Research Community News

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.

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.

Professor emeritus Staffan Lindberg and NSAN editor Lars Eklund have finalised a new book, an edited volume on Indian Society, History, Economics, Religion and Culture. It is written in a popular scientific mode in Swedish language. Besides the two co-editors, articles are written by eminent Scandinavian South Asia scholars including Dr. Kenneth Nielsen and Dr. Anne Waldrop at University of Oslo, Prof. Knut Jacobsen at University of Bergen, Prof. Jørgen Dige Pedersen at Aarhus University, Dr. Henrik Chetan Aspengren, Linnaeus University, Växjö and also the Institute of Foreign Affairs (UI) in Stockholm.
The book, entitled ”Miraklet Indien och dess baksida” will be published by Palmkrons förlag in Lund and be introduced with a book launch event on Tuesday 3 April 2018 in collaboration with SASNET. Venue: Dept. of Political Science, room 222, Eden, Paradisgatan 5 H, Lund (more information). It will also be launched at University of Oslo.
Staffan and Lars have worked together on South Asia since the late 1970s, first with the SYDASIEN magazine - launched by Staffan and colleagues in 1976 and edited by Lars for 25 years (1982-2007); and then successfully launching the Swedish South Asian Studies Network (SASNET) on a Swedish government initiative in 2001. As a close-knit professional team combining academic and journalistic know-how they travelled extensively in the whole South Asia region, establishing an extremely wide network of affiliated researchers in Scandinavia, Europe and South Asia, till Staffan retired from service in 2007 and Lars quit in late 2016. (Photo from Nepal in 2005).

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. 

The South Asia Institute of Heidelberg University, Germany, invites applications for a  Full Professorship (W3) in ,,Modern History of South Asia", to succeed eminent Professor Gita Dharampal-Frick from October 2019. The position has an emphasis on the History of South Asia from the early modern period onward. The candidate is expected to be competent in one or more South Asian languages and to cover a broad spectrum of the discipline in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching.
The South Asia Institute of Heidelberg University, with seven academic departments and four additional affiliated professors, has a particular focus on interdisciplinary research, and has been very successful in attracting research grants for joint research projects. The candidate is expected to participate in interdepartmental research projects and to collaborate with other departments at the South Asia Institute as well as with the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies and the Department of History. The application deadline is 15 March 2018. Full information.

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.

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

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.

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 Registration deadline is 31 May 2018. More information

Linnaeus University with the two campuses at Växjö and Kalmar continues to be a strong hub for South Asian studies in Sweden. On Thursday 22 March 2018, at 16.00, a book launch event will take place at the Växjö Campus/Teleborg castle. It is ”India: Research on Cultural Encounters and Representations at Linnaeus University”,  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. It will be preceded with a research seminar about “What’s in a Name? Race and the Science of Colonization in Australia in 1800”, organized by Linnaeus University Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies. More information.
NSAN editor Lars Eklund already 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 the book just being published. The book includes 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


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