On Wednesday 7 March 2012, SASNET’s deputy director Lars Eklund, and assistant webmaster Julia Velkova visited Linköping University (LiU) in order to meet with researchers working on South Asia related projects. They had fruitful meetings with representatives from the Department of Culture and Communication (IKK); the Department of Water and Environmental Studies at Tema Institute; the Division of Gender and Medicine at the Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine; and finally the Department for Studies of Social Change and Culture (ISAK) at Campus Norrköping.
It was a nice sunny day when we came to Linköping and visited the university, which is located at three campuses, two in proper Linköping – Campus Valla and Campus US (University Hospital Campus), plus Campus Norrköping located in the sister city 43 km away. LiU has approximately 27,300 students, and 3,900 employees.
The university has a unique organization that differs from traditional academic organizations that have served as a model for most European universities. Instead of being divided into separate faculties of humanities, social sciences, philosophy etc, Linköping University encompasses four faculties:
– Institute of Technology (Tekniska Högskolan)
– Faculty of Health Sciences (Hälsouniversitetet)
– Faculty of Educational Sciences, and
– Faculty of Arts & Sciences(which stretches over such diverse disciplines as social anthropology, history of literature, political science, and political economy).
The faculties are mostly divided between the three campuses, which means that several departments have branches both in Linköping and Norrköping. Because of this, Linköping University has introduced a Campus Bus Service for free transport of students and employees between Campus US, Campus Valla and Campus Norrköping once every hour during weekdays. (Photo of the bus).
Department of Culture and Communication
Our first visits were to two departments located at Campus Valla on the outskirts of the city of Linköping.
Lars visited the Department of Culture and Communication (IKK) in the Key building. Here he met PhD candidate Alia Amir, who studies at Linköping University on a scholarship from the Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan – one out of 200 Pakistani MA students and PhD candidates funded by HEC at Swedish universities in a programme administered by the Swedish Institute since 2004 (more information).
Alia Amir has previously an M.A. in English Literature from Peshawar University, and another MA from Linköping University in 2008. Her MA thesis in Linköping was entitled “Chronicles of the English Language in Pakistan: A discourse analysis of milestones in the language policy of Pakistan“. She compared three policies in Pakistan’s history, namely Lord Macaulay’s ”Minute on Indian Education” from 1835, the Constitution of Pakistan from 1973, and the Educational Policy from 2008.
Currently she is working for her PhD with a dissertation project focusing on English as a Second Language classrooms in Swedish schools with an ethnomethodological conversation analytic lens. Zooming in on the policies actually practiced, maintained and co-constructed in a classroom, her ongoing research sheds light on how the participants actually police each other who are “doing being bilingual”. Her research interests are language in education and bi-/multilingualism in education (including policies and talk-in-interaction).
Alia Amir is also involved in planning for the Second Nordic Interdisciplinary Conference on Discourse and Interaction (NorDIsCo) that will be held at Linköping University 21–23 November 2012. It is jointly organised by IKK and the Child Studies department the Tema Institute.
– More information, go to http://www.sasnet.lu.se/node/58827
Department of Water and Environmental Studies/TEMA Institute
Lars and Julia then visited the Dept. of Water and Environmental Studies (Tema V), also at Campus Valla but in the Tema Building. A meeting was held with Dr. Julie Wilk and Dr. Anna Jonsson, two researchers involved in several South Asia related projects over the years. They informed about the organisational structure of their department, being part of the TEMA Institute. At TEMA there are four research areas called Themes (in Swedish teman), namely
– Child Studies; – Gender Studies; – Technology and Social Change; and – Water and Environmental Studies (Tema V).
Besides, TEMA is also host to three Centres with interdisciplinary profiles:
– The Centre for Gender Studies;
– The Centre for People, Technology and Society (CMTS = Centrum för Människa, Teknik och Samhälle); and
– The Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research (CSPR).
The Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research is located in Norrköping, and has a strong connection to Tema V. Since 2012, Julie Wilk (photo to the left) is the Director for CSPR, and Anna Jonsson has her work place located to the CSPR office in Norrköping. See SASNET’s special page on CSPR.
Tema V began its activities in 1980 on a rather modest scale, but has grown into becoming a melting-pot for chemists, physicists, technicians, microbiologists, molecular biologists, ecologists, geographers, oceanographers, political scientists, hydrologists, limnologists, social anthropologists, historians, sociologists, ecotoxicologists, statisticians, national economists and ethnogeographists. Research at Tema V is focused on water and environmental problems relevant to society. For many years, the department was headed by Professor Jan Lundqvist (photo to the right), later connected to the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), and involved in planning the symposia taking place every year in August in connection with the Stockholm World Water Week.
Other South Asia related researchers previously working at Tema V are:
Dr. Håkan Tropp, who defended his doctoral dissertation entitled ”Patronage, Politics and Pollution. Precarious NGO-State Relationships: Urban Environmental issues in South India” in 1999 – now working as Programme Director at SIWI;
Dr. Jenny Grönwall, who defended her doctoral dissertation entitled ”Access to water Rights, obligations and the Bangalore situation” in 2008 – now working as Technical Officer at the WaterWise division, Abu Dhabi Regulation and Supervision Bureau in the United Arab Emirates; and
Dr. Mats Lannerstad , who defended his doctoral dissertation entitled ”Water Realities and Development Trajectories – Global and Local Agricultural Production Dynamics” in 2009 – now working at Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI).
Currently, Julie Wilk and Anna Jonsson are involved in a comparative research project entitled ”Designing climate-smart water adaptation strategies for sustainable urban development. A study of Cochahamba, Bolivia, and Kota, India”. A third partner in the project is Dr. Birgitta Rydhagen, employed by the Division of Technoscience Studies, School of Technoculture, Humanities and Planning, Blekinge Institute of Technology (BTH) in Karlshamn, but working at the Tema V department in Linköping. Field work is being carried out during 2012.
Anna Jonsson is also involved as a co-partner in a research project entitled ”Climate change, water stress and adaptation: A cross-cultural study in India from gender perspective”, coordinated by Dr. Ulf Johansson Dahre, Division of Social Anthropology, Lund University, and Dr. Nandita Singh, Department of Land and Water Resources Engineering, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm.
During our visit to Tema V, we also happened to meet Associate Professor Joyanto Routh who has recently moved to the department after working for many years at the Department of Geology and Geochemistry, Earth Sciences Centre, Stockholm University, and for a short period also at Örebro University. Dr. Routh is involved in several South Asia related projects, related to the role of biogeochemical interactions in aquatic and sedimentary environments, and their impacts on the cycling of organic and inorganic components on different time scales. He has worked in aquifers, caves, forests, lakes, peat bogs, mangroves, and river margins, with a primary focus Climate Change; and Ground water remediation and microbial interactions.
Ongoing projects include one entitled ”Asian monsoon variability and impacts on terrestrial ecosystems: High-resolution records in speleothem and lacustrine archives from northeast India”, and another one entitled ”Arsenic biogeochemical cycling in groundwater aquifers of the Bengal Delta Plains (West Bengal, India): Early detection and remediation issues”. Both projects received funding in 2009 for the perod 2010-12. Besides, the first one of them was preceded by a SASNET planning grant in 2008.
We also met PhD candidate Sivakiruthika Natchimuthu, working at the department since 2011, after completing a Masters in Science programme in Sustainable Development: Climate, Energy and Recycling. Her research focuses on Greenhouse gas emissions from aquatic systems, and she is also involved in the project ‘Landscape Greenhouse Gas Exchange (LAGGE) – Integration of Terrestrial and Freshwater sources and sinks’. Her PhD research is concerned with the exchange of greenhouse gases like CH4, CO2 and N2O between water and atmosphere and how they counteract the land sink at a landscape level.
Finally, we were informed about Professor Henrik Kylin, doing research focusing on organic environmental chemistry in the wide sense, including adjacent research areas such as environmental and human toxicology, and ecotoxicology. Much of his research has been about the global distribution of persistent organic pollutants, which has brought him on expedition to both the Polar Regions and the Tropics. Lately, his interests have been drawn more and more towards work in the Third World, including Bangladesh.
– More information, go to http://www.sasnet.lu.se/node/59439
Division of Gender and Medicine at the Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine
From Campus Valla Lars and Julia went by the Campus Bus Service to the Campus US (Universitetssjukhuset), more centrally located in Linköping. Here most of the departments belonging to the Faculty of Health Sciences (Hälsouniversitetet) are located, and they met with Associate Professor Katarina Swahnberg and Administrator Humlan Svensson at the Division of Gender and Medicine.
The Division of Gender and Medicine has been working on research projects focusing on Women, Health and Subordination for many years. The aim of the research is to develop theories, methods and analytical instruments to study the correlation between subordination and women’s health.
Thanks to efforts by Katarina Swahnberg and Professor Emerita Barbro Wijma, the Division has established a collaboration with Kathmandu Medical College and Teaching Hospital (KMC) in Nepal. Since 2006, a Linnaeus Palme exchange programme grant has been given every year covering an exchange of minimum two teachers and two students in each direction. In March 2012, decisions were taken for the 2012–13/14 Linnaeus Palme grants to Swedish universities. The Division of Gender and Medicine now received SEK 503 420. The main collaboration partner on the Nepalese side is Associate Professor Sunil Kumar Joshi at the Department of Community Medicine, KMC.
The collaboration with KMC has also been developed into research. A project on trafficking entitled ”Hidden Issue: Women and Girls Trafficking in Nepal” received a planning grant from the Swedish Research Links (Asian–Swedish research partnership programme) in 2009, and will hopefully get more funding to take ahead. The background is the situation where Nepal has evolved as a ”sending country”, a central part in global trafficking. Surveys reveal that 70 out of 75 districts within Nepal are vulnerable to trafficking. The main aim of the research project is to contribute to the prevention of trafficking of women and girls and promote rehabilitative measures in order to attain a better society and healthier life of the victims. The empirical study will be conducted in Nepal.
As part of the planning process, a Workshop on Women and Girls Trafficking from Nepal was held in Kathmandu in April 2011, for selected agencies working against trafficking at central and field level. Katarina Swahnberg and Barbro Wijma attended the workshop.
Besides, Sunil Kumar Joshi and Katarina Swahnberg were granted a GEXcel research fellowship within the Theme “Sexual health, embodiment and empowerment. Bridging epistemological gaps.” by the Dept. of Gender Studies, Linköping University in 2010. During this period they wrote two book chapters about trafficking for a work in progress report. Both chapters will be transformed into scientific papers and submitted to a scientific journal.
Katarina Swahnberg and Barbro Wijma are also involved in a Swedish Sida funded network entitled ”Violence Against Women – Global Network”. The network consists of researchers from the departments of Gender and Medicine (Linköping); IMCH (Uppsala); Epidemiology, Public Health and Community Medicine (Gothenburg); Public Health Science (Umeå); and Social Medicine and Global Health (Lund). The ambition is to create a globally oriented network as an interdisciplinary arena of gender, public health, epidemiology, and social sciences, with an overall objective is to generate knowledge for development support.The project is financed by Sida. Go for the network’s web page.
Humlan Svensson at Gender and Medicine is the Administrative coordinator.
– More information, go to http://www.sasnet.lu.se/node/58847
Department for Studies of Social Change and Culture (ISAK)
After the meeting at the Faculty of Health Sciences, Julia Velkova continued alone to Campus Norrköping taking the free campus bus, while Lars returned to Lund by train.
In Norrköping, LiU is located in a beautiful, reclaimed industrial area (Industrilandskapet). The Motala Ström River, which once powered a nineteenth century industrial complex, now contributes to the clean and charming cityscape that is Campus Norrköping.
Julia had an appointment with Associate Professor Ingemar Grandin at the Department for Studies of Social Change and Culture (ISAK), located within one of the renovated industrial buildings, Spetsen (photo).
The Department is dedicated to research and studies in the broad field of cultural history. It combines history, regional research and culture and media studies where the role of culture is the focal point in understanding social development. Ingemar Grandin’s previous research has been focused on Nepal and music (his doctoral dissertation was on ”Music and Media in Local Life. Music practice in a Newar neighbourhood in Nepal”), but for some years he has been working on other projects, not related to South Asia. Read more about Ingemar Grandin’s previous work.
However, after a number of years he has now a new connection to Nepal through a research project network called ”The Creation of Public Meaning during Nepal’s Democratic Transition” initiated by the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London and Martin Chautari (MC), Kathmandu. The network works with exploring the ways in which the meaning of socio-political events and developments is constructed, conveyed and consumed in Nepal, focusing first upon spheres in which there is already a body of analysis, such as the print media and FM radio, but also exploring less well developed areas of research such as Nepali theatre, film, rumours and conspiracy theories, TV, poetry and popular songs. More information about the network.
Ingemar Grandin also introduced Julia to another researcher who currently works on a project involving India, namely Associate Professor Per-Anders Forstorp. He is a Visiting Lecturer in the faculty for Culture and Media Production (KSM) part of the Department for Studies of Social Change and Culture, and also affiliated to the School of Computer Science and Communication (CSC) at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm. His current research project and interests are in the area of higher education, globalisation, and critically studying aspects of the ”knowledge society”. The project’s main goal is to study processes of globalisation from the point of view of ideology and anthropology of knowledge in the field of higher education at different levels and field work with Swedish relations in focus. His project has connections to Indian higher education.