Newsletter 181 – 25 November 2015


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• Peter Molinga drew record crowd for SASNET seminar on Politics of Irrigation Reform in India

Professor Peter Mollinga from the Department of Development Studies at School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, held a SASNET seminar at Lund University on Tuesday 24 November 2015, 14.15–16.00. He spoke about ”The Politics of Irrigation Reform in India”, and drew a record number of audience for any general SASNET seminar, a major portion consisting of students from Lund University’s Bachelors programme in Development Studies (BIS). Venue: Auditorium (nedre salen), LUX building, Helgonavägen 3, Lund. See the poster.
Peter Mollinga's interests lie in water politics and understanding how different processes characterising neoliberalism (like privatisation, financialisation, re-regulation, corporatisation) play out in the water domain. In addition, he works on how different ‘technologies of power ‘ are deployed in these processes (like law, policy and rights; knowledge and ideas; markets and money; technology and landscapes). In his presentation, he focused on what modes of contestation in everyday politics are and how politics of policy, hydropolitics and global politics of water are connected. The presentation was most appreciated.
Prof. Mollinga, who actually lives in The Hague, Netherlands, even though he is working in London, spent the day also visiting SASNET, meeting Lars Eklund and Anna Lindberg, and had also a chance to visit the Centre for Societal Resilience, and the Dept. of Sociology.

• SASNET South Asia Media Project continues with workshop in Delhi

After successfully organiszing a first explorative workshop in the SASNET South Asia Media Project at Lund University 19–20 October 2015 (read about it), SASNET will now arrange a similar explorative workshop in New Delhi, India on 7–9 December 2015. Venue: “Silver Oak & The Theatre”, Habitat World at India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road, New Delhi-110003 (Entry from gate number 3 on Vardhman Marg).
This year’s workshops focus on Indian media, but in the future the project will also cover other countries in South Asia. The aim of the workshops is 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. The project is coordinated by Andreas Mattsson. Please contact him if you are interested to visit the coming Delhi workshop, by sending an e-mail to the project coordinator
The preliminary programme for the Delhi workshop is as follows:

Panel discussions and presentations about journalists’ working condition, online ethic, gender in media and innovation in media.
Meet Swedish journalists and media researchers and discuss mutual challenges in the digital context.
Panel discussions, lecturers and workshops about how social innovations and technology creates change.
Centre for Work, Technology and Social Change (WTS) in collaboration with SASNET at Lund University will award 100,000 INR to one enterprise or individual from India for their work in social innovation in a digital context (more information). The award will recognise innovators who have created platforms that bring together technology media and human rights.
Full information with detailed programme to be found in enclosed folder.

• SASA/SASNET Fika without borders seminar on Afghanistan

On Thursday 26 November 2015, the South Asian Student Association (SASA) organised its final 2015 edition of its informal Fika Without Borders South Asia series. This time the country in focus was Afghanistan. At the wel-attended event, organized in collaboration with SASNET, Anders Fänge, one of Sweden's foremost experts on Afghanistan, gave a talk entitled Afghanistan’s Classical Problem – A Functioning State, about Afghanistan’s history focusing on the problems which have been faced by different Afghan governments which have tried to build a state. See the poster.
It is the absence of a functioning state that is one of the main causes that the country has been affected by unrest and war during long periods since the founding of the nation 1747, and it rermains so even today. Since 2001, after the collapse of the Taliban regime and the establishment of the Karzai government, Afghanistan has received billions of dollars aimed at assisting the country in military affairs, development and state building, but plans and ambitions have not been fulfilled. The Taliban insurgency is growing stronger, the new government has obvious difficulties in getting its act togehter, neighbouring states are interfering, and international military and devlopment assistance are waning.
Anders Fänge worked a manager of the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan and has been a pioneer in developing its projects in agriculture, health care, and education. In addition he has been a driving force behind the functional nationwide school system in Afghanistan today. He has also been engaged in securing education for girls and women. In addition to Afghanistan, he has also worked over the past 30 years in Ethiopia for Save the Children, in Central Asia for the Red Cross, and in Somalia and the West Bank for the UN. He holds an honorary doctorate from Umeå University. Besides, Anders is a member of SASNET’s board.
After the lecture, Afghani home-made snacks were served. The delicious food items has been prepared by SASA board members anda  couple of Afghani friends the night before in the kitchen of SASNET deputy director Lars Eklund and his wife Bubu (photo).
Venue: Basement International Relations Desk, Lund University, Stora Algatan 4, Lund.

• SASNET board with extended mandate discussed the future organisation

The SASNET board met on 3 November 2015. Lund University administration has decided to extend its mandate till the end of 2016, but one member, Prof. Fredrik Tufvesson from Lund University’s Dept. of Electrical Engineering has chosen to step down and he will be replaced from January 2016 by Professor Måns Svensson, Centre for Work, Technology and Society, Lund University. Three new student representatives have also been appointed by Lund University Social Science Students Union association for he current academic year. They are Rubana Musharrat, 2nd year MSc student at Lund University Masters Programme in Asian Studies; Mr. Lukas Fietz, 1st year MSc student at Lund University Master’s Programmme in Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Adaption; and Nashfa Hawwa, 2nd year MSc student at Lund University Master's programme at the International Institute of Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE).
The meeting discussed planned activities for SASNET and its student association during the coming year. They include a long list of seminars, organized by SASNET In collaboration with other LU departments or with external partners such as the Association of Foreign Affairs (UPF). A major conference on Modernity in South Asia is being planned for, to take place in September 2016. It is however dependent on securing external funding. Other initiatives include involving Lund University researchers in preparing a joint interdisciplinary research proposal. To realize this, researchers have been invited for a couple of meetings, and the discussions have been fruitful so far. Close to now, SASNET will carry out its SASNET Sweden-South Asia Media project workshop in New Delhi 7–9 December 2015 – a follow-up activity to the Media workshop held in Lund in October.
The main point on the agenda focused on the future organization of SASNET after 2016, something hat is dependent on the coming Lund University Asia Strategy. This is still is in a preliminary stage, the working group not being appointed yet. Today SASNET belongs to Lund University's Specialised Centres Unit (USV) but in the future it might be merged with some other unit and get integrated in one of the faculties. The board had a lively discussion on this issue, and a decision was taken that SASNET should recommend the university management to explore the possibility to form a School of the Global South, and to organize an Asia Day during 2016, including a Roundtable discussion on the Asia strategy. The board also discussed other strategic issues on how to make SASNET survive. The importance of SASNET’s networking activities was also stressed, mentioning the newsletters reaching out to the world. These should continue even in a changed organizational setup.
Go for the verified board meeting Minutes.

• SASNET shares office space with Centre for Middle Eastern Studies

Since December 2013, the SASNET office is located at Paradisgatan 5 G in central Lund, in premises belonging to the Dept. of Sociology. However, with more people working at SASNET it has become necessary to provide some more office space. This has now come true with the help of another Lund University unit that SASNET is collaborating with on a frequent basis, namely the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies (CME).
SASNET is now also located in a building named Norlind, located at Biskopsgatan 5 (within three minutes walking distance from the other SASNET office). SASNET sub-rents two rooms in this building (photo) that previously has housed the Dept. of Musicology. On Monday 9 November 2015, SASNET director Anna Lindberg moved her office to the refurbished Norlind building, along with research coordinator Andreas Johansson and project leader Andreas Mattsson, whereas deputy director Lars Eklund stays in the Paradisgatan office with assistant communications officer Jacco Visser.
The move is also a symbol of intensified friendly collaboration between SASNET and CME. A series of joint seminars is currently being planned for the spring semester 2016, concerning links between the Middle East and the South Asian subcontinent.

• SASA Travel Grants awarded to three Lund University students

On 21 October 2015, decisions were taken regarding the latest round of the South Asia Student Association (SASA) Travel Grants for Lund University students. For the Spring semester 2016, SASA awarded travel grants to three Lund University students in order to undertake a field study in relation to a thesis in any of the eight South Asian countries. One of them has however decided to do fieldwork outside South Asia, so two successful candidates remain:

Otso Harju and Sanchari De.

• Otso Harju, Masters student in Asian Studies at the Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, with an application dealing with female domestic servants employed by middle class, young unmarried metropolitan women in India.
Sanchari De, PhD student at the Department of Communication and Media, regarding a project on the connection on social media and social movements against the backdrop of the Shahbag movement in Bangladesh.
The application round was open during September and early October 2015 for students enrolled at Lund university at fulltime study programmes, preferrebly including a South Asia focus. The purpose of the travel grants is to give the students the opportunity to visit South Asian countries to carry out their field work and directly engage with local actors to achieve more objective and thorough results. The funding comes from SASNET, that also provides the students assistance with connections and resources needed to complete high quality field work. 

• SASNET support behind successful research application on Organic Pollutants in Wastewater
Ebbe Nordlander and Tapan Kanti Paine.

In December 2014, Prof. Ebbe Nordlander from the Division of Chemical Physics, Department of Chemistry at Lund University was granted a special one month position at SASNET, a position dedicated to write a research application with a South Asia focus (”ansökningsmånad” in Swedish). SASNET introduced this offer as a new scheme in 2014 to promote more South Asia related research at Lund University. Researchers from all faculties and all disciplines within Lund university were eligible to apply. Prof. Nordlander planned to write a research application to the Swedish Research Council for a project to be developed in collaboration with Associate Professor Tapan Kanti Paine from the Dept. of Inorganic Chemistry at the prestigeous Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IASC) in Kolkata, India. The project relates to the development of new metal complexes that can act as catalysts for reactions in which hydrocarbons obtained one or more oxygen atoms (a catalyst is a substance or compound that can accelerate a chemical reaction without itself consumed in the reaction). More information.
The application got a successful result. On 3 November 2015, the Swedish Research Council decided to award the project, entitled ”Development of Bio-inspired Catalysts for Oxidative Degradation of Organic Pollutants in Wastewater” SEK 1.17 m for three years (2016-18) as a Swedish Research Links (SRL) grant. The project will now be coordinated by Ebbe Nordlander on the Swedish side, and Tapan Kanti Paine on the Indian side. More information about the South Asia related SRL grants 2015.

• Final Erasmus Mundus India programme scholarship holder arrived to Lund University

On 2 November 2015, Dr. M. Hilaria Soundari arrived in Lund, being the final scholarship holder selected by the 2013 Erasmus Mundus India programme coordinated by Lund University (the EMINTE programme – more information).  Dr. Hilaria is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Applied Research at Gandhigram Rural  Institute – Deemed University in Dindigul District, Tamil Nadu, India. This is one of the the consortium member universities in the EMINTE programme, the planning of which SASNET facilitated to a large extent. She now spends a month as an academic staff at Lund University’s Centre for Resilience Studies at the Faculty of Engineering (LTH).
At her home university in India, she teaches research methodology and social work. Her specialization is development research, gender and social issues, writing extensively on issues such as ‘Alternative Approaches to Empower Dalit Women’, and on ‘Self-Help groups for Sustainable Rural Development’, which were also the topics of her doctoral dissertation. As a post-doc she has carried out research on ‘ICT initiatives for Rural Women Empowerment in India’, and completed a UGC-Major Research Project on, ‘Achieving MDGs: Role of Marginalized Women and Micro-Credit’.
Besides the academic profile, she belongs to the Congregation of the Sisters of the Cross of Chavanod, and has worked practically with the marginalized women and children at the grass root level for more than two decades in rural India, while at the same time doing research on their empowerment and sustainable development. She has authored a number of articles in renowned journals and edited four books namely ‘Dalit Women: Dimensions of Empowerment’, ‘Emerging Dimensions in Self-Help Groups’, ‘Indian Agriculture and Information and Communication Technology (ICT)’, ‘Skill Development for Socio-economic Progress’ and ‘Higher Education and Gender Issues in Rural India’. She has visited USA, Netherlands, Switzerland, Hong Kong (China), Germany, UK, Sri Lanka and Italy. More information about her research.

• Jacco Visser visits South Asia Centre at the London School of Economics

SASNET Assistant Communications Officer, Jacco Visser, will make an official SASNET visit to London, UK, on 26-27 November 2015. He will meet representatives 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. In addition, he will explore possible collaborations, exchange best practices and attend South Asia related seminars at the institute.

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

Research Community News

• 2015 VR grants to Swedish South Asia related research

On 3rd November, Swedish Research Council also decided upon the Swedish Research Links grants 2015, including a number of South Asia related projects – more information

On 29 October 2015, the Swedish Research Council (VR) decided upon project grants within Medicine and Health. One project given a grant relate to South Asian studies, from Uppsala University. 
A few days later, on 3 November, The Research Council also decided upon Development Research grants, the ones previously distributed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). Here another five South Asia related projects were funded, one each at Karolinska Institutet, University of Gothenburg, Lund University, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, and Stockholm University.
Finally, on 5th November, the Research Council decided upon project grants within Humanities. One project given a grant relates to South Asian studies, from KTH Royal Institute of Technology.
List of South Asia related projects 2015:
– Professor Jan HolmgrenDepartment of Microbiology and Immunology, Institute of Biomedicine at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg for a project entitled ”Development of an Improved, Single-strain, Locally Produced Oral Cholera Vaccine”, to be carried out in collaboration with Michael Lebens, Stefan Karlsson, and Manuela Terrinoni.
– Professor Marie VahterDivision of Metals & Health, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, for a project entitled ”Rice, Malnourishment and Toxic Metals – Factors leading to Inhibited Development amomh Children?
– Professor Gunnel CederlöfDivision of History of Science, Technology and Environment; School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm for a project entitled ”The India–China Corridor”  to be carried out in collaboration with Willem van Schendel, Dan Smyer Yu, Mandy Sadan, and Arupjyoti Saikia
– Professor Ebbe Nordlander, Division of Chemical Physics, Department of Chemistry, Lund University for a  project entitled ”New Metal Based Pharmaceutical Candidates for Treatment of Malaria and HIV”.
– Professor Örjan Gustafsson from the Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry (ACES), Stockholm University, for a project entitled ”Source Determination of Black Carbon (Soot) Aerosols in Bangladesh: Prioritized Short-lived Air Pollutions
– Professor Andrea Nightingale from the Department of Urban and Rural Development, Swedish University for Agricultural Sciences (SLU) in Uppsala, for a project entitled ”Conflict, Violence and Environmental Change: Investigating resource governance and legitimacy in transitional societies”.
– Professor Lars Åke PerssonInternational Maternal and Child Health, Department of Women’s and Children’s Health (IMCH), Uppsala University, for a project entitled ”Developmental Origins of Health and Disease: Effects of pregnancy nutrition interventions on growth, body composition and timing of puberty”, which is a  follow-up of the MINIMat trial in rural Bangladesh that was implemented in a setting, where food insecurity and maternal malnutrition still prevail, but where changing lifestyles and economic growth potentially increase the risk for future chronic disease of the offspring, to be carried out in collaboratuon with Eva-Charlotte Ekström, Katarina Selling and Emma Lindström at IMVH; and Shams Arifeen, Anisur Rahman, and Ashraful Khan at International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B) in Dhaka.
Read more detailed decriptions of the 2015 South Asia related VR projects.

• Swedish Research Links grants to twelve South Asia related projects


The twelth round of the Swedish Research Links grants programme was decided upon on 3 November 2015. Introduced by Sida and the Swedish Research Council in 2002, Swedish Research Links aim to stimulate cooperation between researchers in Sweden and those in selected developing countries. The programme is open to researchers in basic and applied research within all academic disciplines. The programme offers grants for international collaborative research projects of high scientific quality and of mutual relevance for scientists in Sweden and scientists in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Africa, Latin America and Europe. SASNET presents the list of the 12 South Asia related collaboration project applications that were given grants for the three-years period 2016–18. They are divided as follows: Karolinska Institutet two grants; KTH Royal Institute of Technology one project; Linköping University four projects; Lund University one project; Swedish National Veterinary Institute (SVA) one grant; and Uppsala University three projects. Go for SASNET’s presentation page.

• Doctoral dissertation on Vellalah Caste Identity and nation-building in Jaffna

Bahirathy Jeeweshwara Räsänen defended her doctoral thesis titled Caste and Nation-building; Constructing Vellalah Identity in Jaffna at the School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg, on 19 November 2015. Venue: Annedalseminariet, Seminariegatan 1A, room 326. The faculty opponent was Prof. Øivind Fuglerud, Museum of Cultural History, Oslo, Norway. SASNET deputy director Lars Eklind attended the dissertation.
The dissertation explores the meanings and practices associated with Vellalah identity in the context of the Tamil nationalist project in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. Given that caste is a culturally sensitive identity and practice among Tamils, the thesis investigates how dominant caste identity was constructed, (re)negotiated and transformed. This is done via a case study on Vellalah identity by looking at the construction of Vellalah identity historically, as well as in contemporary Jaffna, with a main focus on the years 2004–2007. This study, in a sense, tries to unpack the Sri Lankan conflict with an inside account of the Vellalah Tamils who were one of the major protagonists of the ethno-national war which lasted more than three decades. The Vellalah, being the hegemonic elite and intelligentsia of the region, monopolised the social, cultural, economic and political resources. At a theoretical level, this study discusses the intersections of identity, caste and nationalism. It tries to account for how Vellalah identity is historically constituted, how major elements of caste relate to Vellalah identity, how the LTTE both influenced caste and Vellalah identity, and finally how war impacted caste and Vellalah identity. The central argument of this thesis is that while Vellalah identity evolved over time with certain stable markers of its identity and thus of caste identity, during the period of Tamil militancy such markers of caste identity were radically destabilised in the re-articulation of Tamil nationalism. Full information, with a link to the full-text thesis.

• Gothenburg researchers get funding to develop improved oral cholera vaccine for South Asia

On 3 November 2015, The Swedish Research Council decided upon Development Research grants, the ones previously distributed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). One of the grants was given to Professor Jan Holmgren and his research team – consisting of Michael Lebens, Stefan Karlsson, and Manuela Terrinoni – at the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Institute of Biomedicine at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg. The total amount is SEK 3.255 m for a three year period (2016-18). The project is entitled ”Development of an Improved, Single-strain, Locally Produced Oral Cholera Vaccine”.
The research group has previously been deeply involved in the development of the internationally available, closely related oral cholera vaccines (OCVs) Dukoral® and Shanchol®. These vaccines are effective, but the use of several strains and two inactivation methods make their manufacture complex and relatively expensive, and OCVs are therefore still severely underused globally. In developing a new generation of OCVs, a central aim is to make it affordable for the populations in greatest need. This can be achieved by simplifying manufacture whilst maintaining the levels of protection afforded by currently available OCVs. Using a single vaccine strain and one inactivation method would considerably simplify and reduce the cost of manufacture.
The research group has recently developed a novel concept and also engineered a new type of vaccine strains for such a new generation of OCVs, whereby the several V. cholerae O1 components in Dukoral and Shanchol can be replaced by a single-strain/single-formulation component with full retention of protective immunogenicity. The team now proposes, in collaboration with partners in India and Bangladesh, (1) to develop this novel single-strain OCV prototype into a truly low-cost, and also thermo- and pH-stable vaccine formulation for worldwide use including stockpiling purposes. A first-generation of the new OCV is planned to go into clinical testing in Bangladesh in 2016 with product approval hoped for already in 2018. In parallel, (2) the researchers will also develop a second-generation OCV formulation, which by including a novel cholera-toxin-derived mucosal adjuvant may provide adequate protection after single-dose administration, a feature which would be especially valuable for use in cholera outbreaks.

• Licentiate thesis at LTH on Crisis Response Management


Roshni Pramanik, PhD Candidate at the Division of Risk and Societal Safety, Faculty of Engineering (LTH), Lund University, will defend her Licentiate thesis entitled ”Inter-Organizational Collaboration in  Crisis Response Management – Exploring Conditions for Improving Collaborative Behaviour Across Organizational Borders” on Thurday 26 November 2015, 10.15–12.00. The thesis has some focus on the Indian tsunami disaster management in 2004. Venue: LTH/E House, Room no. 1406, Ole Römers väg 3, Lund.
Roshni is also affiliated to the Centre for Risk Analysis and Management (LUCRAM), and Lund University’s Centre for Societal Resilience. Her dissertation project is a part of the Training Regions Research Project, and is partly funded partly by the Swedish National Defense Forces. She came to Lund University as a scholarship holder in ane Erasmus Mundus programme in September 2010. She came from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in Mumbai, from where she has a Master's degree in Disaster Management.  
While carrying out field work in India, she has been involved proactively in immediate needs assessment during the devastating Kosi Floods in Bihar, India (2009), travelling to the most remote villages where no support could arrive. Roshni also worked extensively with the Union Ministry of Environment Education in India and their Centre for Environment Education (CEE). During this period she was working in several villages in the politically volatile districts of Baramulla and Kupwara in Kashmir and was stationed in Baramulla. Her research interests can be listed under the broad umbrella Crisis Cooperation, Multi Organizational Coordination in disasters and Social Psychology Experiments in Risk Perception & Decision Making. More information about her research.

• Heinz Werner Wessler formally installed as Professor at Uppsala University

On Friday 14 November 2015, Heinz Werner Wessler from the Dept. of Linguistics and Philology at Uppsala University was formally installed as Professor in a grand ceremony at the University Aula.
He also held his professorial lecture the same day. It was entitled ”Indiens enhet i mångfald: Traditionell mångkultur mot modern nationalism?” (Indian Unity in Diversity: Traditional Multiculture vs. Modern Nationalism). The lecture is available on the Net, go for it!
Heinz Werner started as a classical Indologist with great interest in religious history associated with epic literature and narrative representations. However, after his PhD he changed focus to the early modern and contemporary literature, primarily in Hindi, and on the social and cultural development as reflected in the literature. Two of his main areas of research has been classical literature in Sikhism, and on Dalit literature in Hindi, i e literature written by the socially marginalized populations. Heinz Werner has translated and published many contemporary Hindi authors’ works into German.
Another research project deals with epic hymns in Garhwali, a Hindi dialect spoken in the state of Uttarakhand. In addition to this, he has written language policy publications, and been involved in a research group working on a historical grammar and a dictionary of Hindi from 1703.
Heinz Werner defended his doctoral thesis entited ”Zeit und Geschichte im Vishnupurana” (Time and History in the Vishnu Purana) in 1993 at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. He has been affiliated to Uppsala University since 2009, being in charge of the advanced Hindi courses. Previously he was affiliated to the Division of Indology, Institut für Orient- und Asienwissenschaften, University of Bonn, Germany, where he was in charge of both Hindi and Urdu, as well as modern Indian literature, history of Indian religions, and modern Indian history. Besides his academic qualifications, Dr. Wessler has also been working as a free-lance journalist and as General editor of the quarterly German language magazine SÜDASIEN. Most recently, Heinz Werner Wessler received the World Hindi Award during the 10th World Hindi Conference in Bhopal on 12 September 2015. More information on SASNET’s page about the Dept. of Linguistics and Philology at Uppsala University

• Postdoctoral fellowships on Twentieth Century Political Processes in New Delhi

The M.S. International Centre for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences (ICAS-MP) has announced short-term postdoctoral fellowships in New Delhi for a project titled Metamorphoses of the Political: Comparative Perspectives on the Long Twentieth Century. The Centre awards 2-3 fellowships for the duration of 3 to 4 months in the thematic module Performing Gender within the broader project. ICAS-MP focuses on key political processes that have emerged in parallel in many parts of the world during the twentieth century through the present day. Interested applicants from related social sciences and humanities disciplines working on thematic fields relevant to ICAS: MP are encouraged to apply. Candidates will be selected on the basis of the quality and fit of their proposals, potential for academic distinction, and experience working cross culturally. ICAS-MP is financed by the German Ministry of Education and Research and is collectively organized by an Indo-German consortium consisting of the Centre for Modern India, University of Würzburg, the Centre for Modern Indian Studies (CeMIS), University of Göttingen, the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), New Delhi, the Centre for the Study of Social Sciences Calcutta (CSSSC), Kolkata, the Institute of Economic Growth (IEG), New Delhi, the Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies, University of Erfurt and the Max Weber Foundation, Bonn, with its German Historical Institute London (GHIL). The deadline for applications is 27 November 2015. Full information.

• Doctoral dissertation on Return Migration among Highly Skilled Indians

Helene Ilkjaer from the Department of Anthropology at Copenhagen University defended her doctoral dissertation entitled Bangalore Beginnings, An Ethnography of Return Migration among Highly Skilled Indians on Thursday 5 November 2015. The assessment committee included Dr. Caroline Osella, from SOAS, University of London, UK; and Associate Professor Smitha Radhakrishnan from Wellesley College, Massachusetts, USA. In her thesis, Helene investigates return migration among highly skilled Indian IT, science and technology professionals to the city of Bangalore. This movement has popularly been dubbed as “reverse brain drain” to “India’s Silicon Valley.” Taking its point of departure in the everyday lived experiences and practices of returnees outside their workplaces, the dissertation examines the post-return dualities of a new/old place and familiar/unfamiliar social spaces. While other researchers have pointed to returnees experiencing the newness – the changes and developments to their home country – as the unfamiliar parts when they come back, this dissertation points in the opposite direction. The thesis argues that it is, in fact, the spaces of the so-called ”new” India including, the gated communities modeled on American suburbia, the international-style malls and the modern technology parks that proved to be the most familiar settings and the easiest spaces for the returnees to relate to.

• PhD position in South Asian/Indian Ocean History in Dresden, Germany

The Institute of History at the Dresden University of Technology has announced a PhD position in the field of nineteenth- and twentieth century extra-European history, with a particular focus on South Asian/Indian Ocean history. The position is a fixed term until 31 October 2017. Main responsibilities are the conception and implementation of a research project in the field of extra-European history and the cooperation in developing a research cluster in extra-European history. The closing date for applications is 2 December 2016. More information.

• Full Professorship in Classical Indology announced at Heidelberg University

The South Asia Institute of Heidelberg University, Germany, has announced a full Professorship position in Classical Indology to be filled by October 2016. The position has an emphasis on the cultural and religious history of South Asia. The candidate is expected to cover classical Indian languages, especially Sanskrit,and the cultural and religious history of South Asia, especially Hinduism, in teaching and research. Requirements for the position include a PhD qualification, teaching experience and academic achievements comparable to the German Habilitation (in particular a successfully evaluated Junior-Professorship). The deadline for applications is 22 December 2015. Enquiries regarding the position can be made to the Director of the South Asia Institute, Prof. Dr. Stefan Klonner.

• Doctoral Summer Scholarships in Asian Studies in Tel Aviv

The Department of East Asian Studies at Tel Aviv University, Israel, is inviting applications for doctoral summer scholarships taking place from May 8th 2016 until June 18th 2016 around the theme Endangered Bodies- Asian Formations. It particularly encourages outstanding doctoral students interested in gender studies and East and South Asian countries to apply. The programme seeks to readdress shortcomings in coming to an integrated and comparative study of the regions by venturing across geographical, political and linguistics boundaries. The summer course is positioned in a broader research project called Asia on Its Own Terms  which seeks to facilitate interdisciplinary and cross-regional dialogues between local and international scholars and students specializing in China, India, Japan and Korea. The deadline for applications for the course is 10 December 2015. More information.

• University of Erfurt announces junior professorship position in Anthropology and History of Religion in South Asia

The Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies at the University of Erfurt, Germany has advertised a Junior professorship (with tenure track) in Anthropology and History of Religion in South Asia. The Junior Professorship is part of the Research Group “Religious individualization in Historical Perspective”, which is funded by the German Research Council (DFG). Initially limited to four years the position may be converted into a permanent position. The successful candidate will represent the subject of Anthropology and Religion in South Asia in research and teaching at the Max-Weber Center. The candidate must have dealt with historical and contemporary forms of religiosity on the Indian subcontinent in research and teaching. In addition, the candidate focuses especially on traditions and practices in the areas of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism or Jainism as well as on relationships among these traditions and of these traditions with forms of Islamic and Christian religiosity. Core requirements are a PhD conferred within the last 5 years, knowledge of at least one Indian language, publication of at least one monograph or articles with corresponding significance. Applicants must not necessarily speak German right at the start. They have to confirm that they are willing to learn German within 3 years. Applications should be received by 30 November 2015. Full information.

• London conference on Lord Elphinstone and the historical foundations of Afghanistan Studies

On 6 – 7 November 2015, the SOAS South Asia Institute at University of London, UK, organized a two day conference entitled Mountstuart Elphinstone and the Historical Foundations of Afghanistan Studies: Reframing Colonial Knowledge of the Indo-Persian World in the Post-Colonial Era. At the conference the intellectual legacy of Mountstuart Elphinstone (1779-1859) career as a diplomat, administrator and scholar was in focus. During the open conference eighteen junior and senior scholars were brought together, representing a diverse range of historical and cultural specializations to explore Elphinstone’s career. This way the conference aimed to represent both a tribute as well as a critical reflection on the enduring legacy and collective influence of Elphinstone and his influence on contemporary scholarship of Afghanistan, India, Iran and Pakistan.
The conference included a key-note address by well-known Scottish historian and writer William Dalrymple, among his books should be mentioned The Last Mughal; White Mughals; and Return of a King: The Battle of Afghanistan. Full information.

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

Educational News

• High time to apply for new Erasmus+ mobility programme

For more than 25 years, Europe funded the Erasmus programme, which has enabled over 3 million European students to spend part of their studies in another higher education institution (HEI) elsewhere in Europe. A new programme, Erasmus + International credit mobility (ICM) now opens up these opportunities to students and staff from other parts of the world. Under international credit mobility, a HEI in a Partner Country can send its students, doctoral candidates or staff to a partner HEI in a Programme Country, and vice versa. Students or doctoral candidates are able to study abroad for a limited period of 3 to 12 months for which credits are obtained. After the mobility phase, the students return to their sending institution to complete their studies. Similarly, staff can spend a teaching and/or training period abroad for up to 2 months.
With developing countries in Asia and Latin America, at least 25% of the mobility should be organised with the least developed countries of the region. In South Asia, these countries are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Bhutan. Another rule is that no more than 30% of the budget available for Asia should be spent on mobility with China and India, and a few more rules apply, for example that outgoing mobility of European students to Asia cannot be funded by the EU's external cooperation budget. Outgoing mobility from Europe can therefore only be at doctoral level and for staff. There will however be a few exceptions for students and staff from certain Programme Countries.
Applications can only be filled in and submitted by a HEI from a Programme Country on behalf of the partners. The applicant HEI must submit the application to the National Agency. The deadline for applications regarding activities to take place between 2016 and 2018 within the Erasmus+ International Credit Mobility (ICM) programme is 30 November 2015. More information about the Erasmus+ programme.
In Sweden the programme is administered by two authorities, the Swedish Council for Higher Education (UHR), and the Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society, from which more information can be obtained.

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

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Seminars and Conferences in Scandinavia

• Oslo seminar with Paul Rollier on sectarianism and Shia ritual in Pakistan

Paul Rollier, Assistant professor in South Asian Studies at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland, held a guest lecture at University of Oslo on 3 November 2015 on Popular Piety among Pakistan’s Twelver Shia community and the Politics of Public Ritual in relation to international reformist movements and mounting sectarianism in the country. During the seminar Rollier desribed the renewed vitality of local heterodox practices and challenges the presumed influence of transnational Shia clerical networks in shaping the theological and political orientation of Pakistani Shias. Finally, the lecture reflected on the escalating level of violence against Shias in the country and on its relationship to sectarian conflict in the Middle-East.  The seminar was organised by the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs together with the Network for Asian Studies at the University of Oslo. Full information.

• Focus Asia Conference in Lund focused on E-Governance in India and China
Jennifer Bussel and Amita Singh

The Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies (ACE) at Lund University organised another Focus Asia conference on 12–13 November 2015. The theme for this Focus Asia was ”E-Governance in Asia: Strenghtening Transparency and Accountability?”, and included studies of South Asia. During the symposium eight international speakers examined how the digitization of government has led to increased transparency or whether governments primarily use the online interfaces to enhance social control. By adopting a critical perspective the symposium examines the state-of-the-art of e-governance in Asia. The core discussion evolved around a juxtaposition of analyses of e-governance in different policy areas in India and China. Dr. Amita Singh from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi spoke about A Critical Perspective on E-governance in Asia; and Dr. Jennifer Bussel from the University of California, Berkeley, USA, gave a presentation on Corruption, Reform and Public Services in the Digital Age in India. Venue: AF Borgen, Kerstins Room, Sandgatan 2, Lund. Full information.

• Stockholm seminar on the Indian Caste System and the Dalit struggle

A seminar on the Indian Caste System and and the discriminatioin against Dalits was held in Stockholm on Monday 16 November 2015. The seminar, organised by Sensus, was entitled ”Indien och Kastsystemet: Demokrati med Graderat Medborgarskap” and was led by Hans Magnusson, leading person in the Dalit Solidarity Network Sverige (DSN-S). He has been involved in the Dalit struggle since 1998 when he worked as a coordinator for India at the Swedish section of Amnesty International. Ever since he has visited India every year and assists people in how to assert their civil rights. 
The lecture particularly examined the repression of Dalits in India, both in the past and present while also illustrating how literature, poetry, art and activism has created its own identity as part of the fight for full citizenship. The film ”India Untouched – Stories of a People Apart”, produced by Stalin K, was also shown. Venue: Medborgarhuset, Medborgarplatsen 4, Stockholm. Full information in Swedish.

• Staffan Lindberg lectured on a South Indian Dalit caste at Lund University

Staffan Lindberg, Professor Emeritus at the Department of Sociology at Lund University, and former SASNET Director, held an open lunch seminar on the trajectory of the Madharis, a Dalit caste in Coimbatore district of Tamil Nadu during half a century on Tuesday 17 November 2015, 12.00–13.00 at the Department of Sociology, Conference room 1, Paradisgatan 5 G, Lund. The seminar ws entitled Back from hell. Marked for ever? Trajectory of a Dalit caste in south India during half a century. In his presentation, Staffan examined how progressive development has taken place between an initial fieldwork project in Tamil Nadu in 1967 compared to the situation at present. More information about the seminar.

• Oslo seminar on the transposition of Buddha images as Local Deities

Salvarpatti Manuvelraj Ponnudurai, currently a PhD candidate at the Department of Visual Studies, School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, gave a presentation at Oslo University titled Transposition of Buddha images as Local Deities: An Art Historical Inquiry of Faking and Forging. The seminar was held on November 18, 2015 from 14.00-15.30. Venue: Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM), Sognsveien 68. The talk, organized by the Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research (NIBR) and Asianettverket, explored the nitty gritty of alteration, misappropriation and distorted history by examining four local temples in Tamil Speaking South India where Buddha images are worshipped as local ‘Hindu’ deities. More information

• Winnie Bothe lectured in Stockholm on the democratization process in Bhutan

Dr. Winnie Bothe from the Dept. of Political Science at Lund University held an open guest lecture at Stockholm University on Friday 20 November, 13.00–15.00. She spoke about Democracy in Bhutan. The seminar was organised by the Forum for Asian Studies at Stockholm University. Venue: Södra husen, room D9, Frescati.
In her presentation, Dr. Bothe examined how Bhutan, often called the world’s youngest democracy, has introduced democracy as a practice and its understandings have entered the country. However  it mainly engages the interests of the educated elite, while rural citizens are still viewed as too immature to take responsibility for their constitutional rights. Winnie Bothe is a political scientist engaged in issues of state- and citizenship formation in the Himalayan region of Sikkim and Bhutan. Her research field covers issues of civilizationism, democratization, gender and caste. 

• Uppsala seminar on the role of prostitution in Dalit literature

Sandybell Pollock, graduate student at the Department of Linguistics and Philology, Uppsala University, gave a lecture entitled The Prostitute as heroine: Mohandas Naimishrai’s novel “Aaj bazaar band hai”. The seminar was held on 25 November 2015 from 15:15- 16.45. Venue: Room 9-2029, Thunbergsvägen 3H, building 9, Uppsala,. The seminar sought to contextualize the contemporary Dalit novel Aaj bazaar band hai by Mohandas Naimishrai in the history of writing on prostitution issues in Hindi and Urdu in Dalit literature and in the social context of prostitution. More information

• Copenhagen seminar on inter-religious love and slum citizenship in India

Associate Professor Atreyee Sen from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Copenhagen holds an open seminar entitled Pyar, paap aur politics (love, sin and politics): Inter-religious love affairs, slum citizenship and community surveillance in two radicalized Indian ghettoes on Friday 27 November 2015, 10.00–12.00. Atreyee Sen is an urban anthropogist with a regional focus on South Asia. The seminar is organised by the university’s Centre of Global South Asian Studies at the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies.  Venue: 2nd floor meeting room, Building 10, Faculty of Humanities, Karen Blixens Vej 4, Copenhagen.
In her presentation, Dr. Sen – who is the author of Shiv Sena Women: Violence and Communalism in a Bombay Slum (2007) and the co-editor of Global Vigilantes: Perspectives on Violence and Justice (2008) – explores the role of both silent and violent community vigilantism over inter-religious love affairs in two radicalized Indian slums. Using a Hindu nationalist slum in Mumbai and a communally sensitive Muslim-dominated slum in Hyderabad as ethnographic landscapes, the lecture illustrates how both state and non-state local actors used secret surveillance, exclusionary party politics, public shaming rituals and physical punishment to rein in poor women’s sexual permissiveness. Sen argues that the battle between scrutiny, suppression and support of intimate relationships between Hindus and Muslims is born out of an everyday anxiety over the security of the poor, the sinful impact of western liberalism, and the paranoia of ‘love jihad’ in modernizing cities in India. In doing so it addresses a broader anthropology of urban conflict by illustrating how informal censors of women’s unethical behavior can create an ethos of neo-urban moral protectionism, and sustain cultures of coercion and resistance within contemporary slum economies in the region. More information about the seminar

• Ajay Navaria lectures on Hindi Dalit short stories in Uppsala

Ajay Navaria, assistant professor in Hindi literature at Jamia Millia University, New Delhi, India, gives a lecture titled The space of Dalit Hindu short story in mainstream Hindi literature at the Department of Linguistics and Philology, Uppsala University. The seminar will be held on 8 December 2015 from 14.15- 15.45. Venue: room 9-3042, Thunbergsvägen 3H, building 9, Uppsala, Sweden. The lecture will focus on the tradition of Hindi short stories and locates the space and importance of Hindi Dalit short stories in mainstream literature. Ajar Navariya is also acting secretary of the Dalit Authors’ Assocation and author of two collections of short stories, Pathatha aur Anya Kahaniyan (2006) and Yes Sir (2012) and has been associated with the premier Hindi literary journal Hans. More information.

• KTH workshop on Social Ecology of Natural Resource Exploitation

A workshop on ”The Social Ecology of Natural Resource Exploitation” will be held on Tuesday 15 December 2015 at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm. The aim of the workshop is to investigate the trajectories of boom and bust in the exploitation of natural resources, including hydropower as well as minerals, from the perspective of cultural and environmental choices rather than as economically-driven necessities. The workshop, organised by Professor Gunnel Cederlöf at the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, includes several paper presentations on South Asia.
Dr. Patrik Oskarsson, researcher at the Division of Rural Development, Dept. of Urban and Rural Development; Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Uppsala, will speak about ”Diverging Discourses on Bauxite Mining in Eastern India: Life-supporting Hills for Adivasis or National Treasure Chests on Barren Lands?”; and Rinki Sarkar, independent researcher in Economics based in Delhi, India, will speak about on natural resource exploitation and socio-ecological outcomes in the Western Himalayas in a presentation entitled ”Drivers of Change and Socio-Ecological Outcomes of Natural Resource Exploitation: Evidence from Field Research Studies in the Western Himalayas”. Other participants include Mekhala Krishnamurthy, Ajay Dandekar, Jaydeep Chatterjee, and Radhika Krishnan. Venue: Teknikringen 28, 5th floor, room K51, Stockholm. Registration is required not later than 8 December. More information about the workshop

• Oslo seminar on Family and Gender in Globalizing India

On 18 February 2016 from 14:15- 15:45 the Centre for Development and the Environment at Oslo University organizes a seminar exploring the transformation of family and gender relations in contemporary India. Venue: Sognsveien 68, seminarroom 4th floor, Oslo. The seminar presents four different case studies that analyze family and gender relations in India. The first presentation is given by Ida Roland Birkvad from the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and is titled Incarcerated Freedoms: Narratives of Visibility in (Neo)-Colonial India. The other presentations are given by Kristin Engh Førde, Karina Standal and Harold White, all from the University of Oslo, and will address a range of issues including motherhood and neoliberalism, solar electricity and women’s empowerment and consumption and the transformation of family in India. More information.

• Information about South Asia related lectures and seminars

Conferences and workshops outside Scandinavia

• New Zeeland conference on Asian Intersections

The 21st New Zealand Asian Studies Society (NZASIA) International Conference will be held in Christchurch 29 November – 1 December 2015. It is being hosted by the University of Canterbury in Christchurch. The theme for the conference will be ”Asian Intersections: Identities and Linkages”, focusing on the fact that Asia has long been a crossroads, where civilizations, large and small, and their arts, and cultures, have intersected, interacted and evolved. This has led to complex patterns of social, artistic, political and economic interactions, which have shaped and reshaped identities over the years, in some places peacefully and syncretically, in some places resulting in long lasting conflict or disorder. Panel and paper proposals on any topic related to Asia, broadly defined are invited, from all disciplines.  More information.

• Twelth International workshop on Tamil Epigraphy in Thanjavur

The twelth International workshop on Tamil Epigraphy will be held 1 – 11 December 2015. It is jointly organised by the research group Iranian and Indian Worlds at Ecole Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE), University of Paris 3 (Sorbonne Nouvelle); Tamil University, Thanjavur; and Pondicherry University, Puducherry, India.
The workshop will be held in Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu, India. It is coordinated by Dr. Appasamy Murugaiyan from Paris; Dr. K. Rajan from Pondicherry; and S Rajavelan & V Selvakumar from Thanjavur.
This workshop is meant for doctoral students and advanced researchers who desire to gain advanced skills in Tamil epigraphy. The sessions will be presented in English. The workshop will focus on how to interpret inscriptions along with providing exposure to available tools to analyse and synthesize them. The major aim of this workshop is to lay emphasis on the techniques of compiling and using Tamil epigraphic database as well as techniques to be used in corpus based text analysis and information retrieval in a variety of complimentary disciplines.
No registration fee is required, but each participant has to bear the cost of practical works and travelling to different sites. Interested students and research scholars should register before 15th November 2015. More information.

• SAAG 2015 meeting focuses on Leadership and Authority in South Asia

The UK South Asian Anthropologists' Group (SAAG) will hold its 2015 meeting at Cambridge. The theme for the meeting, convened by Anastasia Piliavsky and Nick Evans at Girton College, is ”Leadership and authority in South Asia”. It will be held on 11 and 12 December 2015, and focus on the recent wave of elections in South Asia that has left new kinds of leaders and leadership in its wake. Nepal’s transition to democracy; the sweeping election of Narendra Modi (photo), an outsider to India’s political elite, as the country’s Prime Minister; mass political protests in Pakistan; and the burgeoning population of South Asia's criminal politicians all raise pressing questions of leadership, authority and legitimation. Who has authority over whom and why? How do leaders lead and why do followers follow, or not follow? What potencies, entitlements, and responsibilities do authority figures have? What ideas and values legitimise persons and institutions?
The SAAG meetings are a welcoming and intellectually rigorous way for early-career social anthropologists to present their work and have it discussed by more seasoned colleagues. The papers are circulated in advance and get plenty of discussion time in the meetings. The organisers encourage the submission of papers dealing with all aspects of leadership and authority in South Asia and the global South Asian diaspora. 

• Kolkata conference on Capitalist Remolding of the Indian State

The 2nd Interdisciplinary Conference on Contemporary India will be held 10–12 December 2015 at the Institute of Development Studies Kolkata (IDSK). The theme for the conference is ”Instruments of Intervention: Capitalist Development and the Remolding of the Indian State”. It is jointly organised by Anthony P. D’Costa, Chair and Professor in Contemporary Indian Studies at Australia India Institute, the School of Social and Political Science, University of Melbourne, Australia, and Achin Chakraborty, Professor and Director, IDSK.
The conference highlights the Indian government’s various policies, strategies, and legal measures over the years. raising a number of questions about the continuing role of the Indian state in development and transformation even at a juncture when it is ideologically unacceptable and instrumentally difficult, although it is financially practical. More information.

• Third International Conference on Global Public Health in Colombo

The Umeå Centre for Global Health Research, Umeå University, Sweden and  International Center for Research & Development, Sri Lanka, jointly organise the Third International Conference on Global Public Health 2015 (GPH 2015) to be held 10 – 11 December 2015 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Venue: Taj Samudra Hotel. 
Keynote speakers are Newell W Johnson, Emeritus Professor of Dental Research, Griffith Health Institute, Australia; Seema Yasmin, Professor of Public Health, University of Texas at Dallas, USA; Dr. Raman Preet from the Umeå Centre for Global Health Research; and Dr. Prabhath Patabendi from the International Center for Research & Development (ICRD), Sri Lanka. The first GPH conference was held in 2012, and the second in 2014. More information about the conference.

• Bhopal conference on South Asian Vernacular Architecture

The School of Planning and Architecture Bhopal in collaboration with the Indian Trust for Rural Heritage and Development (ITRHD) and the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya Museum organizes a conference, demonstration and exhibition to examine the challenges that vernacular architecture faces today, and to evolve strategies for it continuity and adaptation for the future in the South Asian region. The conference titled South Asian Vernacular Architecture; Challenges to its continuity and Strategies for its future, will be held from 11th till 13th December 2015 and will engage in ways in which the South Asian geographic region shares a common cultural landscape which is articulated in its vernacular architecture. Vernacular architecture is representative of local cultural identities and despite the rejection of it in many states of South Asia due to perceptions of backwardness and informality, vernacular architecture continues to be the most popular way of building in villages and informal slum areas in cities. Against this background the conference is organized around four themes; (1) documentation and conservation of vernacular architecture, (2) adaptation and innovation in techniques of construction for the future of vernacular architecture, (3) policy, legislation and regulations changes need for the continuity of vernacular architecture and (4) the need for human resource development for the continuity of vernacular architecture for the future. Full information.

• 4th International Congress of Bengal Studies to be held in Tokyo

The 4th International Congress of Bengal Studies will be held in Tokyo, Japan, on 12–13 December 2015.  It is organised by Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. Papers on all the areas of Bengal Studies are invited, including, but not limited to, Literature and Criticism, Comparative Literature, Linguistics, Folklore, Cultural Studies, Media Studies, History, Economics, Geography, Political Science, Development Studies, Ecology, Sociology, Anthropology, Philosophy, Fine Arts, Archaeology, Museology are invited. Papers should be written either in English or Bengali. More information.

• Vienna seminar on War in the Global Village

 Austrian Institute for International Affairs in Vienna organises its second Peter Jankowitsch-Lectureon 14 December 2015, at 18.00. The seminar is entitled ”War in the Global Village”, and features Pascal Vennesson, Professor of Political Science at the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies at S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. The goal of Prof. Vennesson's lecture is to take the audience on a journey through the crowded battlespaces of the beginning of the 21st century. Over the last decade, the character of war has been quietly changing. To understand these changes, one must come to term the transnationalization of politics. He explores the ways in which the increasing presence of relevant transnational actors, ideas, norms, and practices has a distinct influence on the way wars are planned, fought and justified. In particular, he examines the actors and ideas: human rights activists, terrorist groups of global reach, such as al-Qaeda and ISIS, NGOs as well as norms and principled ideas, like radical Islam, International Humanitarian Law, human security and the emerging norm of the responsibility to protect. Venue: Palais Strozzi, Josefstädter Straße 39, Vienna. Potential visitors must register their participation before 9 December. More information

• Mumbai conference reviewing research in science, technology and mathematics education

The sixth international conference to review research on Science, Technology and Mathematics Education (epiSTEME) will be held 15 – 18 December 2015 in Mumbai, India. epiSTEME is a biannual conference reviewing research in science, technology and mathematics education. It is organized by the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE), and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai. The 2015 conference will be held at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB), Mumbai, and will therefore be jointly organised by the Educational Technology program at IITB. More information

• Jadavpur conference on Contemporary Issues in Development Economics

The Department of Economics at Jadavpur University in Kolkata organises its 25th Annual General Conference on 22–23 December 2015. The thenme for the 2015 conference is ”Contemporary Issues in Development Economics”. The organizers invite submissions of both theoretical and empirical papers related to this theme. More information.

• London workshop on Imperialism and Orientalism in Global Legal History

The Queen Mary University of London organises a half-day Workshop on 'Imperialism and Orientalism in Global Legal History' on 20 May 2016, 14.00–19.00. It is chaired by Professor Brian Tamanaha, Visiting Professor at Queen Mary University of London; and the invited speakers include mostly scholars focusing on China, but also Dr Nandini Chatterjee (photo) from the Dept. of History at Exeter University in UK. She works on law and cultural exchanges in the British and Mughal empires – with particular attention to religious identities, family formation, and the styling of selves. Her first book was on the shaping on the minority religious community of Indian Christians, through legal, political, racial and theological contests over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and currently she is involved in two overlapping but also extremely divergent projects – one on the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, erstwhile final court of appeal of the British empire, and its role as a hub of legal, social and cultural interactions with empire-wide implications; and a second project on how judges, litigants and state officials in the late Mughal empire in India using Persian as official language, gave way to the British empire in the mid-nineteenth century.
More information about the London workshop.

• Shimla Conference on Migration and Citizenship

The Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), Shimla, India, in collaboration with Harpur College of Arts and Sciences, Binghamton University (SUNY), New York, USA, organizes an international conference on migration and citizenship in Shimla from 30 May until 1 June 2016. The conference seeks to explore contemporary issues of migration and citizenship(s) in Africa, Asia, and Europe historically, particularly against the backdrop of the recent exponentially risen migration flows across the Mediterranean and the Bay of Bengal in recent years. The deadline for submitting abstracts is 15 January 2016. More information about the conference.

• High time to propose papers for 24th European Conference on South Asian Studies in Warsaw

All scholars interested in South Asian studies are reminded that the call for papers for the 24th European Conference on South Asian Studies – ECSAS2016, taking place at the University of Warsaw (Poland) from 27 to 30 July 2016, closes at midnight GMT on Monday 30 November 2015. The biannual conference, organised by the European Association for South Asian Studies (EASAS) is this time hosted by the Faculty of Oriental Studies at University of Warsaw. The chief convener is Prof. Danuta Stasik. A total number of 49 panels have been accepted, including interesting panels on Mediating South Asian religious traditionsPoliticizing Hunger: Famine, Food security and Political Legitimacy in South Asia (19th & 20th century)Print journalism in modern South AsiaSecurity challenges in contemporary India-Pakistan relations; and Policing the city – how public order and security are conceptualised and delivered in contemporary South Asia (see the full list).
All paper proposals must be made via the online form, not by email. There is a 'propose a paper' link beneath the long abstract of each panel page. Please also note that EASAS requires paper presenters at ECSAS to be members of EASAS through 2015 and 2016, or 2016 & 2017. Non-members cannot attend the conference. Full information on the conference website.
Proposals will be marked as pending until the end of the call for papers (30/11/2015). Convenors will then be asked to make their decisions over the papers proposed to their panel by the 10th of December and to communicate those to the proposers, marking them up within the login environment (Cocoa). Papers which are neither accepted nor rejected, but marked for 'transfer', will then be considered by the Scientific Committee to see where else they might fit in the conference programme.
The ECSAS has met regularly since 1968, and has provided an important opportunity to discuss current research and scholarship on topics relating to South Asia within the humanities and social sciences. The 2004 conference was organised by SASNET in Lund, see the 2004 conference page.
The most recent ECSAS conference was held in Zurich, Switzerland, in July 2014. SASNET was represented at this conference by Lars Eklund and Hawwa Lubna. Read their reports.

• 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

• Dhaka release function for new book by Dilruba Z Ara

On 19 November 2015, Bangladeshi-Swedish author Dilruba Z. Ara presented her second book ”Blame” at the International literature festival Dhaka LitFest. The story is set against the backdrop of the 1971 Liberation war in Bangladesh and the years preceding it. The book was launched by Swedish ambassador Johan Frisell at a function in connection with the three-day Lit Fest that was held in the grounds of Bangla Academy where writers and scientists from more than 50 countries attended, V. S. Naipul was to be there as well, but he cancelled it at the last moment.
Dilruba Z. Ara was born in Dhaka, but has lived in Lund, Sweden for many years. She writes both prose and poetry in English, and translates. Her novel ”A List of Offences” has been published in several countries. Her short stories have been published to great acclaim in a number of international anthologies and have been used as course material in universities around the world. Among Dilruba’s translated works are the ”Selected Short Stories of Shahed Ali”. She has also translated some of Sweden’s well-known Pippi Longstocking stories into Bengali from the original. More information about Dilruba Z Ara.
The festival was organized 19–21 November by Jatirik and hosted by Bangla Academy. The programme also included iconic Indian literary figure Nayantara Sahgal, Pakistani human rights lawyer Asma Jahangir, British journalist and TV presenter Jon Snow, India’s bestselling author Shobha De and Indian historian and writer Ramachandra Guha. One session entitled ‘Can South Asia be a Power Block?” featured Victor Mallet, Fasih Ahmed and Zafar Sobhan, three journalists of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, highlighting aspects of religious realities in their respective countries. More information about Dhaka LitFest 2015.

• People’s Peace Prize to be awarded to Mahatma Gandhi posthumously

On Saturday 5 December 2015, the Peace Movement (Fredsrörelsen) at Island Orust on the Swedish west coast (50 km north of Gothenburg), will give a posthumous People’s Peace Prize in memory of Alfred Nobel's Will to (Mahatma) M K Gandhi. The award will be handed over to Ms. Radha Bhatt,  Chairman of the Gandhi Peace Foundation in New Delhi, India. The award ceremony will take place in the evening at 19.00 at Svanviks skola near to fishing village Stocken, but be preceded by a day full of seminars, from 10 AM till 17 PM, on Gandhi’s life and mission. Peace researcher Jørgen Johansen from the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research in Lund, and Mr S Upadhyay (Jaya), educator and founder of Jagriti Vihara, a development organisation in Indian state of Jharkhand, will lecture on ”The Importance of Gandhi for Today’s World”.
The International Tagore Choir from Lund will perform at the award ceremony, and Indian food will be served. Inclusive fee for the seminar (with lunch and coffee) and celebration will cost SEK 300. You can already register your interest via email to the organisers behind Fredsrörelsen på Orust, Ola and Erni Friholt, on
Already two weeks earlier, on Thursday 19 November 2015, at 19.00, Fredsrörelsen på Orust organised another programme on Mahatma Gandhi, at Kulturhuset Kajutan in Henån. The programme was entitled ”Reading of Gandhi” and featured actor and theatre manager Sissela Kyle, who read out speeches and articles about self-reliance and liberation, from the book ”Om ickevåld. Tal, artiklar och brev av M K Gandhi, 1906–1948” (h:ström Text och Kultur publishers, 2014), translated and edited by Erik Carlquist and with contributions also by Sweden-Indian writer Zac O’Yeah and Stellan Vinthagen, Professor of Nonviolence and Resistance Studies at University of Masachussetts. The programme that drew a full house also included a musical programme by rabindrasangheet singer Bubu Munshi-Eklund from Kolkata/Lund.
More information about both events on

• Sandviken charity concert with Miss India Sweden 2015 Sanaya Singh

Originally coming from Mumbai in India, Sanaya Singh moved to Gävle in 2008 to study international social work in Sweden. She is now a Lecturer in Social Work at the Division of Caring Sciences and Psychology, University of Gävle, and a member of the SASNET network. In recent years, Sanaya has been strongly involved in promoting Indian culture, music, dance and folklore in Sweden. Trained in Bharata Natyam classical dance, but also conducting Bollywood dance classes and workshops, she performs at various cultural events. Besides, she was recently chosen as ”Miss India Sweden 2015”. As such, she represented Sweden at the Miss India Worldwide competition that was held at Mumbai on 5 September 2015. More than 40 contestants of Indian origin settled in various countries across the globe between the age of 17 years and 27 years, unmarried and citizens, residents, or born in the country they represent, participated in the Miss India Worldwide pageant (more information).
On 15 November 2015, Sanaya Singh participated in a charity concert in Sandviken, dedicated to underprivileged children in India. The contributions donated went to Wings to Hope, a Swedish NGO working in Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu. The concert was held at Musikverket, Kulturcentrum in Sandviken. More information.

• Deepa Mehta special guest at 15th River to River Florence Indian Film Festival

The 15th edition of River to River Florence Indian Film Festival is held 5 – 10 December 2015 in Florence, Italy, and 29 November – 1 December in Rome. The festival focuses on 2012 and 2013 features, shorts and documentaries from and about India. The River to River festival, under the Patronage of the Embassy of India in Rome, is the first festival in the world entirely devoted to films from and about India. The film chosen by the Festival audience will win the River to River Bitebay Audience Award. The prize – one for each category within the feature films, the shorts, and the documentaries – consists in the free online distribution of the film.
Famous film director Deepa Mehta will be the special guest of our 15th River to River Florence Indian Film Festival. She will introduce the Italian premiere of her latest film, Beeba Boys (Sunday, December 6, at 8.30pm), a crime thriller starring Randeep Hoda, about the violent culture clash between Indo-Canadian gangs fighting for control over drugs and firearms trafficking in Vancouver. The Festival will pay tribute to Deepa Mehta by screening two other of her films: Water (2005), Canada’s nominee for the 2007 Academy Awards and the third in Mehta’s Elements Trilogy, about the life of Chuyia, an 8-year-old widowed child bride forced to live in eternal penance in a house with other Hindu widows; and Midnight’s Children (2012), an adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s book of the same name - the script was written by Rushdie himself – about the fate of two children, switched at birth by a nurse to let them live each other’s life. Full information on the festival website.

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

New and updated items on SASNET web site

• Swedish departments where research on South Asia is going on

This month there were 1 new institution added to SASNET's list: 

         ‡ Swedish National Veterinary Institute (SVA), Uppsala

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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