Newsletter 163 – 10 June 2014


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• SASNET June 2014 Research Workshop on Culture, Technology and Development

SASNET organises an inter-disciplinary research workshop on ”South Asia: Culture, Technology and Development 13 – 15 June 2014 in Höllviken, south of Malmö. Young scholars and researchers will present their papers in this workshop bridging the gap between Nordic researchers in various disciplines working on South Asia. The workshop is co-organized by the Nordic Centre in India (NCI) university consortium, and the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) in Copenhagen, and will be divided into three main thematic sessions: 
Session A: Methods, Fieldwork and Ethics in the South Asian context; Session B: Culture , Religion and Technology in South Asia; and Session C: Theory, Practice and Development in South Asia. 

 Kirin Narayan, Assa Doron and Ursula Rao.

Three eminent South Asia researchers will give keynote speeches at the workshop, namely Prof. Kirin Narayan and Dr. Assa Doron, both from the Australian National University (ANU); and Prof. Ursula Rao, Director of the Institute of Anthropology at University of Leipzig, Germany. 
A clear goal of the workshop discussions is to create strong academic cooperation on South Asia between different disciplines in the form of joint publications or new research projects. Around 40 appplicants whose abstracts have been accepted will participate. Full information about the 2014 Falsterbo conference.

• SASNET 2015 Conference on Urbanisation and the Challenge of Social Sustainability in South Asia

Swedish South Asian Studies Network (SASNET) at Lund University invites South Asia researchers to a three-day conference  entitled ”South Asia in Transformation: Urbanisation and the Challenge of Social Sustainability: Migration, Labour and Family Changes in a Dynamic Region”, to be held 20–22 May 2015. The conference aim is to explore the impact of the on-going structural transformation of South Asia in which large sections of the populations are gradually moving from the agricultural sector into other sectors of the economy and/or geographical areas, mainly urban areas. These change processes include urbanization, the growth of a new middle class, and increasing national and transnational migration. The conference is funded by the Crafoord Foundation, and the Swedish Research Council.
The purpose of the conference is to explore the social consequences of the transformation of South Asia’s societies (and by implication, the world). Structural transformations produce new opportunities and risks as job opportunities and wealth are created and redistributed unevenly. This may lead to the marginalization of some groups as well as social conflicts. The aim of this conference is also to map the social impact of South Asia’s structural transformation so far, with specific reference to changes in employment structures migration patterns and in the composition of the care economy of families and households. Each of these aspects is often studied in isolation despite the fact that they are deeply interrelated. This conference explores interrelated social and economic aspects of sustainability simultaneously. Moreover, the conference focuses on a process whose outcomes will be felt across the world, given the sheer population size of South Asia. For global sustainability purposes, it is crucial to map the current state of affairs and explore different development possibilities and scenarios for this world region.
More information will follow.

• Minutes from May 21st SASNET board meeting

The minutes are now available from SASNET’s May 21st, 2014, board meeting. As required by law, the minutes are written in Swedish. The meeting was attended by ordinary members Anna Lindberg, Fredrik Tufvesson, Anders Fänge and Olle Qvarnström, plus student representatives Lubna Hawwa and Sharmin Rashid. They discussed extensively SASNET’s current strategy to strenghten South Asia research and education at Lund University, and also initiatives regarding conferences and workshops to be held during the fall 2014 and spring 2015. From August 1, 2014, SASNET deputy director Lars Eklund will reduce his working hours to 50 %, and henceforth concentrate on the web site and newsletters. Communicator Linda Hiltmann will instead take over the responsiblity for organising seminars and other SASNET activites together with deputy director Olle Frödin. Read more in the verified Minutes (as a pdf-file).

• Long-time Bangladeshi and Swedish research partners visited SASNET

On 10 June 2014, Professor Shariff Enamul Kabir, former Vice Chancellor at Jahangirnagar University in Savar, Bangladesh, visited SASNET’s ofice in Lund, together with his research partner at Lund University – Professor Ebbe Nordlander at the Division of Chemical Physics, Department of Chemistry to update SASNET deputy director Lars Eklund on their plans for continued collaboration projects (photo from their visit). 
Kabir and Nordlander have been involved in research collaboration since 2003, and are focusing on hydrodesulfurization processes. In 2009 they were awarded a SASNET planning grant for a research project titled ”Modelling of hydrodesulfurization reactions and development of new molecular hydrodesulfurization catalyst”. 
Prof. Kabir is still affiliated to Jahangirnagar doing research, but otherwise he has moved to a new position at the Bangladesh Public Service Commission in Dhaka
A number of South Asian PhD candidates at the Lund University department, funded by Erasmus Mundus mobility programme scholarships, are also involved in the research projects. More information.

• SASNET seminar on the Future of Afghanistan after 2014

On Tuesday 27 May 2014, 17–19, Anders Fänge held a SASNET seminar about the present situation and future challenges in Afghanistan. It was co-organised by the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA). The seminar was entitled ”Will Afghanistan be forgotten by the world?”, and dealt with what will happen in Afghanistan after 2014, when the international military combat forces have left the country; the civil war continues; the development assistance decreases; and a new president is elected? It is certainly bound to be a future with many severe problems for an ill-fated Afghan people, but Fänge also pointed out some possible signs of hope. See the seminar poster.
See a youtube recording of the full seminar, shot by Talat Bhat.

After the seminar: Lars Eklund, Ahmed Momand and Christian Augustsson.

Anders Fänge has 20 years experience of having worked in the country for SCA and the United Nations. He is currently a member of SASNET’s board. Venue for the seminar: Dept. of Sociology, conference room 1, Paradisgatan 5 G, Lund.
The seminar was highly illuminating, not the least due to learned input from people in the audience, among them Ahmed Momand, Afghani researcher previously conected to the Division of Islamology at Lund University (more information about his research); Christian Augustssson from SCA Lund; and Bertil Egerö from the Dept. of Sociology.

• Jörgen Dige Pedersen and Kenneth Nielsen held SASNET seminar on India under Modi

SASNET organized a seminar on ”Uncertain Future for Modi’s India”, in Lund on Tuesday 3 June 2014. It focused on Narendra Modi’s victory in the Indian elections, and what the political and economical outcome will be of the election results. These two aspects were discussed by two leading Scandinavian scholars in the field, namely Jørgen Dige Pedersen from University of Aarhus, and Kenneth Bo Nielsen from the Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM) in Oslo. The seminar was organised in collaboration with the Dept.of Political Science, Lund University, and was chaired by Prof. Catarina Kinnvall. Venue: Edens hörsal, Paradisgatan 5 H, Lund. 
In his presentation on India’s economy after the election, Jørgen Dige Pedersen highlighted the fact that the 2014 general election in India has been highly focused on the economic situation, and on the ability of the main candidates to either revitalize the economy or to ensure a better distribution of the available economic resources. The campaign for the BJP candidate Narendra Modi, in particular, marketed him as a strong leader capable of steering the country towards increasing prosperity. 
Kenneth Bo Nielsen focused on the political development after the elections. Not many political commentators had anticipated the full scope and magnitude of the BJP’s win at the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections. Riding the ‘Modi wave’, the party won a comfortable majority on its own and reduced the fragmented opposition to minnows; Prime Minister Narendra Modi will now lead a solid majority government while the opposition will not even have a formally recognized ‘leader’. But just how historic is the BJP’s win? And what will five years of majority NDA-rule mean for India?
Read more about their presentations at the Lund seminar.
See a youtube recording of the full seminar, shot by Talat Bhat.

• Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences Swedish representative visited SASNET

On 27 May 2014, Emelie Mahanandia von Schedvin visited SASNET’s office in Lund, and met Lars Eklund and Linda Hiltmann. Being the Swedish representative and Programme Manager of the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) in Odisha State, India, Emelie is responsible to build up cooperation with external partners such as universities and other organisations and educational institutions such as SASNET.
KISS, established in 1993, is a sister concern of the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT) University, founded by the social entrepreneur and philanthropist Dr. Achyuta Samanta. KIIT is the backbone of KISS, donating 5% of the total turnover to KISS as a charitable work/social responsibility. This money is used to expand setting up schools in different districts in Odisha. KISS is the largest residential institute for indigenous (tribal) people in the world – a home for 20 000 indigenous children. It works to empower children and youth from the deprived communities through education providing accommodation, food, health care, education from Kindergarten to Post Graduation, vocational training and all other basic amenities of life absolutely free. 
KISS is now recognised as a successful model of indigenous empowerment through education. With 62 tribes represented at KISS, the Institute believes it is important to preserve tribal heritage, culture and values. According to Emelie Mahanandia von Schedvin, Dr Samanta has adopted a holistic model of education – an education system, which keeps intact their cultural tradition. To help the indigenous youths to get sustainable livelihood, KISS has introduced a ‘Earn while you learn’ program by means of which students are trained in various vocations like indigenous paintings, tailoring and food products which are sold through fair trade and a part of the proceeds go back to the students and their families.

• Third SASNET/SASA Fika without borders event focused on Pakistan

The South Asian Student Association at Lund University (SASA) – the student body of SASNET –  organised its third informal Fika Without Borders South Asia event in collaboration with SASNET on Thursday 5 June 2014, 17.00–19.00. The theme country for this month’s event was Pakistan, and the event drew a mixed crowd of Pakistani, Indian, Bangladeshi, Nepalese and other international Lund University students and researchers. Venue: Lund University External Relations (ER) building, Stora Algatan 4, LundSee the poster

 Hafiz Abdul Azeem, Haseeb Tariq, Fatima Tanveer and Zubair Warsi.

Pakistani students and researchers were invited in an informal way to share their knowledge and experience of their country. Presentations were given by Haseeb Tariq, who participated in the Social Innovation in a Digital Context (SIDC) programme at Lund University last year, and now runs a non-profit business promoting Pakistani products; and by Fatima Tanveer, Gender Studies student who introduced the audience on Pakistani popular music from Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s Qawwali to the modern pop scene of recent decades. Hafiz Abdul Azeem, PhD candidate in Analytical Chemistry, sang a few Pakistani songs with a clear voice, and Zubair Warsi from the Urdu Academy in Lund made the evening complete by reciting beautiful Urdu poetry. Besides, the SASA chairperson Hawwa Lubna had prepared a quiz on Pakistan. Along with SASNET deputy director Lars Eklund, she was the host for the evening.
SASA holds these events once a month, and each time the focus is one of the eight South Asian countries, that is the member states of SAARC. The first two Fika Without Borders South Asia events were successfully held on April 16th, with Nepal being the country in focus, and on May 21st with India in focus. More information about the latter.
Fika Without Borders events will again appear during the fall 2014, with focus on the remaining five nations.

• Meeting on NIAS and SASNET technical collaboration
Bernd T Wunsch, Inga-Lill Blomquist, Linda Hiltmann and Lars Eklund at SASNET’s office.

Since 2011, SASNET collaborates with the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) in Copenhagen on web site maintenance and development, both partners using the same technical content management system (CMS) entitled Drupal. The collaboration facilitates exchange of news material and development of new functions.
On 20 May 2014, Inga-Lill Blomkvist, NIAS Librarian & Web coordinator, and Bernd T Wunsch, student assistant at NIAS library and a Drupal expert, visited SASNET’s office in Lund. They met with Lars Eklund and Linda Hiltmann, being in charge of the web portal at SASNET, to discuss joint technical issues, with a clear intention to continue the formal collaboration for the coming year.

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

Research Community News

• Doctoral thesis on Cardiovascular Health among peri-urban Nepalese Community

Abhinav Vaidya from the Institute of Medicine at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg (and the Nordic School of Public Health, Gothenburg), defended his doctoral dissertation entitled ”Perceptions and Practices of Cardiovascular Health: A Population Perspective from a Peri-Urban Nepalese Community” on Tuesday 10 June 2014. The faculty opponent was Professor Mai-Lis Hellénius, Department of Cardiology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm
In his thesis, Vaidya investigated issues of cardiovascular health from a population perspective in Nepal,  Nepal, a low-income South Asian country undergoing epidemiological transition, has limited data and understanding of cardiovascular health issues. Field work has ben done in Jhaukhel and Duwakot, two peri-urban villages near Kathmandu. The thesis clearly demonstrates the current inadequacy of health literacy in Nepal. In addition, gaps exist between cardiovascular health knowledge, attitude, and practice/behavior, even among those already affected. The coupling of high behavioral risk burden with low cardiovascular health literacy implies need for multi-sector health promotional strategies in the country. More information including link to full-text thesis.

• Doctoral dissertation on smoking-susceptible adolescents in Nepal

Umesh Raj Aryal from the Department of Internal Medicine and Clinical Nutrition at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg defends his doctoral dissertation entitled ”Predictors of Smoking Susceptibility among Adolescents: Findings from a Peri-Urban Nepalese Community” on Thursday 12 June 2014, at 09.00. The faculty opponent is Professor John DH Porter, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK. Venue: lecture hall Arvid Carlsson, Sahlgrenska Academy.
smokeIn his thesis, Umesh Raj Aryal aims to establish a health demographic surveillance site and examine psychosocial factors among non-smoking adolescents who demonstrated susceptibility to smoking initiation in Nepal. He has carried out research in Jhaukhel and Duwakot villages, a peri-urban area in the Bhaktapur district of Nepal. The content analysis showed that participants were unaware about short-term health consequences of smoking. Smoking initiation related to socio-environmental factors and participants expressed confidence that they would be able to resist peer pressure and refuse to smoke. The thesis reveals several psychosocial factors that influence smoking-susceptible adolescents. Thus, effective smoking prevention programs must incorporate psychosocial factors that prevent smoking initiation in adolescents. More information, including link to full-text thesis.

• EU-India Workshop on ICT Research and Innovation

On 29 April 2014, the Indian Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) in close cooperation with the Delegation of the European Union to India organised a workshop with high level European and Indian participation. It focussed on opportunities for closer cooperation at industrial and research level, particularly electronics and nano-electronics. Other potentially promising areas could include language technologies, smart cards, cyber-physical systems, high performance computing, cloud computing, internet of things, software, and digital (incl. 3D) heritage preservation. Several Indian institutions presented relevant Information and Communication Technologies, and expressed interest in cooperation with European institutions. For example, the Society for Applied Microelectronics Engineering/SAMEER in Mumbai (and also Chennai and Kolkata) is working on medical electronics for diagnostics (cancer, diabetes, malaria, dengue fever), microwave-based technologies for agro-food products, and environmental monitoring (e.g. a lightning detection system). IIT-Bombay mentioned work on electronics for disease diagnosis or the detection of explosives. The Centre for Development for Advanced Computing (C-DAC) and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) highlighted their work and cooperation interest on High Performance Computing.
The workshop also discusse extensively the possibilities of the new Horizon 2020 programme. Read more...

• Research project on Muslim and Sikh Soldiers in the British Army during World War I
Sikhs in Varanasi Andreas
Kristina Myrvold and Andreas Johansson.

On 2 June 2014, the Crafoord Foundation granted Kristina Myrvold at the Department of Cultural Sciences, Linnaeus University in Växjö/Kalmar SEK 1 m for a research project entiled ”Religion in the Trenches: Miniature Scriptures for Muslim and Sikh Soldiers in the British Army during World War I” for the period 2015-2017. At the outbreak of World War I in 1914, one third of the British forces on the Western front were Indians of the British Indian Army. The purpose of the project is to investigate the importance of religion in the context of war and especially the production, distribution, and use of scriptures and religious artefacts for Muslim and Sikh soldiers from the province of Punjab. In order to maintain military discipline and nurture the soldiers’ religious contentment the Indian soldiers were given editions of the Quran and the Granth Sahib that could easily be carried into the battlefield. The project will map out the organization, interests, and motivations behind the provision of scriptures and other religious artefacts to the Indian soldiers. The project leader is Kristina Myrvold and the grant from the Crafoord Foundation is for a postdoctoral project on Muslim soldiers that will be carried out by Andreas Johanssson, also at Linnaeus University. From a shared theoretical and methodological framework they will conduct archival work in the UK and India.

• Asha Mukherjee guest professor at University of Gothenburg

Professor Asha Mukherjee from the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Visva-Bharati University in Santiniketan, India, will be a guest professor at the Department of Literature, History of Ideas, and Religion (LIR), University of Gothenburg between 22 September and 22 October 2014. During this time she is also invited to the Universities of Uppsala and Lund to give lectures.  More information about Prof. Asha Mukherjee.
During the last years, Prof. Mukherjee has been an active partner in the go:India project at University of Gothenburg (more information). Currently Prof. Mukherjee, Prof. Marzenna Jakubczak from Krakow University, Poland, and Prof. Åke Sander at LIR are in the process of putting together an anthology in the honour of the late Prof. Joseph O’Connell, University of Toronto, Canada. This noted scholar of world religions, specialized in the religions of South Asia, passed away in 2012. His distinguished academic career included teaching appointments at Oxford University, Visva-Bharati University, India, and the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, where he was instrumental in the establishment of its Department of World Religions and Culturel.

• Journal of Studies in History and Culture – Call For Papers

A number of graduate students, researchers and alumni of the Department of Comparative Literature at Jadavpur University in Kolkata and the Department of History, University of Delhi, have founded the Journal of Studies in History and Culture (JSHC). Many from the academia in North America, Europe and South Asia is associated with them in an advisory role.
JSHC) is a peer-reviewed, open-access online journal, supposed to provide a platform for interdisciplinary research to emerging scholars across the world. The journal was born out of the needs to provide a platform for interdisciplinary research to emerging scholars across the world. The objective of JSHC is to fill the lacuna in the field of graduate research given a dearth of independent research by graduate students in India and the absence of funding towards this. The journal hopes to promote originality in interpretation and encourages collaborative work based on primary sources. It also publishes constructive and critical reinterpretations of existing scholarship. Besides seeking high-quality work by graduate students, research scholars and research fellows, it also accepts reviews of recent works of scholarship. The first issue is slated to be published on 30 September 2014. Last date for submission of manuscripts is 20 August. More information on the JSHC web page.

• Norwegian/Australian scholarship offer for research on Indian Cosmopolitan Alternatives

The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Technology Sydney, Australia, announces a doctoral scholarship in the research project ”Indian Cosmopolitan Alternatives: Ritual Intersections and the Proscription of Religious Offense”. The overall purpose of the project is to examine the supposedly cohesive implications of ritual engagement across religious communities as well as of the regulation of expressions that offend religious sentiments. The candidate will be part of an international group of eight researchers exploring these issues in various locations in contemporary India, each researcher undertaking a relevant case study based on independent fieldwork. The successful candidate will work on a discrete but related project based in India and has autonomy in choosing the case study and the field site.
The research project is anchored at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Bergen, and funded by the Research Council of Norway. However, this scholarship is based at the University of Technology Sydney and is for three years (extendable by six months if appropriate). As well as writing a PhD dissertation, the successful candidate is expected to participate in the project workshops and conferences, contribute an article to at least one of the joint project publications, and write occasional op-ed length articles for our planned project website. Applicants for the scholarship must also apply to be admitted to the PhD degree at UTS. Applications are welcome during the perid 1 June – 1 August 2014. More information.

• Lund University develops its collaboration with IIT Guwahati

From 2014, the Human Ecology Division at Lund University is involved in a educational mobility collaboration project (Linnaeus Palme Exchange Programme) with the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati in the state of Assam.
The project builds on already existing research collaboration between the two departments since 2009, led by Pernille Gooch (photo to the left) at Lund University and her counterpart on the Indian side, Assistant Professor Anamika Barua. They are currently engaged in a joint research project on the ”Impact of Climate Change on livelihood in the Indian Eastern Himalaya, funded by SIDA.
Two IIT Guwahati research scholars, PhD candidate Bhupen Mili, and PhD candidate Suparana Katyaini, came to Lund in May 2014 as representatives of IIT in connection with the continued planning of the mobility programme that might include joint courses. On 9 June 2014 they took the opportunity to visit SASNET’s office along with their host, Pernille Gooch, and have discussions with Lars Eklund (photo of Mili and Katyaini with Lars). 
Mr. Mili is working within the field of Development Studies, and has a research interest in Climate change and adaptation. Ms Katyaini is an Economist, previously connected to TERI University in Delhi. Her research interest focuses on policy persepctives regarding Virtual Water Trade for Sustainable Management of Water Resources.
Read more about the Lund University/IIT Guwahati collaboration.

• Oslo University research fellowship on Democracy, Welfare and Development

Oslo UnivThe Faculty of Social Sciences/Department of Political Science at University of Oslo announces a PhD Research Fellowship in Political Science, specialised on Democracy, Welfare and Development – related to an ongoing research project on “Democracy, Welfare and Development: Indian and Scandinavian Experiences"). The appointment is either for a period of three years (with no teaching requirement), or for a period of four years with a 25 per cent teaching requirement. In the Department of Political Science teaching is organized into five sections: Public policy and administration, Comparative politics, Political theory, International politics, and Research methods. Candidates will be part of the Faculty's PhD programme and the work performed will be expected to lead to a PhD in Political Science. Deadline for applications is 1 September 2014. More information.

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

Educational News

• Grant call for Bachelors and Master students enrolled at Lund University

The South Asia Student Association at Lund University (SASA) announces travel grants to two Lund University students in order to make a field study in relation to a Bachelors or Masters thesis in any of the eight South Asian countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan or Sri Lanka. The students must be enrolled at Lund university and their study programme must have a South Asian focus and be carried out during the spring semester 2015. The grant is for a return ticket of maximum 8000 SEK. Deadline for applications is 1 October 2014. Go for the application form.

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

See SASNET’s page,

Seminars and Conferences in Scandinavia

• Lund University seminar on Reframing Oral Traditions in the Western Himalayas

Professor Kirin Narayan from the School of Culture, History and Language at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra lectures at Lund University on Wednesday 11 June 2014, 15.15–17.00. The lecture is entitled ”Collaboration and Imagination: Reframing Oral Traditions in the Western Himalayas”, and is organised by the Dept. of Gender Studies, Lund University. The presentation focuses on the Kangra region in Himachal Pradesh state, where as in much of India songs have been traditionally chorused by groups of female relatives and neighbors to bring good fortune to rituals and celebratory events. Venue for the seminar: Dept. of Gender Studies, Allhelgona kyrkogata 14, hus M.
Kirin Narayan is Professor of Anthropology and South Asian Studies in the School of Culture, History and Language, College of Asia and the Pacific at ANU.  She has come to Sweden on invitation by SASNET as a key note speaker to SASNET’s 2014 Inter-disciplinary research workshop on Culture, Technology and Development, to be held in Falsterbo 13-15 June 2014 (more information).
Seminar abstract: The women who choose to become engaged singers, leading others, describe the practice of singing traditional songs as nurturing and brightening their own lives. Prof. Narayan organizes her paper around a coda in some mythological songs that promises fruits for singing and listening at different stages of life. She reads this coda as a metacommentary on creative expression that intersects with the ways that singers speak about the focused self-cultivation, playful possibility, imaginative space and sociality made possible through shared song. She draws on insights from Kangra to argue for the ways that everyday creativity emerges in activities that might appear routine, and which, in being idiosyncratically and imaginatively appropriated, can enhance well-being. More information.

• Oslo Morgenstierne lecture on Femininity of Rivers in Maharashtra

Professor Anne Feldhaus from Arizona State University, USA, will hold a Morgenstierne lecture at University of Oslo on Thursday 12 June 2014, at 16.15. She will speak about ”Rivers as Women: The Femininity of Rivers in Maharashtra”, focusing on the fact that in the Marathi-language region of India, rivers' names are grammatically feminine; stories show many of them to be liquefied women; offerings made to them are those most appropriately made to a woman; when they are dressed, it is in women's clothes.  In addition, there are a number of different kinds of goddesses in Maharashtra that live in or embody rivers. Why are rivers represented in female form? And what does the femininity of rivers mean to the people who see them this way? The talk will approach an answer to these questions by analyzing the feminine roles that rivers and river divinities are seen as filling and the values they are seen to promote. Venue: Room 10, P.A. Munchs hus, Blindern, Oslo. All are welcome. Read more. 

• Eminent speakers invited for South Asia seminar in Växjö
 Kirin Narayan and Assa Doron.

The Linnaeus University Campus Växjö hosts a half-day conference entitled ”South Asia in Focus” on Thursday 12 June 2014, 13.15–16.00. It is being organised by the university’s Department of Cultural Sciences and the Linnaeus University Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies. Two eminent speakers have been invited, namely Professor Kirin Narayan from the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra, who will talk about ”Making Space: Everyday Creativity and Women’s Sung Mythologies in the Himalayan Foothills”; and Dr. Assa Doron from the same university, who will speak about ”Garbage in God’s Country: Notes on Landfills and Governance in India”. The two have been invited to Sweden as key note speakers to SASNET’s 2014 Inter-disciplinary research workshop on Culture, Technology and Development, to be held in Falsterbo 13-15 June 2014 (more information).
Venue for the Växjö conference: Room Moberg (F330), Universitetsplatsen 1, Växjö. More information.

• 22nd European Association for South Asian Archaeology and Art conference in Stockholm

The European Association for South Asian Archaeology and Art (EASAA) holds its 22nd conference in Stockholm 30 June – 4 July 2014. Conference contributions should draw on current and unpublished research dealing with the archaeology and art history of South Asia, or from neighbouring regions if the topic illuminates issues and problems in South Asian archaeology or art history. The conference will be held in parallel sessions in the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities (Östasiatiska museet) and the neighbouring Museum of Modern Art (Moderna Museet) respectively. More information.

• Umeå University co-organises second Conference on Global Public Health in Colombo

In a joint initiative, Umeå University and the International Centre for Research & Development (ICRD) in Sri Lanka, organizes a second International Conference on Global Public Health (GPH 2014) in Colombo on 3–4 July 2014.
The contact persons are Research Coordinator Raman Preet (photo) at Epidemiology and Global Health/Umeå International School of Public HealthUmeå University, and Prabhath Patabendi at ICRD.
The conference focuses on development agenda at a cross-roads, with education, equality and economy the three pillars as themes that push the global health agenda. Considering the fact that all health professions have stakes in the outcomes of any such deliberation the organisers expect more cross and multi-disciplinary representation than their first conference that was successfully held in December 2012 with delegates from 35 countries, both north and south of globe represented. The GPH conferences are planned and organized by young public health professionals with unconditional support from their eminent seniors. More information about the GPH 2014.

• Danish anthropological course in Trankebar and at the Coromandel coast

The Danish Tranquebar Association organises an anthropological summer course in Tamil Nadu, India, 8 –22 July 2014. The course is led by Dr. Lars Kjærholm, Lecturer at the Department of Anthropology, Århus University. The focus lies on the former Danish trading station Trankebar, but the participants will also visit other places on the Coromandel coast such as Mahabalipuram, Puducherry and Tanjore.
The Tranquebar Association 
was established in 2002 with the objective to strengthen the historical and cultural cooperation between India and Denmark. Work has concentrated on restoring several heritage buildings in Tranquebar, including the old Danish Fort, but also to do relief work after tthe tsunami in 2004.
Even though the summer course is primarily intended for teachers, it is open for any interested person to participate. It includes studies on topics such as Film and Politics in Tamil Nadu; Social and Cultural processes of change in current India; the Dalit struggle for integration; and Co-existence of religious traditions in South India. A preparatory meeting will be held in Copenhagen on Saturday 5 April 2014. More information.

• Information about South Asia related lectures and seminars

Conferences and workshops outside Scandinavia

• London conference on South Asian Screen Cultures in the 21st century

University of Westminster in London will hold a conference entitled “Moving On: South Asian Screen Cultures in a Broader Frame“ 12–14 June 2014. Venue: University of Westminster, 35 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5LS. 
This interdisciplinary conference seeks to explore complex and nuanced screen archaeologies in which the past, the present and the future come together to pose new questions for South Asian Screen Studies in the 21st Century.
Indian Cinema has just celebrated the centenary of the release of Dadasaheb Phalkes Raja Harishchandra. It is now time to assess the ever expanding film archive and its new and rapidly proliferating manifestations.
The conference will particularly focus on the processes of dispersal, fragmentation and regeneration. These could pertain to screen technologies, film form, media artefacts, extra-filmic ephemera, sound objects, personnel, formal and informal markets, and the multilayered routes of screen travel. It is our hope that this conference can offer a venue to think about alternative genealogies, archaeologies, and interconnected archives. "Moving on" is fuelled by a desire to consider the moving image in the broadest context of region and time span. While centred on South Asia, the conference will also be focused on not limiting to screen objects produced in/by/for South Asians. Rather they hope also to engage with transnational and transcultural journeys, institutions and cultural forms. Call for papers to be presented at the conference is open until 26 March 2014. More information. 

• Göttingen workshop on Modern Histories of Indian Business

Center for Modern Indian Studies at the University of Göttingen in Germany is organising a workshop focusing on the theme “Informal and Everyday Markets: Modern Histories of Indian Business and Entrepreneurship since the Nineteenth Century“ from June 18-20, 2014. The workshop aims to explore histories of Indian markets, business and entrepreneurship in the global as well as local context. It focuses on the informal and everyday markets including labor and credit markets  during the nineteenth and twentieth century which are so crucial for Indian business history but are seldom made a focal point of analysis. By inviting scholars to pay special attention to the informality of economic transactions and on the inter-personal characteristics of markets instead of their abstract nature, we hope to shed some light on markets that too often are left as conceptual black boxes and taken for granted. Markets are often described by their institutional set-ups and formal regulations alone, leaving their underpinnings on informal cultural values, social embedment, informal exchanges, traditional everyday interactions, and in some cases even illegal activities unaddressed. Deadline for submission of papers to be presented at the workshop is 15 February 2014. More information.

• Peshawar conference on Change in the Pak-Afghan Borderland

The Department of Political Science at University of Peshawar, Pakistan, and the Hanns Seidel Foundation in Germany jointly organise a conference entiled ‘Dynamics of Change in the Pak-Afghan Borderland: An interplay of Past Legacies, Present Realities and Future Scenarios,’ to be held on June 25-26, 2014 at the Bara Gali Summer Campus of the University of Peshawar, 95 km from Islamabad (between Murree and Abottabad). The organisers invite papers on issues such as Governance Reforms and change in the Pak-Afghan Borderland; Provincial autonomy, devolution and bottom up processes of change; Ethno-nationalism in the region; Militancy, religious extremism and change; and Gender and transformation in the region. Deadline for submitting abstracts is 10 March 2013. Full information about the conference
This is the third in a series of international conferences, the previous were held in November 2011 in Peshawar, June  2013 at Bara Gali. The aim behind these conferences is to probe more deeply processes of change in the Pak-Afghan region. The conference proceedings can be accessed at the Internet. Go for them
• 2014 Conference on the Study of Religions of India (CSRI) at Butler University

The Conference on the Study of Religions of India (CSRI) invites proposals for its upcoming Annual Meeting to be held at Butler University in Indianapolis, USA, on 26 – 29 June 2014. The conference theme is ”Urban and Rural, Real and Imagined.” Proposals are invited that focus on rural and urban environments, including the social, political, natural and/or spiritual ecologies that differentiate them or define their mutual relation. Possible approaches could include explorations of how religious texts, symbols, stories, and practices convey the lifestyles, terrain, desirablity, and/or danger of remote rural or urban settings or of migration and movement between the two. Papers could also investigate the ways in which rural landscapes and lifestyles or cityscapes and urbanization create, challenge, or transform religious ideologies, practices, and traditions. Deadline to submit abstracts is 1 March 2014.
CSRI is a forum of exchange for scholars engaged in the academic study of the religious traditions of India in both native and diasporic contexts. It provides scholars a leisurely, collegial environment in which to present their work. Emphasis will be placed on informality among peers. Committed to critical and creative inquiry, the conference is not an advocacy forum for the religions of India and does not endorse or proscribe a particular point of view. Only scholars with terminal degrees in religious studies or related academic disciplines (like Anthropology, Art, Ethnomusicology, History, Philosophy, Theology, Women Studies) researching and/or teaching in the area of religions of India are eligible to present, attend, and participate in the conference. Graduate students in advanced standing in any of these disciplines are also welcome to participate in the conference. More information.

• Postgraduate Training Programme on Terrestrial/Aquatic Wildlife and Primate Conservation

An International Postgraduate Training Programme on Terrestrial/Aquatic Wildlife and Primate Conservation will be held in Nugegoda, Sri Lanka, 1–21 July 2014. It is organised by the Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Sri Jayewardenepura. The aim is to provide the opportunity to gain an understanding of the biodiversity and to experience the diverse habitats using field excursions, and to provide the participants hands – on experience of practicing ecological sampling technique methods in the field. Deadline for submitting abstracts is 30 April 2014. More information.

• Singapore workshop on Mobilities and Exceptional Spaces in Asia

The National University of Singapore (NUS) is organising a research workshop entitled “Mobilities and Exceptional Spaces in Asia“ 8 – 9 July 2014. Venue: Asia Research Institute (ARI), Seminar Room, Tower Block Level 10 469A Bukit Timah Road, Singapore. This workshop calls for fresh empirical research on a variety of spaces of exception in Asia to shed light on new ways capitalism works socially and culturally under contemporary globalisation. The organisers welcome papers that address issues such as ”What new flows of capital, labour, money, consumer power are created by/in exceptional spaces?”;  ”What roles does gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexuality and other identity markers/social categories play in how exceptional spaces are organised and experienced?”; and ”What historical connections exist between the recent use of exceptional spaces and past phenomena including during the time of colonialism?”.
Sociologists, anthropologists, geographers and scholars from associated disciplines are invited to submit papers pertaining to these or related issues before 13 February 2014. More information.

• Ahmedabad conference on Climate Justice focusing on Farmers

An International Conference on Strengthening Climate Justice Initiatives: Livelihood Challenges at Local Level with a focus on Farmers” will be held in  Ahmedabad, India, on 8–9 November 2014. It is organised by the Institute of Law at Nirma University in Ahmedabad (ILNU), in collaboration with the National Indian Council for Climate Change, Sustainable Development and Public Leadership (NCCSD). Students, research scholars, academicians, policy makers, practitioners, NGOs, regulatory bodies, farmers and various other stakeholders are invited to initiate a dialogue on the conference theme and to critically analyse the contribution of government policies, legal framework, technology and local initiatives to bring Climate Justice against the challenges faced by farmers at local level. Deadline for submitting abstracts is 15 July 2014. More information

• Ethiopia conference on Affordable and Profitable Housing

The Ethiopian Institute of Technology at Mekelle University (EIT-M– in the northern Tigray Regional State of Ethiopia – hosts an international conference on affordable housing entitled The Affordable and the Profitable” on 10–12 November 2014. The conference aims to be more than just an academic exercise instead it is supposed to be a dialogue and a debate among the academia, the state and the private sector on the crucial issue of affordable housing. The focus is on Africa in general and Ethiopia in particular, but the theme may have bearings also for South Asia.

Lawrence Vale, Nabeel Hamdi and Pradip Jyoti Agrawal.

The keynote speakers are Prof. Lawrence Vale, School of Architecture & Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Boston, USA; Prof. Nabeel Hamdi, School of Architecture, Oxford Brookes University, UK; and Pradip Jyoti Agrawal, Advisor/Director, Ambuja Neotia Real Estate Company, Kolkata, India. This is one of the most prominent and respected corporate houses headquartered in Kolkata with its forte in real estate and recent forays into hospitality, healthcare and education. The company has been responsible for landmark projects in and around Kolkata such as Udayan, Kolkata’s first Condoville created around the Public Private Partnership model, City Centre, the mall that went on to re-write several retail rules, Fort Raichak, Kolkata’s first luxury weekend getaway and the pastoral hamlet by the Ganges, Ganga Kutir amongst many others.
The conference is organised by the Department of Architecture and Urban Planning at EIT-M. Among the conveners are Assistant Professor Antarin Chakrabarty, with a background from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, where he defended his doctoral dissertation entitled ”Communicative Planning and Democratic Decentralisation in India – Case of Kolkata City” in 2008.
Deadline for submitting abstracts is 1 July 2014. Full information.

• Delhi workshop on Colonial Northeast India: Local Histories, Regional Cultures, Global Connections

A workshop on ”Colonial Northeast India: Local Histories, Regional Cultures, Global Connections” will be held in Delhi, India 1–2 December 2014. It is jointly organised by the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at University of Melbourne, Australia; University of Delhi, India; and University of Toronto, Canada, with financial support from the University of Melbourne’s International Research & Research Training Fund. It will be held at the Indian International Centre in Delhi.
This workshop proceeds from the proposition that northeast India has been in a perpetual state of being repeatedly marginalised, rediscovered and redefined, and that a contemporary appreciation of its complexities must come from a detailed understanding of its historical antecedents, many of which are rooted in colonial ideologies and practices. Participants are expected to make their own arrangements for travel and accommodation. Deadline for proposals is 30 June 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
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South Asia related culture in Scandinavia

• Indian Sitar maestro performs in Copenhagen

ManojThe eminent Indian Sitar player Partha Bose performs in Copenhagen on Tuesday 17 June 2014, at 18.30. Partha Bose is a much respected artiste in the arena of comtemporary Hindustani Classical Music. He was initiated to the Sitar at the age of six and thereafter underwent intensive training in the tradition of Guru-Shishya parampara under the tutelage of Pandit Monoj Shankar of the famous Maihar Gharana. 
Manoj will be accompanied by Tabla artist Suman Sarkar, who has performed with many leading Indian musicians and has toured Europe several times.
As usual, the concert is organised by Indisk Musikforening in Copenhagen. Venue: Tranquebar Rejseboghandel, Borgergade 14, Copenhagen. More information about the concert.

• Helsinki dance workshop with Isha Sharvani

The Theatre Academy of the University of the Arts in Helsinki, Finland, organises a five days Indian Dance workshop in mid-August 2014. Isha Sharvani, contemporary dancer and actress from India, known for her stylistic aerial dance performances will lead the course, for which there are a few places left for non-Theatre Academy students. Deadline for enrollment is 15 June 2014. Sharwani has also starred in some Bollywood and other Indian films (more information about her). After the course, running 18–22 August, she will participate herself in the instruction of the dance programme at Theatre Academy for 2-3 weeks.
Over the five days of the workshop the participants willbe given a broad spectrum view of Indian culture and dance, beginning with the classical form of Kathak, followed by Indian contemporary based in Daksha Sheth’s technique, and popular Bollywood dance. More information.

• Himal Southasian most well-informed of events in the region

Himal Southasian is among South Asia’s premier review magazines of politics and culture. Published from Kathmandu, it has for long been a must read for scholars, researchers and students of South Asian history and geopolitics, as well as those wishing to be kept well-informed of events in the region. Since 2013, Himal is published in book format, offering a richer variety of reading and scholarship by journalists, scholars and writers such as Romilla Thapar, Meenakshi Mukherjee, Gopal Gandhi, Anand Teltumbde, Vijay Prashad, M V Ramana, Taran N Khan, Madhusree Mukherjee, and many others.
The latest issue, No. 1/2014, is entitled ”Reclaiming Afghanistan”, and includes an article by Alex Strick van Linschoten on Taliban literature; and renowned photojournalist Steve McCurry’s portraits of Afghan children capturing the complexity of the country’s future. Another high-quality issue of Himal. SASNET recommends you to subscribe for the magazine. More information

• Highly talented dance performance by Shivapriya Bagchi at Sagohuset in Lund

The Lund based Association of Indo-Swedish Cultural Exchange organised a performance with professional Bharata Natyam dancer Shivapriya Bagchi from Kolkata at Theatre Sagohuset in Lund on Saturday 24 May 2014.
A full house audience warmly appreciated the talented dance show, that was the only one during her current Sweden tour. Shivapriya is trained in this classical Indian temple dance, with themes from Indian mythology related to Shiva, Krishna and other Hindu gods, but has also made her own choreography to music by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. She has been to Sweden four times before
See the concert poster. Read more about Shivapriya Bagchi and her dance.
See one of her dances.

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

New and updated items on SASNET web site

• Swedish departments where research on South Asia is going on

Constantly added to the list of research environments at Swedish universities, presented by SASNET. The full list now includes more than 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 in charge of Communication
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, Box 114, SE-221 00 Lund, Sweden 
Visiting address: Paradisgatan 5 G (first floor, room no. 201), in the premises of the Department of Sociology, Lund University.
Phone: + 46 46 222 73 40 
Web site:

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