Postal address: Kulturgeografi/Fakulteten för samhälls- och livsvetenskaper, Karlstad University, SE-651 88 Karlstad, Sweden
Visiting address: Universitetsgatan 1, house 3A, 5th floor
Web site: http://www.kau.se/avdelningen-for-geografi-och-turism
Contact person: Professor Gerhard Gustafsson, phone: +46 (0)54 700 12 89
Research connected to South Asia:
Gerhard Gustafsson has for many years been engaged in village studies, which is a broad type of panel study. There is a comparative perspective involving changes in village life in Sweden (Värmland) and the United States.
In this program he has been particularly engaged in a study of three villages close to Varanasi, India, dealing with the changing nature of lifeworld and farming system in village India. The starting point was a study on the villages in the Chamaon Gram Sabha, carried out by by Professor Rana P B Singh at the Banaras Hindu University in 1977. These villages used to be typical agricultural villages but have now become suburbs in terms of economic activities. There are striking similarities in this development with what has happened previously in rural Sweden and the United States.
Professor Emeritus Sune Berger and others at the geography department have been engaged in regional development studies in Sri Lanka, northern and central provinces. This was done in a comparative perspective, in which similar studies in Sweden served as one vantage point. Industrialisation and the development of tourism were focussed in these studies. In October 2000 they organised a workshop in Colombo on this theme.
• Kristina Lejonhud (called Nina) defended her dissertation on ”Indian Villages in Transformation – A longitudinal study of three villages in Uttar Pradesh” on Friday 13 June 2003. The thesis was based on research about Chamaon Gram Sabha outside Varanasi (the villages mentioned above). Read an abstract of the dissertation.
At the department there is a program for doctoral training of Sri Lankan Ph D candidates from the University of Kelaniya and University of Sri Jaywardenepura, Sri Lanka. A number of doctoral students participate in the program, which is carried out in co-operation with the universities of Uppsala and Göteborg, and is funded by Sida-SAREC. There is an emphasis on poverty studies and regional development. GIS (Geographical Information system) is used in the program.
Some students from Karlstad University have also been involved in the program and there are plans to develop this further.
Collaboration with Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi
The department has been engagad in a long-term collaboration with the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in Varanasi, India, not only in research (see above) but also regarding education. More information on Karlstad University´s educationconnected to South Asia. Read also Lars Eklund’s report from the Swedish Study Centre at Varanasi in March 2002.
C/D-level courses in History of Religion, History and Cultural/Human Geography
Every Autumn Karlstad University and Banaras Hindu University offers 10–14 duly admitted students to the C/D-level courses (20 credits) in History of Religions, History and Cultural Geography at Karlstad University (if meeting basic requirements for studies in India), the opportunity to spend 10–15 weeks in Banaras (Varanasi). In India they study languages (Hindi/Sanskrit), conduct individualized litterature and field studies (related to their C/D thesis topics) under qualified supervision, and participate in a joint BHU-Karlstad University seminar on the ”Multi-Cultural Aspects of Banaras”. More information on the India Programme.
For several years Rana P.B. Singh, Professor of Cultural Geography at BHU (photo to the right) has been a visiting professor at Karlstad University. He regularly holds seminars and workshops on topics like ”Sacred and Ritual landscapes of Holy Cities of India”, and ”Changing Indian Village”. As president of the Indo-Nordic Cultural Association in Varanasi Prof. Singh has been involved in organising various India Study programmes for both Karlstad University and Copenhagen University. Since 1989 he has frequently visited Scandinavia and worked as a Visiting Professor. He has also given lectures at the universities of Lund, Göteborg, Uppsala, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Aarhus, Åbo, Vasa, Oslo and Bergen. He has been involved in studying, performing and promoting the heritage planning, eco-tourism and rural studies and development in the Varanasi region for the last two decades, as consultant, project director, collaborator and organiser. In research, he combines the trilogy of historical process, cultural tradition and environmental ethics to understand the people and landscape in India. His publications include 33 volumes, and 150 research papers.
Together with Prof. Gerhard Gustafsson, he also co-organised a panel on ”Spirit of Place, Landscape and Place Ballet” in a conference on ”Space, Haunting, Discourse” at Karlstad University in June 2006. At the 19th European Conference of Modern South Asian Studies held in Leiden 2006, he chaired a panel on ”Pilgrimage Landscape, Cosmogram and Planning the Heritage Cities”.
(In 2004 Prof. Rana P.B. Singh he also participated in the 18th ECMSAS conference, organised by SASNET in Lund. He convened Panel No 46 on ”Spirit and Power of Sacred Places, and Preservation of Cultural Heritage”. More information about the panel.)
In October 2008, Prof. Singh was invited as a visiting faculty to the Dept. of Religious Studies and Theology at Göteborg University. During this stay, he has also been invited to give lectures at the universities in Karlstad, Falun, Lund and Copenhagen, including a seminar in Lund, jointly organised by SASNET and the Dept. of History and Anthropology of Religions, Lund University. More information.