Newsletter 183 – 21 January 2016


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• Joint seminar series by SASNET and Centre for Middle Eastern Studies

During the spring of 2016 SASNET and the Center of Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) at Lund University will have a joint seminar series. SASNET nowadays shares office space with CMES and this series has been launched to celebrate this. South Asia and the Middle East region have a long history of common interest and this series will highlight some of these issues. See the folder with details.
In the first seminar on 25 February, Olle Qvarnström and Martin Gansten will give a talk about ”Hindu Reception of Perso-Arabic Traditions of Knowledge and the Role of Jainism in Cultural Transmission”.
The second seminar on 15 March will deal with ”Indian Migration to the the Middle East”, and the presentation will be given by Rakkee Timothy from the V V Giri National Labour Institute in India.
The third and last seminar on 2 May features Dennis B. McGilvray, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA, who will give a talk on the ”Sufi Conncetion between South Asia and the Middle East”. These seminars are a first step for SASNET and CMES to further collaborations in the future. View full program here. 

• SASNET Networking Day on Nordic South Asian Studies

The Swedish South Asian Studies Network (SASNET) will organize a Networking Day in Lund on Monday 25 April 2016. Researchers and academics working on South Asia-related issues universities in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland have been invited to discuss ways to expand collaboration on education and researchs. The meeting will address the question: How we can strengthen a South Asian perspective across all faculties at Nordic universities? The objectives could include a commitment to hold collaborative workshops and other joint events; circulate information about visiting scholars for the benefit of Nordic partner institutions who may wish to invite them; and creating a  common Nordic newsletter on South Asian Studies and a  joint website focusing on South Asia.
The Networking Day is organised in collaboration with researchers at University of Copenhagen, and it will open with an introductory address by David Ludden (photo), Professor of History at New York University and former President of the Association for Asian Studies. Professor Ludden is well-known for his extensive writings on South Asia. His talk will be followed by short presentations by
representatives of Nordic universities on their current South Asian activities. The afternoon will then be devoted to formal and informal discussions.
The planning committee for this event consists of Lars Eklund and Anna Lindberg of SASNET at Lund University, and Ravinder Kaur and Peter B. Andersen at the University of Copenhagen. Prospective participants should register before Monday 1 February 2016. More information will follow.

• First 2016 Fika Without Borders lecture on Bhutan

The South Asian Student Association (SASA) in collaboration with SASNET organises its first Fika Without borders lecture of 2016 on Thursday 21 January 2015, 17–19. Venue: Basement floor at Lund University External Relations (ER) building, Stora Algatan 4, Lund. In this Fika Without Borders we explore Bhutan with the help of Dr. Winnie Bothe from the Dept. of Political Science at Lund University. See the poster.
During the talk, Winnie will explore democratization in Bhutan. The country is often called the world’s youngest democracy, however the notion of democracy raises deeper questions of what a ‘democracy’ entails. The Bhutanese constitution codifies all the institution associated with Dahl’s notion of polyarchy. Democracy, however, is not simply a reified set of institutions. It is as much about how we imagine these institutions. Drawing legitimacy from European constitutional tradition, the Bhutanese constitution is imagined as a system where the monarch is the guardian of sovereignty. In practice democracy has entered Bhutan, but it mainly engages the interests of the educated elite, whilst the rural citizens are still viewed as too immature to take responsibility for the constitutional rights they are given. In the image of the monarchy, they are engaged in a theatre of displaying respect for their superiors in the state. As such they still fulfil the role as subjects of the King and of those who govern in his name. 
The Fika without borders South Asia events consist of a series of eight lectures per year with one of the South Asian countries in focus each time. The events draw a mixed crowd of Pakistani, Indian, Bangladeshi, Nepalese, Srilankan, Afghani, Maldivian 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.

• SASA/SASNET film screening of Sara Singh’s film on Partition

On Friday 19 February 2016, from 17.00-–20.00, the South Asian Students’ Association (SASA) in collaboration with SASNET has the privilege to show the award-winning film The Sky Below by Indo-American film director Sara Singh, specially invited to Sweden for this event. The film deals with the Partition of India, and will be screened at Edens Hörsal, House Eden, Paradisgatan 5 H in Lund. This courageous and moving film evokes painful memories and raises powerful issues that continue to trouble the South Asian subcontinent. Lyrically shot on both sides of the Indo-Pak border, the film should be watched by those who care about the legacy of Partition as well as those trying to understand the complexities of fighting wars in those lands. There will be a Q&A with director Sara Singh afterwards. View the film trailer
Sara was born in India into the Patiala royal familyin Punjab, now spending her time primarily between New York and South Asia. Her work has been exhibited all over the world including the Victoria & Albert Museum in London; the Asian Civilizations Museum; the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; and at universiites such as Oxford and Stanford. This will be first screening in the Nordic countries. The event is free of charge, and all are welcome. More information about the movie and Sara Singh.

• YCF group from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan meets again in Malmö

29 dynamic young individuals from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan  – 8 from India, 9 from Pakistan and six each from Bangladesh and Afghanistan – spent three weeks in Stockholm during September 2015, being selected participants for the Young Connectors of the Future (YCF) programme which is being arranged by the Swedish Institute (SI) for the third year in a row (photo). They now come back for a follow-up week in Malmö 15-19 February 2016.
SASNET deputy director Lars Eklund has been involved in the planning of the 2015 programme (read his report), and on Monday 15 February SASNET, along with its student organisation SASA, will therefore organise a Fika without borders event in Lund for the YCF participants in Lund. More information will follow.
YCF is an intercultural leadership programme that aims to lay a foundation for dialogue and knowledge sharing among young leaders from South Asia. The aim is to train young leaders, promising professionals, social workers and entrepreneurs aged between 22 and 32 from South Asia, and to provide the participants with new skills, broadened networks and innovative tools to strengthen their work to drive social change in their respective contexts. The participants represent different sectors of society and are visionaries in positions to make a difference. The participants are actively working for democracy and human rights within the spheres of society, culture, politics, entrepreneurship and media. Applications for the 2016 programme is now open – read more.

• SASNET visit to South Asia Centre at the London School of Economics

SASNET Assistant Communications Officer, Jacco Visser, made an official SASNET visit to London, UK, on 26-27 November 2015. He met Mukulika Bannerjee (photo), Head of the South Asia Centre at the London School of Economics (LSE) to discuss strategies for promoting South Asian Studies at the university, national and European level.
(Lars Eklund also visited LSE on behalf of SASNET in 2013, read his report).
In addition, Jacco also explored possible collaborations, exchange best practices and attend South Asia related seminars at the institute. Furthermore he participated in the weekly morning seminar of the Anthropology department. Every Friday morning from 10.30–12.30 the department organizes a research seminar on anthropological theory. The weeks’ seminar was given by Prof. Hansjörg Dilger, Head of the Department of Anthropology at Freie Universität Berlin. His lecture was titled ”Learning morality in 'new' Christian and Muslim schools in Dar es Salaam”, focusing on discipline and social status in a religiously diverse city. During the lecture Dilger presented his work on religious education in Tanzania, examining the role of religion, morality and education at local Muslim and Christian schools.
In addition, Jacco attended a book discussion by author Sanchita Saxena, Executive Director at the Institute for South Asia Studies and Director of the Chowdury Centre for Bangladesh Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. The seminar discussed the different ways in which garment sectors and workers in these respective countries organize domestic collaborations to improve labour conditions among workers. This way the talk provided a balanced account of both the difficulties these sectors faces, including the ways in which the work with subcontractors facilitates structures of non-regulations and labour law violations while also illustrating how various workers collectives provide interesting working alternative for the union systems in the West which are largely absent in the countries discussed, particularly in Bangladesh. 

• Successful SASNET South Asia Media Project workshop in Delhi – now on the net!

After successfully organizing a first explorative workshop in the SASNET South Asia Media Project at Lund University 19–20 October 2015, SASNET again arranged a similar explorative workshop this time in New Delhi, India during 7–9 December 2015. Venue: India Habitat Centre in New Delhi. A large crowd of Indian media researchers, journalists and students attended the three-day conference. SASNET was represented by Anna Lindberg, Lars Eklund and Andreas Mattsson.
The aim of the workshops have been to bring Indian and South Asian media researchers and journalists together to seek new ways of working with future challenges and also to highlight possible projects. All the sessions were video recorded and are now available on the net. Go for the Delhi workshop recordings.
The final point on the workshop schedule consisted of prize award ceremony. Before the workshop, the Centre for Work, Technology and Social Change (WTR) and SASNET had decided to award INR 100,000 to one enterprise or individual from India for their work in social innovation in a digital context (more information). The winning candidate to this #innovationforgood award, as it was called, was the organisation Factly, represented by its founder Rakesh Reddy Dubbudu (photo from the award ceremony). Read Lars Eklund’s conference report.

• SASNET participation in Thiruvananthapuram seminar on Access to Justice

The Department of Law at University of Kerala, India, organized an International Interdisciplinary Seminar on ”Access to Justice: Trends and Issues” on 7–9 January 2016 in Thiruvananthapuram. The three-day seminar was partly sponsored by SASNET, and its Director, Dr. Anna Lindberg participated along with another Lund University researcher, Associate Professor Ulrika Andersson from the Law and Vulnerabilities research programme at the Faculty of Law. The target group was academicians from Law studies and other social science disciplines, but also to students, social activists and the representatives of governmental and nongovernmental organizations.
The keynote lecture was delivered by Dr. David Tushaus (photo) from the Department of Criminal Justice/Legal Studies at Missouri Western State University, USA. Three separate Best Student Paper awards were given for the Graduate, Post graduate and Doctoral level student authors. The conference convener was Professor K.C. Sunny, Head of Department of Law, University of Kerala. Full information about the conference.
See the final programme.

• SASNET seminar on Social Media and Democratic Participation

Dr. M.S Harikumar from the Department of Communication and Journalism at University of Kerala, India, holds a SASNET lecture at Lund University on Wednesday 3 February 2016, 13.15–15.00. The seminar, organised in collaboration with the Department of Communication and Media at Lund University, is entitled ”Social Media and Democratic Participation: An Indian Experience”. Venue: Fakultetsklubben at the Centre for Languages and Literature (SOL), Helgonabacken, Lund. See the poster.
Dr. Harikumar is a media professional turned academician with close to two decades of experience in the Indian newspaper industry. He was earlier chief sub-editor and chief reporter working for the Mathrubhumi daily, which is one of the most circulated newspapers in India. His PhD thesis in Mass Communication was a seminal explorative study on the reader-editor gap with a special emphasis on the gate-keeping theories of Mass Communication. More information.

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

Research Community News

• Linköping researchers initiate Indo-Swedish collaboration on Semiconductor Materials
Mikael Syväjärvi and Ashutosh Tiwari.

In December 2015, researchers Dr. Mikael Syväjärvi and Dr. Ashutosh Tiwari from the Semiconductor Materials Division within the Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology at Linköping University had meetings with prominent Indian government representatives from the Department of Science and Technology in Delhi. The purpose was to initiate joint Indo-Swedish collaboration on research and innovation changes within the field of Semiconductors Energy and Environmentals Materials. At Linköping University, Syväjärvi and Tiwari are strongly involved in such research, and not the least in applied research on Graphene –  a material consisting of  a  thin layer of pure carbon, hailed as one of the greatest inventions in modern history and awarded with a Nobel Prize in 2010. The meetings in Delhi were held with Rajiv Sharma, advisor to the Department of Science and Technology regarding strategic programmes, large initiatives and coordinated actions enabler & climate change; Professor Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology; and Professor Anand Khati, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences. Finally, they also met Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Honarable Union Minister of Science and Technology, Government of India (photo).
It should also be mentioned that Dr. Syväjärvi recently was awarded a Swedish Research Link Grant for a project entitled ”Subic Silicon Carbide for Solar Driven Applications”, to be carried out in collaboration effort with the Department of Physics at Islamia University of Bahawalpur in Pakistan. The purpose of this project is to explore the solar energy concepts based on cubic silicon carbide material.
Read more about Dr. Syväjärvi and the South Asia related research at his department

• PhD defence at Copenhagen on resource access in the Indian tribal belt

Siddharth Sareen from the Section for Global Development, Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen, defends his doctoral thesis titled Governing the conflicted commons: Authorising resource access in the Indian tribal belt on 11 February 2016 at 13:00. Venue:  Von Langen, Rolighedsvej 23, 1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark. Sareen has been supervised by Prof. Iben Nathan, Prof. Christian Lund and Prof. Laura Secco. His project examines how in resource-conflicts it is crucial for government action to impact authority over and access to resources in ways that democratise local political spheres. In this light the study shows what nurtures or prevents inclusive and equitable local governance in the recently formed federal Indian state of Jharkhand, and what local governance looks like in practice in this state-building context.  The thesis comprises three articles, empirically focussed on forest village communities of the indigenous Ho people in Jharkhand’s West Singhbhum district. The first article illustrates how a formal local deliberative institution can nurture democratic practice based on a comparative study of two cases, arguing that several factors both within the community and external to it are requisite for local democracy. The second article demonstrates the practices through which governmental development interventions systemically enable top-down authorisation without downward accountability and undermine local democracy by eliding development and securitisation. The third article interrogates the mechanisms through which local actors access benefits from government services, arguing that government policies enable privileged private actors to co-opt authority over access and claim inequitably large shares of benefits at the cost of ordinary villagers. However, instances of cooperation and local agency are also highlighted and serve as the basis to suggest specific improvements towards democratic state building to enable equitable, inclusive authorisation of resource access. More information.

• Finnish University Network for Asian Studies celebrates 20th Anniversary Conference

On 18 and 19 February 2016 the Finnish University Network for Asian Studies  organizes its 20th annual conference on Education, Science and Equality in Asia. Venue: Publicum 3, University of Turku, Finland. The conference addresses how recent developments and future prospects of closing the educational, research and knowledge divide within Asian countries and in the region. It will particularly focus on inequality across geography, gender, as well as levels of income and how ICT can contribute to more equal education possibilities and enhance scientific research even in less wealthy regions. Professor Vinayagum Chinapah, Head of the Institute of International Education at Stockholm University is the keynote speaker. Registration should be done by 5 February. Full programme (as a pdf file)
A Doctoral seminar will be held in connection with the 20th Anniversary conference. PhD candidates who are writing their thesis on Asia are invited to present papers in the doctoral seminar of the Asia Network on February 19th. Priority is given to students from the member universities of the Network (Aalto, Jyväskylä, Lappeenranta, Oulu, University of Tampere, Turku, Vaasa and Åbo). However, PhD candidates from non-member universities are also welcomed to propose papers. The seminar starts at 9.30 am with an interactive lecture on ”International publishing in Asian Studies” by Prof Juha Vuori, who has wide experience in international publishing. Participants can send suggestions for topics in advance in the registration form.

• Doctoral dissertation on Access to Medical Abortion and Contraceptive Choice in Rajasthan

Mandira Paul from the Division of International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Uppsala University, defended her doctoral dissertation entitled “Simplifying Reproductive Health in Low-Resource Settings – Access to Medical Abortion and Contraceptive Choice, the Importance of Gendered Structures in Rajasthan” on Monday 11 January 2016. Venue: Gustavianum, Uppsala University. Mandira has been supervised by Associate professor Marie Klingberg-Allvin, Professor Birgitta Essén and Professor Kristina Gemzell-Danielsson.
Her project focuses on medical abortion and contraceptive use among rural and urban women in the Indian state of Rajasthan, with an aim to simplify medical abortion and make it more acceptable to women as well as to health care providers. Simplifying and demedicalising medical abortion can decrease service costs and make services more affordable to women in low-resource settings. Moreover, combining medical abortion with contraceptive counseling and health promotion may enhance women’s motivation to adapt a contraceptive method post-abortion. In addition, making abortion services more acceptable to women may motivate women to seek future reproductive health care services from the public health system, something that is not widely seen today. Read more about the dissertation project.

• Right Livelihood College PhD course in Mumbai and Lund

During the spring semester 2016, the Right Livelihood College (RLC) – a global capacity building initiative of the Stockholm based Right Livelihood Award Foundation – arranges a PhD course entitled “Critical Urban Theory: Citizenship, Marginalities, Livelihood Struggles and Innovations in Practice” to be held in Lund, Sweden and Mumbai, India. The PhD course is organized by the Centre for Sustainability Studies at Lund University (LUCSUS) in collaboration with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and its Centre for Livelihoods and Social Innovation (CLSI). The course is designed for MPhil/PhD students working on urban and livelihoods issues from different critical perspectives. Almost 30 participants have been registered, coming from all over the world, including Brazil, Hong Kong and Spain.
The focus will be on linking critical urban theory with innovative practices, e.g. grass-roots initiatives and slum improvement projects in the city of Mumbai, India, developed and led by Medha Patkar, a Laureate of the Right Livelihood Award, to address current complex socio economic and environmental issues in the urban space. The course content will be covered in two modules, Module I in Mumbai (4-8 January 2016) and Module II in Lund (4-8 April 2016). The course is coordinated by Dr. Maryam Nastar from LUCSUS, assisted by Dr. Swati Banerjee and Dr. Santha Sunil from TISS. Another three Lund University lecturers are enrolled as lecturers, namely Prof. Eric Clark, Prof. Turaj Faran, and Dr. Mine Islar. More information about the PhD course
The Right Livelihood College, launched in 2009, aims to be five things – a hub, a catalyst, an incubator, a multiplier and an accelerator of links between universities and the work of Right Livelihood Laureates, an interactive link between academics and activists. Every Right Livelihood Laureate – the awards given each year slightly before the Nobel Prizes – is automatically a Fellow of the Right Livelihood College. The role of the Fellow is to be the principal source of supply of learning resources through engagement in activities of education, scientific research, and practical activities that share and upscale their work. Fellowships and research grants are also given to outstanding students and researchers to further work on issues Laureates are working on; some ten fellowships have been awarded.
The College also works closely with the Laureates in identifying appropriate institutions that can be partners with the College and the Laureates. It is planned to develop such partnerships worldwide with at least one major link in each continent. Lund University and TISS in Mumbai are two of them, along with select universities in Malaysia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Chile, USA, and Germany. More information about the Right Livelihood College

• Swedish research on Tamil Sri Lankan Artists in the British Diaspora

Dr. Anna Laine at the Department of Design, Crafts and Arts at Konstfack University College in Stockholm is an anthropologist focusing on Audiovisual Culture. In 2011, she was awarded a research grant from the Swedish Research Council for a three-year project entitled ”Reconfigurations of Identity in a Deterritorialized Setting: The Visuality of ´Tamilness´ in Diasporic Sites on the Web and in Neighbourhoods of London”. She was previously working at the School of Education and Humanities, Dalarna University, Campus Falun.
As an outcome of this project, and based on eighteen months of ethnographic fieldwork in London, Belfast, and Jaffna, Anna Laine recently published an article entitled ”Migration Research in Collaboration with Tamil Sri Lankan Artists in the British Diaspora” in the Open Access and peer-reviewed Journal for Artistic Research (JAR). In the 8/2015 issue of JAR, she investigates how artistic practice is used among British Tamil artists with a Sri Lankan background to explore their multiple belongings and in-between notions of homing and migrating. Go for the JAR article.
At the same time, Anna has also published an article on the same issue in the Francis & Taylor peer reviewed magazine World Art. The article posted in the 2/2015 issue of World Art is entitled ”Locating Art Practice in the British Tamil Diaspora”. She locates the position of art practice within the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora in the UK, focusing on three artists who use their art making to investigate experiences of migration and multiple belonging, and shows how absence of institutional support have constituted a marginalisation of their work. The artists’ preference for visual art is at odds with the Tamil nationalist construction of an identity rooted in ancient poetry and drama, and Sinhala-focused support for artists in Sri Lanka has formed an invisibility of Tamils that extends to the British art scene. This situation is illuminated through a perspective that connects nationalist ideology with aesthetics of everyday life, and the analysis is expanded by gender and queer critiques of nationalism, which provide overlapping perceptions across South Asia and the diaspora. Go for the World Art article.

• JNAS offers Fellowships for foreign scholars in New Delhi

The Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Advanced Study (JNAS) – part of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi, India, offers three categories of Fellowships that are open to apply only for scholars from abroad. They are provided either for the Monsoon or Winter semester, in order that it integrates the Fellows into the academic calendar of the University.
1/ General Fellowships, ranging from 2-6 months.
2/ Distinguished Scholar Fellowship on short term (less than two months) given to eminent and distinguished scholars whose presence in the campus for even a short period would be of great value to the community. Distinguished Scholars are invited by the Director to the JNIAS.
3/ Thematic Fellowships enabling a small group to undertake interdisciplinary research on a specific theme. 
The deadline for applying for both the 2016 semesters has already passed, but for the spring semester 2017 (January–May), the deadline for applications is 20 February 2016.
Please note that Fellows cannot have any coterminous affiliation or fellowship at any other institution in India, and they are expected to reside in the Institute during the tenure of the Fellowship. Full information.

• NCI offers free accommodation for member universities

For more than 10 years the Nordic Centre in India ( has had a flat in the Nizamuddin East area in New Delhi that is open for students, researchers and academic staff from its 20 member universities. During the spring 2016, the NCI offers rooms in the Nizamuddin flat to be reserved free of charge. The offer is valid until May 31, 2016. For inquiries and room reservations, please send an email to the Director of NCI, Dr. Samrat S. Kumar.
Attached you find the guidelines for staying in the flat and also a form that guests are requested to fill out prior to their arrival.
NCI guidelines.
Ceclaration form.

• Gavin Flood takes up Chair in Comparative Religion in Singapore

Professor Gavin Flood, Academic Director of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies (OCHS) is leaving Oxford to take up a chair in Comparative Religion at the University of Singapore after more than ten years at Oxford. While at OCHS we produced three books: The Truth Within: A History of Inwardness in Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism; The Bhagavad Gita; A New Translation; and The Importance of Religion: Meaning in Our Strange World. His earlier work, Introduction to Hinduism, remains a core text at universities worldwide. In 2014 he was elected a Fellow of the British Academy.

• Asia in Focus invites academic essays by masters and PhD students

Online Journal Asia in Focus invites Master's and Ph.D. students from the humanities and social sciences, who are affiliated to a Nordic institution, to submit an essay or academic article on a subject involving one or more Asian countries (which spans from Central Asia to Oceania and excludes Australia and New Zealand). The journal is published twice a year by the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS), a Nordic research institute focusing on Asia's modern transformations. It seeks to provide Master and PhD students affiliated to a Nordic institution a widely accessible and transnational forum to pubish their findings.The focal point of the journal is the modern Asian societies viewed from the standpoints of social science and humanities. Paper submissions for the 3rd issue, to be published in June 2016 are to be submitted by the 1st of February 2016. The call for papers can be found here.

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

Educational News

• Kulturstudier offers semester programmes for Nordic students in Puducherry

Kulturstudier (Culture Studies), an organization run by social scientist and humanists with a background at the University of Oslo, provides students with the opportunity to study in Puducherry, in the southeastern part of India. Since several years, the course is run in cooperation with Oslo University College and Vestfold University College and offers courses of 30 credits starting twice per year, in August and February. There are two courses provided in India; one in Peace and Conflict studies and one in Religion and Power. The course on Peace and Conflict provides a broad interdisciplinary introduction to the study of social and political processes of conflict resolution on a local, regional and global scale. The course in Religion and Power builds on perspectives from social anthropology and religious studies and provides a greater understanding of the relationship between religion and politics. Subjects are discussed at a global level with a particular focus on South Asia. The collaboration with the Oslo and Akershus University College makes it possible to issue internationally transferable university credits. More information.

• Time to apply for Swedish Institute’s YCF programme

The Swedish Institute’s Young Connectors of the Future Programme (YCF) is an intercultural leadership programme that aims to lay a foundation for dialogue and knowledge sharing among young leaders from South Asia. The call for application is now open and will close 22 February 2016. The next YCF programme will be held in Sweden 29 August – 16 September 2016. YCF is designed to provide the participants with new skills, broadened networks and innovative tools to strengthen their work to drive social change in their respective contexts. The programme invites leaders aged between 22 and 32 from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka who represent different sectors of society and are visionaries in positions to make a difference. The participants are actively working for democracy and human rights within the spheres of society, culture, politics, entrepreneurship and media.  Please note that the YCF Programme 2016 will also include participants from Sri Lanka. Full information aout the programme.

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

See SASNET’s page,

Seminars and Conferences in Scandinavia

• Information about South Asia related lectures and seminars

Conferences and workshops outside Scandinavia

• Goa conference on Regional Cooperation, Conflicts and Constructiveness in South Asia

Parvatibai Chowgule College of Arts & Science in Margao, Goa, India, organises an international conference entitled ”Regional Cooperation, Conflicts and Constructiveness in South Asia: Strengthening SAARC” on 21–23 January 2016. The conference aims at enabling researchers, planners, academicians and social workers to put forth their views on South Asia’s promotion and growth as a region of global importance. South Asia, a composite of eight countries, is knitted historically, socio-culturally and economically. It represents diversity in human development, resource enhancement and socio-economic welfare. The region with 3.8 per cent of the world’s geographical area, supports nearly one fourth of the world’s populace. But in the context of Human Development Index, in South Asia, Maldives and Bangladesh show dismal figures which are as low as 77 and 132 ranks respectively. Even the Human Poverty Index of Nepal and Afghanistan show discouraging figures. In fact, one billion of the world’s 2.5 billion poor reside in South Asia. The Global Employment Trend 2013, states that youth employment rate in South Asia is 9.8 per cent, which is significantly higher than global figure of 3.8 per cent.
However, South Asia shows promises for the future. The current labor pool which is 1.8 billion, is expected to increase to 3.1 billion by 2025. Its “demographic dividend” will increase enormously as 60 per cent of its population is below 30 years. Further, 14 per cent of the world’s urban population resides in this region and three-fourths of South Asia’s economic growth is led by cities. From the present level of 31 per cent urbanization, it is expected that 50 per cent of South Asia’s population will reside in cities, especially, megacities in the next 20 years.
The region also has bountiful human and natural resources. But, there are several barriers within the region which restrict their optimum utility and promotion of growth at different scales. The removal of these barriers, optimum and judicious use of all resources will surely help the region in a big way. Further, various issues like bilateral trade, sharing of river water, border disputes and border lands encroachment, cross border mobility of human resources, terrorism, illegal trade, political grievances amongst neighbors, power polarization and third party intervention that affects regional power balance, have put the regions on an edge of high Indo-centric discontent amongst neighbors. More information.

• Noida workshop on Chronologies of 'Labour'

The Association of Indian Labour Historians (AILH) convenes an International Workshop entitled ”Chronologies of 'Labour': a Global Perspective” in New Delhi 22–23 January 2016. It is organised in collaboration with the Research Module 'Labour as a Political Category' on behalf of the newly established and New-Delhi-based M.S. Merian International Centre of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences and Humanities. The Research Module is coordinated by Ravi Ahuja (Göttingen), Rana Behal (Delhi), Sharit Bhowmik (Mumbai), Andreas Eckert (Berlin), Chitra Joshi (Delhi), Nicole Mayer-Ahuja (Göttingen), Prabhu Mohapatra (Delhi), Christoph Scherrer (Kassel), Aditya Sarkar (Warwick), Marcel van der Linden (Amsterdam) and Willem van Schendel (Amsterdam). Venue for the workshop: V.V. Giri National Labour Institute in Noida. 
The workshop seeks to bring together an interdisciplinary group of younger as well as experienced scholars from both the social and historical sciences in order to compare notes with regard to the temporal dynamics of 'labour' as a political category in the course of the long twentieth century. Such transregional comparisons, it is hoped, will permit to rehistoricize 'labour' by tracing convergences and divergences in its chronologies. Contributions based on original research that examine crucial transformations of 'labour' as a political category in one specific context ae invited, the appropriation or adaptation of certain transnational political discourses to specific labour regimes or compare such processes in more than one context.  More information.

• Kerala seminar on Rising India and the World Order in the 21st Century

A two Day International Seminar on ”Rising India and the World Order in the 21st Century” will be held at St. John’s College in Anchal, Kerala state, India, on 24–25 January 2016. It is organised by the the Association of Political Scientists-Kerala in association with the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, St. John’s College. The emergence of India as a major power is a remarkable feature of the 21st century world politics. The impressive economic growth registered by India in the last two decades has placed it in the league of potential great powers. The new political leadership in Delhi has also given a fresh drive to the aspirations of rising India with ambitious foreign policy initiatives. The rise of India along with other developing countries has the potential to reshuffle the existing international order. Global economy and polity is governed by the institutions and mechanisms that  were instituted  at the end of the second  world war by the developed countries led by the US. Most of the institutions are undemocratic and unrepresentative. India demands that it should be provided greater representation in global governing bodies. The seminar is conceived as a platform to discuss the changing international setup. More information.

• Third South Asian Society of Criminology and Victimology international conference

The South Asian Society of Criminology and Victimology (SASCV) organizes its third international conference 28–29 January 2016 in Goa, India. The main theme for the conference is violence and victimization: new challenges for traditional and modern societies. The conference will take place against the backdrop of violence by terror groups and how state sponsored violence and abuse of power are becoming prominent to cover up corruptive unethical practices. There conference seeks to focus on violence and victimization and its challenges for traditional and modern societies. To this end it invites papers from academicians, students and other stakeholders around the main theme as well as the following subthemes: interpersonal and self-directed violence, collective and targeted violence, workplace violence, state-sponsored violence and abuse of power and online violence.  Full information

• South Asian University conference on the economic development in the region

For the second consecutive year, the Faculty of Economics at South Asian University (SAU) in New Delhi, India, organizes a conference devoted to South Asian Economic Development on February 18-19, 2016.  South Asia, despite growing at impressive rates over the last decade and a half, is still home to the largest concentration of world’s poor with abysmal levels of access to basic economic en social infrastructure. In addition, the region remains one of the least integrated in the world. The conference strives to provide a platform for research containing methodological advances, both in economic theory and empirical methods, which would contribute to understandings of South Asian economic development. To this end the organizers invite theoretical and empirical contributions in all areas of relevance to South Asian economies.  Full information about the conference.
South Asian University is an international university established by the eight member nations of South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) viz. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It started its operations from the academic year 2010. The university now offers post-graduate and doctoral programmes in various disciplines that include Development Economics, Computer Science, Biotechnology, Mathematics, Sociology, International Relations and Law.

• Indian Ocean focus for fifth South Asia by the Bay Graduate Student Conference

The fifth South Asia by the Bay Graduate Student Conference will be held at University of California, Davis, USA, on 22 – 23 April 2016. The theme for the 2016 conference is “Indian Oceanic Topographies, Contemporary Worlds, and Situated Practices”, focusing on the emergence of Indian Ocean studies as a critical interdisciplinary field in the last decade and a half. This South Asia by the Bay graduate student conference is the fifth in the series and emerges from the collaboration between Stanford, UC Santa Cruz, UC Berkeley and UC Davis. This year it is hosted by the Middle East/South Asia Studies Program at UC Davis and held in conjunction with a “Reimagining Indian Ocean Worlds Mellon Research Initiative” of UC Davis faculty and graduate students (2015-2018). Although the conference is open to the public, the aim is to provide a focused platform where graduate students can meet with each other and faculty from the organizing institutions and beyond to discuss their work.
Indian Ocean studies has offered thoughtful approaches for dismantling boundaries between specific area studies as well as a way of thinking about maps, globality, relationality, pre-colonial and colonial worlds, and transregional movements. Much of the work has been historical with an emphasis on trade, migrations, diasporas, religious networks, and mobilities across the region. The geographical limits of the ocean have provided the contours for analysis resulting in an emphasis on ports, coastal sites, and islands.  Work on the contemporary period has been uneven with some examination of literary practices but dominated by macro-policy issues, concerns with cross-border violence, security, refugees, or transnational economic investments. The organisers therefore specially welcome papers that focus on contemporary Indian Ocean sites, topographies, and social practices. Full information.

• Fifth Annual Princeton South Asia Conference aimed at early career scholars

On April 29-30, 2016, the fifth annual Princeton South Asia conference will be held in Princeton, New York, USA. This year’s theme is The Natural Worlds of South Asia and aims to generate discussion about the place of the environment in South Asia. The conference seeks to bring together early career scholars (graduate and junior faculty) across disciplines that engage with South Asia. The organizers invite papers that engage with South Asia in a broad sense, including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Tibet, Nepal, the Maldives, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Myanmar, India and transnational and diasporic spaces. The deadline for paper proposals has been extended until 25 January, proposals can be submitted here. Full information.

• Eighth Annual IIAS Seminar on City and Society: The Care of the Self

The International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) in Leiden, The Netherlands, organizes a seminar titled City and Society: The Care of the Self on 18 and 19 May 2016. The seminar is multi-disciplinary with a focus on Asia (including South Asia) and/or the West.  Of particular interest for the workshop is the understanding that cities are not merely buildings and the spaces formed between them; rather cities are people and their networks of interaction. Papers that are comparative analyses between, or within, are particularly welcome. Contributions are encouraged from architecture, urbanism, geography, history, area studies, religious studies, social science, and anthropology, among others. The deadline for paper abstracts is 31 January 2016. Full information.

• Conference on Literature, Culture and World Peace in Pune, India

The Higher Education and Research Society, Navi Mumbai, India, organizes its fourth annual conference on Literature, Culture and World Peace on 23-24 September 2016 at the Dnyansagar Institute of Management & Research in Pune, India. The conference will provide an interdisciplinary platform for academic discussions on a broad range of topics including peace studies, war literature, globalization and peace, world literature, regionalism and literature, among others. For more information about the conference and paper submissions see the full brochure here (pdf-file).

• Call for 29th Annual Japanese Association for South Asian Studies Conference

On 24 and 25 September 2016 the Japanese Association for South Asian Studies (JASAS) holds its 29th Annual Conference at the Kobe City University of Foreign Studies. The organization now invites panel and paper suggestions. Individual paper proposals should include a title, summary of the paper (around 400 words) and contactdetails. Panel suggestions should include a title, list of panel speakers and affiliations, and summary of the panel. The deadline for paper and panel suggestions is 31 March 2016. For queries, contact the JASAS Annual Conference Office.  The full call for papers can be downloaded here (as a pdf file).

• Fifth Asian Borderlands conference to be held in Kathmandu

The Asian Borderlands Research Network holds its fifth annual conference at the Social Science Baha Institute in Kathmandu, Nepal on 12-14 December 2016. The conference will be addressing how social scientists are now recognizing that borderlands generate a dynamism in and of themselves, and that cross-border linkages are far more central to historical change than previously acknowledges. Special emphasis will be placed on borders and cross-border flows of people and objects that have not been highlighted during previous conferences of the network, such as air and maritime borders, high-altitude borderlands, borderlands with a high risk of natural disasters and control over cyberspace, among others. The conference will be organized along three main themes. The first theme is livelihoods and how everyday lives are increasingly subject to state power and/or neglect. The second theme is communities and how new border alignments have considerable impacts on diverse ethnic, religious, and occupational communities. The third theme is flows and seeks to address the flows of people, goods, and ideas across Asian borderlands. Very limited financial support may be made available to some scholars who reside in Asia and some junior or low-income scholars from other parts of the world. If you would like to be considered for a grant, please submit the Grant Application Form in which you state the motivation for your request. The form should be submitted before 15 January 2016. Requests for funding received after this date will not be taken into consideration.The deadline for the submission of panels is 15 January 2016. Full information.

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

Business and Politics

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

South Asia related culture in Scandinavia

• 53 South Asian heritage sites on UNESCO’s list

In 1994, the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO launched the Global Strategy for a Representative, Balanced and Credible World Heritage List. Its aim is to ensure that the List reflects the world's cultural and natural diversity of outstanding universal value. Almost every country on earth are represented with historic cities and monuments, wildlife reserves, and man-made environments worth conservation for the future.
SASNET has made a special document with the heritage sites in South Asia, at the moment two in Afghanistan, three in Bangladesh, 33 in India, four in Nepal, six in Pakistan and eight in Sri Lanka. Besides there is a tentative list with a large number of heritage sites that mey eventually come on the list. Here also appears a first entry from the Maldives. Go for SASNET’s page on World Heritage Sites in South ASia.

• Time for world’s largest free Literature Festival held in Jaipur

From 21 January 2016 until 25 January 2016 the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, the world’s largest free literature festival in its kind, is organized in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India. The Festival seeks to bring together some of the greatest thinkers and writers from across South Asia and the world. Writers and Festival Directors William Dalrymple and Namita Gokhale invite authors from across the globe to take part in the five-day programme set against a backdrop of Rajastan's stunning cultural heritage and the Diggi Palace in the state capital Jaipur. More information.
The ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, first launched in 2006, has been described as the ‘greatest literary show on Earth’. Celebrating writers from across the world, the Festival has hosted some of the best regarded and loved names ranging from Nobel Laureates and Man Booker Prize winners to star debuts including Amish Tripathi, Eleanor Catton, Hanif Kureishi, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Ian McEwan, JM Coetzee, Mohammed Hanif, Oprah Winfrey, Orhan Pamuk, Pico Iyer, Salman Rushdie, Vikram Seth and Wole Soyinka, as well as renowned Indian language writers such as Girish Karnad, Mahasweta Devi, M T Vasudevan Nair, Uday Prakash and U R Ananthamurthy.

• Chakma language film among South Asian contributions to 39th Göteborg Film Festival

The 39th Göteborg International Film Festival (GIFF) is being held from 29 January till 8 February 2016, and it is as usual a grand feast for cineasts. This Year, South Asia is represented by four extremely interesting films, two from India, one from Pakistan and one from Bangladesh.
Mor Thengary (My Bicycle) is a remarkable Bangladeshi film in the sense it is the first film where the running language is Chakma. The director Aung Rakhine belongs himself to the indigenous Rakhaine community, and his production is the first film regarding the indigenous communities in Bangladesh, whose mother tongues till now have been neglected.  
Chauranga (Four Colours) made by Hindi film director Bikas Ranjan Mishra focuses on two brothers, Bajrangi and Santu, belonging to the lowest caste of 'untouchables'. They have to endure an existence of daily humiliation in the caste-ridden village, but while the older Bajrangi kowtows to the higher castes to get an education, the defiantly rebellious younger Santu refuses to submit to their authority. 
Song of Lahore is a Pakistani/US co-production by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Andy Schocken. For hundreds of years, Lahore was one of Asia’s most important gathering places for artists and musicians. But music is today threatened by bans by the Taliban in Pakistan. However, some people are now working hard to preserve the rich tradition. In Song of Lahore we follow a group of bold and charismatic musicians who continue playing against all odds.
The final South Asian contribution to the 2016 Gothenburg International Film Festival is Kothanodi (River of Fables), the debut feature film by Assamese director Bhaskar Hazarika. It is a film highlighting the cruelty meted out to girls by their own mothers by re-telling four traditional folk tales, raising awareness about female infanticide that persists in India. Read more about the South Asian films at the 2016 International Film Festival in Gothenburg.

• Copenhagen seminar on Reform in Modern Islamic Thought – Iqbal as a Resource

The Iqbal Academy Scandinavia, based in Denmark held its Fall 2015 Allamah Iqbal Seminar on Saturday 7 November 2015. The theme for the seminar was ”Reform in Modern Islamic Thought – Iqbal as a Resource”, and as usual several interesting lectures were given. Mr. Ghulam Sabir, who initiated these seminars was present at the  function that was held at the Islamic Christian Study Centre in Copenhagen. Read a seminar report by Bashy Quraishy, Inter-cultural consultant and Chief Editor for Media Watch.

• Web based SYDASIEN gives in-depth stories about South Asian development

Is your field of interest within South Asia? The online journal is the only swedish journal featuring South Asia related articles focusing on cultural issues and political debates. You will also find various articles on recent news and events, in-depth research accounts, stories from NGO-organizations work in the region, Human Rights issues, Womens & Childrens Rights issues, Enviromental issues and Poverty issues. For some time the web magazine has been out of function, but from January 2016 it is again running properly.
For 34 years the Swedish-language print magazine SYDASIEN played an important role to disseminate news and information on South Asia. With popularly written articles on politics, history, literature and culture in the eight countries that consist South Asia (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) SYDASIEN was a unique feature in Scandinavia till the magazine closed down in late 2010.

SYDASIEN editors Lars Eklund (1982–2007), John Senewiratne (2008–2010) and Johanna Sommansson.

Lars Eklund, now SASNET deputy director, was the editor in chief for 25 years, during the period 1982–2007. Go for the 2007 web page, with an index back in time.
From 2008 till the closure in 2010, the magazine was edited by John Senewiratne in Norrköping.
However, Since 2011 SYDASIEN has resurfaced in a brand new shape, as a high-quality Internet based web magazine. It was launched by the new editor of the magazine, Ms. Johanna Sommansson (photo), holding an MA in Social Anthropology and a BA in Indology from Stockholm University. Go for the
You may also join via Facebook:
It is also a pleasure to announce that a searchable catalogue with links to full-text articles in the entire SYDASIEN production from  1977 till today will soon be released.


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

New and updated items on SASNET web site

• South Asian death squads exposed in Tasneem Khalil’s book

JALLAD: Death Squads and State Terror in South Asia, by Tasneem Khalil, Sweden based editor and publisher of Independent World Report, a journal of human rights and global politics. Pluto Press, December 2015. Extrajudicial execution, enforced disappearance and torture – these are the tools used by death squads across South Asia. The Rapid Action Battalion of Bangladesh, the 'encounter specialists' of India, army units of Nepal, the Frontier Corps of Pakistan and 'the men in white vans' of Sri Lanka are specialists on violence deployed by the state in campaigns of state terror. They are shielded by black laws and emergency acts. Their targets are the political opponents of the state and socioeconomic troublemakers. Khalil argues that Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are national security states, connected to an international system of state terror patronised by sponsors like the United States, the United Kingdom, China and Israel. In this system, human rights abuses are perpetrated behind the closed doors of secret detention facilities while death squads roam the streets with impunity. Jallad sets out to close a gap in the literature on human rights in South Asia, in which sociopolitical analysis of state terror is hard to come by. Khalil unveils the bloody logic of domination and repression that lies at the very core of statecraft in South Asia.
The book is also available as an e-book through JSTOR. Link to JSTOR.
Tasneem Khalil was declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International in 2007, following his detention by the Bangladeshi military intelligence agency. In 2008, Swedish PEN conferred him with an honorary membership for his journalism. The new book by Khalil is an excellent work.

• Swedish Pioneer Volunteers tell their stories

Pionjärvolontärerna. En internationell generation i en föränderlig tid. By Dr. Cecilia Jonsson, Dept. of Social Work, Linnaeus University in Växjö. Makadam förlag 2015. In the post 2nd world war period, Sweden became known throughout he world for its idealistic international committments with names such as Raoul Wallenberg, Gunnar and Alva Myrdal, Dag Hammarskjöld, and Olof Palme. But alongside these people and the middle of the action also worked pioneer volunteers, mainly young women who worked directly with the local population in Third World countries. In this book, we get to hear volunteers' stories – who they were, why they were doing voluntary work and how the work was done. We are also told how they, from the horizon of today, believe that the trip has affected their lives, personal and professional. They were young when they went out, and is now in retirement. What have they to say about world development and international relief work since their time in the field? The book is intended for all who want to know more about how the secular aid work in Africa, Asia and Latin America took its first steps. Thus reproduced a part of Swedish history of the international relief effort that has never been told.
Before launching this book project, Cecilia Jansson wrote her doctoral dissertation on a similar topic. More information.

• Swedish departments where research on South Asia is going on

This month there were 3 new departments added to SASNET's list: 
         ‡ Division of Applied Electrochemistry, School of Chemical Science and Engineering (CHE), KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm
         ‡ School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Mälardalen University, Västerås
         ‡ SAFER Vehicle and Traffic Safety Centre, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg

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
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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