18th European Conference on Modern South Asian Studies

18th European Conference on Modern South Asian Studies
held at Lund, Sweden, 6–9 July 2004

Conference impressions and expressions!

Monday 5 July – the Day Before

It was a sunny summer day that Lund welcomed the guests to the 18th European Conference on Modern South Asian Studies on 5th of July. The white building had the blue sky as a background and was representing the Lund University. Akademiska Föreningen (AF) and the Department of Sociology were prepared to expect the academic guests from all over the world.

The registration day started by meeting in front of the AF building. Lund University had invited a number of guests that had been arrived in Lund by that time to lunch at AF’s Tegnérs Matsalar. A number of scholars from different departments of Lund University were accompanying the guests attending the 18th conference. There was a very nice friendly environment in Tegnérs.

Professor Staffan Lindberg, director of SASNET, welcomed everyone and invited the audience to visit the department of Sociology in order to find facility of access to the Internet. After lunch some of the scholars went to the computer lab at the department of sociology being surprised of a sudden change in the weather condition. As it is the typical weather in southern Sweden the clear blue sky disappeared and the rain started. Dr. Naresh Singh walking in a slow rain toward the Department of Sociology said, “Now I can understand why they said the weather is unpredictable in Sweden.”
Not very far from Lundagard, in the main hall of Lund Railway Station, a table with a poster showing the white building and a group of students were expecting more guests. Walking from the tracks to the station’s main hall passengers could see the signs of Lund University’s base at the station. The posters with the heading of “18th European Conference on Modern South Asian Studies” were telling everyone in the train station that an academic gathering is being held in Lund from 6-9 July.

The conference secretariat situated in Övre Aten in the Academic Society Building (AF) was ready for the registration, distribution of Conference material and all kinds of assistance. Professor Staffan Lindberg the conference convenor, Lars Eklund the webmaster, Dr. Jan Magnusson the conference coordinator and Elna Andersson the secretary of the conference as well as a group of students were present in the secretariat checking everything to be prepared.
Övre Aten is on the second floor of AF Building. It has high ceiling and big windows. The walls in three sides are covered with nice oil colour paintings in golden frames. The four windows and three big mirrors on the fourth wall make the room even more special. The flag of Sweden along with flags of South Asian countries were standing on the long table in the secretariat. More people were arriving at the secretariat to register and have the information. The presence of participants from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh made the atmosphere more South Asian.

A pile of bags with SASNET’s sign, full of information about Lund and the Conference, were waiting for the participants in one corner of Övre Aten. The registration started at 16:00 and was continued until 19:00. Having their names registered the guests could find time to review their papers or chat with some other participants and exchange contacts.
Asking their views about this old academic city at the first glance, Lund was a beautiful nice place with a clean air in the eyes of many participants who had their first visit. The Stora Salen in the Academic Society Building was expecting the Inaugural session that would be held the day after and would be the beginning of the 18th European Conference on Modern south Asian Studies.

         Behnoosh Payvar, (text and photo)
Masters student of South Asian Studies, Lund University