Newsletter 165 – 21 August 2014


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• Read reports from successful 23rd European Conference on South Asian Studies in Zurich

The 23rd European Conference on South Asian Studies (ECSAS) was successfully held 23 – 26 July 2014 at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. It consisted 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”. 
The hosts for the 23rd ECSAS were the Department of Geography and the University Research Priority Program (URPP) Asia and Europe, both at the University of Zurich, operating under the auspices of the European Association for South Asian Studies (EASAS)Full information about the 2014 ECSAS conference.
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. SASNET was represented at the 2014 conference in Zurich by Lars Eklund and Hawwa Lubna. Read more in the SASNET report.
Read also Lars Eklund’s detailed personal report from the four-day conference.

• 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); 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 workshop. 
More information about the 2014 Falsterbo conference, including session reports.

• Fourth SASNET/SASA Fika without borders event focuses on Maldives

The South Asian Student Association at Lund University (SASA) – the student body of SASNET –  organises its fourth informal Fika Without Borders South Asia event in collaboration with SASNET on Tuesday 26 August 2014, 17.00–19.00. The theme country for this month’s event is Maldives. Venue: Lund University External Relations (ER) building, Stora Algatan 4, Lund (entrance from parking lot on the left side of the building)See the poster.
Maldives consists of 1200 low lying coral islands and it is the smallest nation in South Asia with a population of approximately 350,000 people. It is also the sixth smallest country in the world in terms of land mass. Maldives is mostly known for its white beaches and azure waters, making it one of the most famous luxury tourist destinations in the world. In recent years, the Indian Ocean islands have also gained huge global attention for its efforts to fight against climate change and rising sea level. The international focus is also shifting towards the political instability, rising religious fundamentalism, human trafficking and gender issues in Maldives. 

 Ushau Mohammed, Nils Finn Munch Petersen and Hawwa Lubna.

The Maldivian fika will bring together local voices from Maldives, including Ushau Mohamed, COO at Commerce, Development and Environment (CDE) consulting firm in Maldives. His talk will focus on the contermporary socio-economic challenges in Maldives, and share advice on how foreign students, researchers and organisations can support the country's development. Nils Finn Munch Petersen, a Danish anthropologist who researched in Maldives for several years will also join the gathering. He will give a short presentation on the atoll island cultures, contrasting his field experiences in Maldives and other island societies. SASA's Chairperson Hawwa Lubna, who is also from Maldives will give a short presentation on press freedom in Maldives, and share her experience working as a reporter at Minivan News and other publications in Maldives. The programme will also include some Maldivian special tuna dishes and traditional music. 

SASNET encourages new students from South Asia and other countries to visit the fika to socialise and network with current students, and learn about the activities of SASNET and South Asiant Student Assocation. 
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 three Fika Without Borders South Asia events were successfully held on April 16th, with Nepal being the country in focus, May 21st with India in focus, and June 5th on Pakistan.
• More information about the Nepal event.  • More information about the India event• More information about the Pakistan event.
Another four Fika Without Borders events will appear during the fall 2014. – 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. 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. 

• TISS Programme Coordinator scholarship holder to Lund University

On 20 August 2014, Jennifer Mujawar, Programme Coordinator at the International Students Office, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in Mumbai, India, visited SASNET’s office in Lund. She was accompanied by Henrik Hofvendahl, Program Officier at the Strategic Partnerships and Networks, Division of External Relations, Lund University (photo together), and they met Lars Eklund, Anna Lindberg and Linda Hiltmann from SASNET.

Ms. Mujawar is staying for a month at Lund University as a scholarship holder through the EMINTE (Erasmus Mundus INdia To Europe) Scholarship Programme, one of the Erasmus Mundus Action 2 Partnership programmes decided upon by the European Commission’s Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) in July 2013 (read more about the EMINTE programme).
EMINTE is a consortium consisting of 20 universities, 10 European and 10 Indian, and being coordinated by Lund University. The European partners include Uppsala University, and SASNET is an Associate partner. The mobility programme is now running, and altogether 10 scholarship holders are coming from India to Lund during the academic year 2014/15 (two each for masters programmes, PhD programmes and postdoc fellowships, plus four academic staff).
Before joining her work at the TISS International Students Office, Jennifer Mujawar was a Research Assistant at the Centre for Women’s Studies. Her research interests are Gender and Sexuality, Women and governance, Women in Media, and Violence against women. She is pursuing a PhD on inter-caste and inter-religious love marriages in India (something which still only amounts to 6-7 % of all marriages in India).

• Ravinder Kaur lectured at 27th Nordic Sociology conference in Lund

The Nordic Sociological Association held it’s 27th conference in Lund on 14–16 August 2014. The conference, entitled ”Exploring Blind Spots”, was organized and hosted by the Department of Sociology at Lund University. It focused on the present age of accelerating and transforming social change, and one plenary session was dedicated to the theme ”Asian Encounters – Exposing or Creating Blind Spots?”, including papers dealing with South Asia. SASNET was partly involved in the conference planning through the invitation of one of the eminent international plenary speakers, Professor Ravinder Kaur (photo to the right) 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, includingThe 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).  Full information about the conference.

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

Research Community News

• New Council leads the European Association for South Asian Studies

The European Association for South Asian Studies (EASAS) has got a new council for the coming two years. Elections were held during the 23rd European Conference on South Asian Studies in Zurich, Switzerland, 23-26 July 2014. New President is Professor Martin Gaenszle from the Department of South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies, University of Vienna, Austria; incoming Vice-President is Professor Alessandra Consolaro from Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici at Università degli Studi di Torino, Italy; and the third and final office bearer, the new Treasurer, is Lars Eklund from SASNET/Lund University, Sweden, at your service. Photo of the office bearers to the right.
The outgoing office bearers – Roger Jeffery, University of Edinburgh, UK; Margret Frenz, Oxford University, UK; and 
Heinz Werner Wessler, Uppsala University, Sweden – remain as council members, along with Danuta Stasik, University of Warsaw, Poland; Samiksha Sehrawat, Newcastle University, UK; Kunal Sen, University of Manchester, UK; Nicolas Jaoul, CEIAS Paris, France; Martin Fuchs, Universität Erfurt, Germany; and Rosa Maria Perez, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE -IUL), Portugal.
The main role of the EASAS board is to support the planning of the biannual European conferences by the host university selected (the July 2016 conference will be organised in Poland by the University of Warsaw), but it also supports other initiatives regarding South Asian academic studies in Europe, for example by providing funding for workshops, and organising PhD workshops. For its administration, EASAS keeps a small office in Bonn, Germany. This is managed by Dr. Anne Schnellen. More information on EASAS web page.

• Swedish Right Livelihood Award Foundation opens College Campus in Mumbai

On 20 May 2014, the Right Livelihood Award Foundation in Stockholm announced Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in Mumbai, India, as the seventh Campus of the Right Livelihood College, and the first in South Asia. The Right Livelihood College (RLC) Campus at TISS will be hosted by the Centre for Livelihoods and Social Innovation (chaired by Dr. Swati Bannerjee) at the School of Social Work in TISS. It will provide a learning-cum-innovation platform to create synergies between the Centre's research, teaching, policy engagement and praxis with the work of the “Alternative Nobel Prize” Laureates in the fields of livelihoods, social innovation, social justice, rights and empowerment.
This will be taken forward through the research initiatives of the post graduate students of the M.A programme in Social Work in Livelihoods and Social Entrepreneurship, public lectures by the Right Livelihood Laureates at TISS and the '”Right Livelihood Scholar in Residency Program”, which will see Laureates teach and interact with TISS students and faculty for a period of one to four weeks.
Anwar Fazal, Director of the Right Livelihood College and 1982 Right Livelihood Laureate, says: “This is a great move forward for the Right Livelihood College. TISS is an outstanding institution with an excellent reputation in the region and globally, and it will be a befitting ‘home’ for our 19 Right Livelihood Laureates based in South Asia. We look forward to exciting synergies and research projects to emerge from the interaction of the Laureates with TISS researchers and students.”
The Right Livelihood College was founded in January 2009. It is a capacity building initiative of the Right Livelihood Award Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden, which awards annually the so-called “Alternative Nobel Prize”. The RLC aims to make the knowledge and experience of the Right Livelihood Laureates accessible to all. The existing campuses also include Lund University Center for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS) at Lund University. More information.

• Meagre results from efforts to increase research collaboration with India

In spite of ambitious efforts and huge investments to develop academic collaboration betwen a major Norwegian university, The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, and Indian universities, not much has actually materialised. In 2011, NTNU – Norway’s primary institution for educating the nation's future engineers and scientists – organised a nine-day Indian Festival in Trondheim, including conferences, seminars, workshops and cultural events. It was a direct response to the Norwegian government’s new strategy for strenghtening collaboration with India, that put special emphasis on research collaboration. In February the same year a delegation of 40 NTNU staff, researchers, and students travelled to India. Research groups within strategic areas such as maritime research, energy, health, ICT, and architecture were included, as well as the Trondheim symphony orchestra. Altogether they visited 30 educational and research institutions in India, and several MoUs were signed.

Three years later, the Norwegian university newspaper (Universitetsavisa) reports on the meagre result of the investments made. Tone Woie Alstadheim (photo), senior advisor to the NTNU Vice Chancellor in charge of the university’s international collaboration, says that the outcome of the efforts have been rather small. She puts the blame on the lack of funding for India related projects from the Norwegian funding agencies.
– I have a feeling that India is not prioritized. There is definitely an interest for collaboration with Indian research institutions, but there is a limit what you can realize without money. 
The limited results from the 2011 efforts has also led to a certain weariness among researchers towards new collaborative initiatives. Read more in the Universitsavisa article (in Norwegian only).
• Appointment of new ICHR chairman forebodes rewriting of Indian history?

In the end of June 2014, the Government of India appointed Yellapragada Sudershan Rao as new Chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR). This is India’s premier body that funds historical research, and critical voices have raised warnings that the appointment of Rao is the first attempt by the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government to rewrite the country’s history.
Sudershan Rao is a long-time believer of the Sangh Parivar’s Hindutva agenda and a professor of history at Kakatiya University in Warangal, Telangana. His appointment has been resented by professional historians who see it as a step to Hinduise history writing. During the NDA’s term in government at the Centre during 1999-2004, its Human Resource Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi had initiated far-reaching changes in history writing by appointing historians associated with the Sangh Parivar in various institutions, censoring significant scientific historical projects such as “Towards Freedom”, and commissioning a complete overhaul of history textbooks in schools.
The history rewriting project has been an integral part of the Sangh Parivar’s agenda for many years now as Hindutva activists believe that Indian history writing is greatly influenced by Marxists and “pseudo-secularists” who present a Eurocentric and colonial view of India. Joshi attempted to rework history to provide a “true perspective of Indian history”. Instead of trying to interrogate the evolution of the subcontinent’s society and economy in the last many centuries through textual, archaeological, and other accepted tools of social sciences, the Sangh-affiliated historians have viewed history through the prism of Hindutva. Professional historians affiliated to premier Indian universities have, time and again, proved that the Sangh Parivar’s history-writing project is marked by a tremendous lack of time-tested historical methodologies and, often, gross factual inaccuracies. More importantly, Sangh-affiliated historians have tried to further give simplistic, folklore-based explanations for significant periods of history and dismissed any complex interpretation and inquiry. Read more in artcle by Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta in Frontline, 22 August issue.

• New Director for Stockholm International Peace Research Institute

On Thursday 21 August 2014, the Swedish Government appointed Ambassador Sven-Olof Petersson as new Chairman of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Mr Petersson's previous positions include Director of the Ministers Office and Director-General for Political Affairs at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. He has served at the embassies in Algiers, Beirut, Dar es Salaam, Strasbourg and Washington DC, and been Head of the Permanent Representation of Sweden to the European Union. Most recently he served as Ambassador in Canberra, Australia.
SIPRI is a leading peace and conflict research institution. The Institute, an independent foundation established in 1966, conducts studies and scientific research on matters concerning international peace and conflict management. SIPRI publishes a great many reports and papers, including the SIPRI Yearbook on armaments, disarmament and international security. More information about SIPRI.

• SAI invites applications for Political Science South Asia professorship

The South Asia Institute of Heidelberg University in Germany invites applications for a position ranked as a Full Professorship (W3) in ”Political Science South Asia“ to be filled by October 2015. The succesful candidate will succeed Professor Subrata K. Mitra, who now retires. The candidate is expected to cover the complete spectrum of the discipline in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, and have research and teaching experience with a clear focus on the region of South Asia. He/she should also have a research expertise in at least one of the following fields: comparative politics, international relations, or democracy and party system analysis. Knowledge of a South Asian language is advantageous. Besides, the candidate would be expected to participate in inter‐departmental research projects and to collaborate with other departments at the South Asia Institute as well as with the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies. The application deadline is 30 September 2014. Full information.

• Two PhD scholarships for dissertation projects related to Buddhism in Munich

The Doctoral Program in Buddhist Studies at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, Germany invites applications for two PhD scholarships for dissertation projects related to Buddhism. Deadline for applications is 15 September 2014, and the start of scholarship will be Spring semester 2015 or later. Duration of scholarship is 3 or 4 years, the scholarship donor is German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). The selection process comprises two stages: Applications are sent to the Doctoral Program in Buddhist Studies in Munich. The program will select promising candidates, who then have to submit their materials to the DAAD. Subsequently, an election committee chosen by the DAAD decides upon the successful candidates. It is expected that the successful candidates will be chosen and informed by February or March 2015.  The prerequisites for application are non-German citizenship (foreign applicants should not have lived in Germany for more than fifteen months at the time of their application), a Master of Arts or Magister Artium degree or equivalent, excellent knowledge of at least one Buddhist source language, outstanding qualifications in the subject, and fluency in English. More information.

• Critical Asian Studies seeks Editor to succeed Tom Fenton

Critical Asian Studies seeks to fill the position of Editor beginning with Volume 47 (2015), succeeding Tom Fenton, who will be stepping down as editor of Critical Asian Studies at the end of 2015. The position will be half-time with flexible hours and in the Editor's home or institutional office. Compensation will be based on experience. Following a one-year transition period, the appointment will be open-ended subject to annual performance reviews.
Critical Asian Studies (formerly the Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars) is a peer-reviewed quarterly journal that since 1967 has published unsolicited and solicited articles, essays, reviews, translations, interviews, photo essays, and letters about Asia and the Pacific, including analyses that transcend national borders, that focus on relations of power and domination in the Asia-Pacific region, and that examine the fractures that divide Asian societies. In so doing, the journal frequently challenges accepted formulas for understanding the Asia and Pacific regions, the world, and ourselves. Published now by Routledge Journals, part of the Taylor & Francis Group, Critical Asian Studies remains true to the mission articulated at its founding "to develop a humane and knowledgeable understanding of Asian societies and their efforts to maintain cultural integrity and to confront such problems as poverty, oppression, and imperialism." 
The start date is a
 period of transition in fall 2015, with assumption of full responsibilities as of 1 January 2016. Submissions will be accepted on a rolling basis. Review of applications will begin September 1, 2014. More information.

• 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).

• Educational news connected to South Asian studies all over the World

See SASNET’s page,

Seminars and Conferences in Scandinavia

• Oslo workshop on Politics and Development in India

 Pradeep Chhibber.

The Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) organised a workshop on ”Politics and Development in India – What is the connection?” on Wednesday 20 August 2014, 10.30–18.00. It was chaired by Stein Sundstøl Eriksen and Francesca Refsum Jensenius from NUPI and Pradeep Chhibber from University of California Berkeley. NUPI, C.J. Hambros plass 2D, 6th floor, seminar room Holst.
Development is one of the central themes in Indian politics. Politicians make promises of improved roads, schools and medical facilities, a better supply of electricity and new irrigation systems, and voters blame politicians when such projects are not implemented. Current research points to how politicians in India can affect development patterns in their states and constituencies by working for policy changes in the legislatures, but also by working as local “fixers” who solve people’s individual problems and lobby the bureaucracy for the implementation of existing policies. But how important are actually politicians in doing these things? Is it really the bureaucracy that rules? What are the mechanisms that link politics and development in India? The goal of this workshop was to explore these questions and the state of the art of our knowledge of the link between politics and development in India.
Invited speakers included Stig Toft Madsen from NIAS, Copenhagen, who will talk about ”Mainstreaming India: Public goods delivery in Western Uttar Pradesh”; Jin Kathrine Fosli and Pamela Price from University of Oslo, who talked about ”State Politics and Access to Water: Andhra Pradesh, 2004-2013”; Olle Tornquist from University of Oslo, who talked about ”Social Democratic Development? The Kerala experiences in Scandinavian-inspired theoretical and comparative perspective”; Staffan Lindberg from Lund University, who talked about ”Social policy and politics in India – What is the connection?”; Anne Waldrop from Akershus University College, who talked about ”Where Politics is Personal: Exploring poor women’s grassroots activism in a New Delhi slum”; and Arild Engelsen Ruud, University of Oslo, who talked about ”Politics of Negotiation: Money and Power in Provincial Bangladesh”. More information.

• Stockholm University hosts Sixth Silicon in Agriculture conference

The 6th International Conference on Silicon in Agriculture will be held at Stockholm University 26–30 August 2014. It is being organised by the the university’s Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences, the main coordinator is Associate Professor Maria GregerThis is the 6th conference and the first one to be held in Europe in this series. The conference is given each 3rd year and the previous once were held 1999 in Florida, US, 2002 in Tsuruoka, Japan, 2005 in Uberlandia, Brazil, 2008 in Durban, South Africa and 2011 in Beijing, China.
The aim of this conference is to during three days discuss the latest knowledge and the state of the art of the important issue of using application of Silicon in agriculture. Application of Silicon has shown to increase biomass production, resistance to several abiotic and biotic stressors as well as to diminish the content of several toxic elements and increase the uptake of some nutrients in crops. Its possible role as essential nutrient element to plants, animals and humans has long been discussed. Its possible essentiality can be put in relation to a decreased available Si level in arable soils, due to crop harvest and no Si application. The conference will therefore span from the Chemistry of Si fertilizers via Si influence on soil and plants to the influence of Si on crop nutrition for human and animals. More information.

• 2014 World Water Week focuses on Energy and Water

The 2014 World Water Week in Stockholm will be held 31 August – 5 September 2014. The theme being ”Energy and Water. As ususal, the 24th World Water Week is organised by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI). The World Water Week is the leading annual global meeting place for capacity-building, partnership-building and follow-up on the implementation of international processes and programmes in water and development, with large relevance to South Asia. Every year around 200 delegates from South Asia participate (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka).
When addressing the "energy and water" theme during 2014 World Water Week in Stockholm the organisers want to take an overall "systems view" of how we develop and manage energy and water for the good of society and ecosystems – at local, national, regional and global levels – and avoid unintended consequences of narrow sectoral approaches. The "water, energy and food security nexus", underpinning the green growth approach, will be central to the agenda. The registration link will open in April 2014.
The 2013 World Water Week report ”Cooperation for a Water Wise World - Partnerships for Sustainable Development” is now available. The report provides input into the discussions at the 2013 World Water Week in Stockholm. The report also explore emerging issues such as the role of information and communications technology in advancing water cooperation, the importance of climate mitigation and adaptation coherence and the interplay between actors in the water, food and energy nexus. Full information about the 2013 World Water Week.

• Joint Malmö/Roskilde conference on media, communication and social change

A conference entitled ”Voice & Matter” will be held at Malmö University, Sweden, and Roskilde University, Denmark,  17–20 September 2014. Voice and Matter, with the subtitle ”Glocal Conference on Communication for Development”  is the fourth annual Communication for Development event arranged by Ørecomm, a cross-border centre for research in the field of Communication for Development, run by researchers at Malmö University and Roskilde University. This year the conference merges with Roskilde University’s biannual scientific conference, Sunrise.

The four day event is a mixture of academic conference and cultural festival, open to anyone with an interest in the relationship between media, communication and social change. One of the keynote speakers is Sheela Patel (photo) from Mumbai, founder and Director of the Society for Promotion of Area Resource Centres (SPARC), an NGO that has been working since 1984 to support community organizations of the urban poor in their efforts to access secure housing and Basic amenities, and seek their right to the city.
Other invited speakers include Associate Professor Paula Chakravartty from the Gallatin School and the Department of Media, Culture and Communications of New York University, USA. Her research and teaching interests span comparative political economy of media industries, postcolonial and critical race theory, and social movements and global governance. Her current two main research projects include: a book manuscript on the politics of digital inclusion in Brazil and India; and a project on mediated activism in India, China and the Middle East. Full information about the conference.

• Fourth International Seminar on Sustainable Utilization of Tropical Plant Biomass Ayur informatics in Thiruvananthapuram

The Fourth International Seminar on Sustainable Utilization of Tropical Plant Biomass Ayur informatics will be held 12–13 December 2014 at the Department of Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, University of Kerala, Karyavattom Campus, India. It is organised in collaboration with the Department of Applied Nutrition and Food chemistry, Lund University, and Dr. S. Vasudev Foundation in Thiruvananthapuram. The conference is chaired by Professor Emeritus Baboo Nair from the Dept. of Applied Nutrition and Food Chemistry, Lund University, and the Scientific committee includes Prof. Rickard Öste and Associate Professor Federico Gomez from the same department, as well as Prof. Olof Olson, Dept. of Applied Biochemistry, Lund University; Dr. Jörgen Holm, Chief Executive Officer, Glucanovaab, Lund; Prof. Mohammad Abdulla from the Trace element Institute of Unesco, Lyon, France; and Prof. Sagarika Ekanayake, Faculty of Medicine, Jayawardenapura University, Sri Lanka.
The first seminar and workshop on this topic was held in 2008, as an initiative by the SASNET Fermented Foods network (more information)The 2014 seminar aims to cover various topics like utilization of plants as foods, feeds, bio-energy, healthcare and medicine, bio-fertilizers, habitat restoration and development of environment friendly products and processes. The seminar will give special attention to Ayur informatics and devote one session for discussing various aspects of Ayur informatics. It will seek to facilitate the participation of young and talented researchers from Colleges, Universities, Research institutes, and Industries and promote interaction among them. 
The last date of abstract submission will be on 1st of November, 2014. The full length research papers presented in this seminar will be published in the indexed journal as a special issue in International Journal of Agriculture, Environment and Biotechnology after peer-review by editorial board. Full information about the 2014 seminar.

• Information about South Asia related lectures and seminars

Conferences and workshops outside Scandinavia

• New Zeeland conference on Un-thinking Asian Migrations

The University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, organises a conference entitled ”Un-thinking Asian Migrations: Spaces of flows and intersections” on 25–26 August 2014. The Asian Migrations Research theme is a collective of scholars working in Asian Studies at the University of Otago. They focus on movements of peoples and ideas – past and present – in East, South, and South-East Asia and into the Pacific. It engages with the fields of diaspora, intercultural, global, and transnational studies, which have grown over the last twenty years to become key frameworks for understanding culture beyond the boundaries of one nation. This symposium sets out to question and challenge current Asian migration studies. The keynote speakers are Associate Professor Eric C. Thompson (Chair of Graduate Studies, Department of Sociology, National University of Singapore) and Professor D. Parthasarathy (Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay). Abstracts should be submitted before 30 April 2014. More information.

• Dallas conference on Affirmative Action Policies and Higher Education in India

The 2014 Annual South Asia Conference at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas, USA, is entitled ”Affirmative Action Policies and Higher Education in India” and will be held on Saturday 6 September. It is jointly presented by the Asian Studies at SMU, and the South Asia Research and Information Institute, also in Dallas. Conference is free, but registration is required by August 23rd. Invited speakers include Ashwini Deshpande (photo) from Delhi School of Economics, who will talk about ”Caste Disparities, Discrimination and Affirmative Action: Two Stories from Tamil Nadu and Gujarat”; and Guilhem Cassan from University of Namur, Belgium, who will speak about ”Quantifying the Effect of Reservations for Low Castes on Educational Attainment”. More information.

• Hyderabad researchers at work conference on Literature and Culture.

The Centre for Comparative Literature at the School of Humanities, University of Hyderabad, India, organise a Researchers at Work Conference (RAW.CON 2014) on ”Literature and Culture; Expanding Horizons: New Paradigms of Knowledge Production”, 10 – 12 September 2014. This will be the fourth Researchers at Work Conference, which is an initiative which broadly focuses on Literary and Cultural Studies. In the previous years, this conference looked at various issues of literatures, cultures and modernities. This year it proposes to explore new frontiers of knowledge production so as to understand how they contribute to research and analyses. The conference is exclusively for full time or independent ‘research scholars’, thus graduate, post-graduate students, senior teachers are humbly requested not to apply. More information.

• Brighton conference on Radical Narratives of ‘Race’, and Resistance

University of Brighton, UK, organises an interdisciplinary conference entitled ”Reparative Histories: Radical Narratives of ‘Race’, and Resistance” on 11–12 September 2014. The conference marks the inauguration of the Research Group, ‘Representation: ‘Race’, Culture and Identity’. Confirmed keynote speakers are Dr Priyamvada Gopal (University of Cambridge), and Dr Brian Kelly (Queen’s University, Belfast). This interdisciplinary conference addresses the role of historical representation in shaping radical cultural, aesthetic, and political meanings of ‘race’. Celebratory conceptions of identity, e.g. ‘hybridity’, ‘transnationalism’, and the ‘global’, developed within the abstracted frames of postmodernism often fail to account for the nature and complexity of contemporary processes of identity formation, or for their contested political mobilisations and contexts. The conference is interested in critical historical and cultural representations that are rooted in particular histories and cultures and their legacies in the contemporary moment. Researchers interested in exploring how histories of transatlantic slavery, anti-slavery, colonialism and anti-colonialism are mobilised to support contemporary and conflicting political arguments about diversity, immigration and ‘race’? What roles can contested, radical and resistant narratives play within dominant and/or redemptive historical, cultural or literary discourses? What role does imaginative fiction, film or other forms of artistic representation have in reconstructing contested pasts? The conference will be held at the Grand Parade Campus, University of Brighton. More information.

• Pune conference on Fourth World Literature & Culture

The Higher Education & Research Society, based in Mumbai, India, organises an International Conference on ”Fourth World Literature & Culture” in Pune on 12 – 13 September 2014. Although Fourth World is seemingly restricted to mean a stateless, poor and marginal nations, it also embraces millions of the inhabitants of all small nations, groups working for their autonomy and independence at all levels from the neighbourhood to the nation, minority groups whether ethnic, linguistic, cultural or religious, and those in the fields of peace action, ecology, economics, energy resources, women's liberation, and the whole spectrum of the alternative movement that are struggling against the gigantism of the institutions of today's mass societies and for a human scale and a non-centralized, multifarious, power-dispersed world order. The indigenous social movements could be seen as site of power for such nations are everywhere demanding the right to self-determination. 
Venue for the conference: Government of Maharashtra’s Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Mahalunge/Balewadi, on the Mumbai-Pune Highway. All accepted papers will be published online in the Journal of Higher Education & Research Society: A Refereed International. More information. 

• Thane Conference on the 900th Anniversary of Bhāskara

To honour Bhāskarācārya, India’s celebrated mathematician and astronomer, on the 900th anniversary of his birth, Vidya Prasarak Mandal (VPM) is organising an International Conference between the 19-21 September 2014 at Thane, Maharashtra, India. VPM is an educational trust, established to provide educational facilities to the city of Thane. Starting with a modest beginning in 1935, it has now grown into an educational society which caters to the needs of about 15,000 students in the Thane campus, from kindergarten to post graduation in different disciplines of science and humanities, including law and polytechnic. Most of its institutions are affiliated to Mumbai University.
Bhāskarācārya was born in 1114 in a family of scholars who cultivated Jyotisa as a family tradition for several generations. He mastered all the traditional branches of learning and made valuable contributions to mathematics and astronomy through his writings. Comprehensive treatment of the subject, careful organization of the material, lucid exposition and high poetic quality of his works made them near-canonical in the subsequent centuries. Bhāskarācārya works were studied throughout the country and several commentaries were composed on them. 
Themes discussed at the conference includes Bhāskarācārya’s Life and Times, Inscriptional and other Evidence; TheLīlāvatī, its importance and influence on subsequent writings; Bhāskarācārya’s legacy and more. Full list of themes More information. 

• London Symposium on South Asian Youth Cultures and Fashion

London College of Fashion is holding a conference entitled “Contemporary South Asian Youth Cultures and Fashion Symposium“ at London University of the Arts from 25 – 26 September, 2014. The keynote speakers for this conference are Professor Rachel Dwyer of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and Dr Rajinder Dudrah of the University of Manchester. 
The conference is organised by Lipi Begum, lecturer at London College of Fashion and Rohit K Dasgupta, doctoral candidate and associate lecturer at London College of Communication. It is supported by London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London.
Dynamic growth and an expanding middle class are making South Asian (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) consumers among the most confident in the world. A large part of this includes the increasing consumption of fashion and related products amongst the youth. Whilst there has been some study of South Asian fashion and dressing cultures within history, anthropology, cinema and diaspora; there has been little work that has looked at the transnational implication of contemporary changing cultural and economic environments on dressing cultures on the youth in South Asia and its diasporas. Dress in India and more largely South Asia is used to instigate change, question national identities and assert power. In this international interdisciplinary symposium the organisers are aiming to extend and question the role of clothing cultures within the changing transnational discourse of consumerism, sexuality, faith, politics and media technology within the youth in South Asia and the diasporas. More information. 

• Olomouc conference on Migration, Religion and Asia

A Conference on Migration, Religion and Asia will be held 27–29 November 2014 at Palacký University in Olomouc, Czech Republic. It is being organised by the Department of Sociology, Andragogy and Cultural Anthropology, and the  Department of Asian Studies. The issues concerning both religiosity and migration have been discussed by scholars across different academic disciplines for a long time. Various theoretical and methodological tools are utilized to approach both of these social phenomena. In this symposium the focus lies on religion and migration in the global age, while drawing attention to Asia and the role it plays in related processes. The intention is to provide a space for a highly elaborated academic discussion on these processes. Dedaline for submitting abstracts is 31 August 2014. More information.

• 21st International Association for the History of Religions World Congress in Erfurt

The International Association for the History of Religions (IAHR) holds its XXI Quinquennial World Congress on 23–29 August 2015 in Erfurt, Germany. The conference is organised by the Deutschen Vereinigung für Religionswissenschaft (DVRW) in collaboration with the Department of Religious Studies, the Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies, and the Research School “Religion” at Erfurt University. The 2015 Congress theme is ”Dynamics of Religion: Past and Present”. The local organizing committee include Prof. Martin Fuchs.
Four specific research fields willl be highlighted, namely ”Religious communities in society: Adaptation and transformation”; ”Practices and discourses: Innovation and tradition”, ”The individual: Religiosity, spiritualities and individualization”; and ”Methodology: Representations and interpretations”. Proposals for panels and papers within and across these areas are welcome. Proposal submission is possible through September 15, 2014. Acceptance of proposals will be communicated by March 2015. More information.

• New Delhi conference on sociology of elites in contemporary India

An International conference on the sociology of elites in contemporary India will be held in New Delhi, India, 4–5 January 2016. It is being organised by Centre de Sciences Humaines de New Delhi (CSH), New Delhi, and Ashoka University, New Delhi. This conference intends to bring together scholars conducting researches that could help develop a better understanding of the various privileged sections of the Indian society. As their actions, their choices, their ways of thinking, etc. have a major impact on the rest of society, it is indeed decisive to get a better sociological understanding of the lifestyles and the trajectories of the individuals who compose this group. Abstract proposals are due April 1st, 2015. Keynote speakers include Sébastien Chauvin, Amsterdam University, and Michèle Lamont, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA. More information.

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

• No more Swedish bilateral development cooperation with India

Over the last couple of years the Swedish development cooperation has undergone major changes. In March 2014 a new Aid Policy Framework was adopted by the government setting out the objectives of Swedish aid (more information about the new policy framework)One group of countries, including India, China and South Africa, will not be part of the bilateral development cooperation as from 2014. This is reported by Sweden Express, the quarterly newsletter of the Embassy of Sweden in India, in its July-September 2014 issue.
The cooperation with these countries will of course continue and in India a number of Memorandum of Understandings will form the basis of Sweden-India cooperation and facilitate collaborations in areas such as health, energy and environment. India may also be part of global initiatives and programmes financed by Sweden. Sweden Express mentions that the development cooperation with India started in 1953 and during the 60 year period areas such as education, energy, water, environment, forestry and health have been covered. The Swedish support has contributed to create conditions that enable poor people to improve their lives and to build relationships between Swedish and Indian actors. Read more...

• SIBC breakfast meetings with Swedish Ambassador to India

Sweden India Business Council (SIBC) organises a series of breakfast seminars with Sweden's Ambassador to India, Mr. Harald Sandberg (photo), together with the Consul General Ms. Fredrika Ornbrant and the Trade Commissioner Ms. Anna Liberg. The seminars are entitled ”Narendra Modi – the first 100 days”, and was held in Stockholm on Monday 18th August 2014 (venue: Business Sweden, World Trade Center, Klarabergsviadukten 70); in Gothenburg on Thursday 21 August (venue: Lindholmens Science Park, Lindholmspiren 3-5, ”Demostudion”); and in Malmö tomorrow on Friday 22 August (venue: Invest Skåne, Dockplatsen 26). The seminar is held in the morning from 08.00 till 10.30. More information.

• Information about South Asia related business and politics in Sweden
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South Asia related culture in Scandinavia

• Vide variety of artists at Stockholm Sangeet Conference 2014

Stockholm Sangeet Conference 2014 will be held on Thursday 28 September, and include Indian artists like Sri Somnath Roy Ghatam Group; Tabla player Abhijit Banerjee; Sarod player Sudeshna Bhattacharya; and Sarangi player Sabri Khan. This is Sweden's largest festival for Indian classical music and dance, being held every year since 2007. The organizers of Stockholm Sangeet Conference wish to make a permanent platform for indian classical music in Sweden like to present a number of the finest international and Swedish-based artists within today's classical Indian music and dance scene.
The festival also features Sweden based artists, such as Tabla player Suranjana Ghosh, and dancers Ulrika Larsen and Edith Humble (Odissi),
 and Pauline Reibel and Anna Bolmström (Bharatanatyam), to be accompanied by musicians Stian Grimstad and KG Westman on Sitar, Kalle Lotta Mossige Norheim on Harmonium, and Hugo Widén on Tablas. SSC also presents a marionette dance performance from Rajasthan for children and families by Shafiq Khan at Stallet, Stallgatan 7, Stockholm on the night before, 27th August.
Stockholm Sangeet Conference (SSC) is presented in co-operation with Farhang Förening, Stallet Folk & Världsmusik and Musikaliska with support from Stockholms Stad and Indian Embassy. Venue: Södra Teatern, Mosebacke Torg, Stockholm. More information.

• Combined Indian art and poetry exhibition in Malmö

An exhibition combining Indian poetry and art will be run at Galerie Holm in Malmö 30 August – 14 September 2014. Oriyan-Swedish poet and medical doctor Rabinarayan Dash, residing in Lund, has written striking poems about the Goddess Kali, to which Kolkata artist and scribe Amitava Bhattacharya, schooled at Kala Bhavan, Viswa Bharati University, Shantiniketan, has made beautiful paintings. The exhibition is entitled ”Kalima – den svarta modern”, and will be inaugurated on Saturday 30 August at 14.00 with a presentation by gallery owner Rosie Selmer. Rabinarayan Dash will be present, but the participation by Amitava Bhattacharya is still to be confirmed. Opening hours will be Wednesday-Friday: 13–17, and Saturday-Sunday 13-16. Address: Gråbrödersgatan 5, Malmö. More information.

• 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
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New and updated items on SASNET web site

• Three recent South Asia publications by Patrik Oskarsson

Dr. Patrik Oskarsson, researcher at the School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg, has recently come up with three interesting publications with South Asia relevance:
1. A book entitled ”Law, Resistance and Transformation: Dynamic Interaction of Law and Activism in the Narmada Struggle”, written together with Håkan Gustavsson, professor in the Sociology of Law and Legal Science at the School of Business, University of Gothenburg (and also based at Karlstad University); and Stellan Vinthagen, professor in the Study of Nonviolent Direct Action and Civil Resistance at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA. This book contributes to the field of socio-legal studies by analysing the inter actions between the Narmada Bachao Andolan movement and the legal system during the long-drawn Supreme Court case over displacement and the Narmada dam which ended in 2000. It is based on a research project funded by the Gothenburg Centre for Globalisation and Development, University of Gothenburg awarded to Gustavsson and Vinthagen.
2. A book chapter entitled ”The political ecology of coal in the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh”, in the book The Coal Nation: Histories, Cultures & Ecologies edited by Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt (of Australian National University, Canberra). Published by Ashgate, London. Here, Patrik Oskarsson looks at land use for coal mining and power generation. The political ecology of coal in the state of Andhra Pradesh builds on taking away commons belonging to some of the poorest groups thereby further supporting already existing inequalities. More details about the book.
3. A book in the Status of Adivasis/Indigenous Peoples Mining Series, volume 3 focusing on the state of Andhra Pradesh. Published by Aakar Books, Delhi. This is an initiative of The Other Media and All India Coordinating Forum of Adivasis/Indigenous Peoples. Its aim has been to produce a picture of land and mining activities in the adivasi areas of India. Patrik Oskarsson’s contribution to the series examines mining in the state of Andhra Pradesh, particularly looking at coal and bauxite mining. More information.

• Norwegian anthology on Women, Gender and Everyday Social Transformation in India

'Women, Gender and Everyday Social Transformation in India’, edited by Kenneth Bo Nielsen, Centre for Development and the Environment, University of Oslo, and Anne Waldrop, Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Norway (Anthem Press, 2014), explores key processes of gendered change in contemporary India through stimulating and ethnographically grounded case studies. The chapters take the reader inside the university classroom as well as the NGO, the urban slum and the rural health clinic; they visit the Pentecostal church, the call centre and the beaches of Goa; they venture into the men’s rights group, the court room and the anti-land acquisition rally; they engage with Maoist writings and the ideology of neoliberal governance and they analyse the use of grinders, mixers, make-up, smart phones and solar photovoltaic mini-grids – to name but a few. Includes articles by Sirpa Tenhunen on ”Gender, Intersectionality and Smart Phones in Rural West Bengal; Harold Wilhite on ”Changing Consumption and the Negotiation of Gender Roles in Kerala”; Nicol Foulkes and Stig Toft Madsen on ”Showtime and Exposures in New India: The Revelations of Lucky Farmhouse”; Mallarika Sinha Roy on ”Disciplining Gender and Gendering Discipline: Women’s Studies in Contemporary India”; and Kenneth Bo Nielsen on ”Women’s Activism in the Singur Movement, West Bengal.Full information.

• Essays on theatre traditions in five South Asian countries

Mapping South Asia through Contemporary Theatre. Essays on the Theatres of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, edited by Ashis Sengupta, Dept. of English, North Bengal Univerity, Siliguri, India. Palgrave Macmillan, September 2014. In 2009, Dr. Sengupta was invited to Sweden on a SASNET guest lecturer grant. The School of Humanities at Växjö University was one of inviting Swedish university departments, the others being Mälardalen University in Västerås and the School of Arts and Languages, Högskolan Dalarna.
This volume probes the overlap of theatre, society and politics in contemporary South Asia, approaching theatre primarily in politico-aesthetic terms and locating it in the simultaneity of local, national and regional discourse. While re-mapping the region by examining enduring historical and cultural connections, the study discusses multiple traditions and practices of theatre and performance in five South Asian countries within their specific political and socio-cultural contexts. South Asian theatre today means a whole range of performance genres and practices – appropriation of traditional forms in an urban, alternatively modern theatre; improvised and collectively devised performances on or off the proscenium stage; dramatic theatre in local languages or in English; translation/adaptation of foreign plays; and a whole host of community and applied theatre types. More information

• South Asian Experiences of Peace and Conflict

”Peace and Conflict – The South Asian Experience”, edited by Priyankar Upadhyaya, UNESCO Professor & Director, Malaviya Centre for Peace Research, Banaras Hindu University, India, and Samrat Schmiem Kumar, Research Fellow, Department of Cultural Studies & Oriental Languages, University of Oslo, Norway. Published by Cambridge University Press India. South Asia’s diversity is also reflected in the many violent inter-state and intra-state conflicts that further distinguish it from other regions of the world. Despite the national differences, one can still find transnational commonalities in cultures, languages and religions, bound together by the common pre-colonial and colonial history of the South Asian countries. This book takes its readers into a ‘reflexive journey’ of understanding peace in South Asia, and the imperceptible way through which religious and cultural dimensions contribute to the peace building process. It also unravels the unique patterns of common cultural practices in the region to emphasize that the connect between cultures can ever be a source of tension as well as reward. In addition, it presents a fascinating account of the origins and meaning of the concept of ahimsa in Buddhism and Jainism, and looks at the practical examples of ahimsa from India to highlight the diversity of peace, non-violence and peace work that exist in the country. Full information.

• Essays on Fieldwork in South Asia. Memories, Moments, and Experiences

Fieldwork in South Asia. Memories, Moments, and Experiences”, edited by Sarit K Chaudhuri and Sucheta Sen Chaudhuri. Sage Publications 2014. Sarit K Chaudhuri is an anthropologist working among the tribes of North-east India for the last 23 years. During 2003–2005 he was in SOAS, United Kingdom, as a postdoctoral fellow and worked for a collaborative project with SOAS, British Museum, CCRD, and Rajiv Gandhi University, Arunachal Pradesh, holding the post of professor and heading the Department of Anthropology. Sucheta Sen Chaudhuri is an anthropologist and currently, as Associate Professor, heading the Centre for Indigenous Culture Studies in Central University of Jharkhand, Ranchi.
Fieldwork in South Asia is a valuable attempt to listen and learn from the memories and significant moments of fieldwork done by anthropologists, sociologists, and even historians from South Asia. The essays lead towards a deeper understanding of concerns of fieldwork located in various field sites across South Asia without assuming or applying fixed normative rules for the whole region. In the process, the volume allows the reader to have an option to locate or relocate ethnographic or other forms of texts in the context of growing methodological contours and dilemmas in the social science. Above all, this is a book about relationships—multi-layered relationships among people encountered in the field, the ethnographic relationship itself, with all its personal raw edges, and relationship with the land and even non-human realms. Full information.

• Scandinavian researchers on objects of worship in the religious landscape of South Asia

Objects of Worship in South Asian Religions: Forms, Practices and Meanings”, edited by Knut A. Jacobsen, Professor in the History of Religions at the University of Bergen, Norway; Mikael Aktor, Associate Professor of Study of Religions at University of Southern Denmark; and Kristina Myrvold, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the Department of Cultural Studies, Linnaeus University, Sweden
This book looks at how objects of worship dominate the religious landscape of South Asia, and in what ways they are of significance not just from religious perspectives but also for the social life of the region. The contributions to the book show how these objects are shaped by traditions of religious aesthetics and have become conceptual devices woven into webs of religious and social meaning. They demonstrate how the objects have a social relationship with those who use them, sometimes even treated as being alive. The book discusses how devotees relate to such objects in a number of ways, and even if the objects belong to various traditions they may attract people from different communities and can also be contested in various ways. By analysing the specific qualities that make objects eligible for a status and identity as living objects of worship, the book contributes to an understanding of the central significance of these objects in the religious and social life of South Asia. It will be of interest to students and scholars of Religious Studies and South Asian Religion, Culture and Society. More information.

• The Gujarat model: Growth or Development

Growth or Development. Which Way is Gujarat Going”, edited by Indira Hirway, Amita Shah, and Ghanshyam Shah. Oxford University Press 2014. The book examines the inclusiveness of growth in a ”fastest growing state”, a ”success story” of the economic reforms or of neo-liberal policies. It analyses the dynamics of the growth – the sources of growth, process of growth and its interaction with development goals, and provides an alternate view to the widely perceived spectacular growth record of Gujarat.
esearchers from prominent academic institutes in Gujarat examine objectively the much talked about Gujarat model-the growth process in the state in the past decade or so. Apart from examining the validity of the theory and policy framework underlying the economic reforms in India, the book examines in depth the interpretation and implementation of this framework in Gujarat and studies the inclusiveness of the growth in terms of achieving development goals. This book goes much beyond the state-level analysis. It studies the role of the Gujarat economy in the context of the national economy as well as in comparison with the performance of other states' economies. Further, it analyses the dynamics of growth in the state, that is, the sources and process of growth, sustainability of growth, and its interaction with development goals. More information.

• 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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