Newsletter 154 – 22 October 2013


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• SASNET Research Workshop on South Asia: Culture, Technology, and Development

The Swedish South Asian Studies Network (SASNET) at Lund University organises an inter-disciplinary Research Workshop on South Asia: Culture, Technology, and Development on 13–15 June 2014 at the Falsterbo Conference Resort, Sweden. The conference is organized in collaboration with the Nordic Centre in India (NCI) and the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS), Copenhagen University. SASNET is now accepting abstracts of research papers for presentation at the workshop. Go for the conference web site.
The workshop aims to bridge the gap between Nordic researchers working in diverse disciplines with a focus on South Asia and develop dynamic discussions on interdisciplinary research and its theoretical and methodological approaches, assumptions, ethical considerations and practice. The workshop also aims to make researchers from different disciplines more aware of interdisciplinary research that is already being done around the South Asia, while giving participants an opportunity to present and work with different theoretical and methodological issues to explore new promising areas and avenues for future research. To encourage and illustrate interdisciplinary research, the workshop includes inspirational talks by three prominent researchers.
The workshop will be divided into three thematic sessions:
Session A: Methods, Fieldwork and Ethics in the South Asian context
Session B:  Culture , Religion and Technology in South Asia
Session C: Theory, Practice and Development in South Asia
Researchers and young scholars interested in submitting papers at any of the aforementioned sessions are requested to submit an abstract of individual papers (maximum 500 words) as an email attachment addressed to Hawwa Lubna, by email Deadline for submission is 2 December 2013. Please specify clearly in the email in which session you would like to present the paper.
A clear goal of the conference discussions is to create strong academic cooperation on South Asia between different disciplines in the form of joint publications or new research projects. We are exploring the option of bringing out the previously unpublished papers presented at the workshop in a special publication.

• SASNET board decided upon new staff organization

SASNET’s new board had its second meeting on Tuesday 8th October 2013, 13.15–16.30, in Lund. Among the many issues to be discussed, plans for conferences and other activities during the coming year were agreed upon, and the budget for 2014 was approved. Some important decisions regarding SASNET’s organisational structure were also taken. Dr. Olle Frödin, working for SASNET since August 1, was appointed Deputy Director for the period up till 31 December 2015, with a specialization on issues related to research collaboration, research applications and interdisciplinary collaboration at Lund University. Lars Eklund continues to be in charge of SASNET’s daily work as a Research Communicator, but will keep the title Deputy Director as well. The board also approved that Hawwa Lubna should be given an internship on 20 % at SASNET for a period of six months, assisting Lars with the daily work.
The meeting was attended by all its members, but no student representatives, due to the fact that the Social Science Students Union had missed to appoint such in time for the meeting, that was chaired by SASNET Director Anna Lindberg. Full information about the SASNET board 2013-15.

• Lund University ICCR Professor Kalyan Mandal held installation seminar

Professor Kalyan Sankar Mandal from the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIM-C) in Kolkata held his installation lecture as Visiting Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) chair professor at Lund University, on Wednesday 9th October 2013, 13.00 –15.00. Venue: Kulturens Hörsal, Tegnérplatsen, Lund. The title of his presentation was ”Regional  Diversities in Indian Society”, and focused on regional variations in the status of women in India and the social development situation in India. Prof. Mandal is the fourth ICCR Professor at Lund University, and he will stay for the full academic year 2013/14. Indian Ambassador Banashri Bose Harrisson was the guest of honour, and she held an introductory speech. Read more about Prof. Mandal and the installation seminar.

• Successful lunch seminar on common human dependence on living soil

 Professor Håkan Wallander from the Division of Microbial Ecology, Department of Biology, Lund University, held the second SASNET/ABF Thursday lunch seminar talk for the fall semester 2013 on Thursday 17 October 2013, 12.30–13.30, at Lunds konsthall. The presentation was entitled Soil – the basis of our existence. Examples from Nepal, America and Amazonas”, and attracted a large audience, many of them deeply intersted in gardening. With examples from three different places on earth, two in America and one in Asia (Nepal), Håkan Wallander demonstrated how dependent we are on a living soil, and gave us a glimpse of the immense diversity we are stepping on every day. See the poster.  
Prof. Wallander is a professor in soil biology and environmental sciences. He works mainly with ectomycorrhizal fungi that form symbiotic relationships with trees. They produce several hundreds of kilogram of mycelia per hectare every year in most forest ecosystems. This is important for nutrient uptake of the trees, but also for carbon sequestration and N retention in the soil. His main research interest is to understand how this flux of carbon belowground is regulated, and how important the composition of the ectomycorrhizal community is for carbon sequestration and nutrient uptake. Part of his research has been carried out in Nepal, in areas where the soil is prone to erosion and salinization.
The lunch seminar presentation was based on his recent book ”Jord – Funderingar kring grunden för vår tillvaro” (Soil – Reflections on the Basis of our Existence), published by Atlantis, 2013. This book has been widely praised and at the 2013 Göteborg Book Fair, it was given the award ”Årets Trädgårdsbok 2013” by Gartnersällskapet. In the motivation, it is said that Prof. Wallander in a personal way presents global and local aspects of soil and cultivation in an ambitious holistic manner.

• South Asian Student Association (SASA) elects new board for 2013/2014

The South Asian Student Association (SASA) at Lund University elected its new board for the academic year 2013/2014 in a meeting held on Thursday 17 October 2013.
SASA is the student body of Swedish South Asian Studies Network (SASNET), formed in collaboration with the Social Sciences studnets Union to promote students interest for South Asia and provide a platform for educational and cultural exchange between South Asian students in Lund and other international students. SASA was officially launched on 24 April 2013 at a high level South Asia Symposium organised by SASNET (more information). 
Hawwa Lubna, Maldivian Bachelors student in Development Studies Program – and currently working as an intern for SASNET – was elected SASA President, and Sharmin Rashid from Bangladesh, a Masters student in Gender Studies, was elected as the Vice President. The treasurer is Swati Shukla, Indian post-doc researcher in Biomedicine. Umashree Pancholy from the International Environmental Economics program was elected Activities Manager. 
Other participants included Yiaser Arafat from Bangladesh's University of Engineering and Technology, who is studying in Lund this fall as an Erasmus Mundus exchange student. He expressed interest in networking with SASA and running joint projects with his rural students ogranisation in Bangladesh. Saimum, a lawyer from Bangladesh who is working on ”Freedom of Expression for Online Human Rights Defenders” project under Lund University’s Social Innovation in a Digital Context (SIDC) programme sponsored by Swedish Institute, was also present at the meeting and expressed interest in supporting SASA activities.
At the meeting, the new board decided on educational, cultural and social activities for 2013/2014 academic year, which includes monthly South Asian student gatherings, movie night, debate and academic discussions relavant to South Asia. For more information on SASA please visit their Facebook page here.

• SASNET Seminar on Fragile Peace in Kashmir and the way forward

SASNET organises a seminar entitled ”Fragile Peace in Kashmir. Is there any way forward?” on Thursday 14 November 2013, 15.15–17.00. The main speaker willl be Professor Sten Widmalm from the Dept. of Government, Uppsala University, who will talk about ”How to build peace in the world’s most dangerous place”. The second invited speaker is PhD Candidate Muhammad Farooq Sulehri from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, UK. Venue for the seminar: Department of Sociology, Conference room 1, Paradisgatan 5, Lund. See the poster.
The seminar is immediately followed by the screening of a three hours long documentary film on Kashmir in Pahari language (with English subtitles). It is entitled ”Lakeer” (The Divided Line) and is produced by film maker Ali Daalat (photo), a British Kashmiri who is also a fiction writer and local councillor in Rochdale, UK. The film will be shown at Kino cinema at 17.30. Full information about the film.
In his presentation, Prof. Sten Widmalm (photo to the right) will focus on the issue that peace in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir to a large extent depends on whether confidence in democracy can be revived on the ground. However, stability is also decided by the development in other parts of India. It hinges on how the ruling Congress (I) government manages to handle issues relating to governance and communalism. It also depends on what advances Hindu nationalists will be making in the near future. Finally, the prospects for peace are also conditioned by the political stability in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Widmalm’s presentation will focus on how all these factors interconnect, and how the paths towards sustainable peace must begin by building support for political tolerance. 

• SASNET seminar on Transformation of Labour and Gender in India

Associate Professor Devleena Ghosh from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) in Australia holds a SASNET lecture at Lund University on Tuesday 26 November 2013, 13.15–15.00. She will talk about ”Call Centre Workers and the Transformation of Labour and Gender in India”. The seminar is hosted by the Department of Gender Studies, and held in its premises – room M221, Allhelgona Kyrkogata 14, Lund. See the poster.
Devleena Ghosh coordinates the Indian Ocean South Asia Research Network at UTS, a network linking researchers across Australia and internationally. She has pioneered Indian Ocean studies in Australia and published widely on political and cultural experiences of South Asians, including Fijians, in Australia and on the circulations of the Indian Ocean. Her books include Colonialism and Modernity (2007), Cultures of Trade (ed) (2007), Water Borders and Sovereignty in Asia and Oceania (ed) (2008) and Shadowlines: Women in Asia (ed) (2012). Read more

• SASNET film seminar on Chinese mining exploitation in Afghanistan

On Wednesday 4 December 2013, 19–21, US-based journalist and documentary filmmaker Brent E. Huffman (photo) participates in a seminar on Chinese mining companies involvement in the Mes Aynak project in Afghanistan, that threatens to destroy ancient Buddhist cultural artifacts located on top of the copper deposits, the largest untapped copper reserve in the world. Huffman’s film ”The Buddhas of Mes Aynak” will be shown at the seminar that is jointly organised by SASNET, UPF (Association of Foreign Affairs at Lund University) and the Swedish Committeee for Afghanistan in Lund. Venue: Café Athen, Akademiska Föreningen (AF), Sandgatan 2, Lund. See the poster.
Brent E Huffman is working as Assistant Professor at the Medill School of Journalism, Media and Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University in Illinois state, USA. After following China's international development in Africa for the last few years, he became interested in China's Mes Aynak project in 2011, and began documenting in volatile Taliban country the beginnings of the largest private investment in Afghanistan's history. Huffman later discovered that as a result of the Chinese copper mine, the entire region would be completed destroyed by open-pit mining. This cost-effective method would force local Afghans to relocate out of the area, as well as demolish their homes and the ancient Buddhist artifacts. The fate of Mes Aynak hangs in the balance as the Chinese company begins creating their destructive open-pit copper mine.
Earlier the same day – 4th December 2013 – the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University (CME) organises an academic seminar with Dr. Huffman. The seminar will be held 13.15–15.00, in the seminar room at CME, Finngatan 16, Lund. More information will follow.

• SASNET concert with Classical Indian song, dance and music at Sagohuset

The extraordinary talented North Indian classical singer Sudokshina Chatterjee Manna from Kolkata again performed in Lund along with her Tabla player husband Subrata Manna, and the Kathak dancer Sohini Debnath, on Sunday 13 October 2013. The audience was thrilled by the high standard of the performance, world class. Venue: Theatre Sagohuset, Revingegatan 8, Lund. See the poster.
The artists are all trained in North Indian musical traditions. Subrata was a student of Tabla maestro Pandit Shankar Ghosh and has learnt all the most important musical styles (gharanas). Both Subrata and Sudokshina also have academic degrees from Rabindra Bharati University in Kolkata. Sohini Debnath dances Kathak, the Indian original behind the Spanish Flamenco dance.
They came to Sweden as part of a European tour, being invited to Lund by SASNET. The Lund concert, organised in collaboration with Theatre Sagohuset and Sensus, was unfortunately the only one in Scandinavia. In Germany the group performs for full houses at approximately 20 places and ends up with a grand concert at the Embassy of India in Berlin

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

Research Community News

• Doctoral thesis on specialised paediatric care in low-income countries

 On 21 September 2013, Pediatric surgeon Lars Hagander from the Section of Pediatrics, Department of Clinical Sciences at Lund University defended his doctoral thesis entitled “Specialized pediatric healthcare with limited resources: Surgery, anesthesia and oncology for children in low- and middle-income countries”. A major component of Hagander's research on anaesthesia includes evidence from Bangladesh.
Hagander explores barriers to adequate hospital care before and after arriving at the hospital. It also focuses on how limited resources influences doctor's clinical decision-making and also acts as a cause for doctor's migration and healthcare workforce shortage in low income countries. More information in the abstract of the thesis.
Lars Hagander is also connected to the Harvard Medical School in the US, and its Paul Farmer Global Surgery Research Fellow at the Program for Global Surgery and Social Change. His research includes studies on how workforce migration, poverty, horizontal training programs and health information technology relates to global surgery. He participates in international surgical missions and works with health technology development at MIT. Lund University research journalist Ingela Björck has written anarticle about Lars Hagander and his research. Read her article, entitled ”Kirurgi med förhinder i låginkomstländer.

• THE ranks five Indian universities to be among world’s 400 best

According to the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2013-14, only two Nordic universities appear among the top 100 in the world – Karolinska Institutet as No. 36 (up six positions compared to last year), and University of Helsinki as No. 100. The majority of universities in the top of the list are American or British. The ranking list was published on 3 October 2013. The THE rankings employ 13 separate performance indicators, making them the only global university rankings to examine all the core missions of the modern global university – research, teaching, knowledge transfer and international activity. 
Just below the top 100 comes Stockholm University as No. 103, Uppsala University as No. 111, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm as No. 117, and Lund University as No. 123 (sliding 39 positions down since last year!). Aarhus University ranks as No. 138, Copenhagen University as No. 150 (down 20 positions), and Oslo University as No. 185.
In South Asia, Panjab University (photo) in Chandigarh, India, makes an exceptional entry into the Top 400, now ranked to be among the positions between 226 and 250. Only four other South Asian universities – all Indian – are ranked among the top 400. All of them being Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) and collectively ranked to be in a position between 351 and 400, they are IIT Kharagpur, IIT Roorkee, IIT Kanpur, and IIT Delhi. On the other hand, IIT Bombay has fallen out of the Top 400. See the full THE ranking 2013-14.

Compare this information with another ranking service, QS World University Rankings 2013, said to be among the most trusted university rankings available. According to this ranking, Lund University is the premier Swedish university, ranked as No. 67 (up by 4 positions), whereas University of Copenhagen is No. 1 in Scandinavia on position No. 45 (followed by Helsinki on No. 69, Uppsala on No. 79, Oslo on No. 89, and Aarhus on No. 91. That means six Nordic universities among the top 100. 
QS also has a different ranking priority when it comes to South Asia. Here, IIT Delhi is the premier institution with position No. 222 (photo of celebrating IIT Delhi students).
It is followed by IIT Bombay on No. 233, and IIT Kanpur on position No. 295, and then follows IIT Madras on position No. 313, and IIT Kharagpur on position no. 346. 
The strongest non-Indian South Asian university to qualify to the QS Top 800 ranking is the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Islamabad, Pakistan, ranked to be in a position between 481 and 490 in the world, slightly after IIT Roorkee (401-410) and University of Delhi (441-450).
University of Mumbai is ranked to be in the gap 601-650, and ranked together characterized as 701+ we find the universities of Colombo, Dhaka, Karachi, Lahore, Pune and the University of Engineering and Technology (UET) in Lahore.  Go for the QS World University Rankings.

• Protests against closure of Indian Art History Centre at the Freie Universität Berlin

The South Asian Art History Centre (Abteilung Kunstgeschichte Südasiens) at the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany, is scheduled for closure on 30th September 2014, following the cancellation of the university’s Chair for Indology. The decision has created a storm of protests. An online petition has been created in support of the department, available here. In addition to the petition, the students of the subject have made a protest song, available on youtube (German lyrics). More information.

• Water History Journal calls for submissions on topics in South Asia

In 2014, the peer-reviewed journal Water History, published by Springer, will be publishing a special issue focusing on water issues in South Asia. Contributions covering various aspects of water history and water control across India and Pakistan are already in process, but additional contributions – especially those treating water outside of the geopolitical core of the subcontinent – are sought. Submissions dealing with any aspect of water in Afghanistan, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Maldives will be viewed most favorably, but submissions on topics in Pakistan, Bangladesh and India are also invited. Please send queries and/or 250-300 word abstracts to guest editor Aaron Mulvany.
Water History is produced by the International Water History Association (IWHA) that seeks to foster links between scholars engaged in water history research in the humanities, social sciences, and natural and applied sciences. More information on the journal.

• Interesting articles in anniversary publication by Svenska Orientsällskapet

The still existing Swedish Orientalist Society (Svenska Orientsällskapet) was established in 1921, with the Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf being its first chairman, Arch Bishop Nathan Söderblom the vice chairman, and with legendary Sven Hedin among the board members. Later, the society as been chaired by eminent personalities such as the writer Sigrid Kahle, and Siegfried Lienhard – Professor of Indology at Stockholm University. Currently, it is chaired by Professor Per-Arne Berglie, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender studies, Stockholm University. 
In connection with the recent 90th anniversary of the society, a volume was published with interesting academic and non-academic articles focusing on varied topics in Asia, from Turkey to China. The book costs 100 SEK, and can be ordered by sending an e-mail to Svenska Orientsällskapet.
South Asia is represented by Professor emerita Gunilla Gren-Eklund who writes on name traditions in India (”Namn kan berätta”); Jan Myrdal who writes about the negative view persisting in the western world against the Indian freedom fighter Subhas Chandra Bose and the Indian National Army (”Världsbilden i det politiska kalejdoskopet”); and Håkan Wahlquist who writes about flooding and water control in Baluchistan (”Störtfloder i Baluchistan – lokala katastrofer och vattenkontroll i en tid av globala undergångsscenarier”).
Other contributors to the volume, entitled ”Utblickar mot öster – tretton essär om Orienten”, include Per-Arne Berglie, Sigrid Kahle, Jan Hjärpe and Christina Nygren, all well-known Asia scholars. Year of publication 2012. More information.

• India is home to nearly half of world's 30 million modern day slaves

A new report on Global Slavery Index released on Thursday 17 October 2013 has exposed South Asia's shameful record of slavery with nearly half of the enslaved people (14 million) living in India. 
According to the report published by Australian rights group Walk Free Foundation, around 30 million people are enslaved worldwide. The report uses a broader definition of slavery, which includes human trafficking, forced labor, as well as practices such as forced marriage, debt bondage and the exploitation of children.
While India was ranked as the country with world's most number of slaves, followed by China (2.9 million), Pakistan came in third with an estimated 2.1 million slaves and Bangladesh in tenth place (343,192). India, Pakistan and Nepal were also ranked among the top ten countries with highest prevalence rates of slavery.
Meanwhile, on the other end of the scale, Iceland has the lowest estimated prevalence with fewer than 100 slaves. Next best countries include Ireland, Britain, New Zealand, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Luxembourg, Finland and Denmark, although the report concludes that the number slave in such wealthy countries were higher than previously estimated. 

• Time to apply for EMINTE Erasmus Mundus scholarships

The EMINTE (Erasmus Mundus INdia To Europe) Scholarship Programme, one of the new Erasmus Mundus Action 2 Partnership programmes decided upon by the European Commission’s Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) in July 2013, now calls for applications. The call is one-sided, only for scholarships to Europe for Indian nationals. The application site opened on 15 October 2013, an remains open till 1 December 2013. ( 
EMINTE is coordinated by Lund University, and SASNET is an Associated partner. Prioritised fields of study within this project are: • Health, water and sanitation; • Energy and infrastructure; • Environment studies and natural resource studies; • Social welfare; and • Education and teacher training.
The EMINTE scholarships are open for mobility for Indian nationals. Applicants must belong to one of the target groups. Undergraduate applicants must have finished at least one year of study. Target group 1 consists of students or staff at one of the Indian partner universities. Target group 2 consists of nationals of India registered at other Indian higher education institution. Target group 3 consists of students/academics in particularly vulnerable situations, including scheduled castes/tribes, other backward classes and people with disabilities.
More information in the EMINTE folder.

• Publication series on Scandinavian Studies in Asian Business and Politics

DJØF Publishing, an independent publishing company founded in 1959, presents the new series 
”Scandinavian studies in asian business and politics.
The series aims to publish books in English for education and special interest audiences concerning the interdependence of »Asian Business and Politics«. The intellectual motivation for treating both business and politics in one series is mainly because politics seems to play a much bigger role for business and business development in Asia than in the West. In the best traditions of interdisciplinary scholarship, the series includes macroeconomic, business economic, sociological, political, anthropological, and juridical approaches to studying and researching the growth and dynamics of Asian business in the wider national and international political contexts. Typical length for manuscripts will be in the range of 100 – 300 pages. The series is uniquely positioned in the publishing world by focusing on high quality research undertaken by Scandinavian researchers in Asian Business and Politics. Each volume of the series is peer-reviewed. 
The series editor is Professor Anthony P. D’Costa – Australia India Institute and the School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne.
More information

• South Asian Diaspora Journal calls for manuscripts

A Special Issue of South Asian Diaspora will be published in 2015 on “Development and Distress: South Asians in the Persian Gulf”. The special issue will explore the importance of immigration to the Persian Gulf in the 21st century. It will focus on the themes such as gender and human trafficking; issues of return and remigration; implication of immigration to the homeland and the host society; and policy perspective.
All invited and contributed manuscripts to this special issue will be peer reviewed. For guidelines of how to prepare the manuscript, please visit the journal website. Manuscripts for the Special Issue should be submitted no later than 31 March 2014. More information.

• Ghent University announces Tenure Track position with a focus on India Studies

Ghent University, Belgium is announcing one full-time Tenure Track position (in the rank of lecturer) with a focus on scientific research funded by the Special Research Fund (BOF) in the field of India Studies. This is a five-year temporary appointment in a Tenure Track system focussing primarily on research, with a teaching load limited to no more than 8 credits per semester on average over a period of 3 years. If the university board positively evaluates the performance of the person involved, the position may lead to a permanent position as senior lecturer, at which point the teaching load may be revised. 
Profile - candidates are expected to hold a PhD degree with doctoral thesis and have at least two years of post-doctoral experience by the commencement of employment; Have carried out extensive scientific research on India, proven by national and international peer reviewed publications; Have extensive field and research experience in the relevant geographic area; Possess the necessary didactic, organisational and communication skills for teaching at academic level; Active participation in international scientific conferences will be considered an advantage; Active participation in international (research) networks concerning the field of study will be considered an advantage; Having experience in coaching Ph.D. students will be considered an advantage. Last date of application is on the 16 October 2013. More information and application forms. 

• More information about South Asia related research at Swedish and Nordic universities
See SASNET’s page,

Educational News

• Indian Ambassador met Lund University students
 Rohit Chandra showed the Ambassador his department in E-huset.

In connection to her participation in the Installation seminar of Professor Kalyan Mandal as the fourth Visiting Indian ICCR Professor at Lund University on October, 9th, 2013 (more information), Indian Ambassador to Sweden, H E Banashri Bose Harrison took the opportunity to meet Indian students at the University.
A meeting was organised jointly by SASNET and the International Office at the Faculty of Engineering (LTH), since this is the largest faculty at Lund University, besides housing the maximum number of Indian students. The meeting was held at Fakultetsklubben in Kårhuset, John Ericssons väg 3, and was hosted by Christina Grossman, Head, International Office. Almost 25 students had announced that they would participate, but at 9 o’clock in the morning when the meeting started, only a limited number actually turned up. However, those present – PhD candidates and masters students from various subjects – were all very eager to discuss with the Ambassador problems they have faced regarding Swedish visa troubles, failed job applications, and many other issues. Mrs. Bose Harrison showed great interest and promised full support from the Embassy.
After the meeting, the Ambassador was invited for a guided tour to the Department of Electrical and Information Technology in the E-building of LTH, accompanied by PhD candidate Rohit Chandra who is soon completing his thesis work at the department. Read more.

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

See SASNET’s page,

Seminars and Conferences in Scandinavia

• Copenhagen guest lecture on China in Subaltern Indian Images

Professor Kamal Sheel, Professor of Chinese Studies and former Dean of the Faculty of Arts at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in Varanasi, India, holds a lecture entitled ”China in Subaltern Indian Images: Travel Narratives of Thakur Gadadhar Singh and Mahendu Lal Garg during the Boxer Rebellion”, at the Asia Research Centre, Copenhagen Business School (CBS) on 23 October 2013. Venue: CBS, room DSO52, Dalgas Have 15, Frederiksberg, Copenhagen.
The presentation looks at Indian travel writings and explores intra-cultural encounters and the construction of knowledge about China at the beginning of the twentieth century. Kamal Sheel focuses on two Indian travellers, namely Thakur Gadadhar Singh (1869-1920) and Mahendu Lal Garg (1870-1942). Both writers were part of the native regiments under the British Army which was dispatched to China during 1899-1900 where they joined the Joint Foreign Expeditionary Force and fought the Boxers. Their writings demonstrate that modern subaltern Indian images of China were dominated by voluntaristic and populist impressions evincing cultural and brotherly affinities between the two, and as such overrode the colonial state’s agenda and westerners’ derisive and contemptuous description of Boxer China. Kamal Sheel has recently finished a co-authored manuscript on ‘Thakur Gadadhar Singh: An Indian Subaltern’s account of the Boxer Rebellion’. More information.

• Uppsala seminar on Earliest Indian Medical Text, the Caraka Saṃhitā

Ram-Prasad Chakravarthi, is Professor of Philosophy at Lancaster University, UK, holds a guest lecture in Uppsala on ”Phenomenology from the Outside: Bodily Being and Flourishing in the Earliest Indian Medical Text, the Caraka Saṃhitā” on Tursday 24 October 2013, 16.15–18.00. The seminar is organised by the Department of Linguistics and Philology, Uppsala University in collaboration with the university’s Forum for South Asia Studies. Venue: Engelska parken, 4-2007, Thunbergsvägen, Uppsala. More information.
Prof. Chakravarthi’s research focuses on theories of self and theories of consciousness in Hindu philosophy and Indian thought, religion and politics, and comparative Indian and Chinese philosophies. Among his book publications are: Knowledge and Liberation in Classical Indian Thought, Palgrave, Basingstoke, 2001; Eastern Philosophy, Weidenfield and Nicholson London, 2005; Indian Philosophy and the Consequences of Knowledge: Themes in metaphysics, ethics and soteriology, Ashgate, Aldershot, 2007; Divine Self, Human Self: The Philosophy of Being in Two Gita Commentaries, Bloomsbury, Academic 2013.

• ISDP seminar on Challenges and Opportunities for China and India

The Institute for Security and Development Policy (ISDP) and its Asia Program invites to a seminar with Dr. Sumit Roy Senior Researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala, on Thursday 24 October 2013, 10.30 – 12.00. He will speak about ”Globalisation and Rising Powers – Challenges and Opportunities for China and India”. To attend, register to Ms. Lisa Bäckman before 23 October. Venue: ISDP, Västra Finnbodavägen 2, Stockholm-Nacka.
Dr. Sumit Roy’s work has for over 30 years centered on the global and comparative political economy, in both Asia (India and China) and Africa. He holds a D. Phil in Development Studies (University of Sussex), an MA in Development Economics (University of East Anglia) and an MA in Economics and Economic History (University of York, UK). He is currently a Senior Researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala. He is also a Research Associate, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and a Visiting Senior Research Fellow, School of International Relations and Strategic Studies, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India. More information.

• Copenhagen seminar on Money, Marriage and Gender: Dowry in India

Dr. Ranjana Sheel, Associate Professor in the Department of History at Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India, holds a public guest lecture on ”Money, Marriage and Gender: Dowry in India” at Copenhagen University on Thursday 24 October 2013, 11.15–13.00. The seminar is organised by Asian Dynamics Initiative (ADI) in collaboration with the Dept. of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen. 
Dr. Sheel specializes in the area of social history and women's studies with a focus on India. As both a researcher and social activist, she has worked on issues of gender equity and women's empowerment. Taking dowry as a crucial index of the status of women in contemporary Indian society, Ranjana Sheel locates it within a broad historical framework and a feminist perspective viewing it not as a static custom but as a product of changing socio-political, economic, and social processes. Venue: 14.2.80, Faculty of Humanities, KUA2, Karen Blixens vej 4, Copenhagen. More information.

• Uppsala Seminar on Middle Class Education and Religion in 19th Century Colonial Bengal

The Department of History at Uppsala University in collaboration with the Forum for South Asia Studies is organising an afternoon with two presentations on the Bengal Renaissance, Gender, and British Education on 24 October 2013, 14.15–16.00. The presenters are Professor Rachana Chakraborty, Department of History, Calcutta University, and PhD candidate Abhishek Ghosh, Department of South Asia Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago. Venue: Engelska Parken,  ENG9-1017. More information about the seminar.
Prof. Rachana Chakraborty's presentation is entitled ”Debates on Women’s education in nineteenth century Bengal: Its form and content”. The presentation discusses how the consolidation of British power in India during the nineteenth century and the acceleration of Western contact brought about far- reaching changes in the structure of the Bengali society. Efforts to provide education for Indian females had begun early in the 19th century, by the missionaries, being the early players in the game. But as they were primarily driven by proselytizing urge they were inclined to focus on the poor and low caste women, these efforts met with little success until the idea of female education had gained respectability amongst the intelligentsia. To uncover variegated inflections of this radically-gendered discourse one has to turn to Bengali women's magazines with a view to locating the form and content of female education and also the new role model that these educated women were expected to follow. 
Abhishek Ghosh's presentation is entitled ”British Raj, Bengal Renaissance and Bhadralok Vaishnavas”. In this presentation, Ghosh discusses the European 'gaze' of civilizing mission on Hinduism and analyze the specific response of the Vaishnava savant Kedarnath Datta Bhaktivinode (1838-1914). The presentation captures the broader socio-historical context of nineteenth century Bengal through a discussion of the beginnings of 'Orientalism' and the establishment of Christian missions, but also of the Hindu reform movements of the intellectual middle class (bhadralok). Orientalist research and missionary discourse often criticized what they viewed as the 'lewd' and 'reprehensible' aspects of Hindu traditions such as Caitanya Vaishnavism, and in response those Hindu reform movements tried to 'redress' these issues through an agenda for organized social, religious and political reform. Within this context, this presentation aims to analyze and theorize the contributions of bhadralok Vaishnavas, which have so far been relatively overlooked by contemporary scholarship on modern Hinduism. It will also place the role of Bhaktivinode at the cusp of this encounter.

• 7th Nordic NIAS Council Conference on Power of Knowledge

The 7th Annual Nordic NIAS Council Conference will be hosted by University of Southern Denmark (SDU) in Sønderborg 4–8 November 2013. The theme for the conference is ”The Power of Knowledge: Asia and the West”. It is co-organized by SDU’s Negot in Chinese/Institute of Design and Communication at University of Southern Denmark, and the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS). The conference is divided into two parts, an open conference 5-6 November, and a PhD Course 7-8 November.The conference and PhD workshop will limit itself to Western and Asian experiences, in an effort of bringing the two into a creative and fruitful dialogue. In light of this, area studies and the different disciplines need to come together and share insights and identify theoretical and methodological approaches that might strike a reasonable balance between universal concerns and particular cultural understandings. Keynote speakers include Associated Professor Nandita Chaudhary from Lady Irwin College, Delhi University, India. More information on the conference website.

• Oslo Military Power Seminar: Afghanistan Experiences

The Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) is arranging the 15th Military Power Seminar, entitled Afghanistan Experiences - Lessons Learned or Lessons Lost? on the 30 November 2013, at 09:00. Venue: The Henri Dunant Hall, the Norwegian Red Cross Conference Centre , Hausmannsgate 7, Oslo.
At a critical moment in Afghanistan, this year’s Military Power Seminar aims to bring together a broad range of contributors and participants to discuss experiences from Afghanistan and their impact. Is the Afghanistan experience just another speed bump with no major influence for the future of Alliance operations? Or has ISAF altered NATO force planning and capability development? Are we seeing adjusted perspectives in the Alliance and its member states? Has the involvement in Afghanistan led to significant changes in Norwegian security and defence policy? What have the Norwegian Armed Forces learnt and which lessons are most relevant? What are possible implications of these lessons for future engagements abroad and the structure and tasks of the Armed Forces at home? These are some of the questions that will be addressed at the Military Power Seminar 2013. More information and registration.

• Copenhagen seminar on The Taliban and Afghanistan – Beyond 2014

The Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS) invites to a seminar on ”The Taliban and Afghanistan – Beyond 2014” to be held on Wednesday 27 November 2013, 09.00-14.00. This DIIS seminar is intended to aid a more nuanced understanding of this complex and enigmatic movement, and we are proud to present five of the world’s foremost experts on the Taliban. Venue: DIIS, Main Auditorium, Østbanegade 117, ground floor, Copenhagen.
As a military defeat of the Taliban prior to the NATO pull-out in 2014 seems ever more unlikely, there is increasing openness to thinking about the Taliban as a movement that must be factored in when considering Afghan politics after 2014. This development requires us to abandon the predominant one-dimensional concept of “the enemy” – as tied to earlier military objectives – in order to better understand: How is the Taliban of 2013 different from that of the 1990’s? Which role might the Taliban play over the coming years? Will they negotiate for political power, and over which issues? And could they play a role in stabilizing Afghanistan?
Speakers include Alex Strick van Linschoten, PhD Candidate at Kings College; Michael Semple, Visiting Research Professor, Institute for Study of Conflict Transformation and Social Justice, Queen's University Belfast and former deputy to the European Union Special Representative for Afghanistan; and James Fergusson, Journalist and author of A Million Bullets: The Real Story of the British Army in Afghanistan (Bantam Press, 2008) and The Taliban: The True Story of the World’s Most Feared Guerrilla Fighters (Corgi Books, 2011).
Participation is free of charge, but registration is required before 26h November. More information.

• Information about South Asia related lectures and seminars

Conferences and workshops outside Scandinavia

• Vilnius conference on Contemporary India: Challenges and Prospects

The India Studies Center of the Mykolo Romeris University in Vilnius, Lithuania, organised a higly interesting conference entitled  ”Contemporary India: Challenges and Prospects” on 7–8 October 2013. The initiative came from Rajsekhar Basu, current ICCR Visiting Professor in Contemporary Indian Studies at the university, and it drew participants from India and several European countries. Professor Staffan Lindberg, Lund University (and former SASNET Director), delivered the key note address on Rural Transformation in India. Other speakers included Dr. Stig Toft Madsen from the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies in Copenhagen; and Dr. Benjamin Zachariah, University of Heidelberg. See the programme.

• Chandigarh conference on the making of modern Punjab

A Seminar on ”The Making of Modern Punjab: Education, Science and Social Change in Punjab c. 1850- c. 2000” will be held at Panjab University in Chandigarh, India, 24 – 26 October 2013. The Seminar is dedicated to the memory of Prof. Ruchi Ram Sahni (1863 – 1948), born barely 14 years after the annexation of the Punjab Kingdom by the British and lived to see India become independent. His life thus covers an important part of Punjab’s and India’s history. The social and religious ferment caused by the British rule and the political responses to it that emerged in Punjab were not autonomous but influenced by developments elsewhere.
The Seminar comprising invited lectures and contributed papers (oral and poster) will focus on all aspects that are related to or an extension of Ruchi Ram’s life and times.  All including University and College teachers, research scholars and independent researchers are cordially invited to present their original research at the Seminar. Scholars from and of  the Indian sub-continent working abroad are particularly encouraged to participate. All paper proposals will be reviewed by the Programme Committee and the proceedings published.
On-line pre-registration is necessary so that the event can be organized in an economical and efficient manner. Those desirous of attending as audience or as authors of papers should send the following information by e-mail. More information.

• London symposium on South Asian Murals and Floor-Drawings

The South Asian Arts Group (SAAG) based in the UK, and the Centre for Research and Education in Art & Media (CREAM), University of Westminster in London, are joining forces to run a symposium entitled ”From Floor to Ceiling: South Asian Murals and Floor-Drawings”, to be held in London 25 - 26 October 2013. The purpose of this event is to spark debate and encourage collaboration and exchange on the vast but, thus far, under-researched area of South Asian mural and floor-drawing traditions and their contemporary manifestations.
In order to accommodate a wide range of papers, the organisers apply a broad definition of the term South Asia, to include the following countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Tibet. This area of research lends itself to diverse approaches, including anthropological and ethnographic perspectives, art historical interpretations, aesthetic views, practitioner-based narratives that may focus on the creative process, gendered accounts and material culture studies. Full information about the symposium.
The Centre for Research and Education in Art & Media (CREAM) has a portfolio of research across the disciplines of visual arts, ceramics, photography, film, experimental media, music and fashion. CREAM has been a key participant in debates on practice-based research in audio-visual media. The South Asian Arts Group (SAAG) is an informal network of academics, curators, artists and arts professionals, who share an interest in the arts and visual/material cultures of South Asia and the diaspora. SAAG provides a space for interaction, conversation and exchange for people interested in South Asian arts in the UK. 

• First Annual Muslim South Asia Graduate Conference at SOAS

The 1st Annual Muslim South Asia Graduate Conference will be held at SOAS, University of London, UK, on 28 October 2013. It is organised by the Muslim South Asia Research Forum (MUSA) – launched at SOAS in May 2013, in collaboration with SOAS Centre for South Asian Studies (CSAS); and the Centre for the Study of Pakistan (CSP). In line with MUSA’s broad objectives, the conference aims to connect scholars and academics researching any aspect of Muslim societies in South Asia, across disciplines. The goal is to provide a platform for connecting emerging scholars on this region and theme and to showcase new and innovative thinking in the field. All papers will be published on the MUSA website in Edited Proceedings. Selected papers may be taken forward for publication in an academic journal.
PhD students and early career researchers from any discipline are invited to apply and present any part of their research. The organisers are interested in identifying the most pertinent themes of current research on Muslim South Asia based on the submissions. Panels will be developed accordingly. More information with full programme.

• New Delhi conference on Violence in Indian History

The Archive India Institute in New Delhi, India, hosts its Second Annual International Conference on "Violence in Indian History" on 1 November 2013. The conference themes will be Political Authority and Violence; Violence in Religion and Religion in Violence; Violence in Caste and Caste in Violence; Violence in Gender and Gender in Violence; Representation of Violence in Literature and Performance; and Nationalism, Modernity and Violence. More information.

• Second Toronto Graduate Student Conference on South Asian Religions

The 2nd Biennial University of Toronto Graduate Student Conference on South Asian Religions will be held 1–2 November 2013 in Toronto, Canada. The theme for the conference will be ”The Methods of Memory”. Graduate students engaged in original research in any field related to the study of South Asian religious traditions (e.g. Religion, Philosophy, Anthropology, History, Art History, Sociology, South Asian Studies, Diaspora and Transnational Studies, Women and Gender Studies, Linguistics, etc.) are invited. This conference will offer a congenial platform for graduate students to present, discuss, and receive feedback on  their work from both their peers and faculty in related disciplines. The keynote address will be delivered by Vasudha Dalmia, Chandrika and Ranjan Tandon Professor of Hindu Studies at Yale University.
This conference seeks to continue and expand ongoing conversation on memory with respect to a wide range of South Asian religious phenomena including, but not limited to, the engagement with sacred texts, the creation and veneration of sacred figures and places, the design and performance of rituals, and the projection and transmission of visualized and embodied aesthetic forms. More information.

• Hyderabad conference on Recent Trends in Communication and Computer Networks

An International Conference on Recent Trends in Communication and Computer Networks (ComNet 2013) will be held in Hyderabad, India, on 8–9 November 2013. ComNet 2013 aims to bring together innovative academics and industrial experts in the field of Computer Science, Information Technology, Computational Engineering, Communication and Network to a common forum. Another goal is to promote scientific information interchange between researchers, developers, engineers, students, and practitioners working in India and abroad. The conference will be held every year to make it an ideal platform for people to share views and experiences in Information, Telecommunication, Computing Techniques and related areas. The CSA conference is organised by the Association of Computer Electronics and Electrical Engineers (ACEEE) and sponsored by the Indian Society for Technical Education (ISTE). The presented, and registered FULL Papers and SHORT Papers will be published in the IET Digital Library and IEEE Xplore. More information.

• Leiden conference on 'Early Urbanism' of Pre-modern Asian Cities

The International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS), together with the Archaeology Unit of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (Singapore), and the Faculty of Archaeology of Leiden University, are hosting an international conference on ”'Early Urbanism' of Pre-modern Asian Cities”, on 11–13 November 2013. Its focus is within the much broader framework of urban studies, ancient and modern. The conference, which is hosted by the National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden, will be attended by some eighty scholars from all over the world who will explore Asian cities during their crucial period of urban formation and activity. The conference covers a huge geographic expanse, from Pakistan and Central and Inner Asia, to Japan and Indonesia, discussing early urbanism from the third millennium BC until the 18th century AD. The keynote lectures and discussion papers focus on three broad themes, namely the processes of urban development, the urban economy, and the social fabric of the city. Venue: National Museum of Antiquities, Rapenburg 28, Leiden, Netherlands. Please note that registration is required before 1 November. Full information.

• Kolkata symposium on Cities under Restoration

An International Symposium on ”Cities under Restoration” will be held in Kolkata, India, 18–21 November 2013. It is organised by the Centre for Built Environment (CBE). It is a follow-up symposium to another one, entitled ”Cities Under Change”, that was held in October 2012 (more information).
CBE is a registered non-profit professional society, and an umbrella organisation with architects, urban designers, planners and envionmental engineers, from the government, unversity, private organisations and institutions. Its programmes include study research, training, organising lectures and conferences, presentations at international conferences, publications etc. It provides technical guidance to the students and others. More information.

• 3rd International Congress of Bengal Studies to be held in Kolkata, India

Papers are invited for the 3rd International Congress of Bengal Studies scheduled to be held 19-22 November, 2013. This 3rd Congress will be hosted by the University of Calcutta, Kolkata, India. Papers on all the areas of Bengal Studies, including, but not limited to, Literature and Criticism, Comparative Literature, Linguistics, Folklore, Cultural Studies, Media Studies, History, Economics, Sociology, Fine Arts, Philosophy, Anthropology, Archaeology, Museulogy will be presented, either in Bengali or in English. More information.

• Assam Conference on Classical and Contemporary Debates in Vedanta

The international conference entitled ”The Nature of Consciousness: Classical and Contemporary Debates in Vedanta Philosophy” will take place at the Assam University in Silchar, Assam, India, on the 21-24 November 2013. 
The distinctive voices of Vedanta philosophy brought in energy, excitement, creativity and originality  into the conversations on philosophical issues in India from the classical times to the present. The classical Indian tradition and contemporary argumentative minds were both equally influenced by the  Vedantic ideas. There is no denying the fact that Vedanta forged a new Indian philosophical idiom to  which both contemporary Indian and global philosophy are indebted.
Vedanta philosophy coupled with Sanskrit language challenge the slavery brought forth by blindly adhering to methodologies of doing philosophy on a western model. The voice and tongue being  borrowed, the subjugation of the soul is complete in all aspects.
Though the name of the conference suggests that the problematic of the conference is set in the context of Vedanta Philosophy, the conference also welcomes research papers on Consciousness from classical and contemporary western perspectives. People working in the field of Phenomenology and Analytic  Philosophy are equally welcome. More information.

• The Second International Conference on Social Sciences to be held at the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka

The Second International Conference on Social Sciences will be hosted by the Research Centre for Social Sciences (RCSS) of the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka on 22–23 November, 2013. 
This time, the conference theme is “Culture, Globalization and the Developing World”. It is expected that the presenters of papers and participants will draw their attention to the interdependent nature of these broad variables and its impact on the life of billions of people in the developing countries. The world has witnessed the triumphant march of the globalization process and its effects on social, economic, political, technological and cultural landscapes of the countries irrespective of their level of development, but the impact on developing countries is more conspicuous. Accordingly, twenty sub-themes have been selected to facilitate the participants to express their views and experiences on these important aspects. More information.

• Ahmedabad Conference on Law, Society and Sustainable Development

The Nirma University, Ahmedabad, India is hosting an international conference entitled ”Law, Society and Sustainable Development: Problems and Prospects” on the 17-18th February 2014.
Sustainability is making sure all of our businesses, public services, national resources, and economy have the means to continue in the years ahead at micro and macro level. It is a highly emotive subject as we are being essentially forced to wake up to the fact that there are limits to the natural resources available to mankind. While we are proficient at thinking about our future financial sustainability and investing in economic resources, our society has been less triumphant in looking after the human, social and economic resources that we rely on. To achieve sustainability, we also need to recognize that, while environmental law is a key to achieving sustainability, it is only part of the necessary legal framework. Last date for submitting abstracts is on the 14 October 2013 (see the Call for Papers). More information on the conference

• Berlin workshop on Regional Belonging in South and Central Asia

A workshop on ”Transregional Crossroads of Social Interaction: the Shifting Meaning of Regional Belonging in South and Central Asia” will be held in Berlin, Germany, on 21 March 2014. It is organised by the Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO), the only German research institute devoted to an interdisciplinary and comparative study of the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia, South and Southeast Asia from a historical perspective. Current research focuses on the interaction between predominantly Muslim societies and their relations with non-Muslim neighbours.
The workshop at ZMO within the Crossroads Asia programme seeks to explore the shifting meaning of regional belonging across the neighbouring regions of South and Central Asia. It proposes to read the transregional interaction here in terms of social, economic, cultural and religious interaction. It thereby focuses on new forms of clustering of such patterns of interaction which allow for new forms of belonging. They can be more local but also more expansive than previous notions of area and region challenging the political area studies logic of the cold war period based on bounded areas. The re-emergence of assertion of cultural, religious and social belonging equally challenges administrative and political logics in various localities as well as across conventional regional boundaries. 
The call for papers has got an extended deadline for submitting abstracts till October 31, 2013. Full information about the workshop.

• Lahore conference-workshop on The Global War Centenary 1914/2014

 The Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Lahore, Pakistan, is hosting an conference-workshop entitled ”The Global War Centenary, 1914-2014” on the 21-23 March 2014. The impending withdrawal of the United States’ military forces from Afghanistan in 2014 follows one hundred years after the outbreak of the First World War; this centenary of continuous global conflict invites critical reflection on the place of war in modern history. Professors Bruce Cumings (University of Chicago), Gopal Balakrishnan (University of California, Santa Cruz), and Dirk Moses (European University Institute) shall present keynote addresses in open plenary sessions and serve as critical commentators during the event. 
This conference-workshop identifies war as an essential and perennial feature of modernity rather than the aberrational violation of sovereignty or the outbreak of inter-state violence. Inasmuch as war is an event, it is also a process that defines the modern world; it represents a synthesis of historical developments that disregarded sixteenth-century notions of sovereignty which had prioritized the state as a repository of authority, power, and rational collective action. Viewed over the longue durée, the roots of war are traceable to the very basis of economic and political modernization, and in developments central to our age: industrialization and economic development; imperial consolidation and anti-colonial resistance; state-formation and nationalism; ideological warfare and alliance building; revolutionary Marxism and transnational capitalism; identity politics and seessionist movements. The Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at LUMS is pleased to host this dialogue in Lahore. Last date for abstract submission is on the 15 November 2013. More information.

• 28th BASAS Annual Conference to be held in London

The British Association for South Asian Studies (BASAS) holds its 28th Annual Conference at the Royal Holloway, University of London, 3–5 April 2014. This year's conference promises to be an engaging and friendly environment for rigorous academic debate with delegates attending from at least two dozen different British universities; as well as from universities in Australia, Bangladesh, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Russia, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, and the USA. Themed 'South Asia and its wider worlds', the conference aims to address the diverse ways in which trends and developments in South Asia interact with the wider context in which the region is located, whether in the past, present or even the future. Proposals for panels as well as independent papers that address the conference theme are invited. The deadline for the submission of panel abstracts is on the 30 November 2013, paper abstracts 15 January 2014, and the conference registration deadline is on the 15 March 2014. You must be a BASAS member in order to register for the conference. More information.

• Second International Conference on Asian Studies in Colombo

The International Center for Research & Development, based in Thalangama, Sri Lanka, and the International University of Japan jointly organise the Second International Conference on Asian Studies on 14–15 July 2014 at the Galadari Hotel in Colombo. The Conference is an opportunity for academics, practitioners , PhD students to come together, exchange ideas, and discuss emerging issues in Asian Studies. The keynote speakers ar Prof. Toshiichi Endo, Center of Buddhist Studies, University of Hong Kong; Prof. H.D. Karunaratna, Dean, Faculty of Management and Finance, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka; and Prof. N. S. Cooray, Graduate School of International Relations, International University of Japan. More information.

• Ulaanbaatar Conference on the Changing Patterns of Power in Historical and Modern Central and Inner Asia

The International Unit for Central and Inner Asian Studies, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, in collaboration with International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS), Leiden, the Netherlands is arranging an international conference entitled ”Changing Patterns of Power in Historical and Modern Central and Inner Asia” on the 7-9 August 2014. The conference will be held at the Ulaanbaatar University, Mongolia. The conference aims to highlight the current state of knowledge in research on the history of Central and Inner Asia since the twelfth century until the present day. The geographical scope of the conference is, understandably, large. The arrangers define Central and Inner Asia as the huge expanse of land from the Urals in the west to beyond Mongolia and deep into modern China in the east, including Afghanistan. Deadline for submission of abstracts is 9 January 2014. More information.

• Other conferences connected to South Asian studies all over the World
See SASNET’s page,

Business and Politics

• Information about South Asia related business and politics in Sweden
See SASNET's page,

South Asia related culture in Scandinavia

• Indian art films screened at Uppsala University

A Series of Indian Art Films are screened at Uppsala University on Wednesdays at 17.15 during October-November 2013. The events are organized by Prof. Heinz Werner Wessler, Department of Linguistics and Philology, in collaboration with the university’s Forum for South Asia Studies. Venue: Ihresalen, Engelska parken, Thunbergsvägen 3H, Uppsala. Free entrance. The films to be shown shown are:
16th October: ”Gandhi” directed by Richard Attenborough. 
30th October: ”Water” directed by Deepa Mehta. 
13th November: ”Umrao Jan” directed by Muzaffar Ali. 
27th November: ”Monsoon Wedding” directed by Mira Nair. 
More information.

• Marie Nyreröd TV reportage on the role of Rabindranath in today’s Kolkata

Swedish journalist Marie Nyreröd has travelled in the footsteps of Rabindranath Tagore, the Indian/Bengali writer who was the first non-European author to be given the Nobel Prize in Literature, exactly 100 years ago – 1913. Marie is working for Swedish Television’s literary magazine Babel, and her reportage from India was screened on Sunday 13th October 2013, at 20.00. The timing this week is of course connected to the fact that this year’s Nobel Prize winner, Alice Munro, was announced only a few days ago.
Marie visited Kolkata in August 2013, and met so many people connected to Tagore today in literature, music and dance. Because even though it is 100 years ago he got the Prize, he is still extremely read, venerated and popular both in India and in Bangladesh. SASNET’s Lars Eklund has been instrumental in providing Marie Nyreröd with useful contacts in Kolkata, among them the student Mrinalini Ghosh (photo). See the programme. Move to 42:30 to see the Tagore feature.

• 2013 Tempo Festival focuses on Indian documentary films

The 2013 Tempo Documentary Festival in Stockholm, to be held 2–4 November, devotes one full section to films from India. Under the title ”Next up: India Docs” several recent interesting documentaries from India will be screened, among them ”Ghetto Girl” (photo from film) produced by Ambarien Al-Qadar; ”Nirnay” produced by Pushpa Rawat; ”Please don’t beat me” by Kerim Friedman and Shashwati Talukdar; and ”To let the world in” by Avijit Mukul Kishore. 
It will be three days full of Indian documentary film, filmmakers and parties. The theme for the weekend is activism and the red thread trough all the films is the camera as a weapon for social change. 
Tempo Documentary Festival is the largest festival of its kind in Sweden. Founded in 1998, it has since then presented documentaries from all over the world, which would otherwise probably not reach the Swedish audience. Tempo has also established a unique forum for the presentation of documentary work across traditional boundaries – Film/TV, radio, photography, as well as more experimental forms of expression. Between festivals, a number of different events are arranged with a documentary focus, such as seminars, debates, photo exhibitions, together with screenings and workshops for young people. The festival and other associated events are arranged and developed by the non-profit organisation Tempo Documentary Festival. More information about the 2013 Tempo Documentary Festival.

• Sweden-India Nobel Memorial Week 2013 focuses on Rabindranath Tagore

For the seventh year, the Embassy of Sweden in New Delhi along with a number of Swedish businesses and companies, again organise a Sweden-India Nobel Memorial Week in several major Indian cities – Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Kolkata and New Delhi. The annual high-profile event showcases innovations and creativity of Sweden and Swedish companies with an aim to further enhance the image and interest for Sweden in India. The Week always comprises a number of events ranging from seminars and panel discussions among well-known decision makers from government and businesses as well as researchers and academicians; to competitions for students, cultural performances, exhibits, etc.
In Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai, Sweden Education Days are organised. Several Swedish universities, including Lund University, participate in these events. 
The Sweden-India Nobel Memorial Week 2013 has a special focus, namely to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore being awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Tagore was the first non-European ever to win the Prize, and the Embassy’s celebrations begin in his home town of Kolkata already on 25–26 October 2013, and then continues in Delhi on 8th November onwards. 
The Kolkata programme on 25 October begins with the Ambassador of Sweden to India HE Mr Harald Sandberg,  inaugurating  the  Nobel  Memorial  Wall  (which  commemorates  the  Indian  Nobel Laureates) in the presence of General Manager of Metro Railways Kolkata, Mr Radhe Shyam at the Esplanade Metro Station. The wall will be a permanent structure at the busiest station in Kolkata. Another two temporary walls will be fabricated at Gitanjali (his Nobel Prize-winning work) and Shyam Bazaar (closest to his home in Jorasanko) metro stations for a week. In addition, there will be track side branding at Rabindra Sarobar.
The highpoint is of the Kolkata programme is Tagore, now! A panel discussion moderated by Tagore expert Dr Radha Chakravarty which aims to explore the relevance of the timeless poet, writer, philosopher in today’s day and age. Panelists include filmmaker Gautam Benegal, Swedish Tagore scholar Dr Olavi Hemmilä, University of Dalarna, and Indian academics Prof. Sanjukta Das, University of Calcutta, and Prof. Anand Lal, Jadavpur University. This is followed by a theatre-installation ensemble by noted theatre person Parnab Mukherjee, who has created a special performance around Tagore’s Nobel acceptance speech especially for this occassion.

THe following day, Tobias  Degsell, a curator and educationist from the Nobel Museum, will conduct Spark of Creativity workshops  for  young  business  professional and teaches them how to be more creative, come up with new ideas and how to become better problem solvers. There is also a Photo Exhibition ‘Sweden through Indian Eyes’. Impressions of Sweden are captured  Kolkata-boy  Abhijit  Chakrabarty,  winner  of  last  year’s  photo  competition:  Swedish Innovations-Indian interpretations.
Earlier in September, the Nobel Memorial Quiz was organised in Kolkata where a large number of college students vied for the regional title. The winning team from IIT Kharagpur will compete for the National title and an all-expenses paid trip to Sweden in New Delhi on November 16.
Among other programmes nationwide, one that stands out is the unveiling of a sand sculpture of Rabindranath Tagore by artist Sudarshan Pattnaik. This public event takes place in the coastal city of Puri in Odisha state on 12th November.
See the full programme for the Sweden-India Nobel Memorial Week 2013.

• Lund India Choir commemorates Tagore with concerts in Bengal and Odisha

The Lund India Choir, specialized in singing the songs by Indian/Bengali Nobel Laureate poet and composer Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) goes on a tour to Kolkata, Shantiniketan and Balasore in end-October 2013, in order to commemorate the 100th jubilee year of Rabindranath Tagore’s Nobel Prize in 1913. 
The main concert will be held at classical Star Theatre in north Kolkata on Saturday 26th October, at 18.30, in a programme together with world famous Mamata Shankar Ballett Troupe. Information about tickets.
The programme coincides with the official Swedish Embassy Tagore commemoration programmes held in Kolkata on 25–26 October (more information), but is not part of it. 

The Lund India Choir, led by Bubu Munshi Eklund, will then perform at the inauguration of a new Swedish-funded  Shakuntala Rheumatology Hospital and Research Institute in Balasore, Odisha State, on Sunday 3 November. Programmes are also planned to be held at North Orissa University in Baripada, a university involved in a Erasmus Mundus collaboration with Lund University (and SASNET); and Serampore College in the former Danish trading station of Serampore, north of Kolkata. Finally, the choir will of course visit Shantiniketan, the place most intimately connected to Rabindranath Tagore. SASNET deputy director Lars Eklund is a member of the Swedish choir, and participates in the tour.

• Shivkumar Sharma and Tashi Lhunpo monks perform at Uppsala Sacred Music Festival

The legendary Indian musician and composer Shivkumar Sharma and the Tashi Lhunpo monks group are performing in Uppsala, Sweden as a part of the Uppsala Sacred Music Festival being held 24 October – 3 November 2013. Venue: Uppsala Konsert & Kongress, Hall B, Vaksala torg 1, Uppsala. 
Shivkumar Sharma is considered to be a living legend who has given the intrument Santoor a new and important role in the Indian musical world. At his concerts he manages to evoke previously unheard sounds and shades  from the ancient instrument, putting the listener in connection with the harmony of the spheres. Shivkumar Sharma carries the honorary title Pandit, given to a select group of people with great knowledge of the Veda, one of the oldest sources in Hinduism. Accompanying him are the distinguished Tabla player Pandit Yogesh Samsi and the Tampura player Takahiro Arai. Shivkumar Sharma performs on Sturday 2 November at 19.30.
Another South Asian concert is included in 2013 Sacred Music Festival. Monks from the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery perform on 1 November, with cymbal sounds and their deep, vibrant voice. It will be a Buddhist ceremony replete with colour, sound and ritual choreography. The Tashi Lhunpo Monastery was founded in the mid-15th century but was forced to close in 1959, owing to discord between China and Tibet, in 1972 it re-opened in exile in India. Today there are some 250 monks living in the monastery, which is famed for its colourful performances, using big masks, choreography and unique wind and percussion instruments. The monks group perform on Friday 1 November at 20.00.
More information about the concerts at the 2013 Uppsala Sacred Music Festival.

• Indian Fusion Concert with L. Subramaniam in Stockholm

Together with Kavita Krishnamurti, one of India's most popular singers, and another seven musicians, L. Subramaniam will perform his most famous compositions, consisting of Classical Indian music, Fusion and Jazz at Berwaldhallen on the 31 October 2013, 19:00. Dr. Lakshminarayana Subramaniam is an acclaimed Indian violinist, composer and conductor, trained in the classical Carnatic music tradition and Western classical music, and renowned for his virtuoso playing techniques and compositions in orchestral fusion. Berwaldhallen is located at Dag Hammarskjölds väg 3 in Stockholm, Sweden. Information and tickets.

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

New and updated items on SASNET web site

• New book on India’s North-Eastern Frontiers 1790-1840

”Founding an Empire on India’s North-Eastern Frontiers 1790-1840: Climate, Commerce, Polity” is the title of a new book by author prof. Gunnel Cederlöf, Department of History, Uppsala University. The book is the result of a three-years grant for the period 2011-13 from the Swedish Research Council for research within the fields of Humanities and Social Sciences. 
Book abstract: Moving away from the subcontinental Indian mainland to the varied social ecologies of Sylhet, Cachar, Manipur, Jaintia, and Khasi Hills, this study offers a much-needed reframing of regional histories of South Asia. It explores the unsettled half-century from the 1790s to the 1830s when the British East India Company, in it's attempt to control commercial trade routes connecting India, Burma, and China, strove to establish a colonial administration over the north-eastern frontiers.
A region where the river courses shifted and cultivated fields turned into lakes in the monsoons, and seasonal changes required highly flexible and varied livelihood strategies, the East India Company stepped into the shoes of the existing Mughal administration with great difficulty. The book explores both the enabling and constraining conditions of climate and ecology to understand the role of daily administration in shaping subject formation. Challenging the conventional understanding of the founding of the colonial state in India, it reconnects histories of space and polities to provide rare insights into the lesser-known formative years of the East India Company rule. More information. 

• Swedish departments where research on South Asia is going on

This month there were 2 new departments added to SASNET's list:
         ‡ Department of Forest Resource Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Umeå
         ‡ Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Alnarp

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

Research Communicator/Dy. Director
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:

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