News


Kathak workshop at Aarhus University

On Tuesday 24 April 2018, 13.00-15.00, the India and South Asia at Aarhus University programme (CISCA) organises a Kathak Workshop with Kristina Dolinina, assistant lecturer of Hindi Language and Literature at the Center of Oriental Studies, Vilnius University, Lithuania. She is also professional Classical Indian dancer and founder of Natya Devi Dance Theatre, recently doing her PhD on Kathak Dance from Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre. Venue: Building 1467- 316, Jens Chr. Skous Vej 7, Nobelparken, Aarhus. Registration required to Vivek Kumar Shukla
Kathak is one of the classical dance styles currently recognized and practiced in India and beyond. The dance style has developed from performing traditions of northern central India. Mathematically complex and fast rhythmic compositions, virtuosic footwork and swirling pirruets, graceful movements and subtle elements of emotional transmission - all these are the characteristics of Kathak dance.


Växjö researchers publish book on Joseph Stephens and Huseby

Linnaeus University in Växjö jas published a book entitled ”Från Brittiska Indien till Huseby bruk: järnvägen som arena för modernitet och kolonialism under lycksökaren och järnvägsentreprenören Joseph Stephens tid i Indien 1860–69”. It is the result of a joint research project by Henrik Chetan Aspengren, Alexander Bubb, Gunnel Cederlöf, Ingemar Gunnarsson, Radhika Krishnan, Dhiraj Kumar Nite, and Margareta Petersson at the university’s Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies. 
The Småland estate Huseby use was purchased in 1867 by young Joseph Stephens who made a fortune to build railways in British India. When Stephen discontinued his Indian business, he carefully compiled his letters, labor contracts and payrolls and sent them home to Huseby, where they were long forgotten in a coffin of the wind. In 2008, the coffin was discovered and the unique documentary collection came to attract historians from several countries. In this book, they present their results. The image of a historical person and his family appears in the midst of the colonial expansion, globalization and modernization that swept across the world during the 19th century. Starting from Joseph Stephens and his world of stubborn workers, frightened rivals and arrogant officials, far from the colonial power, the writers can give new perspectives on the British Empire and its effects in India and internationally.
Joseph Stephens, born in Sweden in 1841 by British parents, spent 10 years in India working on the construction of the main Bombay-Calcutta railway line. After that he returned to Sweden and bought the estate Huseby outside Växjö. More information about the book.


Lund University workshop on Nationalisms in South Asia

Lund University hosted a workshop on Nationalisms in South Asia on 14-15 April 2018. The core idea of the workshop, jointly organised by Professor Frank Korom (Boston University), Associate Professor Jan Magnusson (Lund University), and SASNET director Andreas Johansson, built on a thesis that a generation of scholarship is supposed to have argued that nationalism was a strictly Western affair, and that the researcher Peter van der Veer provided a corrective to this scholarship with his 1994 book ”Religious Nationalism”. Besides presentations by the organisers, the workshop was also attended by Peter Van Der Veer (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen, Germany); Boris Wille (Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Germany); Susan A. Reed, (Bucknell University, USA); Mari Miyamoto (Keio University, Japan); Mara Malagodi, (City Law School, University of London, UK); and Jürgen Schaflechner (University of Heidelberg, Germany). Discussant was Ted Svensson from the Dept. of Political Science, Lund University. The programme included papers on issues such as Religious-Nationalist Rhetoric, Democratic Reforms, and a Controversial Change of Power in the Maldives; Performances of Masculinity, Militarism and Sinhala Buddhist Nationalism in Sri Lanka; Buddhist Revivalism and Democratization in Bhutan; and Broadband Virtual Nationalism in Baltistan. See the full workshop programme.


Warm welcome to Indian Prime Minister on his visit to Stockholm

En route to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a two-day stop-over visit in Sweden 16-17 April 2018. He was warmly welcomed by Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfvén already at the airport, and he also met the Prime Ministers from the other Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway) who participated in the first India-Nordic summit, naturally with an eye on attracting investment for the Indian government’s ambitious “Make in India” campaign. 
For Sweden, the manufacture of the Swedish SAAB Gripen is a major issue, and an agreement on defence collaboration was agreed upon, besides an agreement on Innovation Partnership in areas of cooperation such as clean technology, waste management, renewable energy, women’s development, and skill development. More information.
Before the visit, WION TV News made an interview with Robin Sukhia, Secretary General & President Sweden-India Business Council, on the importance of Modi’s Sweden visit. Go for the interview.
While in Stockholm, Narendra Modi also gave a speech to the Indian diaspora at the end of his visit. A meeting, organized by the Indian Embassy in Sweden, was held at Stockholm University to which around 1,600 enthusiastic Indians residing in Sweden attended (more information). They had come to Stockholm from many places in Sweden. As of December 2017 there are just short of 30,000 people born in India living in Sweden, with industries like tech in particular attracting skilled labour. See the youtube video from Modi’s Stockholm University meeting.
Unlike in London, to which place Modi travelled from Stockholm, Modi did not meet any demonstrations against his visit to Sweden. However, critical articles were published in a few newspapers. Read Professor Ashok Swain’s 18 April Outlook article entitled ”Moral Superpower’ Sweden Should Not Forget Nehru And Gandhis In Its Eager To Sign Deals”.


SASNET launches blog about the South Asia Initiative

The Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI) and the Swedish South Asian Studies Network (SASNET) at Lund University launched the South Asia Initiative in 2018. The South Asia Initiative produces both research and analysis. In doing so, it aims to build a strong research environment with an international impact. The South Asia Initiative website will feature a blog that disseminates knowledge and information about South Asia. Link to South Asia imitative blog.


Kolkata historian guest researcher at Uppsala University

During the period 8-30 April 2018, Associate Professor Ritwika Biswas from the Department of History, University of Calcutta, will be visiting Uppsala University, and its Dept. of History. Her visit is part of the successful Linneaus Palme exchange programme between the two history departments that has been running for the past 10 years. Dr. Biswas is a specialist on the leftist movements in Bengal, and also on the Partition of India. In 2011, she published a book entitled “Radical Face of Democratic Liberalism: A Study of Communist Politics in West Bengal 1947-77” based on her 2009 PhD thesis. Currently she is engaged in research work on a theme related to the idea of governance as reflected in the Bengali writings during the period of 1858-1950.
If any other Scandinavian university has an interest to invite Dr Biswas for a seminar, contact can be had through Prof. Margret Hunt, coordinator for the Uppsala/Kolkata Linnaeus Palme collaboration.


Växjö conference on critical theory, postcoloniality, migration and populism

On 14-16 June 2018, the Linnaeus University Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies at Linnaeus University in Växjö organises an international conference on critical theory, postcoloniality, migration and populism. The conference is entitled ”Global Challenges: Borders, Populism and the Postcolonial Condition”, and addresses current global challenges with a focus on the present resurrection of geographical and intellectual borders, the rise of populism in the West and beyond, and the realisation that current geopolitical relations are still deeply informed by the long history of colonialism. Confirmed keynote speakers include Gurminder K Bhambra, Professor of Postcolonial and Decolonial Studies at University of Sussex, UK. To facilitate a productive and interdisciplinary meeting, the conference will include scholars from a wide interdisciplinary spectrum, including postcolonial studies, migration studies, animal studies, trauma studies, and ecocriticism.
The conference will be comprised of a number of thematic sessions that include issues such as Contemporary cultural discourses on torture, dignity, and victimization; Sovereignty, violence, and citizenship; Migration, mobility, and borders; and  Postcoloniality, nationalism and human rights. Venue for the conference: Teleborg Castle situated on the Växjö campus of Linnaeus University. More information.


Spring 2018 series of Morgenstierne seminars at University of Oslo

The South Asia section at the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages (IKOS), University of Oslo, arranges a new series of Morgenstierne lectures during the spring 2018. The seminar series owes its name to Georg Morgenstierne, who was a renowned Professor of Indo-Iranian languages from 1937 till 1963 at the University of Oslo. (Before that he was actually Professor of Comparative Indo-European Linguistics at University of Gothenburg 1930–1937). Venue for all seminars: P.A.Munchs hus, Blindern, Oslo.

On Thursday 15 March 2018, Associate Professor Kenneth Bo Nielsen held a seminar entitled ”Paper Activism: Environmental Struggles in Western India”.
Abstract: The Indian state, writes Nayanika Mathur, is a paper tiger: An inveterate writer that is obsessed with producing, circulating, storing and decoding paper. Paper, in this rendering, is thus central to the composition, maintenance and assemblage of the Indian state. While recent anthropological work has productively used the study of documents to highlight the constitutive work they perform across multiple domains within and beyond the state, in this talk I want to look at how paper has also become a central medium through which social activists engage the state and contest state action in the context of struggles over nature. Read more...

On Thusday 3 May, 14.15-16.00, Mukulika Banerjee - Associate Professor of Social Anthropology and Director of the India Studies Centre at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) will hold a seminar entitled ”Cultivating Democracy: 15 years of Election Ethnography from Eastern India”. Currently completing a book manuscript based on 15 years of ethnographic data of rural voters and their multivalent engagement with elections and voting activities in West Bengal, India, she examines the reasons why despite varying odds, India’s voter graph continues to rise, making India the largest electoral democracy in the world. Read more...

On Thursday 31 May 2018, 14.15-17.00, Assistant Professors Lisa Björkman, University of Louisville, and Nicholas Martin, Universität Zürich, will hold a Morgenstierne Seminar Double Lecture entitled ”The Anthropology of South Asian Politics Today”. Lisa has written on the encounter in the Indian city of Mumbai between liberalising market reforms and the materially-dense politics of the city’s water infrastructures, exploring the everyday political, social, and material dynamics that produce and inhabit flows of water through the growing and globalising city, whereas Nicholas has done fieldwork mostly been on Punjab, both in Pakistan and in India. His main field has been agrarian change, the evolving nature of patron-client ties, and on debt bondage, and a book entitled Politics, Landlords and Islam in Pakistan that was published by Routledge in 2015. Read more...


Oslo Centre invites to seminar on a Solution for Kashmir

The Oslo Center organises an evening seminar entitled ”A Solution for Kashmir?” on Monday 23 April 2018, at 17.30. The seminar features a conversation on the situation in Kashmir beetween the prominent Pakistani-Kashmiri activist Mushaal Hussein Mullick, wife of the jailed Indian-Kashmiri activist Yasin Malik, and Professor Sten Widmalm from the Dept. of Political Science at Uppsala University. Venue: Litteraturhuset Amalie Skram, Wergelandsveien 29, Oslo.
The conflict in Kashmir has been ongoing since the end of the British colonial empire and the creation of the Indian and Pakistani states. Yet, the 70-year old conflict falls outside of the spotlight of the international community. The seminar is free but pre-registration is needed. More information.


Time to register for the 2018 ECSAS conference in Paris

The 25th European Conference on South Asian Studies (ECSAS) is scheduled for 24-27 July 2018 in Paris, France. It will be held at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, (54 and 105, Blvd. Raspail). It is organized by the Centre d’Etudes de l’Inde et de l’Asie du Sud (CNRS-EHESS). It is now time to register. Paper presenters at the 24th ECSAS must be members of EASAS through 2017 & 2018 or 2018 & 2019. Non-members cannot attend the conference. More information at the conference web page.
ECSAS requires all accepted panels to be open to paper proposals through the website: proposed panels should not be ‘closed’ to further papers ab initio. Young researchers are advised to contact panel convenors to be considered for inclusion in their panel; young researchers are also encouraged to propose panels themselves. No panel may run for more than 4 sessions of 90 minutes.
The ECSAS has met regularly since 1968, and has provided an important opportunity to discuss current research and scholarship on topics relating to South Asia within the humanities and social sciences. The 2004 conference was organised by SASNET in Lund, see the 2004 conference page.
The most recent ECSAS conference was held in Warsaw, Poland, in July 2016. Lars Eklund attended the conference, at that time representing SASNET, Lund University (but also as a member of the EASAS board - re-elected for the position as treasurer). Go for his Warsaw report.


India and China in focus for 10th ADI conference in Copenhagen

On 18-20 June 2018, the 10th Annual Asian Dynamics Initiative (ADI) Conference is being held by the Universtity of Copenhagen. The theme for the 2018 conference is ”Transition and Disruption in Asia”, focusing on the spectacular rise of China and India. Therefore the organisers claim that it is only natural that these populous new superpowers dominate scholarly and media attention, while other regions in Asia are foregrounded only in exceptional moments of  environmental, political or economic crisis. Yet the latter, too, confirm the need to conceive of Asia as a site of accelerated change. This principle also applies to the pre-modern period, in spite of the fact that Eurocentric observers preferred to conceptualize this vast space as a permanently stagnant region. Among the organisers appear Prof. Jørgen Delman and Ravider Kaur, both from the Dept. of of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies. Read more...


London 2018 conference on Muslim Cultures in the Indian Ocean

The Aga Khan University’s Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations, based in London, organises an international confertence entitled ”Muslim Cultures in the Indian Ocean. Diversity and Pluralism, Past and Present” on 12-14 September 2018. This conference aims to explore the diversity of Muslim cultures prevalent in the Indian Ocean region - including the Maldives - where, historically, Muslims have interacted for centuries with each other and with other peoples and cultures. Islam not only provided the scaffolding that facilitated cultural exchanges but was also the pivot for transforming local societies. The conference seeks to bring together experts from different disciplines and backgrounds including archaeologists, historians, sociologists, anthropologists, geographers, and scholars of related disciplines to explore various facets of this diversity. This conference marks a reconnaissance of the Indian Ocean not as a periphery but as a centre for the study of Muslim cultures.
Indeed, over the past couple of decades, significant new research has been undertaken across East Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and the Indian subcontinent leading to fresh insights on a number of facets of Indian Ocean cultures. Some of these studies were written about the Indian Ocean on the longue durée and other studies were focused on local and regional histories. Cultural encounters across the Indian Ocean down the centuries have given rise to cities, towns, ports and other constructions and artefacts which, while remaining distinctive in themselves, also exhibit layers of shared features. They manifest the craftsmanship and values of their creators, peoples whose diversity is almost proverbial. Similar endeavours are present in almost all aspects of human creativity through contact, including religious beliefs and practices, literature, architecture, trade, cuisine, textiles and fashion, etc. Cultural contacts, exchanges and networks were facilitated by the sea as a link between these diverse worlds. Full information.


Nordic South Asia scholars meet in Oslo in June 2018

The second South Asia across the Nordic Region (SANR) annual meeting will be held in Oslo on 5 - 6 June 2018. In late June 2017, the recently established network held its first annual meeting in Copenhagen. SANR was established to present cutting edge research undertaken by Nordic scholars, and to facilitate greater collaboration across Nordic research institutions and universities. The need for such a meeting forum has been acutely felt by scholars, especially young scholars in need of mentorship and support in the early career stage. The annual meetings are therefore seen as an important step towards building up future frameworks of cooperation.
The two-day programme in Oslo will consist of keynote talks, panel sessions, roundtables, a special session for younger scholars, and ample time for mingling and informal discussions. If you wish to actively contribute to the programme, please email Associate Professor Kenneth Bo Nielsen for further information. The event is funded by the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages at the University of Oslo, and supported by Asianettverket/The Norwegian Network for Asian Studies. Travel and accommodation costs are borne by participants while the host provides local hospitality. There is no conference fee. Full information.


NCI invites applications for Academic Activity/Collaboration Grants

The Nordic Centre in India university consortium (NCI) has introduced a new Academic Activity/Collaboration Grant, with a purpose to build research ties between its member universities and Indian counterparts. Two projects or academic events, each one with a maximum grant of Euros 3.500, will be selected during 2018. A precondition is that an application involves more than one NCI member university along with Indian partners, and the applicaton should be made by researchers on PhD level and above. Deadline for a project during the fall semester 2018 is 15 April, and the corresponding date for the spring semester 2019 projects/events will be 15 October 2018.
Applications will be evaluated by an NCI Grants Committee based on the heft of the project description, academic credentials, potential for long-term Indo-Nordic cooperation and benefits for the Nordic Centre in India. Upon completion of the event, the main applicant will be required to submit a written report to the Nordic Centre of India. Full information.


Jönköping conference on Genres and Media Landscapes in Virtual-Physical Learning Spaces

On 12-14 September 2018, the School of Education and Communication (HLK) at Jönköping University organises an International conference of the CCD (Communication, Culture & Diversity) network. The conference is entitled ”Genres and Media Landscapes in Virtual-Physical Learning Spaces. Moving Frontlines?” (GEM 2018). It aims to create a multi-disciplinary platform for dialoguing on the every-day uses of modality rich, parallel, linked, and hybrid, communicative genres that are embedded in media landscapes and circulate in learning spaces inside and outside institutional settings. Deadline for submitting abstracts is 15 April 2018.
The conference is chaired by Associate Professor Ylva Lindberg, and the committee also includes Professor Sangeeta Bagga-Gupta, previously working at the School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (HumEs) at Örebro University, that hosted a similar conference entitled ”Virtual Learning Sites as Languaging Spaces” (ViLS-2) in 2015 (more information). 
The invited speakers include Imtiaz Haznain, Professor of Sociolinguistics at Aligarh Muslim University; Manjula Srinivas, Associate Professor at K.C. College in Mumbai; and Sanjay Ranade, Associate Professor in Communication and Journalism at Mumbai University. Full information about the GEM 2018 conference.


Shashi Tharoor proves Churchill’s role as a racist war criminal

On 10 March 2018, The Washington Post published an article by Indian writer and MP Shashi Tharoor on Winstin Churchill - in connection with the Oscar award to a new film. The article is entitled ”In Winston Churchill, Hollywood rewards a mass murderer”, Tharoor claiming that the British prime minister during the second world was one of the great mass murderers of the 20th century, yet he is the only one, unlike Hitler and Stalin, to have escaped historical odium in the West. Instead he has been crowned with a Nobel Prize (for literature!), and now, an actor portraying him (Gary Oldman) has been awarded an Oscar.
Shashi Tharoor reminds about Churchill’s constant racist policies throughout his career. In the fight for Irish independence, Churchill, in his capacity as secretary of state for war and air, was in favour of bombing Irish protesters, suggesting in 1920 that airplanes should use “machine-gun fire or bombs” to scatter them. Dealing with unrest in today’s Iraq in 1921, as secretary of state for the colonies, Churchill acted as a war criminal, ordering a large-scale bombing of Mesopotamia, with an entire village wiped out in 45 minutes.In Afghanistan, Churchill declared that all Pashtuns who resist will be killed without quarter. Every tribesman caught was speared or cut down at once.
​But the principal victims of Winston Churchill were the Indians — “a beastly people with a beastly religion,” as he charmingly called them. He wanted to use chemical weapons in India but was shot down by his cabinet colleagues, whom he criticized for their “squeamishness,” declaring that “the objections of the India Office to the use of gas against natives are unreasonable.”
Thanks to Churchill, some 4 million Bengalis starved to death in the 1943 famine. Churchill ordered the diversion of food from starving Indian civilians to well-supplied British soldiers and even to top up European stockpiles in Greece and elsewhere. When reminded of the suffering of his Indian victims, his response was that the famine was their own fault, he said, for “breeding like rabbits.” Read the full article.
Compare NSAN article on the new film about the 1944 Bengali Famine.


William Radice’s unpublished papers now presented

Gitanjali Reborn. William Radice’s Writings on Rabindranath Tagore. Edited by Martin Kämpchen. Routledge 2018. The well-known british scholar William Radice, himself a recognized poet and a Rabindranath Tagore specialist, delved into the deeper meaning of Tagore’s poems and songs, and discussed his ideas on education and the environment with an insight probably no other Westerner has. He also translated Tagore’s short stories and short poems, and finally in  2012 was able to make a complete breakthrough by translating Gitanjali afresh and restoring Tagore’s original English manuscript. Martin Kämpchen, residing in Santiniketan, West Bengal and Germany, and is a reputed Tagore scholar and writer, has edited the new volume.
It should be mentioned that Prof. Radice met with a severe traffic accident in 2014, but has since somewhat recovered. More information about the book.
William Radice is a friend of the NSAN editor Lars Eklund. He attended the 2004 ECMSAS conference in Lund as a commentator (read his report), and in 2011 and 2013 Radice was invited by Lars for lecture tours in Scandinavia in connection with the Tagore jubilee events. 


SYDASIEN Magazine Index 1977-2007

The non-commercial magazine SYDASIEN was published from 1977 till 2010, and carried an amazing amount of valuable material by Swedish and Scandinavian South Asia experts, academics, journalists and others. All issues have been indexed and are now available as pdf-files on the NSAN web site. Go for the index.
​For 34 years the Swedish-language print magazine SYDASIEN played an important role to disseminate news and information on South Asia. With popularly written articles on politics, history, literature and culture in the eight countries that consist South Asia (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) SYDASIEN was a unique feature in Scandinavia till the magazine closed down in late 2010.
Lars Eklund, now NSAN editor was the editor in chief for 25 years, during the period 1982–2007. From 2008 till the closure in 2010, the magazine was edited by John Senewiratne in Norrköping. However, Since 2011 SYDASIEN has resurfaced in a brand new shape, as a high-quality Internet based web magazine. It was launched by the new editor of the magazine, Ms. Johanna Sommansson. Go for the sydasien.se.


EASAS Research Student Award to be presented in Paris

One of the stated aims of the European Association for South Asian Studies is to encourage and support young scholars working in the field of South Asian Studies. In pursuit of this aim, the Association is offering awards linked to its biennial conference. Awards are to be made for the most outstanding papers by currently registered research students presenting at the conference. At the 25th EASAS conference to be held 24-27 jUlt 2018 in Paris, up to three awards of €300 each will be made. All current PhD students fully registered and presenting at the conference may submit their paper for consideration. The submitted papers will be considered by a panel of judges selected by the EASAS Council. It is hoped that by offering three Awards, the competition will reflect the full range of disciplines represented at the conference. Deadline for paper submission is 30 June 2018. More information.


Joint initiative by three universities to share Bengali Summer School in Heidelberg

The South Asia Institute at Heidelberg University, Germany, is hosting a "Bengali Summer School" for beginners and advanced learners during the period 15-30 August 2018. This first-time event is a joint initiative by the Heidelberg Department of Modern South Asian Languages and Literatures, in collaboration with the Institute of South and Central Asia, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic; and the Chair of South Asian Studies, Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Warsaw, Poland. The medium of instruction will be English. All those who are keen on making their first steps in the language or want to deepen their communication and reading skills are welcome to register. To register, please contact hiwisnsl@gmail.com. Registration deadline is 31 May 2018. More information

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