Newsletter 137 – 18 June 2012


Subscribe to the newsletter by sending an e-mail to!




• SASNET announces assistant webmaster position to replace Julia Velkova

Julia Velkova, SASNET’s assistant webmaster has been enrolled as a doctoral student at Södertörn University in Huddinge, and will start her studies from 1 September 2012. Her doctoral position is in Media and Communication Studies within the Baltic and East European Graduate School (BEEGS) which in turn is part of the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES) at Södertörn University. The preliminary title of her research project is ”Free cultural works in the age of Internet – a new way of creating and communicating art to audiences? – A study of Russian, Finnish and Dutch open-source animation projects”, in which she will study the role that Internet plays in creating and communicating free cultural works, and in particular free/open-source animation films.
As a consequence, SASNET now seeks a new assistant webmaster on a 50 % basis who will be responsible for helping to manage and update the extensive SASNET web portal, currently the largest Nordic website presenting research, collaborations, and culture regarding South Asia at Nordic universities. The website currently has about 11,000 unique visitors per month, and its newsletter is read by nearly 3,000 scholars interested in South Asia worldwide. In addition to updating the website on a daily basis, the successful candidate will assist in the organisation of academic seminars, conferences, and cultural events concerning South Asia arranged by SASNET. The candidate will also be responsible for compiling the monthly SASNET newsletter and assisting with other forms of publicity.
The position is based at Lund University, and offered for the period 20 August to 31 December 2012, with a possibility the position might be extended beyond 2012. Deadline for applications is 1 August 2012.
For more information, see the official announcement.

• Join SASNET's updated researchers database!

As part of the technical development of the SASNET website we have now upgraded our Researchers Database.
The database was initially created in 2001 with the goal to make it easier to identify Nordic scholars who do research in various areas related to South Asia – from humanities to natural sciences, thus hoping to enhance collaborations, exchanges and networking among researchers. The database has now been upgraded and allows the researchers themselves to enter and manage the information about their research. It also has an improved search engine that allows for searching in various ways – either by entering search keyword(s) or by browsing the researchers filtered by their country of interest, area of research or university.
Anyone who is doing research or collaboration with South Asia and is affiliated to a Nordic university is welcome to register and help us develop further the database, thus enabling collaborations and future projects of interest for both Nordic and South Asian scholars.
If you are not already present in the database, you can join by creating your profile here or browse the Researchers Database.

• Lund meeting to discuss India collaboration projects between University of Gothenburg and SASNET
Participants to the meeting, from left to right: G K Karanth, Clemens Cavallin, Anna Lindberg, Julia Velkova, Åke Sander and Lars Eklund.

On Tuesday, 5 June 2012 SASNET hosted a meeting with Professor Åke Sander and Dr. Clemens Cavallin, representatives of the University of Gothenburg’s GoIndia initiative, and Professor G K Karanth, ICCR guest professor at Lund University during the academic year 2011/12. The main purpose of the meeting was to discuss future collaborations, as well as possibilities to seek financial support for joint Swedish-Indian research projects with the help of the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR). Åke Sander and Clemes Cavallin comes from the Department of Literature, History of Ideas and Religion at the University of Gothenburg, and they are currently developing such projects, as well a other forms of collaboration with Indian research and educational institutions in both North and South India. Professor Karanth advised that potential future areas of joint research could be those with focus on gender, urban development and planning, governance and the emerging middle class. Ideas for future exchange programs with students from Sweden and India were also discussed. SASNET was approached in the role of a potential collaboration partner from Lund University, and will also join the efforts of Gothenburg to explore the possibilities for running collaborations with the support of the Indian Council of Social Science Research. 

• Report from SASNET funded research project on glacial lakes in Bhutan

Glacial lake BhutanIn 2009, Dr. Joyanto Routh, then affiliated to the Department of Geology and Geochemistry, Earth Sciences Centre, Stockholm University, was awarded a SASNET planning grant for a research project entitled ”High-resolution Holocene paleoclimate records in glacial lakes from the northeastern Himalayas in Bhutan”. The aim of the project was to initiate a reconnaissance study of accessible lake systems in the northeastern Bhutan Himalayas. Most of these glacial lakes directly lie in the path of the Indian summer monsoons and experience heavy rainfall. In addition, global warming has caused several of these glacial lakes to burst repeatedly posing danger for the local people and their property. The researchers focused on the pristine Lake Jimilangtsho located on the famous Druk Path trek between Thimpu and Paro.
Fieldwork was carried out in October 2010 by a team from Örebro University (Joyanto Routh was affiliated to Örebro University during this period), the Department of Mines and Geology, Bhutan (Samten Wangdi) and the Department of Earth Sciences at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in Kolkata (Rajarshi Roychoudhary and Manoj Jaiswal). The depth of the water column at the points where the cores were collected ranged from 8 to 10 m. Since the reconnaissance sampling was conducted in 2010, geochemical analyses were done in these sediments. This resulted in a MSc thesis by Rajarshi Roychoudhary, which was submitted to the Department of Earth Sciences, IISER-Kolkata in May 2012. Read a complete activity report on the SASNET funded project.
Currently (June 2012), Joyanto Routh – now working at the Department of Water and Environmental Studies, Tema Institute, Linköping University – and his colleagues jointly work on a manuscript which they plan to submit after summer 2012. In addition, they are planning to submit a full proposal to research funding agencies to support their research initiatives with the Department of Mines and Geology at Bhutan in 2013. 

• Dipak Malik held SASNET seminar on the Maoist Movement in India
Dipak Malik along with Ingmar Håkansson, Anna Lindberg and Kristina Myrvold after the SASNET seminar.

Professor Dipak Malik, Director for the Gandhian Institute of Studies in Varanasi, India, held a learned SASNET lecture on ”Indian Naxalism Today” on Tuesday 29 May 2012, 15.15–17.00. Prof. Malik is currently on a tour to Finland and Sweden (on invitation by the Nordic Centre in India consortium) and came to visit Lund because of his close connection to SASNET, being a member of SASNET’s South Asian Reference Group. Venue for the seminar: Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, conference room, Scheelevägen 15 D, Lund. See the poster.

The reenergized Maoist movement in India is often referred to as Naxalism because of its beginning in late 1960s emanating from a small hamlet of the northern part of the state of West Bengal. Naxalbari has in recent years again emerged as a potential force of course in India, though within a different context. Maoism today poses a vital question that needs a perspective from the world of social sciences. In his presentation, Prof. Malik focused the changed character of the conflicts today compared to the 1960s naxalite movement. Then it was mainly a fight for land redsitribution, now it is a fight by India’s tribal population to safeguard their forests and lands against unlawful exploitation by outsiders, where the tribal population receives support from the Communist Party of India (Maoist). Many people in India, including a section in the government are dismissive about it as being merely a law and order question. Others however show an understanding of the problems, they find deep maladies in the Indian society and the current development path, which leads to an insurrectionary mode of protest. It should be noted that these deep rooted maladies in the world of Indian peasantry were described already in the 1950s by Gandhians like Vinoba Bhave, albeit as an aftermath of the Telengana peasant revolt.

• Successful GO:India & SASNET brown bag seminar in Gothenburg

A second Go:India & SASNET Brown Bag seminar was held in Gothenburg on 29 May 2012. Venue: The Glass House (Glashuset), Chalmersgatan 4, Gothenburg.
The seminar featured Annika Härenstam (photo to the left), Professor in Work Science at the Department of Sociology and Work Science, University of Gothenburg. She spoke on ”Gender, leadership and health promotion in working life”, presenting the SIGN network – Sweden-India Gender Network, a network which aims to link researchers and organizations in India and Sweden, in order to share knowledge on Gender, Work, OSH (Occupational Health and Safety) and Environment in both countries for long-term collaboration. In 2011, the received a grant of three million SEK from Sida.
This seminar was also the last for the spring semester of 2012 in which SASNET and Go:India/University of Gothenburg collaborated in order to offer a lunch seminar series with focus on India, similarly to the SASNET Brown Bag seminars in Lund. After an evaluation of the resources and outcomes from this collaboration, SASNET and Go:India will consider the possibilities to continue the seminar series during the fall term 2012.
Read more about the previous Go:India & SASNET Brown Bag Seminar.

• Researcher from University of Baroda visited SASNET and Lund University

On Monday 4 June 2012, Dr. Pushpanadham Karanam from the Department of Educational Administration, Faculty of Education and Psychology, M.S.University of Baroda, India, visited Lund University on invitation from SASNET.
A programme was organised by SASNET’s deputy director Lars Eklund that included visits to Lund University’s Department of Educational Sciences at Campus Helsingborg, and the Department of Sociology of Law in Lund. Dr. Karanam had come to Scandinavia to spend two weeks teaching at the Department of Education (DPU), Aarhus University, Copenhagen Campus, and also visiting the Institute of International Education (IIE) at Stockholm University, with which Dr. Karanam is involved in research collaboration. He had also a special interest to visit SASNET’s office in Lund since SASNET funded his stay as a short-term visiting professor at the School of Education and Communication, Jonköping University, with a grant in 2009.
Read more about Dr. Karanam’s visit to Lund University.

• Pakistani scholar from University of Oxford visited SASNET

Dr Masooda Bano, leading Pakistani scholar based at Oxford University, UK, made a courtesy visit to SASNET’s office in Lund on Thursday 14 June 2012. She came to Lund from Copenhagen, where she had been invited to meet scholars on Pakistan and Islamic studies. At SASNET, Masooda Bano met Lars Eklund and Julia Velkova and discussed the extent of Pakistan related research at Swedish universities.
Dr. Bano currently holds an ESRC/AHRC Ideas and Beliefs Fellowship in Oxford, under the Global Uncertainties programme involving the seven UK Research Councils. Her reseacrh focuses on the emergence and growth of female Islamic education movements across the Muslim world since the 1970s. This project draws on extensive fieldwork in Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria. She is also leading a longitudinal study comparing the demand for secular versus Islamic education among teenage girls in Pakistan and Nigeria and the impact their respective education has on their psychological well-being and future economic opportunities. Previous work focused on the demand for madrasa education and Jihad in Pakistan and analysis of state attempts to modernize madrasas across South Asia, the Middle East and West Africa. Another major area of her work is focused on studying the impact of development aid on community-based collective action. Dr. Bano has two new books out on aspects of Pakistan – 'The Rational Believer', on madrasas; and 'Breakdown in Pakistan', on the way aid erodes collective action. More information on Dr. Bano’s research.

• More information about SASNET and its activities
See SASNET’s page,

Research Community News

• Renée Andersson received honorary doctorate for CSR work in Indian garment industry
 Honorary doctor Renée Andersson with Professor Bo Mattiasson, Dept. of Biotechnology.

On Friday 25 May 2012, Ms. Renée Andersson, Director of Ethics and Environment at the Swedish fashion and decorating firm Indiska, was conferred an honorary doctorate by the Faculty of Engineering (LTH) at Lund University. The official ceremony took place inside the Cathedral of Lund.
The motivation for conferring her an honorary doctorate is stated the fact that she has drawn attention to the importance of combining ethics, environmental concerns and economics within the Indian garment industry. ”Through her commitment and knowledge she has enabled research and technological development in the field of water purification in South Asia”, says Professor Bo Mattiasson from the Department of Biotechnology, with whom Ms. Andersson has been involved in a research project dealing with treatment of textile dyes using biological and physiochemical techniques in the South Indian city of Tirupur. More information on the project.
In 2008, Renée Andersson participated in a successful SASNET/SIBC business seminar focusing on Business and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in India. At that time, she said that her company has worked to develop their CSR code for a long time, even incorporated Indian laws in its CSR code, with an effect that their suppliers must follow Indian law with regard to health insurances, pension plans, and employment contracts. The outcomes of this process has generated a new interest in Indiska magasinet’s products among more quality conscious customers. More information about the 2008 seminar.

• Report from University of Skövde May 2012 Bioremediation Workshop

On Monday 28 May 2012, the University of Skövde, organised a most fruitful workshop focusing on ”Bioremediation of Toxic Metals and Other Pollutants”, focusing on methods to clean environments, polluted by Arsenic, Cadmium and other heavy metals in India and Bangladesh. Since 2011, the University of Skövde is, together with the University of Pune and Dr. D. Y. Patil University in India and the University of Rajshahi in Bangladesh, involved in a partner driven collaboration research project entitled “Bioremediation of toxic metals and other pollutants for protecting human health and the ecosystem”. The aim of the project, funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) is to find new ways of cleaning polluted areas in order to counteract diseases. The coordinator and driving force behind the project is Professor Abul Mandal (photo), School of Life Sciences, University of Skövde. The participating researchers at the workshop came from the four main universities involved in the project but also from University of Gothenburg, Chalmers Institute of Technology, Örebro University, and Dominican University in the US. Lars Eklund represented SASNET at the workshop. More information.

• Partner driven cooperation programme grants to Indo-Swedish collaboration projects

In February 2012, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency Sida, announced grants for its Selective Cooperation Partner Driven Cooperation (PDC) programme, with the title ”Use of Research Results Collaboration Grants 2012-2013 in India and Indonesia”. The objective of the grants was not to support research, but rather provide support for assisting partners in using research in policy formulation and innovation that can be of particular use for poverty alleviation. The use of research results is fundamental for economic development and successful application of research often results when several actors are involved. Decisions were made in late May. 13 projects were approved. Out of them six related to Indonesia collaboration projects, and seven to India. The following researchers received grants for India collaboration projects:
– Abul Mandal and Cecilia Eriksson, School of Life Sciences, University of Skövde
– Rickard Öste, Department of Food Technology, Engineering and Nutrition, Lund University
– Nawi Ng, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health, Umeå University
– Bo Mattiasson, Department of Biotechnology, Lund University.
– Rajni Hatti-Kaul, Department of Biotechnology, Lund University
– Cecilia Stålsby Lundborg, Division of Global Health (IHCAR), Karolinska Institutet
– Jonas Olsson, Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI)
Full information about the India related 2012 Sida Partner Driven Cooperation grants.

• Coordinator wanted for Asian research network at Göttingen university

The Centre for Modern Indian Studies (CeMIS) and the Centre for Modern East Asian Studies (CeMEAS) at Georg-August-Universität Göttingen in Germany announce the position as Coordinator for its CeMIS-CeMEAS Transregional Research Network (CETREN). Subject to funding, this position should be filled by 1 October 2012, and with a limited contract of (initially) four years. CETREN is supposed to provide an enduring institutional framework for innovative, interdisciplinary, transregional social science and humanities research. It will promote and sustain intellectual and institutional collaborations and linkages between existing area studies centres, and between the University's disciplines and area studies. It will also intensify collaboration with the Göttingen-based Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity. The network is funded by the German Ministry for Education and Research. The successful candidate will hold at least a Master's degree (or the equivalent) in the social sciences or humanities, and preferably a PhD.  Deadline for applications is 4 July 2012.  Full information.

• University of Edinburgh launches The South Asianist online journal

The Centre for South Asian Studies at the University of Edinburgh has launched a new online, open access journal of South Asian studies, named The South Asianist. It is an interdisciplinary academic periodical intended to spur critical debate on social, environmental, cultural, linguistic, religious, political and economic aspects of South Asia. At its core is the felt need to counter the distancing effect that stilted, formulaic academic writing often creates. Provocative, peer-reviewed essays and reviews will be complimented by video vignettes that include interviews as well as mini-documentaries that seek to reflect the energy of ethnographic work.
The inaugural issue is entitled ”Marginalities and Aspirations” was unveiled during a special event honouring public health practitioner and human rights defender Dr. Binayak Sen (photo) on Thursday 14 June 2012 at the University of Edinburgh. The full issue will be available on July 1st. Go for The South Asianist web page.
Connected to the journal, The South Asianist Blog has also been created to follow more week-to-week activities of fieldwork. Thus is run by a dedicated Blog Editor and a team of regular contributors including the Field Editor. Go for the Blog.

• Scottish Centre for Tagore Studies set up at Edinburgh

Edinburgh Napier University’s Institute of Creative Industries has established The Scottish Centre for Tagore Studies (ScoTs). This is the first UK hub of its kind dedicated to the to the life and works of Indian/Bengali Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, the first non-white Nobel Prize winner for Literature in 1913, penned thousands of poems and songs before his death in 1941, with his work translated into hundreds of languages. ScoTs was inaugurated in connection with a Tagore Conference held in Edinburgh 4–6 May 2012.
The Scottish Centre for Tagore Studies will promote Indian culture, education, philosophy, art and literature by highlighting Tagore’s legacy. It follows an agreement with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), which will bring Professor Indra Nath Choudhuri, Academic Director of the Indira Gandhi Institute, to the University as Scotland’s first ICCR Chair in Tagore Studies. The ICCR is also funding two PhD fellowships dedicated to researching the works of the influential author. More information.

• Access to online archives on Education about Asia is now available for free

The Association for Asian Studies (AAS) has announced the availability of its ”Education about Asia” Online Archives which contains about 900 articles from the 37 back issues of ”Education About Asia” from 1996–2008. The archives contain articles on subjects from ancient cultures and literatures to curent affairs. Registration is free and can be done online at the following address: http://www.asian-
The Association for Asian Studies is a scholarly, non-political, non-profit professional association open to all persons interested in Asia and the study of Asia. It has about 8,000 members worldwide from a large variety of academic disciplines. 

• Irish university anounces position for postdoc researcher in Buddhist South Asian Studies

The Department of Sociology at the National University of Ireland (NUI) in Maynooth invites for expressions of interest for possible postdoc/research assistant appointments on a year-long cross-disciplinary project in Buddhist South Asian Studies, hopefully to start from October 2012, contingent on grant decisions. The period of study is the late 19th – early 20th century.
The postdoctoral researcher will ideally have knowledges in both Hindi-Urdu and Sinhala sufficient for archival research, training or experience in archival work and a background in religious studies or history, but candidates with cognate profiles may be considered. The appointment will be based in Ireland but involve 3 months work in South Asia.
The research assistant will ideally hold an MA or be pursuing a PhD in social movements or a related field of history, but candidates with cognate profiles may be considered. The appointment will be based in Ireland but involve 2 months work in N. America. Posts will be formally advertised subject to funding decisions to be announced in early August but with a tight deadline. For further information and to be kept informed of advertisements please contact Dr Laurence Cox.

• Arvind Gupta lectured on Geopolitical Implications of Climate Change

The Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) organised a seminar with Dr. Arvind Gupta, Director General, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), New Delhi, India, on ”Geopolitical Implications of Climate Change” on Monday 11 June 2012, 14.00–16.00. Venue: PRIO, Hausmanns gate 7, Oslo, Norway.
The seminar was chaired by Kristian Berg Harpviken, Director, PRIO, and Leiv Lunde, Director, Fridtjof Nansens Institute (FNI), was the discussant. Dr. Gupta's presentation focused on the Arctic region, estimated to hold over 40 per cent of global reserves of oil and gas. Ice melting due to global warming will open up areas for exploring and extracting resources. The race for resources, as history has shown, leads to geopolitical competition and contest. The Chinese have started articulating a 'commons' position, that is, no nation has sovereignty over the Arctic and that the resource are for all to exploit and use. The Arctic Council compromising five littoral states – Norway, US, Canada, Denmark and Russia – would not like outside intervention. While the Arctic might seem not to be in India's strategic radar, it, however, does present an opportunity to articulate a view of ecological protection that is contrary to resource scramble. The Antarctic Treaty of 1959 freezing territorial claims and allowing for only research and scientific activities is a good guidepost.
On deputation to IDSA from the Indian Foreign Service, Dr. Gupta currently holds the rank of Additional Secretary to the Government of India. He has worked in the MEA in different capacities and served in diplomatic missions in Moscow, London and Ankara, and held the Lal Bahadur Shastri Chair on National Security at  IDSA from 2008 to 2011. At the IDSA he headed the South Asia and Internal Security Clusters and edits the Institute’s flagship bi-monthly journal, Strategic Analysis. More information

• Stockholm seminars with Amita Baviskar on Urban Order in Delhi

Amita Baviskar, Associate Professor of Sociology at the Institute of Economic Growth in Delhi, India, has visited Sweden on invitation from the Dept. of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University, and participated in two seminars in Stockholm on Friday 9 June and Monday 12 June 2012. Dr. Baviskar’s research focuses on the cultural politics of environment and development. Her first book In the Belly of the River: Tribal Conflicts over Development in the Narmada Valley (Oxford University Press) discussed the struggle for survival by adivasis in central India against a large dam. Her subsequent work further explores the themes of resource rights, subaltern resistance and cultural identity. More recently, she has focused on urban environmental politics, especially bourgeois environmentalism and spatial restructuring in the context of economic liberalization in Delhi. Her latest research examines changing food practices in western India in relation to the transformation of agrarian environments.  
On Saturday 9th June, 14.00–17.00, Amita Baviskar took part in a seminar entitled ”City Axioms – Spaces of Enclosure”at White Stockholm, Katsan, Östgötagatan 100, Stockholm. The seminar was hosted by the Dept. of Social Anthropology in collaboration with White Architects and the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH). Dr. Baviskar presented a paper on ”Rivers into Real Estate: Contests over Urban Commons in Delhi, India”. The sociologist Fran Tonkiss from London School of Economics was a second speaker at this seminar, that was followed by a discussion led by the poet and architect Lars Mikael Raattamaa, and Dr. Beppe Karlsson, Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University. Full information about the seminar.
On Monday 11th June, 13.00 – 15.00, Amita Baviskar gave a lecture at the Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University on ”Making the City Beautiful: Bourgeois Environmentalism and Urban Order in Delhi, India”. It was held as a seminar in a series of lectures organised by the Stockholm University Environmental Social Science Seminar (SUES), a forum for transdiciplinary discussions among social science scholars at Stockholm University interested in environmental issues broadly conceived. The seminar series is open to anyone with an interest in social science perspectives on environmental issues.
In her presentation, Dr. Baviskar described an embodied public sphere where city streets are sites for multiple exchanges between differently located people and things, shaped by multiple understandings about how they should be managed. This talk focuses on cows, cars and cycle-rickshaws as they navigate Delhi’s roads, and on the people who own, use and seek to control them. All three have been the subject of strenuous efforts at regulation by courts and citizens’ groups. She interprets these conflicts as instances of bourgeois environmentalism: the middle-class pursuit of urban order, hygiene and safety, and ecological conservation. More information.

• More information about South Asia related research at Swedish and Nordic universities

See SASNET’s page,

Educational News

• Hindi language trip to Wardha offered in early 2013

The Department of Indian and Tibetan Studies at University of Hamburg, Germany, in cooperation with the Mahatma Gandhi International Hindi University, Wardha, India, offers a language trip to India, from February 11th – March 1st, 2013 for students and non-students of Intermediate level Hindi who are interested in improving their proficiency in Hindi. Goals and objectives of the course: - Improve the command of acquired vocabulary; - Enhance the command of vocabulary used in everyday speech; - Ensure the adequate mastery of grammatical patterns; - Improve listening comprehension skills; - Enhance the ability to communicate orally in social situations; and - Enhance the ability to understand and analyse simple and semi-difficult written texts.
The last date of registration for the course is 15th December 2012. Registration after 15th December 2012 will be 20% expensive and the registration received after 30th December 2012 will not be considered. More information

• Sri Lankan Government announces 100 scholarships for foreign students

The Government of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka has introduced 100 scholarships for foreign students in national universities in Sri Lanka since the year 2011. Applications are invited from eligible foreign students to study at undergraduate or postgraduate levels in Sri Lankan Universities for courses of study that will begin in October 2012.
The scheme is open for citizens of any SAARC country as well as from selected nations across the globe (in total 48 countries). From the Nordic countries, Swedish and Norwegian students are eligible to apply. Two scholarships are specifically allocated for Sweden in the undergraduate and post graduate level (one each).
Please note that scholarships are open for all courses of studies other than Medical & Dental Sciences. Furthermore, seats for Engineering Sciences are limited. Applications together with all required documents should be submitted before 30th of June, 2012, through the Sri Lankan Embassy in the country of application.
Full information on the Sri Lankan Ministry of Higher Education web site.

• Other educational news connected to South Asian studies all over the World

See SASNET’s page,

Seminars and Conferences in Scandinavia

• Dipak Malik lectures on Indian Naxalism in Aarhus

Professor Dipak Malik, Director for the Gandhian Institute of Studies in Varanasi, India, lectures on ”Naxalism Today in India: A New Turn” on Tuesday 19 June 2012, 14.00–16.00 at the Contemporary India Study Centre Aarhus (CISCA), University of Aarhus in Denmark. Venue: building 1461, room 516, Nobelparken, Aarhus University. Click here to download the event's poster.
A few weeks again Prof. Malik delivered a similar SASNET lecture at Lund University. He is currently on a Scandinavian tour on invitation by the Nordic Centre in India consortium.
Abstract: The reenergized Maoist movement in India is often referred to as Naxalism because of its beginning in late 1960s emanating from a small hamlet of the northern part of the state of West Bengal. Naxalbari has in recent years again emerged as a potential force of course in India, though within a different context. Maoism today poses a vital question that needs a perspective from the world of social sciences. In his presentation, Prof. Malik focused the changed character of the conflicts today compared to the 1960s naxalite movement. Then it was mainly a fight for land redsitribution, now it is a fight by India’s tribal population to safeguard their forests and lands against unlawful exploitation by outsiders, where the tribal population receives support from the Communist Party of India (Maoist). Many people in India, including a section in the government are dismissive about it as being merely a law and order question. Others however show an understanding of the problems, they find deep maladies in the Indian society and the current development path, which leads to an insurrectionary mode of protest. It should be noted that these deep rooted maladies in the world of Indian peasantry were described already in the 1950s by Gandhians like Vinoba Bhave, albeit as an aftermath of the Telengana peasant revolt.

• Second Copenhagen Summer University on Decoding India

For the second year, the University of Copenhagen organises a course entitled ”Decoding India! – How to make Sense of a Paradox” as part of its Copenhagen Summer University academic programme, 13 – 17 August 2011 at the University of Copenhagen, Frederiksberg Campus. Deadline for applications was 29 May 2012.
This course aims to open the theme of India's rise as a global power and the paradoxes that underpin the phenomenon. It offers an insight into the fast transforming social-political landscape both conceptually and empirically.
The workshop sessions will focus on the structures and forms of ‘power' and the ways in which cultural signs – social status, ‘connections' and ‘clout' across religion, caste and ethnic divides – of power are recognized and practiced. It is aimed at businesses, media, NGOs and foreign policymakers who interact with 'Official India', and seek to acquire and enhance their understanding of the cultural underpinnings of this interaction. The course director is Associate Professor Ravinder Kaur, Department of Cross-cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen. Other teachers include Professor Surinder Singh Jodhka, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and Associate Professor Peter Birkelund Andersen, Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen. More information

• 2012 World Water Week focuses on Water and Food Security

Several seminars at the 2012 WWW are of South Asia interest, for example a seminar on ”Micro-irrigation and Integrated Food Security Strategies in India, Guatemala, Madagascar”, convened by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and co-organised by Orissa Tribal Empowerment and Livelihood Programme; and a seminar on ” and Open Data Systems for Water and Sanitation”, convened by Akvo Foundation, and co-convened by the India Water Portal.
One full-day seminar on 28th August is entitled ”Eye on Asia: Food and Water Security”. It is convened by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Finally, the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) convenes a seminar on ”Managing the Vulnerable Water-Food Nexus in the Andes and Himalayas”, with input from among others the Kathmandu based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).  
Among many side events during the World Water Week, Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC) organizes a late afternoon event entitled ”Safeguarding Water Resilience for Food Security in the Anthropocene”. It is co-convened by Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics in Stockholm, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and University of Osnabrück and its Institute for Environmental Systems Research (USF).

• Copenhagen workshop on Spectacle of Globality in India

The Centre of Global South Asian Studies, University of Copenhagen invites to a two day international workshop in collaboration with the National Museum, Copenhagen, focusing on ”Spectacle of Globality”, to be held 29–30 August 2012. It is being organised by Ravinder Kaur and Thomas Blom Hansen. Invited speakers include William Mazzarella, University of Chicago; Gopal Guru, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU); Dilip Menon, University of Witwatersrand; Srirupa Roy, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen; and Nicolas Jaoul, CNRS, Paris.
The two day workshop brings together a range of cutting edge research on post reform India. The event is public and participation is free. Registration is however required. Venue: National Museum, Ny Vestergade 10, Copenhagen.
To speak of post-1991 India is to speak of the great transformation that has seemingly ruptured the barriers between the first and third worlds. India is said to have ‘risen’ and ‘emerged’ from the ranks of the third world nations to become an equal player in the age of globalization – its rise underpinned by a technology driven, comparatively low wage and high skilled labor economy. The signs of this ‘coming of age’ are visible not only in the transforming urban surfaces and skylines in the rapidly expanding megacities, but also the ways in which subjectivity is now earned through a conspicuous performance of entrepreneurship and consumption. As India joins the 21st C ‘flat world’ of reformed nations, the focus is increasingly on becoming ‘world-class’ and to acquire signs of globality that spectacularly showcase its ‘grown up’ self upon a global stage. More information, plus details on registration

• Indo-Danish conference on India Today – Copenhagen Tomorrow

A conference entitled ”India Today – Copenhagen Tomorrow” will be held in Copenhagen 13–14 September 2012. Leading personalities in Indian culture, politics and business will share their country's experience on how mutual opportunities can be realised through co-creation. The goal of the conference is to create closer ties between India and Denmark, strengthen mutual understanding and inspire future collaboration in several areas. The conference is jointly organised by the Danish Cultural Institute, The Holck-Larsen Foundation, The Confederation of Danish Industry and Copenhagen Business School (CBS). The event is part of a larger Danish – Indian initiative that takes place between August 2012 and January 2013 (see previous SASNET news about it), featuring events about art, music and dance, film, design and fashion, literature, media, education, science and business. The September conference requires registration. More information.

• Umeå University co-organise workshop on Global Health in Colombo

The Department of Epidemiology and Global Health, Umeå University, Umeå Centre for Global Health Research, Sweden, and the International Center for Research and Development (ICRD), Sri Lanka, jointly organise an International Conference on Global Public Health (GPH 2012) in Colombo 3–4 December 2012. Scientists and experts in the field are invited to participate. The keynote speakers are Professor Peter Byass, Director of the Umeå Centre for Global Health Research, and Dr. Ananda P. Dasanayake, Professor of Epidemiology and Health Promotion, New York University College of Dentistry and School of Nursing. Deadline for submitting abstracts is 15th July. More information.

• Information about South Asia related lectures and seminars

Conferences and workshops outside Scandinavia

• Ghent conference on Knowledge Transfer, Product Exchange and Human Movement in the Indian Ocean World

Ghent University organises an interdisciplinary conference on "Crossroads between Empires and Peripheries – Knowledge Transfer, Product Exchange and Human Movement in the Indian Ocean World" to take place between 21 – 23 June 2012 in Ghent, Belgium. The main focus of the conference will be to explore the dichotomy between legal and illegal (contraband), private and official exchange, anchored in the following five topics: - Private and official commercial exchange; - Exchange of knowledge, technology, and ideology; - Human movement and migration (including slave trade); - Controversy or parallelism of tribute and trade; - Indirect impacts of IOW global exchange (e.g. diseases, espionage, creolization, etc.).  Full information.

• Berlin workshop on changing South-South relationships

An International Workshop entitled ”Beyond the Line – Cultural Constructions of the Sea” will be held in Berlin, Germany, 22–23 June 2012. It is being organized by the Institute of Asian and African Studies (IAAW) at Humboldt-Universität Berlin, and will examine the relationship between land and sea. It investigates how the currently changing constellations in South-South relationships can be understood historically and culturally. If the active participation of the regions south of the Sahara since early modern times is denied, what is the situation today? And beyond that: is it justified in any way to attribute a historical insignificance to regions neighboring Africa on the Atlantic and Indian Oceans? These questions will be analyzed in the framework of a current trend in the social and cultural sciences that is called the “oceanic turn.” The symposium aims to pursue these questions and make its own contribution to them. Participants present the Atlantic and Indian Oceans as a cultural space. Speakers include Michael Mann, Humboldt University, who will talk about ”Life on the Water – Soldiers, Slaves, and other Subalterns of the Indian Ocean from the 18th to the 20th Century”; Sebastian Prange, University of British Columbia, about ”The Imperial Pirate: Politics and Predation in early-modern South India”; and Margret Frenz, University of Sheffield, speak about ”Transoceanic Nationalism. Connections between East Africa and India, c. 1920-1963”. More information.

• Web based seminar on Energy Efficient Buildings Policy in India

A web based seminar (webinar) on ”The Implementation of Energy Efficient Buildings Policy in India” will be held on Thursday 28 June 2012, 14.00–16.00 (Indian Standard Time, 3,5 hours ahead of Scandinavian time). The two hours Internet session is organised by the International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction (CIB) and its Task Group 66. Students, professors and practitioners worldwide are invited to attend this webinar focussing on India. The webinar will be introduced by Jean Carassus, CIB TG66 Coordinator, Professor at Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, Paris Institute of Technology, mandated by Centre Scientifique et Technique du Bâtiment (France). Presentations will be given by Priyanka Kochar, Programme Manager, Sustainable Habitats Division, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), New Delhi, and Dr Mahua Mukherjee, Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture & Planning, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee.
CIB Task Group 66 is setting up several interactive meetings to capitalize high level information on the Implementation of Energy Efficient Buildings Policies in five continents, previously webinars focusing on Europe, North America and South America have been held. To join this web event, you need a computer with internet link and a sound card. The event is powered by WebEx. WebEx will install a small piece of software on your computer when you join the event. It is fre of charge, but participants need to register at least 24 hours before the event. More information.

• Leeds conference on the Subaltern and Sahib: Equivocal Encounters across the British World

The School of History at the University of Leeds organises an international conference on ”Between Subaltern and Sahib: Equivocal Encounters across the British World”. The conference will take place on 5 – 6 July 2012 and will focus on the history of specific groups whose race, class or gender inflected their encounter with the colonial mainstream.  These might include people of ”mixed race”, those who have been socially or discursively marginalised and those who encountered the colonial ”self” and ”other” in ways that diverged from the prescribed colonial ”norm” – the deviant, the renegade, the mentally ill. They might also include people who moved between categories and locales – the journeyman, the migrant, the imposter. The conference will take place at the University of Leeds campus in Leeds. Deadline for submission of abstracts has passed, but registration for the conference is open until 29 June 2012. See full information and program.

• 10th International Conference on South Asian Languages and Literatures in Moscow

The 10th International Conference on South Asian Languages and Literatures (ICOSAL 10) will be held in Moscow, Russia, on 5–6 July 2012. It is organised by the Department of Indian Philology, Institute of Asian and African Studies (IAAS), Moscow State University, and the International Centre for South Asian Studies, Russian State University for the Humanities. Out of the nine previous ICOSALs, three were organized in Moscow by the Department of Indian Philology, IAAS, (July 1997, July 2003, June 2006). The other six ICOSALs were organized by various Indian Universities (in Hyderabad, Aligarh, Patiala and other Indian cities). More information.

• Kolkata conference on Tagore’s contribution to a Multi-Cultural Society

The International Forum for Studies in Society and Religion (IFFSR) organizes its Third International Conference on ”Universalistic Religion & Multi-Cultural Society: Tagore's Contribution (A Tribute to Rabindranath Tagore on completion of his 150th Birth Anniversary)” at Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India, 6–8 July 2012. IFSSR aims at bringing together scholars from various parts of the world to participate in this multicultural phenomenon with its universal approach. The conference convenors are Professor Piyali Palit and Professor Asoke Bhattacharya. More information.

• 19th biannual Asian Studies Association of Australia conference at Parramatta

The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) organises its 19th Biannual conference 11 – 13 July 2012 on the Parramatta Campus of the University of Western Sydney, Australia. The conference is hosted by the University's Institute for Culture and Society, the School of Humanities and Communication Arts, and the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Muslim Societies. The main theme is ”Knowing Asia: Asian Studies in an Asian Century” through which there will be explored the shifts related to Asia's becoming of an increasingly prominent, complex and self-confident region in the world which requires a rethinking of the concept of ”knowing Asia”. The conference will work also to encourage reflection on the implications of these shifts on the field of Asian studies in general by working with different sub-topics among which new Asian hegemonies, urban cultures and social transformation, cultural diplomacy and cultural policy. Keynote speakers include Professor Prasenjit Duara, Director of Research at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. More information. 

• Dartmouth conference on Vedic Cultures Epic and Pauranic Phase

The World Association of Vedic Studies (WAVES) organises the 10th International conference on ”Vedic Cultures Epic and Pauranic Phase” to take place 13 – 15 July 2012 at the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth, USA. The Conference aims at bringing together both scholars and the broader public with academic interest in diverse areas of Indian, and in particular Vedic Studies. The topics of the conference will be around the following themes: – Insider/Outsider perspectives on Vedic culture; – Origin of Vedic knowledge; Changing paradigms on Vedic knowledge. Suggestions for papers  can be from a broad set of fields that can relate to these themes, such as Archaeology & Anthropology; History & Social Sciences; Language, Literature & Linguistics; Science & Technology; Vedas; Upanishads; Smirities; Puranas; Epics – Ramayana & Mahabharat, Gita; and more. Full information.

• Wales conference on Warren Hastings and Indian Pluralism

A conference on ”Indian Pluralism and Warren Hastings' Regime” will be held at University of Wales in Gregynog, Powys, UK, on 18–20 July 2012. Plenary speakers include Dr Natasha Eaton (King's College, London); the author William Dalrymple; Professor Carl Ernst (North Carolina), Professor P. J. Marshall (King's College, London), and Professor Daniel White (Toronto). The aim of this conference is to provide a more complete and multidisciplinary picture of the amateur Orientalists of the Hastings circle and the politico-cultural significance of their work. Jones sought similitude between West and East, and part of this overarching project was to stress the compatibility of Hindu and Islamic mysticism. There was an imperialist ideological dimension here; it was a means of aligning the regime's need to appear both neo-Brahmanical and neo-Mughal. (Portrait of Warren Hastings).
More information.

• Colombo workshop on Postwar Reconstruction in Sri Lanka

The International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) in Colombo, Sri Lanka, will hold a national workshop with the proposed tentative title: ”Healing the Wounds? Rebuilding Sri Lanka after the War” in Colombo on Thursday 19 July 2012. Please note changed date!
The aim is to resent scholarly papers, which will later be published as an edited volume on postwar reconstruction. ICES, established in 1982, therefore invites scholars based in Sri Lanka or abroad who have recently engaged in research related to social reconciliation, the peace process, psychosocial work, development or any other related topics to contribute papers to this volume, which will consist of 6-10 chapters. Six of the authors will get the opportunity to present their draft papers at the workshop on the 5th of July but there can be authors who do not have the possibility participate in the workshop but contribute chapters. The topics will include but not be limited to the psychological impact of violence, social reconciliation, material reconstruction and economic development, political aspirations of minorities, coping mechanisms and healing, memory  and so on. Authors can also examine issues related to suicide and alcoholism related to violence and displacement experiences. Deadline for abstracts is 20 June 2012. More information.

• Central Eurasian Studies Society Conference in Tbilisi

The Central Eurasian Studies Society’s (CESS) Third Regional Conference will be held 20–21 July 2012 at Tbilisi State University in Georgia, hosted by the Center for Social Science. CESS is a private, non-political, non-profit, North America-based organization of scholars who are interested in the study of Central Eurasia, and its history, languages, cultures, and modern states and societies. Its purpose is to promote high standards of research and teaching, and to foster communication among scholars through meetings and publications.
Panels and paper proposals relating to all aspects of humanities and social science scholarship on Central Eurasia are welcome. The geographic domain of Central Eurasia extends from the Black Sea and Iranian Plateau to Mongolia and Siberia, including Afghanistan, Tibet, and Central Asia. Practitioners and scholars in all humanities and social science disciplines with an interest in Central Eurasia are encouraged to participate. Full details about the Tbilisi conference.

• 22nd European Conference on South Asian Studies in Lisbon


The 22nd European Conference on South Asian Studies (ECSAS) will be held 25-28 July 2012 at the University Institute of Lisbon (also known as ISCTE-IUL) in Portugal. A full list of the 51 accepted panels is now available – go for the list.
The 2012 conference convener is Professor Rosa Maria Perez, anthropologist, Department of Anthropology, ISCTE-IUL and researcher of CRIA-IUL. The co-convener is Professor Diogo Ramada Curto, Historian, Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas, Universidade Nova de Lisboa. The venue will be ISCTE-IUL:s campus at Avenida das Forças Armadas in Lisbon.
The programme has a strong academic profile, with plenary speakers in addition to the panels. Besides a film screening, several social events have been organised for the evenings. 
The biannual ECSAS conference is the largest gathering of South Asia oriented researchers in Europe, covering all fields from the humanities and social sciences to technology, natural sciences and medicine. The conference is held biannually under the aegis of the European Association of South Asian Studies (EASAS), a professional, non-profit organisation of scholars engaged in research and teaching concerning South Asia with regard to all periods and fields of study. (SASNET organised the 18th ECMSAS conference in Lund in 2004.) Please note that ONLY members of EASAS can take part in the Lisbon conference (details about membership payment). 
As a result of an agreement between EASAS and SAMAJ – the South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal – conveners of panels at the Lisbon conference have been offered the opportunity of submitting a proposal for a special issue in 2013 or 2014. If you wish to take up this offer, please express your interest by sending a 500-word concept note, describing your panel, with an outline of the likely papers, to Stéphanie Tawa Lama-RewalMargret FrenzNicolas Jaoul, and Roger Jeffery.  Papers should be between 6,000 and 8,000 words, and special issues of the journal usually include 6-8 papers. The deadline for confirming an interest in a special issue is 3 August 2012.
Full information on the conference page.

• International conference on Asian Studies 2012 in Colombo, Sri Lanka

The International Centre for Research and Development in Sri Lanka organises an international conference on Asian Studies to take place on 26 – 27 July 2012. The conference five principal themes are: – East Asian study; – Southeast Asian study; – South Asian study; – Central Asian study; – West Asian study. Additional each of these themes could be seen from the perspective of the following sub topics and in comparative perspective: – Language, literature and the arts; – Media and film; – Economics; – Politics, foreign policy and international relations; – Human rights; – Women, gender; – Philosophy, history, religion; – Migration and diasporas; – Cultural studies; – Health.
Scholars who would like to participate are encouraged to submit proposals for panels, workshops and individual papers. More information on the conference website

• 11th International Conference on Early Modern Literatures in North India

The Indian Institute of Advanced Study at Shimla in the state of Himachal Pradesh is organising the 11th International Conference on Early Modern Literatures in North India (ICEMLNI) to be held on 3 – 5 August 2012.
The conference will focus on the literliterary and devotional cultures that existed simultaneously in North India and will re-investigate distinctions and connections between vernacular and cosmopolitan languages, between the vernaculars themselves, and between the spheres of devotional and secular or 'courtly' literatures and practices. Papers exploring these topics are welcome, along with suggestions for panels. The conference will be organised in the format of a workshop for research in progress and all accepted papers will be circulated in advance in order to stimulate fruitful discussions. More information.

• Ninth International workshop on Tamil Epigraphy in Puducherry

The ninth International workshop on Tamil Epigraphy will be held 6–17 August 2012. Please note that the workshop will be held in Pondicherry and in Tanjavur in Tamil Nadu, India. It is coordinated by Dr. Appasamy Murugaiyan from the research group Iranian and Indian Worlds at Ecole Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE), University of Paris 3 (Sorbonne Nouvelle); and Dr. K. Rajan, Pondicherry University, India. No registration fees are required, but each participant has to bear the cost of practical works and travelling to different sites. The workshop will be held from Monday till Friday, morning 9.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. (lunch break) afternoon 2.00 to 4.00 p.m. The participants have to arrange themselves their travel. This special program, part of the regular seminar, is organised as requested by many researchers on humanities working on Tamil in different countries. More information.

• 4th International Nepali Folklore Congress in Kathmandu

The Nepali Folklore Society based in Kathmandu organizes its 4th International Folklore Congress on 17–19 August 2012. It will be an academic forum for researchers, teachers, as well as practitioners working in different disciplines such as folkloristics, sociology, anthropology, geography, culture, history, linguistics, literature, musicology, tourism, computer engineering/science (especially working in the field of technologies related to intangible cultural heritage). The focus of the 2012 Congress will be on intangible cultural heritage within folklore and folklife studies. The theme is ”Folklore and Folklife Studies: Special focus on Intangible Cultural Heritage”. Subthemes of the congress include, but are not limited to – Folklore, Folklife and Intangible Cultural Heritage; – Folklore and Development Issues; – Folklore, Gender and Power; – Folklore, Creative Writing and Poetry; – Folklore and Performing Arts; – Folklore, Identity and  Inclusion; – Folklore and Information Technology, and many more. Abstracts should have been submitted before 30 May 2012. Full information.

• Young Scholars Economics Academy on Dynamics of Migration in Geneva

The Swiss foundation for Ecology and Economy – oikos Foundation, in collaboration with the Graduate Institute's Programme for the Study of Global Migration in Geneva, organizes the oikos Young Scholars Economics Academy to take place 19 – 24 August 2012 in Geneva, Switzerland. The topic of the conference is  “The Dynamics of Migration” and junior scholars (PhD students, as well as graduates) are invited to submit papers on one of the following topics related to migration: – remittances and development; – Poverty and economic inequality; Health, education, and saving; Climate change and the environment; Institutional and technological change; Cultural identity; Labor markets and intellectual capital; Trade and foreign direct investment. Deadline for abstract submission was 15 May 2012. Read the full call for papers.

• SAARC conference on Archaeology of Buddhism in South Asia

The SAARC International Seminar on 'Archaeology of Buddhism: Recent Discoveries in South Asia' will be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, 22–24 August 2012. It is supposed to focus on Buddhist sites and remains that have been worked up during the last six decades or so. It would include both kinds of papers – straightforward ones that just report archaeological finds; but will also have a second part to it that interrogates the methodological/ theoretical frameworks within which archaeological work is carried out. Venue: Buddhist Cultural Centre, Colombo.
The SAARC Cultural Centre invites all the Member States to send a minimum of four nominations (maximum 10 persons can be nominated by a member State) from amongst the experts and academicians of their country. The SAARC Cultural Centre would also accept the participation of other experts from the region (other than the nominees of the respective SAARC Member States) as well as from those residing outside the SAARC Region provided they are able to meet their travel and accommodation expenses to attend the Conference. The last date for sending the nominations was 10 June 2012. More information.

• IIAS Summer Programme on World Wide Asia: Asian Flows, Global Impacts

The International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) organizes its second Summer Programme at Leiden 27 August – 1 September 2012. The theme will be ”World Wide Asia: Asian Flows, Global Impacts”. IIAS runs the programme in partnership with the Leiden Global Interactions Group (LGIG) at Leiden University.
It starts with a four-day master class followed by a two-day international conference. The aim is to critically explore Asian migrations as a globalizing force. The flows of people, goods, capital and ideas within and from the Asian continents have been transforming the global landscape for centuries. Arguably, this influence has become more recognizable and acute in the present day. The study of Asian mobilities can provide important insights into the conditions, processes and effects of globalization and historical global forms. 
The programme will be run by three leading scholars in the fields of global migration history, the history of globalization, and modern Asian history. They include Prof. Radhika Singha from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi.
PhD candidates and advanced research masters students worldwide whose work deals with some aspect of Asian migration are invited to participate.
The programme will close with a two-day conference on the same theme of Asian migrations, featuring international scholars. Students who participate in the Summer Programme will be given opportunities to meet and interact with the conference panellists and a select number of students may be invited to present their research in one of the conference sessions. All students will be invited to attend the conference and participate in the discussions.
Full information about the 2012 IIAS Summer Programme.

• Seventh Annual Himalayan Policy Research Conference invites for papers

The Seventh Annual Himalayan Policy Research Conference (HPRC 2012) will take place on 11 October 2012.  The event is organised by the Nepal Study Center at the University of New Mexico, United States. The focus for the 2012 conference will be ”SAARC countries: South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation”. This year the conference will also feature a special session on South-South Cooperation and Development (South Asia, Africa, and Latin America). Papers on recently completed projects or research in progress are invited for consideration, provided that they are in the field of development, democracy, governance, or environment. The conference will take place in The Madison Concourse Hotel, Wisconsin, US, and will be part of the larger 40th Annual Conference on South Asia at the University of Wisconsin. Deadline to submit abstracts is 10 July 2012. Full information.

• Bangalore conference on Kingship in Indian History

The Archive India Institute in Bangalore, India organizes its first annual one-day conference on ”Kingship in Indian History” on Friday 2 November 2012. The conference main topics will be as follows: – Kingship and Political Theory; – Kingship as an Ideal; – Kingship as a Value; – Forms of Kingship in Theory and Practice; – Changes and Continuities in Kingship Theories and Practices; – Kingship and Gender. Interested scholars should submit proposals of 200–300 words by 30 June 2012. The conference is organised as part of the effort of Archive India Institute to promote research by way of organizing seminars, conferences, workshops and symposia on all aspects of premodern South Asian history, and by publishing books, booklets, periodicals, pamphlets and other forms of literature relevant to the study of premodern South Asian history. The Institute works also on digitalization of the textual heritage of premodern India. Full information about the conference.

• Fourth Rethinking Religion in India conference at Hubli

The fourth Rethinking Religion in India conference is organised 24–27 November 2012 by the Indian partners Karnataka State Law University in Hubli, Kuvempu University, the Centre for the Study of Local Cultures, and the Academy for Social Sciences and Humanities in Karnataka; in collaboration with the Research Centre Vergelijkende Cultuurwetenschap, and the India Platform UGent at Ghent University, Belgium. The theme for the 2012 conference is ”Secularism, Religion and Law”. Abstracts and proposals should be submitted before 15 August 2012. Conference venue: Karnataka State Law University, Navanagar, Hubli.
The programme includes three daily Platform Sessions on ”Religion and Law”, and Roundtable Sessions on ”Religious and Communal Violence”. There will also be parallell sessions focusing on young and promising scholars and on innovative research results. A limited number of focussed themes related to the main conference theme have been selected for these, among them ”The colonial construction of Hinduism”, ”The caste system and Indian religion”, and ”Religious conversion in India”. More information about the conference.

• Hyderabad conference on Governance, Democracy and Political Parties

An international conference on ‘Governance, Democracy and Political Parties’ will be held in Hyderabad, India, 1–3 December 2012. It is jointly organised by the Department of Political Science at the University of Hyderabad, and the Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation at Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia. The convenors are Professor K.C. Suri in Hyderabad and Associate Professor Hans Löfgren in Melbourne. Venue: University of Hyderabad.
The objective of the conference is to examine and analyse the nature of transformation of parties and party systems and the implications of such transformation for democracy and governance. The keynote speakers are Professor James Manor, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London, UK; and Professor Yogendra Yadav, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Delhi, India. Abstracts are invited by 1 August 2012.
As part of the conference, a special workshop on ”Political Parties and Varieties of Capitalism in Asia” will be organised. It will be convened by Dr David Hundt.
More information on the conference web site.

• Kolkata research network conference on Spaces of Law

An international workshop on “Spaces of law: territories, boundaries, corridors and beyond” will be held in Kolkata, India, 11–13 December 2012. The workshop seeks to examine the role of space – geographical, imagined and claimed, in shaping ideas and practices of imperial law, and those subject to that law. It is organised jointly by the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta (CSSSC), and Plymouth University, UK. The convenors are Professor Lakshmi Subramanian in Kolkata and Dr. Nandini Chatterjee in Plymouth. Deadline for submitting abstracts is 13 July 2012. More information.
This is one of the four academic events planned within the British Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded research network ‘Subjects of law: rightful selves and the legal process in imperial Britain and the British empire'. The network brings together scholars of history, law and literature, with specialist knowledge of imperial Britain, colonial North America and the Atlantic world, the dominions of Australia and New Zealand, Mandate Palestine, colonial west Africa, India, Malaya and Hong Kong to investigate how, in the process of demanding and defending their rights, people from a huge variety of socio-cultural backgrounds were compelled to translate their beliefs, traditions, practices, interests, claims and finally, themselves so as to fit recognisable categories within the legal systems of the British empire.(More information about the network)

• Sixth Biennial International Conference of Indian Association for Asian & Pacific Studies in Kolkata

The Sixth Biennial International Conference of Indian Association for Asian & Pacific Studies will be held in Kolkata 17–19 December 2012. It is organised by the Department of South & South East Asian Studies, University of Calcutta. The theme for the conference will be ”Weaving the Asian Century: Challenges and Opportunities”, with sub themes such as ”Social Exclusion and Human Rights”, ”Swami Vivekananda through Contemporary Eyes”, ”Rise of India & China in the context of Asia-Pacific Century”, and ”West Bengal: History, Society, Culture and Contemporary Changes”. The keynote Speaker is the renowned columnist Sunanda K. Datta- Ray, author of the award winning book”Looking East to Look West: Lee Kuan Yew’s Mission India”. Mr Datta-Ray has been a Visiting Fellow at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and associated with Nanyang Technological University and Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore. More information about the Kolkata conference.

• New Delhi workshop on The Long 1980s – Recovering a Lost Decade in India

On 21–22 December 2012, scholars of Duke University, Michigan State University, Johns Hopkins University, and New York University, all in the US, organise a workshop on modern Indian history, entitled ”The Long 1980s – Recovering a Lost Decade”. The workshop will be held in New Delhi and has three main focus themes: – to identify what has been characterized as the long 1980s as a pivotal turning point in India's twentieth-century history; – to take stock of the scholarship on the areas being identified as historically constitutive of that period; – and to connect studies of cultural production with those of political practice and political economy. The workshop is supported and hosted by the American Institute of Indian Studies with funding from the Council of American Overseas Research Centers. Full details on the official website

• 18th International Euro-Asia Research Conference in Venezia, Italy

Following a number of conferences held in France, Ireland, Norway, Japan, China, Spain, Indonesia and India since 1994, the 18th International Euro-Asia Research Conference will take place in Venezia (Italy) between 31 January and 1 February 2013. The topic of the conference is ”The Globalisation of Asian Markets: implications for Multinational Investors”. Papers are invited in the following subtopics: – Asia's Growing Consumer Markets: the rise of Asia's Middle Class; – Cultural differences in marketing and other management issues; – Relocation abroad and relocation back home: European and Asian experiences; – Developed versus developing countries MNCs in Asia: comparison of international strategies; – SMEs internationalisation strategies; – European and Asian perspectives; – Impact of the global economic crisis on international business; – European and Asian perspectives.
Convenors of the conference are the School of Asian Studies and Business Management Ca’ Foscari University, Venice, Italy; Yokohama National University, Japan; IAE of The University of Poitiers France; The University of Pau, France, TELECOM Ecole de Management, France; The School of East Asian Studies, University of Sheffield, U.K., and the University of Limerick, Ireland.
Deadline to submit abstracts is 16 June 2012. Read the full announcement.

• Islamabad conference on Problematics of Qur’an Translations in the Subcontinent

An International Conference on Problematics of Qur'an Translations in the Sub-Continent will be held in Islamabad, Pakistan, 26–28 February 2013. It is being organised by the Islamic Research Institute (IRI) at the International Islamic University in Islamabad and its departments of Translation and Interpretation, Faculty of Arabic; and Tafseer & Quranic Sciences, Faculty of Islamic Studies. Abstacts should be submitted before 5 July 2012. Translation of the Quran has been a challenging task from its very inception. The challenge originates in the peculiar linguistic and stylistic features of Quranic language which requires contextual and extra-contextual considerations. Hence efforts to translate Quran pose numerous theological, linguistic & legal questions and problems that need to be carefully studied & analyzed keeping in view the Quranic sciences and various translation theories & approaches such as Philological, Communicative, Socio-semiotic & Hermeneutics. The region of the sub-continent has distinctive place in terms of very early attempts & multiplicity of languages to which the text of Quran is translated. More information.

• Other conferences connected to South Asian studies all over the World

See SASNET’s page,

Business and Politics

• New Swedish Ambassador to India and Consular-General in Mumbai

Mr. Harald Sandberg (photo) has been appointed as Sweden’s next Ambassador to India. Mr. Sandberg has earlier served at the Swedish Embassy in Seoul, the Delegation in Geneva, Embassy in Washington, the Foreign Ministry’s secretariat and its unit for international trade policy. Thereafter Mr. Sandberg was the Ambassador in Jakarta, Indonesia and Seoul, South Korea before becoming the Foreign Ministry’s head of Personnel. Mr. Sandberg will be taking on his new post during the summer 2012.
On 20 June 2012, the Swedish government also appointed Fredrika Ornbrant as Consul-General in Mumbai, India. The new Consulate-General, whose core activity will be the promotion of Sweden, is expected to open in autumn 2012. Ms Ornbrant is currently serving at the Permanent Mission of Sweden to the United Nations in New York. She previously served at the Embassy in Seoul and at the International Trade Policy Department and the Security Policy Department of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Ms Ornbrant will take up her new post in autumn 2012.

• Information about South Asia related business and politics in Sweden

See SASNET's page,

South Asia related culture in Scandinavia

• Börje Almqvist exhibits his Afghanistan photos in Stockhom

The Swedish journalist Börje Almqvist, working for many years for the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan inside Afghanistan from the 1980s and onwards, shows his vast collection of photos from Afghanistan at en exhibition in Stockholm during the summer 2012. The exhibition, entitled ”Children and Youth in Afghanistan”, is shown in the Orangerie at Vintervikens Trädgård in Aspudden, in southwestern Stockholm (metro station Aspudden). Opening hours in May: 11.00–17.00, July–August: 11.00–21.00.
The photos are taken during the period 2003–2011. More photos by Börje are found at

• Information about South Asia related culture in Sweden/ Scandinavia
See SASNET’s page,

New and updated items on SASNET web site

• Invisible India – important book on manual scavenging in India

An excellent and very important book entitled ”Adrishya Bharat” related to understanding of the caste system and practice of manual scavenging in India has been written by Bhasha Singh, Assistant Editor, Outlook Hindi. It is written in Hindi and has been published by Penguin Books, 2012. The book might be useful for students of South Asian Studies.
It is a narrative on the manual scavenging in India, an account of people, mostly women, carrying night soils on their heads. This book also talks about how these wretched of earth – who were never treated as human beings – are knocking at the closed doors of legislature, executive and judiciary.
The book is in two sections. First section deals with stories from visits to eleven states –  Kashmir, Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Bihar, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. It is a collection of some experiences of Baltiwalis of Kanpur, Dabbuwalis of Bengal, Tinawalis of Bihar, Tottikar of Andhra Pradesh and Watals of Kashmir. This book is different as it just not talks about the practice but also about the pain, the agony and the lives of the scavenger communities. Second section is about the legal, social and political hypocrisies which contribute to this practice. It exposes layers of lies of our socio-political system which protected this heinous practice even after 65 years of our country’s Independence.
Besides in-depth analysis, this is a well-documented book with latest data, charts, maps and photographs. The book also contains details of the scavenging castes across the country in a historical perspective.

• US research report on India's Internal Security Challenges

The US National Bureau of Asian Research has released a report examining India's domestic and international security challenges. In the report, entitled ”India's Internal Security Challenges”, Ajai Sahni, Executive Director of the Institute for Conflict Management in New Delhi, India, argues that India's fractious democracy faces significant internal strife and is hobbled by incoherent policy responses and enduring deficits in capacity. Despite these troubles, Dr. Sahni suggests that the country's internal security system has demonstrated extraordinary resilience, with several dramatic successes in counterinsurgency and counterterrorism.
In the second part of the report, ”Managing Multipolarity: India's Security Strategy in a Changing World”, C. Raja Mohan – Distinguished Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi – discusses the impact of the emerging multipolar world on India's foreign and national security policies and examines the new imperatives for the country to go beyond its enduring strategy of nonalignment – including the further development of the U.S.-India strategic relationship.
Read the whole report here (free access through 20 July 2012).

• Ranjula Bali Swain writes about the Microfinance Impact

The Microfinance Impact, by Associate Professor Ranjula Bali Swain, Department of Economics, Uppsala University. Published by Routledge, London and New York, 2012.
Microfinance has enabled a positive change in the lives of the poor, by allowing them to receive small loans without collateral, build up assets, and buy insurance. In the recent years, however controversies, corruption, high interest rates, farmers’ suicides and political interference etc. have presented additional challenges. In a comprehensive scientific investigation of the Indian Self Help Group Bank Linkage (microfinance) Program (SBLP) that has covered more than 97 million poor households, Bali Swain discusses the emergence of SBLP in the context of the financial sector in India, its economic and social impact and the challenges that it encounters. Bali Swain argues that SBLP has positively impacted the lives of the members, leading to decline in vulnerability and greater asset creation. Empirical results demonstrate that on average, there is a significant increase in the empowerment of the women participants, revealing that economic factors, greater autonomy and changes in social attitudes have a significant role in empowering women. Contributing to the ‘minimalist’ and microfinance ‘plus’ debate, Bali Swain contends that training (especially business training) has a definite positive impact on assets. Effects of infrastructure and delivery mechanisms like linkage type are also explored.

• Swedish departments where research on South Asia is going on

This month there were two new departments added to SASNET's list: 
         ‡ Hydrology Research Department, Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), Norrköping
         ‡ Biomedical Laboratory Science programme, Institute of Biomedicine, Sahlgrenska Academy,
                                                                                                                                              University of Gothenburg
         ‡ Division of Nursing Science, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Linköping            

Constantly added to the list of research environments at Swedish universities, presented by SASNET. The full list now includes nearly 300 departments, with detailed descriptions of the South Asia related research and education taking place! See the full list of departments here:

• Useful travelling information

Look at our Travel Advice page. Updated travel advises from the The British Foreign & Commonwealth Office about safety aspects on travelling to the countries of South Asia.

Best regards

  Lars Eklund

Deputy director/webmaster
SASNET/Swedish South Asian Studies Network

SASNET is a national network for research, education, and information about South Asia and is based at Lund University. Its aim is to promote a dynamic networking process in which Swedish researchers cooperate with their counterparts in South Asia and around the globe.
The SASNET network is open to all branches of the natural and social sciences. Priority is given to interdisciplinary cooperation across faculties, and more particularly to institutions in the Nordic countries and South Asia. SASNET believes that South Asian studies will be most fruitfully pursued as a cooperative endeavour among researchers in different institutions who have a solid base in their mother disciplines.
The network is financed by Lund University.

Postal address: SASNET – Swedish South Asian Studies Network, Scheelevägen 15 D, SE-223 70 Lund, Sweden 
Visiting address: Ideon Research Park, House Alpha 1 (first floor, room no. 2040), in the premises of the Centre for East and South East Asian Studies at Lund University (ACE).
Phone: + 46 46 222 73 40 
Web site:

Subscribe to the newsletter by sending an email to!