagore melody: Axel Landahl (guitar), Johan Gråsjö (Tuba), Jonas Landahl (accordion), Leo Edberg (percussion) and Stian Grimstad (North Indian classical sitar)
*Speech by Indian ambassador Honourable Ms. Monika Kapil Mohta
*Tabladuo: Atharva Pandit and Shamik Sinha
*Jugalbandi: Arun Venkitaraman (South Indian classical violin), Stian Grimstad (North Indian classical sitar) and Suranjana Ghosh (Tabla)
* Indian classical Odissidance with Stina Bothén
* Pause (fika and snacks)
*World music group Teental: Bengt Jonasson (Bass), Jonas Landahl (Drums), Kalle L Mossige-Norheim (Keyboard/Harmonium), Magnus Kjellstrand (Saxophone), Soumen Roy Choudhry (Sarod) and Suranjana Ghosh (Tabla)

Pause 17.00-18:30

Film 18.30-21.00.
*”The inner circle” - winning short film by Biplab Sanyal
*“Taare Zameen Par” (2007) directed by Aamir Khan and Amole Gupte (Hindi, subtitles in english)
Entrance fees: Concert: 100 kr (stud 80 kr). Film: 50 kr (stud 40 kr). Music + film: 130 kr (stud 100 kr)
Fika & indian snacks served in Pause.   Artist and group presentations....

Pakistani BLLF representatives visited Lund

Najma Shaikl, Lars Eklund and Mir Safdar Ali Talpur.

On Tuesday 14 November 2017, representatives for the Pakistani non-governmental organisation Bonded Labour Bonded Liberation Front Society (BLLFS) visited Lund where they met with the NSAN editor Lars Eklund. The two guests were Mr. Mir Safdar Ali Talpur, currrent BLLFS national coordinator, and Ms. Najma Shaikh, who will take over the chairpersonship from January 2018 (photo).
They were accompanied by Lisa Nymark and Märta Råberg, representatives for BLLF Sweden, a Lidköping based organisation supporting the BLLFS’ long-standing work in Pakistan. Since 1988, BLLFS has been able to achieve the release of over 80,000 bonded labourers in Pakistan from the shackles of slavery, in different sectors like agriculture, brick kiln, and carpet industries. It has also set up a release and rehabilitation center, and provided legal aid to the bonded labourers. Mr. Talpur and Ms. Shaikh informed about the impressive work being carried out, and their future plans, including awareness programmes for women.
BLLF Sweden has long been working closely with BLLFS in Pakistan's four provinces, supporting its struggle to free people from slavery. BLLF Sweden focuses mainly on human rights issues, women’s rights, and education projects for children and adults.The cooperation between BLLFS in Pakistan and BLLF Sweden takes place in projects supported by Sida through Forum Syd.
During their stay in Sweden, the BLLLBS representatives also visited Lidköping, Ystad and Stockholm besides attending the Swedish Forum for Human Rights (MR-dagarna), the Nordic region's largest human rights forum, held in Jönköping 9-11 November. From Sweden they wil also visit Turku and Ekenäs in Finland, to meet representaves of the organisation Solrosen, and Emmaus Finland.

Formas grant to Swedish project on Air Pollution Mitigation in India

On Thursday 9 November 2017, Dr. Patrik Oskarsson from the Division of Rural Development at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) in Uppsala was awarded SEK 3.0 m as a three-year grant from the Formas’ Scientific Council in Stockholm. He is one of 53 Swedish researchers with successful applications for the Formas 2017 programme on ”Research and Development Projects to Future Research Leaders” (more information).  Formas funds research for an ecologically, economically and socially sustainable development. The mission of Formas is to promote and support basic and needs-driven research in the areas of the Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning. The research funded should be of highest scientific quality and relevance for Formas’ areas of responsibility.
Patrik’s project is entitled ”Participatory Environmentalism: Mobilising Citizens for Air Pollution Mitigation and Improved Environmental Health in India” and will be carried out in collaboration with Dr Devanshi Chanchani, previously at East Anglia University, UK, but currently without institutional affiliation. Additionally, Professor T. Sundararaman at TISS in Mumbai is assisting the project on a concultancy basis.
Abstract: This proposal examines the conditions which enable citizens to become actively engaged in pollution control for improved environmental health. It does this by enabling research participants to monitor household air pollution levels for a better understanding of local sources of pollution and personal exposure. Low cost pollution monitors offer new possibilities for people to link personal health effects directly to pollution. The resulting improved knowledge of what pollution is and where it comes from is expected to support community mobilisation to mitigate pollution. This project draws on citizen science approaches to environmental governance to open up for participatory environmental management. Three empirical settings are selected as case studies across India with a combination of urban, industrial and rural forms of pollution and socio-political settings. Data collection methods are air pollution measurements, an environmental health survey and ethnographic methods. The project is expected to add to our understanding of the factors which support citizens becoming active in pollution control and management activities. Active citizens are expected to be able to press for wide-ranging public health improvements, and open up for participatory decision-making processes on environmental matters at the moment dealt with in closed, expert-controlled settings with significant political interventions.

It should also be noted that Patrik Oskarsson recently was involved in editing a special section of the peer-reviewed magazine South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies along with Dr. Siddharth Sareen from the University of Bergen, Norway. The specila section is entitled ”Discourse and Resource Conflict in Extractive Zones of India”, and includes interesting articles not only by the two editors themselves, but also other eminent researchers such as Kenneth Bo Nielsen, University of Oslo.


Uppsala seminar on 18th century Portugese missionary to India

PhD candidate Pär Eliasson at the Department of Linguistics and Philology, Uppsala University, holds a ventilation seminar presenting his forthcoming dissertation on ”Simão Gomes, Sarueshuaracha Gnanopadesh (1709)” on Wednesday 6 December 2017, 14.15 - 15.45. At the seminar, he will focus on the semantic analysis of Christian terminology ina text entitled Sarveśvarācā Gnāna Upadeśa, an early argumentative text in Marathi language. The more than one hundred pages long text was written in the early 18th century by the Portuguese missionary to India, Simão Gomes. He was the first missionary in the Marathi-speaking inland outside of Portugese Goa. Eliason tries to track linguistic and creative influences from both European/Christian and Indian indigenous traditions. Venue: Engelska parken, room 2-0026, Uppsala.

Research Council grants to two South Asia related projects within the Humanities

On 2 November 2017, the Swedish Research Council decided upon project grants within Humanities for the period 2018-2021. Two projects given a grant relates to South Asian studies - to Prof. Helle Rydström at the Dept. of Gender Studies, Lund University, and to Dr. Henrik Chetan Aspegren at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI) in Stockholm.

Prof. Hellström’s Lund University project is entitled ”Precariousness at Work: Workplace Violence against Women Employees in Nordic Companies Outsourced to Asia”, and the research team also include Associate Professor Lisa Eklund at the Dept. of Sociology; Prof. Caratina Kinnvall at the Dept. of Political Science; and Assistant Professor Maria Tonini, Dept. of Gender Studies. The project will examine Nordic companies outsourced to China, India, and Vietnam to unfold the ways in which flows from the Global North interconnect with the Global South and facilitate the production of workplace ‘power-geometries’ in which some have more powers than others, some are more in charge than others, and some might be harmed. By carefully investigating the consequences on the ground of encounters between global economic movements and local lifeworlds, the project will, among other things, provide a sophisticated analytical prism for the study of gendered (in)security, precariousness, and violence, and fresh ethnographic data about gender specific experiences of abuse in the Nordic workplaces located in Asia. The project is granted SEK 4.5 m for three years.

Henrik Chetan Aspegren‘s project is entitled ”The Numbers on Our Side: Enumeration and Emancipation, India 1915-1947”. This project asks why enumerations became central to arguments for emancipation at the cusp of electoral politics and enlarged franchise in India. It analyses how spokespersons for three disadvantaged groups – Bhimrao R. Ambedkar (”untouchables”), Mohammad A. Jinnah (”Muslims”), and Mithan J. Lam (”women”) – embedded numerical data in to arguments to define their respective group as one to which political rights could be assigned; to describe the disadvantage of their respective group; and to prescribe how this disadvantage could be ended through political reform. By identifying, contextualising and linking instances when enumerations were referred to in respective spokespersons written argument between the years 1915 and 1947, the study will provide unique understanding to this overlooked yet central dimension of modern Indian politics. The project is granted SEK 2.85 m for three years.
Henrik is currently working at Linnaeus University in Växjö, but from 1 January 2018 he will be working full-time at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs, where he will combine the research within this specific project with the building of a capacity - and hopefully in the long run - an environment - for analysis and research on South Asia at UI.

Shantanu Chakrabarty lectures at Uppsala University

Associate Professor Shantanu Chakrabarti from the Dept. of History at Calcutta University in Kolkata is staying at Uppsala University, Sweden during the period 1-22 November 2017 . He is a Visiting Professor under the long-standing Linnaeus Palme Exchange Programme running between the Dept. of History at Uppsala University and its counterpart in Kolkata. Prof. Chakrabarti specialises in International Relations and will be delivering a few lectures on contemporary India - on Wednesday 15 November, 13.15-15.00, he will speak about ”Conceptualising the 'Civilisation State' Model in Asia: Between Historical Heritage and Contemporary Reality'. The seminar is organised by the Dept. of History. Venue: Engelska Parken, room 22-1009, Thunbergsvägen 3C. 
Three days later, on Saturday 18 November, 12-16, Dr. Chakrabarty participates in Uppsala University’s Thematic Forum Day, the theme being “Migration: The World in Motion”. During this day migration will be approached from various horizons and regions thanks to the mini-lectures of different Uppsala researchers. It is open to the public, and free entrance. Dr. Chakrabarty will speak about ”Games people play! Developing South Asia´s sport identity at home and within the diaspora”, and the time for his lecture is 14.15-15.30. More information..

Kashmiri activists awarded Norway's Rafto Prize for human rights

Two Indian activists from the heavily militarised region of Kashmir on Thursday was awarded Norway's Rafto Prize for human rights for their long-term struggle against violence in the disputed territory, the award ceremony held in Bergen on 5 November 2017. The prize of 17,750 euros was formally presented to Parveena Ahanger and Imroz Parvez. Named after the late Norwegian human rights activist Thorolf Rafto, four past winners of the prize (Aung San Suu Kyi, Jose Ramos-Horta, Kim Dae-Jung and Shirin Ebadi) went on to win to Nobel Peace Prize. Ahanger, nicknamed "The Iron Lady of Kashmir", founded and leads the Association of Parents of Missing Persons after her 17-year-old son was kidnapped by security forces in 1990. She hasn't heard anything from or of him since. Her co-laureate, lawyer Parvez, founded the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) which promotes human rights and non-violence. It has documented the authorities' use of torture in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Talat Bhat participated in the event. Read his report...

2018 South Asian Studies Fellowships at Cornell University

Cornell University’s South Asia Program (SAP) welcomes applications from scholars, writers, curators, and artists based in South Asia (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, or Sri Lanka) to visit Cornell University for a fellowship period of between one and three months to undertake research, artistic productions, and/or collaborations related to South Asian Studies. Fellows will have the opportunity to collaborate with Cornell faculty, post-doctoral fellows, and graduate students, and to involve themselves in South Asia Program activities. The South Asia Program will award four fellowships for residence at Cornell University between March and December 2018. These fellowships are not intended for dissertation or master’s degree research. Preference will be given to applicants who have not recently undertaken studies, fellowships or employment in North America. Applicants must be resident in South Asia at the time of the fellowship to be eligible. Citizens of South Asian countries living outside of South Asia are not eligible for this fellowship. Applications must be submitted online by the December 4, 2017. Full information

Börje Almqvist shares information about the 2017 Taliban ideology

Who are the Talibans and how do they want Afghan society to look? Are they the same ideological movement as when they controlled most of Afghanistan in 2001? Do they have the same attitude to girls' schooling, TV, internet and photography of all living like that, or have they changed! Are they "better" or "worse" today than when they had the power? These are questions raised by Swedish journalist Börje Almqvist in an interesting Internet blog. Börje has worked many years for the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan and has a wide perspective on the development in Afghanistan. Read his blog.
Börje refers to a number of current reports, for example one entitled ”Ideology in the Afghan Taliban”. See also BBC reporter Auliya Atrafi article from Helmand province, entitled ”Taliban territory: Life in Afghanistan under the militants”; Barnet Rubins and Clancy Rudeforths´report entitled ”Enhancing Access to Education: Challenges and Opportunities in Afghanistan”; and a report on official Taliban view on education: The Taleban’s ‘new education policy.

Oslo conference on Indo-Norwegian Research Cooperation

The Norwegian Research Council (RCN) and the Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM) at University of Oslo organise a conference entitled ”Norway and India Research Cooperation - A vital and diverse partnership” on Thursday 23 November 2017, 10.00-18.30. It focuses on India's remarkable growth and development and its impact on have the country as an important partner, also for research cooperation. The essence of Norwegian-Indian research cooperation so far will be discussed, as well as how it will develop it the future. The conference will highlight results from the research projects and explore future possibilities. The conference reaches out to researchers and research institutions as well as policy makers, NGOs, companies, government representatives and research funding agencies. The event will also be open for the media. Invited speakers include well-known South Asia specialists such as Prof. Dan Banik at SUM, and Prof. Arild Engelsen Ruud, University of Oslo. Venue: Marmorsalen, Sentralen, Oslo. More information

Anthony D’Costa edited volume on the Land Question in India

Professor Anthony P. D’Costa, Chair and Professor of Contemporary Indian Studies and the Director of the Development Studies Program at the University of Melbourne, Australia, recently published a highly interesting book along with Prof. Achin Chakraborty, Director for the Institute of Development Studies in Kolkata. The edited volume is entitled ”The Land Question in India: State, Dispossession, and Capitalist Transition” (Oxford University Press, 2016). It illustrates land-related developmental issues in India, covering the historical and contemporary role of land in economic development, the legal and institutional dimensions of dispossession, and multiple regional perspectives of dispossession and development. More information.
Anthony D’Costa was earlier the A.P. Möller-Mærsk Foundation Professor in Indian Studies and Research Director at the Asia Research Centre, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark, and before that, he was with the University of Washington for 18 years. He is the author or editor of twelve books on global steel, Indian automobile and IT industries, globalization, development, innovations, industrial restructuring, and global capitalism. Other recent publications (as editor or author or co-author) include Changing Contexts and Shifting Roles of the Indian State: New Perspectives on Development Dynamics (forthcoming at Springer); International Mobility, Global Capitalism, and Changing Structures of Accumulation: Transforming the Japan-India IT Relationship (Routledge, 2016); After Development Dynamics: South Korea’s Engagement with Contemporary Asia (Oxford University Press, 2015); and Transformation and Development: The Political Economy of Transition in India and China (Oxford University Press, 2012).
During a visit to Kolkata for a conference in late October 2017, Prof. D’Costa was interviewed by Arjun Sen for the web journal The article is entitled ”The Current Government does not Believe in Consulting with Stakeholders”, and contains criticism of the New India after the 1991 reforms and subsequent developments. D’Costa argues that India’s development fate is pretty grim with no clear or easy solutions to the problem of unemployment and underemployment. He predicts that despite a relatively fast rate of economic growth, vast swathes of the population will continue to wallow in poverty and impoverishment. Read the article.

Successful three decades of ISP programmes with Sri Lanka evaluated


The International Science Programme (ISP), based at Uppsala University, has the task to initiate and support long-term collaboration in research within the Physical Sciences, Chemical Sciences, and Mathematical Sciences with institutions in a number of developing countries. In South Asia, collaboration programmes were run with Sri Lankan institutions during the period 1978-2010, and with Bangladesh programmes are still running.
The long ISP collaboration with Sri Lanka has recently been evaluated in a report also covering Thailand. The book, written by Rebecca Andersson and Marta Zdravkovic, includes a historical overview, developments and effects of over 30 years of research cooperation. The experiences and present whereabouts of former PhD students and collaborators are also covered. It is entitled ”The International Science Programme in Sri Lanka and Thailand. Three decades of research cooperation” and was published in August 2017. It is available in full-text on the Net.
In Sri Lanka, four universities were involved - University of Colombo, University of Jaffna, University of Peradeniya, and University of Sri Jayawardenepura. The report shows that a majority of Srilankan researchers being trained as part of ISP programmes came to Sweden on a sandwich basis, in general with a host university in Sweden and with degrees awarded from the home university. The sandwich mode training is one of the main contributing factors to why many graduates have stayed in their home country after graduation. The continued contact with the home institution throughout the training facilitated the start-up and continuation of graduates’ research back home. Overall, the report summarizes that the ISP supported groups in Sri Lanka have contributed to the society in various ways. There are examples of group leaders and graduates being appointed to government committees, boards or working groups. Some of importance to the development of both physics- and chemistry education and research, as well as to national policy and strategy development. Most research groups covered in the study have continued their activities to various degrees. Read more...