Newsletter 169 – 25 November 2014


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• Call for SASNET 2015 Conference on Structural Transformation of South Asia

Gita Sen, Ruth Kattumuri, Zoya Hasan, Abram de Swaan, and Geoff Wood.

Swedish South Asian Studies Network (SASNET) at Lund University invites South Asia researchers to a three-day international conference on the structural transformation of South Asia. It is entitled ”South Asia in Transformation: World of Slums, Global Power Houses or Utopias? Migration, labour, and family changes in a dynamic region”, and will be held at Lund University 20–22 May 2015. Keynote speakers are Gita Sen from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, India (and Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard, USA); Ruth Kattumuri, London School of Economics, UK; Zoya Hasan, Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR); Abram de Swaan, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands; and Geoff Wood, University of Bath, Bath, UK.

The purpose of the conference is to explore the social consequences of the transformation of South Asian societies (and by implication, the world). Structural transformations produce new opportunities and risks as job possibilities 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 labour 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.
Further, the conference explores interrelated social and economic aspects of sustainability simultaneously and targets 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 region. Papers that compare South Asia with other regions are welcome. Please note that the deadline for submissions of abstracts has been extended to 1 December 2014.  Read the Call for papers and panel chairs.

• SASNET supported Delhi conference on Geographies of Resistance

The Department of Geography at University of Delhi organised an International Seminar on ”Re Orienting Gender: Geographies of Resistance, Agency, Violence and Desire in Asia” with support from the International Geographical Union (IGU) Commission on Gender and Geography on 19–21 November 2014. The convener was Dr. Anindita Datta. SASNET also provided some support, and was represented at the seminar by both its Director, Dr. Anna Lindberg, and strategic coordinator Linda Hiltmann. Linda attended the conference as a resource person, participating in the workshops and commenting on the papers. SASNET also supported the participation of another two Lund University representatives, namely Prof. Helle Rydström from the Dept. of Gender Studies, and Prof. Catarina Kinnvall from the Dept. of Political Science.
Despite more inclusive geographies today, epistemic violence continues to construct non white, non western subjects mostly as poor, powerless and unempowered. In much the same way, within conventional theory, spaces come to be constructed through discourses that ultimately flatten and homogenize them. In this situation, difference, diversity, local feminisms, local knowledges and local understandings of space and place risk being lost unless seen contextually, using situated knowledges. This seminar sought to re-orient the geographies of gender through a focus on understandings of gender and space in a specifically Asian context. See the conference programme.

• SASA/SASNET 2014 Fika without borders events series successfully completed

The South Asian Student Association at Lund University (SASA) – the student body of SASNET –  has now completed its series of informal Fika Without Borders South Asia events in collaboration with SASNET. SASA has held these events once a month during 2014, and each time the focus has been one of the eight South Asian countries, that are the member states of SAARC. The 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, on June 5th with Pakistan in focus, on August 26th, with Maldives in focus, on September 23rd, with Sri Lanka i focus, on October 10th, with Afghanistan in focus, on October 30th, with Bhutan in focus, and finally on November 20th, with Bangladesh in focus.
• More information about the Nepal event.  • More information about the India event. • More information about the Pakistan event.   • More information about the Maldives event. • More information about the Sri Lanka event.  • More information about the Afghanistan event.  • More information about the Bhutan event.  • More information about the Bangladesh event.  
The events were usually 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).
They 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 were invited to share their knowledge and experience of their country in an informal way. The programme also included cultural performances and food. 
SASA plans for a new series of Fika without borders events during 2015. More information will follow.

• Ursula Rao held SASNET lecture on Urban Spaces in India

Professor Ursula Rao, Director of the Institute of Anthropology at University of Leipzig, Germany, gave a SASNET lecture entitled ”Local Bodies/Global Cities” on Thursday 13 November 2014, 13.15–15.00. The lecture, based on case studies in Delhi, was held at the Department of Sociology, Lund University, Paradisgatan 5 G, lecture hall 1. 
The lecture was the second in a new international seminar series introduced by SASNET. The series is entitled Structural Transformation, Urbanisation and the Challenge of Sustainability. The seminar series focuses broadly on issues relating to contemporary transformations in South Asia with specific reference to urbanization. The seminar series also links to the coming SASNET conference in May 2015 entitled ”South Asia in transformation: World of Slums, Global Power houses of Utopias? Migration, labour and family changes in a dynamic region”.
In her SASNET presentation she used data from case studies carried out in Indian metropolis of Delhi to discuss acute negotiations about the meaning and experience of urban citizenship in a post-2010 environment, when investment friendly politics meets a growing concern for social welfare and inclusive growth. She focused specifically on the position of bodies in reconfigured urban spaces, and examined the ways in which “poor bodies” provoke and reshape the urban dream through their very material presence in the cities. Read more about Prof. Rao and the SASNET lecture.

• See video from SASNET seminar on Child Labour and Child Protection in India

Mr. Vidyasagar Ramamurthy from the UNICEF Office for the Indian states of Tamil Nadu & Kerala in Chennai, held a SASNET guest lecture on Frday 7 November 2014, 13.15–15.00. He spoke about ”Child protection in India – with a focus on Child Labour”. The seminar was co-organized by the School of Social Work and the Dept. of Sociology at Lund University. Venue: Room M 128, Allhelgona Kyrkogata 14 (the Gender Studies building), Lund. See poster.
The seminar is now available at Youtube. Go for the recording, as usual made by Talat Bhat. Here you can also access the power point presentation.
Vidyasagar has been working on the issues of child protection for the past 25 years with various organizations, including ILO, UNICEF, Ministry of Labour (V V Giri National Labour Institute), and the National Institute of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj, run by Government of India and the state Government of Tamil Nadu. He has worked with UNICEF for more than 15 years including service in the South Asia Regional Office, Bangladesh, and in different states of India. In addition to this he has also worked on agrarian issues in various Indian and Swedish research projects.

• SASA/SASNET Fika without borders Bangladesh seminar

The South Asian Student Association (SASA) organised its eighth informal Fika Without Borders South Asia event in collaboration with SASNET on Thursday 20 November 2014. The main speaker was Sanchari De, a PhD student from Jadavpour University in Kolkata but currently based at the Department of Communication and Media, Lund University. She spoke about the Bangladeshi protest/mass movement, Shahbagh, and the role of digital media and political mobilization in this movement that demands capital punishment for the war criminals of 1971.
One of the SASA Board members from Bangladesh, Rubhana Mussharat, then gave a personal account of experiences from being close to the Shahbagh movement, and explaining the historical and emotional reasons behind young people in Bangladesh demanding capital punishment. This issue caused intense discussion since several people in the audience questioned the use of death penalties.
In addition, S.M. Shahriar Shakil, Research Assistant at the Faculty of Engineering, Lund University, spoke about interesting research collaboration in the field of Biotechnology between Sweden and Bangladesh. Mr. Shakil is also an excellent interpreter of traditional Baul music, and sang a number of songs by the legendary Lalon Fakir.
Finally, the winner in the SASA competition for a new logotype – Aravin Chakravarthi – was given his prize. It was handed over to him by SASNET deputy director Lars Eklund. More information about the Bangladesh Fika without borders event.

• SASNET report from South Asia institutes in Vienna, Prague and Heidelberg

In the first week of November 2014, SASNET deputy director Lars Eklund made a tour to visit three European South Asia institutes – in Vienna, Prague and Heidelberg. The first stop was the Department of South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies (ISTB) of the University of Vienna, where he met Martin Gaenszle, Professor for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Modern South Asia, being in charge of the South Asia section of the Institute. Today he is part of a wide international network on Himalayan studies. Lars also met Senior Lecturer Aloka Atreya Chaudal, teaching Nepali language at the institute, and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) Professor Anirudh Deshpande from the Dept. of History at Delhi University, staying at the University of Vienna during the fall semester 2014. Deshpande is a well-reputed and knowledgeable researcher focusing on Indian colonial history. Read Lars’ report from University of Vienna.
Next stop was the Institute of South and Central Asia at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic,where Lars met Professor Jaroslav Vacek, a well-known researcher of Indology and Indian languages, and Dr. Zdeněk Štipl. The institute has been deeply affected by the political changes during the 20th century. After the Soviet invasion 1968, most prominent professors left the country for exile and repressive measures were introduced at the institute. The focus for research shifted over to issues that were more in line with the Communist ideology of the government. However, after another 30 years the situation again changed with the 1989 velvet revolution in Czechoslovakia. The politruks were sacked from their managing positions and Prof. Jaroslav Vacek was again allowed to build up the institute to retain its former glory. The research work today focuses on South Asian languages, literatures and rituals. The Institute is moreover engaged in an International networking collaboration venture entitled Pandanus, involving researchers in Prague, Krakow, Warsaw, Milan and Cagliari. Read Lars’ report from University of Prague
Final stop was the South Asia Institute (SAI) at University of Heidelberg, for a long time being Europe’s leading research centre for South Asian studies. SAI has seven separate departments, each with a strong research profile, and with professors that are internationally well-recognised authorities in their respective fields. My host for the visit was Professor Subrata Mitra at the Department of Political Science, a leading specialist on South Asian politics, just about to retire. Finally I was introduced to Dr. Martin Giesselmann, the person in charge of the web site of SAI and its newsletters, my colleague. I also met the current ICCR professor Amiya P Sen, holding the Heinrich Zimmer Chair for Indian Philosophy and Intellectual History; and another two Indian guest professors, Tana Showren from Rajiv Gandhi University in Arunachal Pradesh; and Alok Kumar Mishra from the School of Economics at University of Hyderabad. Read Lars’ report from University of Heidelberg.

• Anna Lindberg lectured at CREST in Kozhikode

On Friday 31 October 2014, SASNET Director Anna Lindberg visited the Centre for Research and Education for Social Transformation (CREST) in Kozhikode – a city formerly called Calicut – in Kerala state, India. CREST has a mission to train Indian students who already have Masters degrees in various academic disciplines, and they also learn practical and social skills that will help them enter the job market. Anna lectured to the students on Globalization and Migration, with examples taken from Europe, the Gulf countries, and India. Her talk was attended by 33 Indian students, as well as two interns from Argentina and the Czech Republic, and staff of CREST. Since students selected to the CREST program are always keen and alert, they took part in the discussion and showed what an engaged group they were.
For a number of years, several Swedish students – especially from Lund University – have benefitted from two to three months internships at CREST, facilitated not the least by close ties established with SASNET. More information about Swedish students at CREST.
On the following day, staff from CREST accompanied Anna to a village in the mountains of the neighbouring Wayanad district. Here an organisation named Kabani has worked with eco-tourism and rural development for the past ten years. (The name Kabani refers to a river, which flows in the opposite direction compared to all other rivers in the area). Kabani works with micro-credits, female empowerment, home stay tourism, rural development, and handicraft cooperatives (photo from a basket workshop). This organisation has also received many students for internship, and they welcome applications from students in various academic fields. More information about Kabani.

• Internet Archive Wayback Machine opens up web pages from the past

Are you curious about the development of SASNET’s web site? SASNET was established in late 2000, and the web site was finalised during the spring 2001. The original layout was based on a sketch by Paul Klee. A major reconstruction work was carried out in 2011, and minor changes have been carried out gradually. Sometimes a need arises to see how the web site looked at times in the past, and check the content. But this is not so easy to do when it comes to dynamic web pages. Fortunately, the Internet Archive Wayback Machine exists, an Internet Archive operating since 1996 that with regular intervals stores the content of SASNET web site and millions of other web sites all over the world. The Internet Archive Wayback Machine is available to the public, and currently contains almost 2 petabytes of data and is currently growing at a rate of 20 terabytes per month. This eclipses the amount of text contained in the world's largest libraries, including the Library of Congress. Furthermore, it has a smart way of storing even dynamic pages with some limitations – when a dynamic page contains forms, JavaScript, or other elements that require interaction with the originating host, the archive will not contain the original site's functionality. Read about the SASNET web page history.
See how the SASNET front page has changed over the years, and enter the full content of the following dates:

13 juli 2001; – 8 Februari 2004; – 27 december 2008; – 18 januari 2012

SASNET web front page on 8 February 2004 and 18 January 2012.

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

Research Community News

• European Association for South Asian Studies Council meeting in Vienna


Heinz Werner Wessler, Danuta Stasik, Margret Frenz and Alessandra Consolaro.

On 3 November 2014, the European Association of South Asian Studies (EASAS) Council met in Vienna, Austria. It was the first meeting for the new board that was elected during the 23rd European Conference on South Asian Studies in Zurich, Switzerland, 23-26 July 2014.
The new EASAS council has been elected for the period 2014-2016. The President is Professor Martin Gaenszle from the Department of South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies, University of Vienna, and the Vice-President is Professor Alessandra Consolaro from Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici at Università degli Studi di Torino, Italy. The third and final office bearer position, as Treasurer, is held by Lars Eklund, and he was of course participating in the meeting.

Lars Eklund with current EASAS Presiden Martn Gaenszle and his oredecessor Roger Jeffery. Samiksha Shekhawat and Kunal Sen participated via Skype.

The former 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. At the November 2014 meeting in Vienna, the main issue was to dicuss the next biannual European ECSAS conference to be held in Warsaw in July 2016, hosted by the University of Warsaw, but it also decided upon other issues, such as the 2015 PhD workshop that will actually be hosted by SASNET/Lund University. More information on EASAS web page.

• Swedish Research Council grants to South Asia related projects 2014

On 30 October 2014, the Swedish Research Council decided upon project grants within social sciences and humanities (see the list of all approved applications). Five projects that were given grants relate to South Asian studies, one each at the universities in Gothenburg, Växjö, Lund, Stockholm and Uppsala. Another two South Asia related projects were given VR grants under the category medicine and health science, both of them from Uppsala University.
A few days later, on 4 November, The Research Council also decided upon development research grants, the ones previously distributed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) – see the list of all approved applications. Here another 11 South Asia related projects were funded, four at University of Gothenburg, two at Uppsala University, and one each at Karolinska Institutet, Lund University, Stockholm University, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI).  

Lars Borin, Department of Swedish, University of Gothenburg. Project: South Asia as a Linguistic Area? Exploring big-data Methods in Areal and Genetic Linguistics.
Heather Congdon Fors, Development Economics Unit within the Department of Economics, University of Gothenburg. Project: Child labor and school attendance in India.
Camilla Orjuela, Peace and Development Research at the School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg. Project: Political Transition and Religious Radicalization in Burma and Sri Lanka.
Ravikant Pathak, Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Gothenburg. Project: Black carbon and tropospheric ozone in rural India: Implications for health, agriculture and sustainable development in a changing climate.
Sukanya Raghavan, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Institute of Biomedicine at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg. Project: Development of a mucosal vaccine against Helicobacter pylori infection including Phase I clinical testing in India.
Susanna Brighenti, Unit of Infectious Diseases and Dermatology, Center for Infectious Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm. Project: The role of diabetes-associated pathology in the development of clinical tuberculosis: a collaborative project between Sweden and Bangladesh.
Kristina Myrvold, Department of Cultural Sciences, Linnaeus University in Växjö. Project: Religion in the Trenches: Miniature Scriptures and Artifacts for Sikh Soldiers in the British Army during World War I.
• Olle Qvarnström, Centre for Theology and Religious Studies, Lund University. Project: Hindu reception of Perso-Arabic traditions of knowledge and the role of Jainism in cultural transmission.
Helle Rydström, Department of Gender Studies, Lund University. Project: Climate Disasters and Gendered Violence in Asia: Vulnerability and (In)Security in the Aftermath of Catastrophes in Pakistan, the Philippines, and Vietnam.
Henrik Liljegren, Department of Linguistics, Stockholm University: Project: Language Contact and Relatedness in the Hindukush region.
Björn Hinnerich, Department of Economics, Stockholm University: Project: Community contributions, participatory decision-making and local public goods: A field experiment in Bangladesh.
Jonas Olsson, SMHI, Norrköping: Project: Changes in Water Resources and Adaptation options in the Indian-Himalayan basins Utvecklingsforskning.
Adam Pain, SLU, Uppsala. Project: Thinking beyond REDD: analysing smallholder´s motivation and actions for ecosystem service management.
Anju Saxena, Department of Linguistics and Philology, Uppsala University. Project: Documentation of an endangered language: Kunashi.
Eva-Charlotte Ekström, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Uppsala Univertsity. Project: Is betal quid chewing in pregnancy a risk factor of metabolic syndrome and contributing to adverse pregnancy and infant outcomes. A cohort study in rural Bangladesh.
• Eva-Charlotte Ekström, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Uppsala Univertsity. Project: Prenatal nutrition and health of children and grandchildren. Can improved pregnancy nutrition reduce the trans-generational effects of the 1974 Bangladesh famine? Follow-up of the MINIMat trial
• Erika Forsberg, Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University. Project: Inequality and insurgency in India: A disaggregated analysis of the link between gender inequality and armed conflict
Katarina Ekholm Selling, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Uppsala Univertsity. Project: Ny kunskap genom data mining för att kartlägga orsakskedjor och förutsäga effekter på barnadödlighet
More information about the 2014 Research Council grants.
(The  Swedish Research Council also decided upon grants within a special 2014 programme to promote Indo-Swedish research the fields of medicine, technology and natural sciences. Seven projects were granted three years funding. More information). 

• Doctoral dissertation on crop damage caused by birds on the Deccan Plateau

Manoj Ashokrao Kale from the Department of Sustainable Development, Environmental Science and Engineering (SEED) at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm defended his doctoral dissertation entitled “Bird Species in Urban and Agricultural Landscapes, Bird diversity patterns along an urbanization gradient and crop damage caused by birds on the Deccan Plateau, India” on Friday 14 November 2014. Originally coming from the Department of Environmental Science at University of Pune, Mr. Kale came to KTH as an Erasmus Mundus scholarship holder, and has been supervised by Prof. Prosun Bhattacharya from SEED-KTH, Prof. Gabor Löwei from Department of Agroecology, Aarhus University, Denmark,  Dr. Raju Kasambe, Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), Mumbai, Indioa and Dr. Sanjay Chakane, University of Pune, India. The faculty opponent was Prof. Petter Kjellander, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). Photo: Mr. Kale to the right being congratulated by Prof. Bhattacharya.
There has been an enormous deterioration in bird populations in the last 30 years in India and consequently many farmland birds are listed as endangered species. This is partly due to the fact that India holds 12th rank in the world and 1st  rank in Asia in pesticide production and farmers use pesticides on a large scale in order to protect and improve agricultural production. The large quantity of pesticide usage leaves high pesticide deposits in soil. Mr. Kale has done his research in the state of Maharashtra, and his results indicate that four bird species were found under high risk, thirteen species at medium risk and eight species at low risk due to pesticide applications in croplands. The extent of crop damage in fields of groundnut, pearl millet, peas, sorghum, and sunflower was assessed by doing actual field censuses. The sustainable solution for reducing crop damage is a need for the farmers and such techniques will help to avoid direct or indirect effects of use of lethal bird control techniques on bird species diversity. Read more in the full-text thesis.

• Swedish ResearchLinks grants to five South Asia related collaboration projects


The eleventh round of the Swedish Research Links was decided upon in November 2014. Introduced by Sida and the Swedish Research Council in 2002, Swedish Research Links aim to stimulate cooperation between researchers in Sweden and those in selected developing countries. The long-term aim of the programme is to contribute to mutual scientific and socioeconomic development of the countries involved through funding for support to collaborative research projects of high scientific quality and mutual relevance. Five South Asia related collaboration project applications of high relevance were given grants for the three-years period 2015–17, four of them related to Bangladesh and one to Nepal.
– Associate Professor Anna Lundgren at the Dept. of Microbiology and Immunology, Institute of Biomedicine at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, gets support to develop collaboration with Dr Firdausi Qadri, International centre for diarrhoeal disease research (ICDDR,B), Dhaka, for a project on ”T cell responses to enterotoxigenic E. coli and H. pylori infections to support vaccine development and scientific training relevant for low- and middle-income countries”.
– Associate Professor Karl Andersson at Pervasive and Mobile Computing Laboratory, Luleå University of Technology (LTU) Campus Skellefteå, gets support to develop collaboration with Mohammad Shahadat Hossain, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Chittagong, for a project on ”A belief-rule-based DSS to assess flood risks by using wireless sensor networks”.
– Professor Örjan Gustafsson, Department of Applied Environmental Science, Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University, gets support to develop collaboration with Abdus Salam, University of Dhaka, for a project on ”Development of Sweden-Bangladesh Collaboration towards Source Determination of Black Carbon Aerosols in Bangladesh: Prioritized Short-Lived Climate Pollutants”.
–  Dr. Mats Målqvist, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Uppsala University, gets support to develop collaboration with Kedar Baral, Patan Academy of Health Sciences Nepal, for a project on ”Scaling-up interventions for quality of care improvements in the field of maternal and child health care in Nepal”.
– Associate Professor Koustuv Dalal, Public Health Science, School of Health & Medical Sciences, Örebro University, gets support to develop collaboration with Mashreky Saidur Rahman, Centre for Injury Prevention and Research, Bangladesh (CIPRB), for a project on ”Developing a prevention framework for Spinal cord injuries (SCI) in a low income country”.
Read more about the interesting projects that were given SRL grants 2014.

• Lund University develops collaboration with Indian Oil Bio Energy Research Center

The Department of Chemical Engineering at Lund University strenghthens its research collaboration on Biomass pre-treatment, Enzymatic Hydrolysis, and Biomass Manufacturing and Process Development with the state-owned Indian Oil Corporation. The collaboration is based on an MoU from October 2013, and is coordinated by Professor Gunnar Lidén. Indian Oil, with its headquarters in Mumbai, is India's largest refiner and fuel retailer with a state of the art Research and Development Center manned by over 400 scientists across the country. The main location is the Bio Energy Research Center in Faridabad outside Delhi, where focus lies primarily on bio-fuel research.
During November 2014, two Indian Oil researchers came to Lund University as part of the collaboration. They were Dr Ajay Kumar Sharma from DBT-IOC Bioenergy Research Centre, working on fermentation technology, and PhD candidate Shveta Soam – working with Life cycle assessment of biofuels. Shveta, basically a botanist and environmentalist, was actually hosted by Prof. Pål Börjesson at the neighbouring Division of Environmental and Energy Systems Studies (IMES), part of Lund University’s Department of Technology and Society. Her PhD work focuses exclusively on Life Cycle Assessment of biofuels, and while being in Lund she worked on the Life Cycle Assessment of fuel ethanol from rice straw in India. Read more about the Indo-Swedish collaboration.
(Photo of Shveta Soam, Gunnar Lidén and Ajay Kumar Sharma)

• Karlstad University opens study centre also in Dharamshala

Karlstad University has been involved in a number of activities in India since the 1980s, including sending students for field studies in Varanasi and Dharamshala. Professor Marc Katz from the Dept of Religions was instrumental in establishing these contacts and since 1995, Karlstad University has run a study centre in Varanasi, Ganga Mahal, located in a mansion facing the Ganga. Here students from the teachers training programme and also other Karlstad University educational programmes have been given an opportunity to stay and do their field work, with qualified supervision provided by Banaras Hindu University (BHU). More information about Karlstad University’s India Programme and the Varanasi Study Centre.
Early on, Karlstad University also developed collaboration with academic institutions in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, where students have been going especially during the hot season. Now in late 2014 this collaboration has been formalised with an MoU, and a Karlstad University study centre has opened also in Dharamshala. Vice Chancellor Åsa Bergenheim recently visited Dharamshala to sign the agreement with Yoginder Singh Verma, Vice Chancellor at the Central University of Himachal Pradesh (see photo to the right). Read more about the agreement (in Swedish only)
Dharamshala is a city in the upper reaches of the Kangra Valley of the Indian Himalayas, and is surrounded by dense coniferous forest consisting mainly of stately Deodar cedar trees. It is most famous in being the  centre of the Tibetan exile world in India. Dalai Lama resides in the suburban village of McLeodGanj, and the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) – including the Tibetan government in exile – is run from Dharamshala.

• Doctoral dissertation on Social and Moral Transformation in the Wake of the Tsunami

• Dr. Carolina Holgersson Ivarsson at the Division of Social Anthropology, School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg, defended her doctoral dissertation entitled ”The Give and Take of Disaster Aid: Social and Moral Transformation in the Wake of the Tsunami” on 11 October 2013. The thesis deals with the reconstruction work in Sri Lanka after the tsunami disaster in 2004, and issues of social fragmentation, human security, place attachment & collective memory. Faculty opponent was Prof. Roderck Stirrat from the University of Sussex, UK. 
Abstract: The act of giving reflects the most basic principles of morality and has therefore constituted a classical anthropological field of inquiry. The importance of giving, receiving and reciprocating for the shaping and consolidation of social relations has long been recognized. This thesis uses these insights to explore the way in which the gift of disaster aid, which derives from outside the community, impacts upon local social and cosmological relations in a village. The main objective is to investigate how the Boxing Day 2004 tsunami and the immense wave of aid that followed it and subsequently receded, affected the local moral economy in a Sri Lankan village. Read more, including link to full-text thesis.

• University of Edinburgh hosted eighth European PhD workshop in South Asia Studies

The Centre for South Asian Studies, University of Edinburgh, successfully hosted the Eighth European PhD workshop in South Asia Studies from 2-3 October 2014. The workshop was attended by graduate students from Heidelberg University, Germany; Ghent University, Belgium; University of Gothenburg, Sweden; University of Edinburgh, UK; Le Centre d'Études de l'Inde et de l'Asie du Sud (CEIAS), Paris, France; the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London; and King’s College London. It was financed by CSAS but with additional funding provided by the European Association for South Asian Studies (EASAS). PhD candidates were given the responsibility of introducing the papers of other participants and raising preliminary questions. A senior scholar then acted as discussant, providing feedback and prompting further debate. This format broadened perspectives on research methods, concepts, and theory by helping students consider questions from the point of view of a variety of disciplines. In addition, the participants were invited to attend the inaugural India Day lecture by Dr Gopal Krishna Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, entitled “India Yesterday, India Today”. Read a report by Crispin Bates and Roger Jeffery.

• Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies invites applications for fellowships

The Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies (HCTS) welcomes applications for fellowships starting in October 1, 2015. The HCTS is an Institute for Advanced Studies at Heidelberg University, previously operated by the ”Asia and Europe in a Global Context” Cluster of Excellence. HCTS was officially inaugurated on 28 April 2014. Fellows at the HCTS are invited to pursue their own research, with a suggested focus on the themed initiative “'In the name of Truth and Justice' – The Violence of Universalisms” (more information about the themed initiative). Researchers working on all historical periods, all regions of the world and from all relevant disciplinary backgrounds are encouraged to apply and to develop new, innovative ways to pursue their research from a transcultural perspective. Four visiting fellowships are open for scholars worldwide; another four fellowships are reserved for senior and junior internal scholars from Heidelberg University. Visiting fellows will receive a stipend based on the rates of the German Research Foundation; internal fellows will receive funds for reducing their teaching load. In addition, all fellows will benefit from finest research facilities, a stimulating environment of a multi-disciplinary and international community of first-rate scholars, and an excellent digital humanities unit. The deadline for application is January 15, 2015. More information in enclosed document and at the web site

• 2014 Iqbal seminar held at Islamic-Christian Centre in Copenhagen

The 2014 Iqbal Seminar in Copenhagen was held on the 8th November. The event took place at the Islamic-Christian Centre in Copenhagen and was as usual organised by Dr. Lissi Rasmussen, Doctor of Theology at this Centre. Dr. Rasmussen has been the chief organiser of these wonderful events for the last five years, collaborating with Professor Safet Bektovic from the University of Oslo, and Ghulam Sabir Chairman of the Iqbal Academy Scandinavia. The guests included many recognised intellectuals and literary scholars – among them Professor Muhammad Sharif Baqa from London, a renowned scholar and author of about forty books on the subjects of society and religion; and Phillippe Provencal, Research Fellow of the Natural History Museum of Denmark. The chief guest was His Excellency the Ambassador of Pakistan, Mr. Masroor Ahmed Jonejo. Read more...

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

• Nordic Centre in India offers three summer programmes 2015

The Nordic Centre in India university consortium organises three short term (four weeks) summer courses for Nordic students in India during the summer 2015, one based at Hyderabad and the other two at Bangalore. All three courses are available in the 7.5 ECTS variant and the 10 ECTS variant. The course structure remains the same with the exception of additional coursework for students opting for the 10 ECTS variant. The last date for receipt of applications is 31 March 2015. Please contact the international office of your home university (if a member of the NCI consortium) for more information about the application process or write to the Programme Manager, Ms. Christabel Royan for more information. The courses are as follows:

Contemporary India. An Interdisciplinary Introduction Course. This course is being held for the 13th year at theUniversity of Hyderabad during the period 5 July – 1 August 2015. The course focuses on the diversities in India, covering a wide range of topics, including politics, economy, society, religion, and development. Students will learn and discuss various socio-cultural stratifications typical of India from a historical vantage point in order to understand their critical interplay in contemporary India. Located in the cosmopolitan city of Hyderabad, the intensive course includes daily lectures, field visits, assignments, preparatory readings, and the writing of a term paper. The course, open to students from all disciplines at the member universities of NCI, is organized by the Study in India Program at the campus of University of Hyderabad. Full information.
Approaching the Environment in India. Issues and Methods in the Study of the Nature-Economy-Society Interface.This course is being held for the 9th year at the Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC) in Bangalore during the period 28 June – 25 July 2015. India has one of the fastest growing economies in the world and this, among other things, put tremendous pressures on the country’s natural resources. One can read about increasing pollution in urban areas, water shortage, shrinking forests and depletion of biodiversity, as well as about conflicts relating to mining, big dams and other energy projects. But what is actually the present state of India’s environment? What are the main environmental problems today, how have these come about and who are the main sufferers? How can the environmental costs of economic development be mitigated? What would “sustainable development” entail in India? During the summer course the students will address questions like these. Full information.
Human Rights in India: An Introduction. A relatively new course now run for the 2nd year at the National Law School of India University in Bangalore during the period 15 July – 11 August 2015. With India in context, this programme aims to deliberate and provide an intensive immersion in Human Rights Law and Practice. It will acquaint the participants with the Law and Institutional Arrangements, concerning the promotion, protection and securing human rights, in domestic context. Full information.

• Aravin Chakravarthi created winning logotype in SASA logo competition

The South Asian Student Association (SASA) at Lund University has decided upon a new logotype for the organisatuon. In mid-October 2014 SASA announced a logo competition to make the organization easier to recognise in its communication to students and other stakeholders. Participants were asked to design a logo that would reflect the cultural diversity within South Asia as well as the main goal of SASA which is to provide a platform for students from South Asia and students that have an interest in the region to further fuel academic interest in the region. The SASA board was very happy to receive Aravin Chakravarthi’s winning logo since it has exactly these qualities. In addition the logo is easily recognisable and original.
In reward for his winning logo Aravin was handed a coupon for two cinema tickets a SASA’s/SASNET’s Fika Without Borders event on 20 November. Photo showing SASNET deputy director Lars Eklund handing over the prize. Aravin Chakravarthi is actually a PhD candidate at the Department of Biology, Lund University. More information about Aravin.
The new logo could be explained as follows: The instrument represents the role of music in breaking down cultural and religious boundaries and is a symbol for the exchange of knowledge and freedom. The different colours being used have a deeper meaning as well. Blue symbolizes people’s drive for peace and stability. Orange represents the idea of renunciation and sacrifice. Green signifies progress and growth, and the crimson red represents the historical events that shaped the region’s geography. All these colors are derived from the national flags of the South Asian countries; Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

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

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Seminars and Conferences in Scandinavia

• Oslo seminar on Indian and Chinese nuclear armament

The Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) organises a seminar on ”India and China – a nuclear race?” on Thursday 27 November, 14.00–15.30. Gaurav Kampani, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA, and Elin Enger from FFI will be speaking about Asian nuclear armament.During 2013–2014, Dr. Kampani was a post-doctoral Transatlantic Fellow in international relations and security at the Norwegian Institute of Defence Studies in Oslo. The seminar focuses on the fact that Asia is now home to four nuclear weapon powers: China, India, Pakistan, and North Korea. It has emerged as the political epicenter of what is generally described as the "second nuclear age". At the heart of this phenomenon are China and India’s attempts to build diverse and sophisticated deterrent forces that many believe will produce security dilemmas and arms race spirals similar to the one that enveloped the superpower rivalry during the Cold War. Gaurav Kampani will present a new issue of IFS Insight which analyses China and India’s nuclear hardware developments, their evolving beliefs about nuclear weapons, and the new thinking within their militaries concerning the operational deployment and use of such weapons, whereas Elin Enger will give an overview of nuclear facilities in China and India, with emphasis on the facilities related to the nuclear weapons programmes. Venue: IFS, Kongens gate 4, Oslo. More information.

• Doctoral course on Consumption, Capitalism and Everyday Life at University of Oslo

The Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM) at University of Oslo invites applications to the doctoral course ‘Consumption, Capitalism and Everyday Life: Understanding the Social Dimensions of the Growth Imperative’ run by its research area unit on Energy and Consumption, and the SUM Research School. The course will be held 8 – 10 December 2014. The principal objective of this PhD course is to connect  “development studies” and “consumption studies”. It approaches the linkages between consumption and socio-economic change from different disciplinary perspectives, drawing on theoretical approaches as well as cases from the global North and South in an attempt to understand the many connections and disconnections between development and consumption.The interdisciplinary nature of the course will appeal to doctoral students from a variety of backgrounds, such as anthropology, sociology, geography, political science, development studies, economics and political economy. Lecturers include Alan Warde, Professor of Sociology, University of Manchester, UK; Richard Wilk, Professor of Anthropology, Indiana University, USA; and Hal Wilhite, Professor of Anthropology, SUM, University of Oslo. More information.

• 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 was 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.

• Lund University conference on Media Engagement

An International Conference on Media Engagement will be held at Lund University on 19 March 2015. It is being organised by the university’s Department of Communication and Media (Annette Hill, Michael Rübsamen, Tina Askanius and Sanchari De). This conference focuses on media engagement in four areas of enquiry: political engagement, policy and industry engagement, audience engagement, and methodology and methods for researching media engagement. The research questions include: What role does media play in processes of political and public engagement? What are the models of engagement within media and cultural industries? How and why do audiences engage with media in politics, society and culture? In what ways can we research engagement with media and social media? The schedule includes a combination of keynote addresses, pre-constituted panels, and open panels. Confirmed keynote speakers include Professor Raymond Boyle (Glasgow University, UK), Professor John Corner (Leeds University, UK), Emeritus Professor Peter Dahlgren (Lund University, Sweden), Professor Joke Hermes (In Holland University, Netherlands). Other invited speakers include Professor Göran Bolin (Södertörn University, Sweden), Julie Donovan (International Formats Consultant), Professor Annette Hill (Lund University, Sweden), Dr Jane Roscoe (London Film School), Professor Jeanette Steemers (University of Westminster, UK), and Douglas Wood (Shine Group). Abstracts should be submitted before 9 December 2014. More information.

• Asian food culture in focus for 2015 Asian Dynamics Initiative conference

The Asian Dynamics Initiative (ADI) at University of Copenhagen announces its 7th annual international ADI conference to be held 24-26 June 2015. The theme for the 2015 ADI conference will be ”Food, Feeding and Eating In and Out of Asia”. It will take place over three days and feature distinguished keynote speakers as well as interdisciplinary panels. Confirmed keynote speakers include Professor Paul Freedman, Yale University; Professor Michael Herzfeld, Harvard University; and British writer, science journalist and former physicist Madhusree Mukerjee.
Food, feeding and eating activities are as old as life itself, but recently there has been a heightened interest in such issues within policy-making, international relations, and academic scholarship ranging from the bio-medical, philosophical, historical, and political to the social, cultural, economic, and religious. Food is both global and local: while foods, cuisines, recipes, people, and culinary cosmopolitanisms have been in global circuits of flows and circulations through various periods of history, the smells, sights, sounds, textures, and tastes of local foodscapes may evoke memories of ‘home’ and imaginations of travel alike. Moreover, with increasing numbers of people concentrated in large cities and urban agglomerations, the challenges of feeding people are becoming ever more complex. Against the backdrop of globalisation of Asia and Asian foods, this conference focuses on the wide-ranging aspects of production, consumption, distribution, disposal, and circulation of foods in and out of Asia. Manpreet K. Janeja and Ravinder Kaur from the Dept. of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies at University of Copenhagen are part of the organising committee. More information.

• Information about South Asia related lectures and seminars

Conferences and workshops outside Scandinavia

• 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. More information.

• Fourth Conference on Asian Borderlands Research to be held in Hong Kong

The fourth Conference of the Asian Borderlands Research Network focusing on the theme ”Activated Borders: Re-openings, Ruptures and Relationships” will be held from 8-10 December 2014. Venue: Southest Asia Research Center, City University of Hong Kong. The keynote speech will be given by Prof. Brantly Womack, University of Virginia, USA.
The conference is organized by the Southeast Asia Research Centre, City University of Hong Kong, in collaboration with International Institute for Asian Studies in Netherlands and Asian Borderlands Research Network.
One of the main goals of this conference is to spur collaboration and conversation across diverse fields in the hope of building up a more nuanced picture of the intersections and relationships across Asian borderlands, submissions are invited from scholars, writers, policy studies researchers, artists, filmmakers, activists, the media, and others from a wide variety of disciplinary backgrounds. All over Asia, international borders condition encounters between diverse ethnic, linguistic, economic, religious, and political groups. Recently, many formerly disregarded borders have been 'activated'. Some have become more permeable for people, goods and ideas. By contrast, elsewhere in Asia borders have actively hardened. Such border dynamics (which have a history of centuries) shape cross-border linkages and are shaped by them. More information.

• Eleventh International workshop on Tamil Epigraphy in Thanjavur

The eleventh International workshop on Tamil Epigraphy will be held 15 – 21 December 2014. The workshop will be held in Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu, India. It is coordinated by Dr. Appasamy Murugaiyan from the research group Iranian and Indian Worlds at Ecole Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE), University of Paris 3 (Sorbonne Nouvelle); Dr. K. Rajan, Pondicherry University; and V Selvakumar from Tamil University, Thanjavur. The workshop is divided into two sessions: 1) three days field work and 2) four days lectures and practical training. More information.

• London conference on Cultural Connections between Iran, India & Central Asia

The British Institute of Persian Studies organises a conference on “From Timur to Nadir Shah: Cultural Connections between Iran, India and Central Asia”, to be held at Pembroke College in Cambridge, UK, 15–17 December 2014. The conference is organised by Professor Charles Melville under the auspices of the BIPS research programme “Empire and Authority in the Persianate world”. The remarkable richness of Persian culture and its spread well beyond the current boundaries of Iran – into Anatolia, the Caucasus, Transoxania and India – is commonly acknowledged. That the courts of a succession of rulers of essentially Turkic origin, across a vast region of southwest Asia, corresponded in Persian, patronised Persian poets and artists, and adhered to concepts of sovereignty that largely conformed to Perso-Islamic models of kingship needs no particular emphasis; the evidence for it is as widespread as the phenomenon itself. The very scale of the interactions between these polities, however, and their cultural coherence, has made efforts to view them as a whole rather infrequent. Furthermore, while comparisons between the three ‘great’ Muslim empires of the ‘gunpowder’ age – the Ottomans, the Safavids and the Mughals – are relatively commonplace, comparisons and connections across the triangular and very ancient contact zone between the Iranian plateau, Transoxania and India are scattered and often relate to broad or indeterminate topics or periods. One aim of the conference is therefore to bridge these gaps and bring together scholars working on different aspects of Persian, Indian and Central Asian history at a particular time. While some subjects, such as Indian miniature illustrations of Persian texts, have continually attracted attention, many areas of contact between these regions remain to be explored in more detail. More information.

• Delhi conference on Language, Culture and Values: East and West

An international and interdisciplinary conference entitled ”Language, Culture and Values: East and West” will be held in New Delhi, India, 16–18 December 2014 and in Kolkata, 6-8 January 2015. It is organised by the Society for Indian Philosophy and Religion in collaboaration with the School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi, India; and the Institute of Cross Cultural Studies and Academic Exchange in Burlington, North Carolina, USA. The conference convener is Dr. Chandana Chakrabarti. Suggested subtopics include Language and Culture, Ethnic boundaries, Globalization and Values, Culture and Cognition, and Cultural Change. More information.

• Indo-New Zeeland joint conference on Everyday Life in Contemporary India

University of Madras in Chennai, India will hold a conference entitled “Everyday Life in Contemporary India“ on 17 – 18 December 2014. The event is organised in collaboration by the university's Department of Journalism & Communication, in collaboration with the Department of Media, Film & Communication, University of Otago, New Zealand, & New Zealand India Research Institute. 
This conference explores the everyday lives and experiences of people in contemporary India. It seeks to critically interrogate and debate the varied ways in which everyday life in India is played out, acted upon, and conceived. The Indian everyday is diverse, heterogeneous, and changing rapidly. Multiple complimentary and contradictory forces circulate and compete, and new social divisions, solidarities, and struggles for recognition and legitimacy animate the contemporary Indian everyday.
At a time when India is at a critical juncture in its globalization story, Everyday L
ife in Contemporary India seeks to examine the ways that people negotiate, traverse and engage various aspects of their everyday life. The aim of the conference is to examine the complexities of the everyday and provide a platform to foster a deeper understanding of socio-cultural life in contemporary India. We welcome papers from a variety of disciplines — cultural studies, social and cultural geography, media studies, communication studies, sociology, anthropology, history, literature, visual culture, and politics — that theoretically and critically engage with selected aspects of everyday life in contemporary India. Abstract Submission was open until 10 November 2014. More information. 

• 56th Indian Society of Labour Economics conference to be held in Ranchi

The 56th Annual Conference of the Indian Society of Labour Economics (ISLE) will be held during 18-20 December 2014 at Birla Institute of Technology (BIT), Mesra, Ranchi. The Conference is being organised by the BIT Department of Management in collaboration with the Eastern Regional Centre of the Institute for Human Development (IHD-ERC), Ranchi. Deadline for submission of papers has been extended to 15 October 2014. Read the Call for papers.
As one of the primary objectives of the ISLE is to promote young scholars to undertake research in the field of labour economics and employment studies, the Society encourages them to participate in large numbers in the Conference. Keeping this in view, it was decided that the Society will provide Fellowships to a few selected young scholars (below the age of 40 years). The selection of such scholars has been based on the evaluation of the quality of their papers contributed for the Conference.

• Kishangarh Workshop on Empowering India through e-Governance

A Workshop on Empowering India through e-Governance will be held in Kishangarh, Ajmer district, Rajasthan, India, on 18 December 2014. This UGC-sponsored workshop is organised by the  Knowledge Centre & Youth Development Centre of Shri Ratanlal Kanwarlal Patni Government P.G. College in Kishangarh. The college is affiliated to MDS University in Ajmer. Major Themes include e-Governance: Conceptual Framework; e-Governance and Higher Education; and Innovation for successful implementation. The last date for registration is 30 November 2014. More information.

• Seventh IAAPS conference to be held in Tezpur

Seventh Biennial International Conference of the Indian Association for Asian & Pacific Studies (IAAPS) will be held 20– 22 December 2014 at Tezpur University in Assam. Scholars from all regions of Asia are expected to participate in order to enrich the already established network between Indian scholars & scholars across Asia-Pacific regions. IAAPS promotes research, conference, seminar, lecture programs and understanding of different Asian & Pacific regions in its cultural, social, political and economic scenario. The Association is a forum for scholars engaged in area studies to carry out social science oriented studies, which are to some extent inter- regional and inter-societal comparative studies. The keynote speaker will be Professor Prasenjit Duara, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. More information

• Delhi conference on Modernity and the formation and transformation of genres

The Goethe Society of India organises a conferene entitled ”Through the looking glass. Modernity and the formation and transformation of genres” will be held at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi 18–20 February 2015. This international conference will take forward the discussion initiated at the previous conference on the idea and function of genres by focusing specifically on what may be called the genres of modernity. It will explore the emergence and subsequent trajectories of specific genres in the historical context of modernity and the social, cultural, political, economic and technological changes that it involved. Its concern will therefore be less with the so-called natural forms or modes of literary expression and more with the historically contingent symbolic forms that grew out of and sought to capture and articulate the temporal and spatial disorientations of the modern age. This contingency is marked by the fundamental influence of modern technologies – print, photography, film, digital media, as well as the larger technological and societal transformations that they represent. Abstracts should be submitted before 30 December 2014. More information

• Athens conference on Asian History and Asian Studies

The Athens Institute for Education and Research (ATINER), a world association of academics and researchers, organizes an International Forum on Asian History and Asian Studies, 29 June – 2 July 2015, as part of its 13th Annual International Conference on ”History & Archaeology: From Ancient to Modern”. The aim of the conference is to bring together scholars and students of all areas of Asian History and Asian Studies and other related disciplines. You may participate as a panel organizer, presenter of one paper, chair of a session or observer. Abstracts should be sunbmitted before 8 December 2014. More information.

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

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

• Irrfan Khan special guest at 2014 Florence Indian Film Festival

The 14th edition of River to River Florence Indian Film Festival will take place in Florence, Italy, 6–12 December 2014; followed by Rome 13–14 December; and finally in Milan during the month of February 2015. The River to River festival, under the Patronage of the Embassy of India in Rome, is the first festival in the world entirely devoted to films from and about India.
International star Irrfan Khan (photo) will be special guest of this year’s River to River Florence Indian Film Festival. A multiple award-winning actor who has starred in over 115 films, Irrfan Khan is the Indian actor the audience knows best for his work with outstanding international directors. The River to River Festival keeps probing into the territories of Indian cinema to tell the many faces of a distant and extremely contradictory society through the films of established directors and young talents alike. New this year: the Online Stories section, contemporary Indian society told through the Internet and its social platforms by a new generation of filmmakers. The audience will choose the best film in each category (feature films, short films and documentaries) for the River to River Doombo Audience Award. All films are in the original version with Italian subtitles. More information.

• Suranjana Ghosh gives concerts in Stockholm and Uppsala

Indo-Swedish Tabla maestro Suranjana Ghosh from Kolkata/Uppsala presented her new cd entitled ”Longing” at a release party and concert at Hijazz in Uppsala on Sunday 23 November 2014. She presents Indian tradition in its classical form – temple music, folk music etc. with a strong focus on rhytm. Suranjana was accompanied by Kishore Ghosh on Pakhawaj, Khanjira and Manjira; Chandrachur Bhattacharjee on Flute; and Jonas Landahl on percussion, Darbouka and Accordeon. More information.
The day before, on Saturday 22 November, Suranjana and her accompanying musicians performed at Stallet in Stockholm (Stallgatan 8). More information
Suranjana regularly performs together with Mynta and other musicians playing Indian and fusion music in Sweden, including Ale Möller, Jonas Knutsson, Roland Keijser, Gösta Rundqvist, and the classical group Weberkvartetten. She has also performed with the Cuban violin virtuoso Santiago Jimenez. 

• Birgitta Wallin presents Swedish translations of important South Asian novels

On Wednesday 26th November 2014, at 18.00, Birgitta Wallin – translator and editor-in-chief of the Swedish literary magazine Karavan – participates in a literary evening programme at Brokiga Bengalen Butik in Stockholm, an establishment launched by Dr. Christina Nygren, Stockholm University. Birgitta will present two important South Asia related books she has recently translated into Swedish. The first one is Kamila Shamsie’s 2009 novel Burnt Shadows, that in Swedish gets the title ”Brända Skuggor”, and the second book is Khushwant Singh’s classical 1956 novel Train to Pakistan, that has been translated into ”Tåg till Pakistan”. Both books are published by Bokförlaget Tranan, a representative of which will be on spot selling copies of the books. Venue: Brokiga Bengalen, Södermannagatan 50. More information.

• Tagore Choir performance in the Lund Cathedral

On Friday 21 November 2014, at 22.00, the International Tagore Choir (Indiska Kören i Lund) led by Bubu Munshi Eklund performed in the Lund Cathedral (Domkyrkan) with their programme consisting of Rabindrasangheet – songs by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, sung by Swedes in Bengali language. The concert was recorded by Talat Bhat, see the youtube video.
The performance was part of an event called Nattkyrka, held on Friday evenings once a month when the church is open for meditation, reflections and cultural activities. More information.

• Information about South Asia related culture in Sweden/ Scandinavia

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New and updated items on SASNET web site

• Swedish contribution to book on Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda’s Idea of a Rejuvenated India” compiled and edited by Associate Professor Prarthita Biswas, Pailan College of Education (affiliated to the University of Calcutta in Kolkata). This is a book presenting Swami Vivekananda as an exemplary philosopher of India who made Indian religion popular all around the world. It was published as a special edition to commemorate Swamiji’s 150 birth centenary. His philosophy has contributed much to the development of educational philosophy in India. One chapter is written by Dr. Mikiko Cars and PhD candidate Khaleda Gani from the Institute of International Education (IIE) at Stockholm University. Their contribution is entitled ”Swami Vivekananda and His Vision about Scientific Rejuvenation of India”. Go for the e-book.

• Essays by eminent scholars in Memory of Satish Saberwal

”Ideas, Institutions, Processes: Essays in Memory of Satish Saberwal”, edited by N. Jayaram. Orient BlackSwan, New Delhi 2014. The book contains articles by scholars from a very wide variety of fields reflecting the interests of eminent sociologist Satish Saberwal who pioneered interdisciplinarity in the social sciences in India. The different essays in the volume draw from Saberwal’s important work on crisis, conflict, social mobility and institutional rules and norms and generate new perspectives on a wide variety of issues. One of the 15 collected essays is written by Stig Toft Madsen from NIAS, Univerity of Copenhagen. His piece is entitled “Post Festum: The Bifurcation of the Karnataka State Farmers’ Association in the Wake of the Inter-Continental Caravan”. Other contributing researchers include Nandini Sundar, Amita Baviskar, Sujata Patel, Romila Thapar, Rohan D’Souza, Susan Visvanathan, and Ashwini Deshpande. More information about the book.

• 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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