Newsletter 164 – 16 July 2014


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

SASNET successfully organised 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 presented their papers in this workshop bridging the gap between Nordic researchers in various disciplines working on South Asia. The workshop was co-organized by the Nordic Centre in India (NCI) university consortium, and the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) in Copenhagen, and was 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. 
Three eminent South Asia researchers gave keynote speeches at the workshop, namely Prof. Kirin Narayan and Dr. Assa Doron, both from the Australian National University (ANU) (photo to the right); and Prof. Ursula Rao, Director of the Institute of Anthropology at University of Leipzig, Germany. 
A clear goal of the workshop discussions was 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 were accepted participated in the worskhop. Full information about the 2014 Falsterbo conference.

Brijesh Mainali, M S Umesh Babu, Hindol Sengupta and Ask Greve Jørgensen. Moumita Sen and Guro W. Samuelsen.

• 23rd European Conference on South Asian Studies to be held in Zurich

The 23rd European Conference on South Asian Studies (ECSAS) will take place 23 – 26 July 2014 at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. It consists of 51 panels, focusing on diverse issues ranging from ”Video varieté: the cultures and forms of new visual media in South Asia”, to ”'Mafia(s)' and politics in South Asia” (convened by Prof. Arild Engelsen Ruud, Oslo University), ”Understanding rural Pakistan: the political economy of power and agrarian relations”, ”Conspiracy, terrorism and counterterrorism in late colonial India (c.1900-1947)”, ”Lost in transition? Negotiating power, legitimacy and authority in post-war Nepal and Sri Lanka”, and ”India in the eyes of the others: world perspectives on India's global role”.
Other conveners from Scandinavia are Prof. Gunnel Cederlöf, Uppsala University (panel on ”Subjects, citizens, and legal rights in colonial and postcolonial India”); Dr. Alf Gunvald Nilsen, University of Bergen (panel on ”Inequality, subalternity and capitalist development in contemporary South Asia”; and Prof. Heinz Werner Wessler (panel on ”Jews and Judaism in South Asia: cultural encounters and social transformations”. Go for the full list of convenors and panels.
SASNET will be represented at the conferece by Lars Eklund, Olle Frödin and Hawwa Lubna. Lubna is also representing the South Asian Students Association at Lund University.

The ECSAS has met regularly since 1968, and has provided an important opportunity to discuss current research and scholarship on topics relating to South Asia within the humanities and social sciences. The 2004 conference was organised by SASNET in Lund, see conference page.
The ECSAS conferences now operate under the auspices of the European Association for South Asian Studies (EASAS), a charitable, academic association engaged in the support of research and teaching concerning South Asia with regard to all periods and fields of study. The hosts for the 23rd ECSAS are the Department of Geography and the University Research Priority Program (URPP) Asia and Europe, both at the University of Zurich. Conference convenors are Prof. Dr. Ulrike Müller-Böker, Department of Geography, University of Zurich (CH); and Prof. Dr. Angelika Malinar, Department of Indology; Academic Director University Research Priority Program Asia and Europe, University of Zurich (CH). Full information about the 2014 EASAS conference.

• Five SASA/SASNET Fika without borders events scheduled for the fall 2014

The South Asian Student Association at Lund University (SASA) – the student body of SASNET –  organises a series of informal Fika Without Borders South Asia events in collaboration with SASNET. SASA holds these events once a month, and each time the focus is one of the eight South Asian countries, that are the member states of SAARC. The first three Fika Without Borders South Asia events were successfully held on April 16th, with Nepal being the country in focus, on May 21st with India in focus, and on June 5th with Pakistan in focus.
• More information a
bout the Nepal event.  • More information about the India event• More information about the Pakistan event.
Five countries remain, and therefore another five Fika Without Borders events will appear during the fall 2014. They will all be held at the same venue, the ground floor at Lund University External Relations (ER) building, Stora Algatan 4, Lund (entrance from parking lot to the left of the building).
The events always draw a mixed crowd of Pakistani, Indian, Bangladeshi, Nepalese and other international Lund University students and researchers, and each time a number of students and researchers from the country in focus are invited to share their knowledge and experience of their country in an informal way. The programme also includes cultural performances and food. All are welcome.
The schedule for the fall 2014:

– Tuesday 26 August 2014, 17-19; Maldives

– Tuesday 23 September 2014, 17-19Sri Lanka
– Friday 10 October 2014, 17-19Afghanistan
– Tuesday 28 October 2014, 17-19Bhutan
– Tuesday 18 November 2014, 17-19Bangladesh

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

Research Community News

• Swedish support for strengthening research, policy and practice in developing countries

The Research, Higher Education, Development and Innovation – RHEDI – project kicked off from 18-23 May 2014 in Durban, South Africa. This is a global initiative aimed at strengthening research, policy and practice in these key sectors in developing countries. RHEDI builds on 15 years of intensive foundational work dating back to the formation of the UNESCO Forum on Higher Education, Research and Knowledge in 1998. After being based at the OECD and known as IHERD – Innovation, Higher Education and Research for Development – for a couple of years, the project (re-named RHEDI) was adopted in 2013 by the South African based educational non-profit SANTRUST. Funding for all iterations of the project has come from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, or SIDA. Academic partners include the universities of Melbourne in Australia and Lund in Sweden.Full information about RHEDI.
“This initiative is exciting because it has the potential to bring new opportunities for collaborative research that ensures national relevance in the context of an ongoing debate and interaction with those at the forefront of the discussion and design of policies and strategies for research and innovation,” says RHEDI Programme Director Åsa Olsson (photo).

The RHEDI programme has now launched an online community site in partnership with University World News, the media partner of RHEDI. The RHEDI community promotes discussions on the implications of the significant changes that have been observed in knowledge production over the last decades. The network is important for low- and middle-income countries because it connects a new generation of researchers, research leaders, regulators and policy-makers from these countries to the international community.

• STINT introduces two new internationalization programmes

Since the early 1990s, STINT – the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education (in Swedish: Stiftelsen för internationalisering av högre utbildning och forskning) – has supported the internationalisation of Swedish research and higher education, and encouraged participation in its programmes, that include an Institutional Grants (IG) programme supporting new international collaborations in research and higher education within all disciplines and all countries in the world; and Initiation Grants for the implementation of short-term projects targeting the building of new and strategically interesting international relationships. More information.
STINT has now announced a new strategy for the academic year 2014/15, focusing even stronger on international collaboration, and also on young researchers. Two new fundng programmes are being introduced in the fall 2014, one for Postdoctoral Transition Grants; and one for Double Degree Programme grants
The aim of the Postdoctoral Transition Grants for Internationalisation programme is to support promising young researchers in Sweden after a postdoc period of at least one year abroad in order to maintain and further develop their international network early in their careers. Applications will be assessed by experts, focusing on how the proposed international partnership fulfils the following three criteria: 1) contribution to the educational establishments’ internationalisation, 2) scientific quality and novelty and 3) planning and support. Deadline will be 1 October 2014. More information.
Double degree programme grants will help Swedish unversities to recruit international students. The programme will increase the quality of education in higher education by stimulating the development of new and creative forms of international educational collaborations. Although the focus of this programme is on the undergraduate and graduate level, collaborations on doctoral level are also possible. Applicants must be employed at a Swedish university and have obtained their PhD. Main partners must be outside the European Union. The programme will announced for the first time in late 2014, with decisions during the winter of 2014-2015. More information.

• Doctoral dissertation on Mining, Displacement and Conflict in Maoist India

Jason Miklian from the Department of International Environment and Development Studies at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (Noragric) in Ås, Norway, defended his doctoral dissertation entitled ”Mining, Displacement and Conflict in Maoist India” on Friday 27 June 2014. Miklian's dissertation is a multi-methods thesis which presents the hypothesis that revolutionary conflicts in federal democracies have unique characteristics that are distinguishable from other types of civil wars. The evaluation committee consisted of Prof. Stephen Cohen, Brookings Institution, Washington DC, USA; Dr. Dibyesh Anand, Department of Politics and IR, University of Westminister, UK; and Prof. Nadarajah Shanmugaratnam, Noragric. It should also be mentioned that one of his external supervisors has been Dr. Priyankar Upadhyaya at Benaras Hindu University in Varanasi, India. Go for the abstract of the thesis.
The dissertation was preceded by a trial lecture entitled ”Large-scale land acquisitions, displacement and conflict – the Indian mining industry in a global perspective”. Venue: Noragric, Auditorium at Bioforsk. 

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

Educational News

• Travel 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. This includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. More information about SASA.
The application is open for students enrolled at Lund university at a fulltime study programme, preferrebly that includes a South Asian focus. The purpose of this travel grant is to give the students opportunity to visit South Asian countries to carry out their fieldwork and directly engage with the local actors to achieve more objective and thorough results. Furthermore, SASNET will provide assistance with connections and resources needed to complete student's fieldwork. 
The travel grant will be awarded to two students, one from Bachelors and one from Masters level. The grant is for a return ticket of maximum 8,000 SEK. The fieldwork must be carried out during the spring semester 2015. Deadline for applications is 1 October 2014. Go for the application form (as a pdf file). Go for the application form (as a word file).

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

See SASNET’s page,

Seminars and Conferences in Scandinavia

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

The European Association for South Asian Archaeology and Art (EASAA) held its 22nd conference in Stockholm 30 June – 4 July 2014. Conference contributions drew on current and unpublished research dealing with the archaeology and art history of South Asia, or from neighbouring regions if the topic illuminated issues and problems in South Asian archaeology or art history. Professor emerita Romila Thapar (photo) held the keynote lecture entitled ”Representing the Past: Early India”.
The conference was held in parallel sessions in the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities (Östasiatiska museet) and the neighbouring Museum of Modern Art (Moderna Museet) respectively. The convener was Dr. Eva Myrdal, Head of Research and Documentation at the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities.  See the full programme for the 22nd EASAA conference.

• South Asia contributions to 27th Nordic Sociology conference in Lund

The Nordic Sociological Association will hold it’s 27th conference in Lund on 14–16 August 2014. The conference, entitled ”Exploring Blind Spots”, is organized and hosted by the Department of Sociology at Lund University. It will focus on the present age of accelerating and transforming social change, and one plenary session is dedicated to the theme ”Asian Encounters – Exposing or Creating Blind Spots?”, including papers dealing with South Asia. The deadline for submitting abstracts to the conference has been extended till Monday 28 April. Full information about the conference.

SASNET is partly involved in the conference planning through the invitation of one of the eminent international plenary speakers, Professor Ravinder Kaur (photo to the left) from the Department of Humanities and Social Science at Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IITD). Her recent publications have dealt with the issues of Marrying in South Asia: Shifting Concepts, Changing Practices in a Globalising World; and Son Preference, Fertility Decline and the Future of the Sex Ratio at Birth.

The keynote speakers at the conference include Guy Standing from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, UK. He is a Professor of Development Studies, co-founder of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN), and author of several books, including The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class(2011) and Work After Globalization: Building Occupational Citizenship (2009). He is a famous advocate of the unconditional basic income and deliberative democracy. From 1975 to 2006 he worked at the International Labour Organization as a researcher on insecurity and flexibility of Labour, and he is known for having created the Decent Work Index. In recent years, Prof. Standing has been working with SEWA, the Indian Self-Employed Women’s Association, to investigate the effect of unconditional cash transfers on India’s rural villages photo above. A survey was made of rural and urban households in the state of Gujarat, focusing on an experimental concept of “social income” and economic insecurity. A book on the survey results was published in 2010 (Guy Standing, Jeemol Unni, Renana Jhabvala and Uma Rani, Social Income and Insecurity: A Study in Gujarat, New Delhi, Routledge).
The Nordic Sociological Association (NSA) organizes a Nordic Sociological Conference every second or third year. The responsibility rotates between the National Sociological Associations in the Nordic countries. In 2002 it was held in Reykjavik (Iceland), in 2004 Malmö (Sweden), in 2006 Åbo/Turku (Finland), in 2008 Aarhus (Denmark), in 2011 Oslo (Norway) and in 2012 it was again in Reykjavik (Iceland). The local organizing committee for the 2014 Lund conference is chaired by Professor Christofer Edling, who also happens to be the NSA President.

• Information about South Asia related lectures and seminars

Conferences and workshops outside Scandinavia

• Young South Asia Scholars Meet Workshop in Zurich

The fourth annual Young South Asia Scholars Meet (Y-SASM) Workshop will be held 21–22 July 2014. It is scheduled right before the European Conference on South Asian Studies (ECSAS) that takes place in Zurich from 23 to 26 July 2014 (more information). The theme for the 2014 Y-SASM Workshop, to be hosted by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, will be ”Rethinking Inequality in South Asia”. The workshop is organized jointly by the chair for the History of the Modern World (GMW) at ETH and the Centre for Modern Indian Studies (CeMIS), University of Göttingen. The keynote speaker is Charu Gupta from University of Delhi, who will speak about ”Intimate and Embodied Desires: Dalit Women and Religious Conversions in India”. The Y-SASM workshops have the declared aim of providing young scholars working on South Asia with a platform for presenting their own research and interacting with scholars from various disciplines. Thereby, it offers an opportunity to establish research networks across the German-speaking region and beyond. More information.

• Zurich Workshop on Mediatizing South Asian Indigeneity

A workshop on ”'Tribes' on Screen – Mediatizing South Asian Indigeneity” will be held on 22 July 2014 at the Ethnographic Museum of the University of Zurich in Switzerland. It is being convened by Erik de Maaker, Dept. of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology, Leiden University, Netherlands; and Markus Schleiter, Frobenius Institute at Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany. The workshop will discuss the concept of ‘indigeneity’, a disputed concept in South Asia. On the one hand, the term is associated with administrative labels such as ‘tribe’ (India), ‘upojati’ (Bangladesh) or ‘qaum’ (Pakistan), which can – notably in India – translate into significant advantages. On the other hand, the term ‘indigenous’ often seems to serve as a replacement or synonym for earlier notions such as ‘primitive’ or ‘backward’. More information.

• Third Annual Kathmandu Conference on Nepal and the Himalaya

The Third Annual Kathmandu Conference on Nepal and the Himalaya will be held in Kathmandu 23–25 July 2014. It is being jointly organised by Social Science Baha; the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies; and the Britain-Nepal Academic Council. Papers deal with any aspect of life in Nepal and the Himalaya from a social science perspective. Keynote Presentations are given by Michael Hutt on ‘Five Nepali Novels’; and by Mahendra Lawoti on ‘Democracy in Trouble? Political Elite’s Attitude and Behaviour and Regime Stability in Nepal’Full 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 was 9 January 2014. More information.

• ICAS 9 to be hosted by three Adelaide universities

The ninth International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS 9) will be held in Adelaide, Australia, 5–9 July 2015. It will be hosted by an internationally networked team of experts, spearheaded by Adelaide’s three leading public universities: University of Adelaide, Flinders University, and the University of South Australia. 1,500 to 2,500 Asia specialists are expected to attend. A Call for Proposals has been published, with a deadline set for 10 September 2014, which is also the deadline for submitting individual abstracts, and book and dissertation presentations. Full information about ICAS 9.
is the premier international gathering in the field of Asian Studies. It attracts participants from over 60 countries to engage in global dialogues on Asia that transcend boundaries between academic disciplines and geographic areas. Since 1997, ICAS has brought more than 17,000 academics together at eight conventions.

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

Business and Politics

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

South Asia related culture in Scandinavia

• Indian Dalit art exhibition in Upplands Väsby

An art exhibition entitled ”Voice for the Voiceless” will be held at Väsby konsthall, outside Stockholm, 30 August – 21 September 2014. Works by three eminent artists with a Indian Dalit background –  Savi Sawarkar, Preetam Casimir and P.K. Mahanandia (the latter living in Sweden since many years) will be on display, along with works by another Indian artist, Swetapadma, showing ”Tribal Art”, traditional paiting often made by Dalits. The exhibition also includes paintings by Finnish-Swedish artist Sarianna Kranz, focusing on Dalit women in her art. On top of this, Danish photographer Jacob Carlsen also participates with a series of photos depicting the life situation of Dalits in India, especially the vulnerabiity they are still encountering in society.
The exhibition gives expression to these problems, but also the growing pride within the Dalit community (previously called untouchables) for their own distinct culture and its manifestations in literature and art. The exhibition will be inaugurated on Saturday 30 August 2014, 11–17. Dr. 
Eva-Maria Hardtmann from the Dept. of Social Anthropology, Stockholm Unversity, will hold an inaugural speech, and then will follow a dance performance by Sanaya Singh. Venue: Väsby Konsthall, Optimusvägen 12, Upplands Väsby. The exibition is co-organised by the Dalit Solidarity Network Sweden. More information.

• 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.

Have a nice summer

  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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