Research Council grants to two South Asia related projects within the Humanities

On 2 November 2017, the Swedish Research Council decided upon project grants within Humanities for the period 2018-2021. Two projects given a grant relates to South Asian studies - to Prof. Helle Rydström at the Dept. of Gender Studies, Lund University, and to Dr. Henrik Chetan Aspegren at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI) in Stockholm.

Prof. Hellström’s Lund University project is entitled ”Precariousness at Work: Workplace Violence against Women Employees in Nordic Companies Outsourced to Asia”, and the research team also include Associate Professor Lisa Eklund at the Dept. of Sociology; Prof. Caratina Kinnvall at the Dept. of Political Science; and Assistant Professor Maria Tonini, Dept. of Gender Studies. The project will examine Nordic companies outsourced to China, India, and Vietnam to unfold the ways in which flows from the Global North interconnect with the Global South and facilitate the production of workplace ‘power-geometries’ in which some have more powers than others, some are more in charge than others, and some might be harmed. By carefully investigating the consequences on the ground of encounters between global economic movements and local lifeworlds, the project will, among other things, provide a sophisticated analytical prism for the study of gendered (in)security, precariousness, and violence, and fresh ethnographic data about gender specific experiences of abuse in the Nordic workplaces located in Asia. The project is granted SEK 4.5 m for three years.

Henrik Chetan Aspegren‘s project is entitled ”The Numbers on Our Side: Enumeration and Emancipation, India 1915-1947”. This project asks why enumerations became central to arguments for emancipation at the cusp of electoral politics and enlarged franchise in India. It analyses how spokespersons for three disadvantaged groups – Bhimrao R. Ambedkar (”untouchables”), Mohammad A. Jinnah (”Muslims”), and Mithan J. Lam (”women”) – embedded numerical data in to arguments to define their respective group as one to which political rights could be assigned; to describe the disadvantage of their respective group; and to prescribe how this disadvantage could be ended through political reform. By identifying, contextualising and linking instances when enumerations were referred to in respective spokespersons written argument between the years 1915 and 1947, the study will provide unique understanding to this overlooked yet central dimension of modern Indian politics. The project is granted SEK 2.85 m for three years.
Henrik is currently working at Linnaeus University in Växjö, but from 1 January 2018 he will be working full-time at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs, where he will combine the research within this specific project with the building of a capacity - and hopefully in the long run - an environment - for analysis and research on South Asia at UI.