Nordic Newsletter 13 - 9 November 2017


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Research Community News

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

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

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

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

• Shantanu Chakrabarty lectures at Uppsala University

Associate Professor Shantanu Chakrabarti from the Dept. of History at Calcutta University in Kolkata is staying at Uppsala University, Sweden during the period 1-22 November 2017 . He is a Visiting Professor under the long-standing Linnaeus Palme Exchange Programme running between the Dept. of History at Uppsala University and its counterpart in Kolkata. Prof. Chakrabarti specialises in International Relations and will be delivering a few lectures on contemporary India - on Wednesday 15 November, 13.15-15.00, he will speak about ”Conceptualising the 'Civilisation State' Model in Asia: Between Historical Heritage and Contemporary Reality'. The seminar is organised by the Dept. of History. Venue: Engelska Parken, room 22-1009, Thunbergsvägen 3C. 
Three days later, on Saturday 18 November, 12-16, Dr. Chakrabarty participates in Uppsala University’s Thematic Forum Day, the theme being “Migration: The World in Motion”. During this day migration will be approached from various horizons and regions thanks to the mini-lectures of different Uppsala researchers. It is open to the public, and free entrance. Dr. Chakrabarty will speak about ”Games people play! Developing South Asia´s sport identity at home and within the diaspora”, and the time for his lecture is 14.15-15.30. More information..

• Kashmiri activists awarded Norway's Rafto Prize for human rights

Two Indian activists from the heavily militarised region of Kashmir on Thursday was awarded Norway's Rafto Prize for human rights for their long-term struggle against violence in the disputed territory, the award ceremony held in Bergen on 5 November 2017. The prize of 17,750 euros was formally presented to Parveena Ahanger and Imroz Parvez. Named after the late Norwegian human rights activist Thorolf Rafto, four past winners of the prize (Aung San Suu Kyi, Jose Ramos-Horta, Kim Dae-Jung and Shirin Ebadi) went on to win to Nobel Peace Prize. Ahanger, nicknamed "The Iron Lady of Kashmir", founded and leads the Association of Parents of Missing Persons after her 17-year-old son was kidnapped by security forces in 1990. She hasn't heard anything from or of him since. Her co-laureate, lawyer Parvez, founded the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) which promotes human rights and non-violence. It has documented the authorities' use of torture in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Talat Bhat participated in the event. Read his report...

• Uppsala University presents excellent website on the Balochi language

The Balochi Language Centre at Uppsala University is a group of researchers and writers who have taken an initiative to create and promote a standard literary language for the Balochi language, primarily spoken in Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, with a total number of Balochi speakers stimated to be 10 million or even more.
The Centre has now produced an excellent web platform entitled The Balochi Language Project, giving a wealth of information about the language and its dialects; posting reports from important Balochi language conferences held in recent years - several of them held at Uppsala University; literature available with a possibility to download; and even a web based language course! The importance of the platform is highlighted by the fact that Balochi speakers are separated into several countries with various official languages, which increases dialect differentiation. Go for the Balochi Language Project.
The Centre has grown out of the Iranian Languages Section within the Department of Linguistics and Philology, Uppsala University, and its leading researcher Professor Carina Jahani (photo). She defended her doctoral dissertation in 1989 on a thesis entitled ”Standardization and Orthography in the Balochi Language” and she is by now one of the World’s leading experts in the field. She became Professor at the department in 2004, after the retirement of well-known Bo Utas, another scholar specialised on Persian culture and languages who also studied Afghanistan for several decades. Besides, a number of Balochi PhD students have defended their theses at the department over the years, including Behrooz Barjasteh Delforooz in 2010, a researcher who has also studied the Dravidian language of Brahui.
Balochi is an Iranian language, and is studied at Uppsala University along with other Iranian languages, including Dari, one of the major languages of Afghanistan. Courses are sometimes also held in Pashto and other languages spoken in Pakistan and Afghanistan. 
• Research project on Hinduism in Europe presented at EU parliament 
Knut Jacobsen and Ferdinando Sardella with Indian Ambassador H.E. Gaitri Issar Kumar (far left), Mairead McGuiness and other delegates.

On 11 October 2017, Dr. Ferdinando Sardella from the Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies (ERG) at Stockholm University in Sweden and Prof. Knut Jacobsen of the Department of Archeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion at the University of Bergen, Norway, presented a booklet at the European Parliament in Brussels about their ongoing research project on ”Hinduism in Europe”.
The event, coinciding with the Diwali festival celebrations, was organised by the Hindu Forum of Europe and was attended by several members of the European Parliament and various ambassadors, including the Indian Ambassador at the European Union H.E. Gaitri Issar Kumar, and First Vice-President of the European Parliament Mairead McGuiness.
The research project was launched with a conference on ​Hinduism in Europe, held in Stockholm on 26-28 April 2017. The conference was funded by the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet) and the Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies at Stockholm University. More information about the conference.
Full information about the project in the booklet presented in Brussels.

• Successful three decades of ISP programmes with Sri Lanka evaluated


The International Science Programme (ISP), based at Uppsala University, has the task to initiate and support long-term collaboration in research within the Physical Sciences, Chemical Sciences, and Mathematical Sciences with institutions in a number of developing countries. In South Asia, collaboration programmes were run with Sri Lankan institutions during the period 1978-2010, and with Bangladesh programmes are still running.
The long ISP collaboration with Sri Lanka has recently been evaluated in a report also covering Thailand. The book, written by Rebecca Andersson and Marta Zdravkovic, includes a historical overview, developments and effects of over 30 years of research cooperation. The experiences and present whereabouts of former PhD students and collaborators are also covered. It is entitled ”The International Science Programme in Sri Lanka and Thailand. Three decades of research cooperation” and was published in August 2017. It is available in full-text on the Net.
In Sri Lanka, four universities were involved - University of Colombo, University of Jaffna, University of Peradeniya, and University of Sri Jayawardenepura. The report shows that a majority of Srilankan researchers being trained as part of ISP programmes came to Sweden on a sandwich basis, in general with a host university in Sweden and with degrees awarded from the home university. The sandwich mode training is one of the main contributing factors to why many graduates have stayed in their home country after graduation. The continued contact with the home institution throughout the training facilitated the start-up and continuation of graduates’ research back home. Overall, the report summarizes that the ISP supported groups in Sri Lanka have contributed to the society in various ways. There are examples of group leaders and graduates being appointed to government committees, boards or working groups. Some of importance to the development of both physics- and chemistry education and research, as well as to national policy and strategy development. Most research groups covered in the study have continued their activities to various degrees. Read more...

• Anthony D’Costa edited volume on the Land Question in India

Professor Anthony P. D’Costa, Chair and Professor of Contemporary Indian Studies and the Director of the Development Studies Program at the University of Melbourne, Australia, recently published a highly interesting book along with Prof. Achin Chakraborty, Director for the Institute of Development Studies in Kolkata. The edited volume is entitled ”The Land Question in India: State, Dispossession, and Capitalist Transition” (Oxford University Press, 2016). It illustrates land-related developmental issues in India, covering the historical and contemporary role of land in economic development, the legal and institutional dimensions of dispossession, and multiple regional perspectives of dispossession and development. More information.
Anthony D’Costa was earlier the A.P. Möller-Mærsk Foundation Professor in Indian Studies and Research Director at the Asia Research Centre, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark, and before that, he was with the University of Washington for 18 years. He is the author or editor of twelve books on global steel, Indian automobile and IT industries, globalization, development, innovations, industrial restructuring, and global capitalism. Other recent publications (as editor or author or co-author) include Changing Contexts and Shifting Roles of the Indian State: New Perspectives on Development Dynamics (forthcoming at Springer); International Mobility, Global Capitalism, and Changing Structures of Accumulation: Transforming the Japan-India IT Relationship (Routledge, 2016); After Development Dynamics: South Korea’s Engagement with Contemporary Asia (Oxford University Press, 2015); and Transformation and Development: The Political Economy of Transition in India and China (Oxford University Press, 2012).
During a visit to Kolkata for a conference in late October 2017, Prof. D’Costa was interviewed by Arjun Sen for the web journal The article is entitled ”The Current Government does not Believe in Consulting with Stakeholders”, and contains criticism of the New India after the 1991 reforms and subsequent developments. D’Costa argues that India’s development fate is pretty grim with no clear or easy solutions to the problem of unemployment and underemployment. He predicts that despite a relatively fast rate of economic growth, vast swathes of the population will continue to wallow in poverty and impoverishment. Read the article.

• Börje Almqvist shares information about the 2017 Taliban ideology

Who are the Talibans and how do they want Afghan society to look? Are they the same ideological movement as when they controlled most of Afghanistan in 2001? Do they have the same attitude to girls' schooling, TV, internet and photography of all living like that, or have they changed! Are they "better" or "worse" today than when they had the power? These are questions raised by Swedish journalist Börje Almqvist in an interesting Internet blog. Börje has worked many years for the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan and has a wide perspective on the development in Afghanistan. Read his blog.
Börje refers to a number of current reports, for example one entitled ”Ideology in the Afghan Taliban”. See also BBC reporter Auliya Atrafi article from Helmand province, entitled ”Taliban territory: Life in Afghanistan under the militants”; Barnet Rubins and Clancy Rudeforths´report entitled ”Enhancing Access to Education: Challenges and Opportunities in Afghanistan”; and a report on official Taliban view on education: The Taleban’s ‘new education policy.

• 2018 South Asian Studies Fellowships at Cornell University

Cornell University’s South Asia Program (SAP) welcomes applications from scholars, writers, curators, and artists based in South Asia (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, or Sri Lanka) to visit Cornell University for a fellowship period of between one and three months to undertake research, artistic productions, and/or collaborations related to South Asian Studies. Fellows will have the opportunity to collaborate with Cornell faculty, post-doctoral fellows, and graduate students, and to involve themselves in South Asia Program activities. The South Asia Program will award four fellowships for residence at Cornell University between March and December 2018. These fellowships are not intended for dissertation or master’s degree research. Preference will be given to applicants who have not recently undertaken studies, fellowships or employment in North America. Applicants must be resident in South Asia at the time of the fellowship to be eligible. Citizens of South Asian countries living outside of South Asia are not eligible for this fellowship. Applications must be submitted online by the December 4, 2017. Full information

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

Educational News

• Swedish Institute 2017 Study Scholarships for South Asian master students

In April 2017, the Swedish Institute decided upon its Study Scholarships which are annually awarded to students from selected countries for full-time master’s level studies in Sweden for the academic year 2017-18, starting in the autumn semester 2017. This year, 40 candidates from Bangladesh were selected for scholarships, three from India, two each from Afghanistan and Nepal, and one each from Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
See the list of scholarships to Afghani and Bangladeshi candidates and info to which department and university they were admitted.
See the list of scholarships to Indian, Nepalese, Pakistani and Srilankan candidates and info to which department and university they were admitted.
The scholarships are aimed at developing global leaders and is funded by the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and offers a unique opportunity for future leaders to develop professionally and academically and to experience Swedish society and culture. The scholarship covers both living costs and tuition fees. Students from the South Asian countries mentioned above, plus Bhutan and the Maldives can apply. Applicants must have at least two years’ work experience and must display outstanding academic qualifications and leadership experience while also showing ambition to make a difference by working with issues which contribute to a just and sustainable development in their country.
Next call for the Swedish Institute Scholarship Programmes will be at the end of 2017 for master’s studies starting in the autumn semester 2018.
More information will follow on

• Lund University coordinates a follow-up project on the Rights of the Child
Andrea Flack,Tania Lutfunnessa, Madeleine Collin, and Sokol Xhaxho, third semester Master students in Sociology of Law and currently doing internship within the Child Rights Institute at Lund University along with Professor Per Wickenberg and NSAN editor Lars Eklund..

On behalf of the Lund University Commissioned Education (uppdragsutbildning), the Lund University successfully administered the Swedish International Development Cooperation (Sida) funded ”Advanced International Training Programme on Child Rights, Classroom and School Management” for 15 years - till 2016 - in collaboration with Sociology of Law Department, School of Social Work, Lund University’s former Dept. of Education, and the Faculty of Education and Society at Malmö University.
The programme aimed at spreading knowledge about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – UNCRC and supporting schools and authorities in a number of countries in Africa, Asia and Latin Amerika, including India, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Inonesia in South and Southeast Asia. The programme was intended for target persons holding a position from which they could initiate processes of change in their home countries. In India, special focus was put on Kerala state, from where 30 participants to the programme were selected. The results of the training programme was summarized in the book ”Realising Child Rights in Education”. Go for the book, available on the Internet.
In Lund, one local result was also the formation of The Child Rights Institute at Lund University (CRI@LU), a multidisciplinary university organisation with participants in four faculties at LU with an overarching aim to support the Rights of the Child in different contexts, national and international, in research, in education or in other relevant practices concerning the Rights of the Child. This project is connected to the Department of Sociology of Law.
CRI@LU, coordinated by Professor Per Wickenberg and Professor Kerstin Svensson, has now initiated a follow-up venture to the concluded training programme. Funding has been secured for a three-year project, an Internet platform is being constructed and 16 country-based networks are set up, including one in India and one in Sri Lanka. The networking process started in May 2017 with a workshop in Lund, but the project will be officially inaugurated in February 2018. The aims are the same as in the previous project, but this time the idea is that each country involved will do the work themselves. In the case of India, it means that former participants from Kerala state now will spread the mission to for example near states as Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
The Child Rights Institute has also connected four master students in their internship to the project, Andrea Flack and Madeleine Collin from Sweden, Sokol Xhaxho from Albania, and finally Tania Lutfunnessa from Bangladesh, who is planning to write her master thesis on Child Marriages in her country.
NSAN editor Lars Eklund met Per Wickenberg on 18 October 2017 to learn more about the new project, and he had also a chance to meet the master students.

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


Seminars and Conferences in Scandinavia

• Environmental Asia theme for 2017 Nordic NIAS Council Conference in Oslo

On 20-22 November 2017, the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages (IKOS) at University of Oslo organizes a conference on environmental issues in Asia, together with the Nordic Institute for Asian Studies (NIAS). This NIAS 10th Annual Nordic NIAS Council Conference, entitled ”Environmental Asia”, will take place at Voksenåsen not far from Oslo. Key note speakers include Georgina Drew, Lecturer, Anthropology and Development Studies, University of Adelaide, Australia. Her work fits within the fields of environmental anthropology and the critical anthropology of development, being particularly interested in struggles over resource use and management in South Asia and in the Himalaya more broadly. Deadline for submitting abstracts is 15 August 2017. Full information about the conference.
Conference participation is open to scholars and doctoral candidates in the social sciences and humanities. The conference encourages younger scholars, especially PhD and postdoctoral candidates to submit individual paper or panel proposals. It is possible for a limited number of participants to attend the conference without presenting a paper, or to attend only the keynote speeches. Connected to the conference, a PhD course will take place at Oslo University from 22-24 November 2017. Participants in the PhD course are expected to also take part in the conference (with or without paper presentation).
The aim of this conference is to facilitate critical discussions about Asia’s environmental pathways. What interests are at stake in current environmental policies, and who represents them? How will Asian societies deal with the double-bind of economic development and environmental protection? What roles do Asian religions and philosophies play in environmental debates? How have people reacted to and coped with major environmental changes in the past, and how do they anticipate the future? By exploring these questions, the conference aspires to promote a deeper understanding of environmental change in Asia.

• SASA seminar on Mobility and Gender in the Maldives

The South Asia Students Association at Lund University (SASA) organises an informal lecture with PhD candidate Phu Doma Lama from the Division of Risk Management and Societal Safety, Lund University on Thursday 23 November 2017, 17.15. Venue: Centre for Middle Eastern Studies, Finngatan 16, Lund. The event is open to everyone and as usual fika will be served.
She will talk about ”Exploring the Consequences of Adaptation to Changes: The Case of Mobility and Gender in the Maldives”.
In her presentation, Phu, who recently participated in the 11th European PhD workshop in South Asian Studies, that was held in Procida, Naples, Italy (more information) draws from empirical work in Maldives, and attempts to critically understand adaptation, and its gendered consequence on mobility (considered as an important adaptive strategy). More information about the seminar.

• Oslo conference on Indo-Norwegian Research Cooperation

The Norwegian Research Council (RCN) and the Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM) at University of Oslo organise a conference entitled ”Norway and India Research Cooperation - A vital and diverse partnership” on Thursday 23 November 2017, 10.00-18.30. It focuses on India's remarkable growth and development and its impact on have the country as an important partner, also for research cooperation. The essence of Norwegian-Indian research cooperation so far will be discussed, as well as how it will develop it the future. The conference will highlight results from the research projects and explore future possibilities. The conference reaches out to researchers and research institutions as well as policy makers, NGOs, companies, government representatives and research funding agencies. The event will also be open for the media. Invited speakers include well-known South Asia specialists such as Prof. Dan Banik at SUM, and Prof. Arild Engelsen Ruud, University of Oslo. Venue: Marmorsalen, Sentralen, Oslo. More information

• Information about South Asia related lectures and seminars

Conferences and workshops outside Scandinavia

• Mysore conference on partnerships to advance UN Sustainable Development Goals

An international interdisciplinary conference on ”Knowledge Partnerships to Advance UN Sustainable Development Goals” will be held in Mysore, India, 17-18 November 2017. It is organised by St. Philomena’s College in Mysore, in collaboration with the Sustainability Platform (TSP), India; the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) University Network based in Kuwait; the SIAM University in Bangkok, Thailand; and the Chulalongkorn University Global Network, also in Bangkok. The key conference coordinator is Professor Lawrence Surendra.
The conference focuses on urban planning, water and sanitation, energy and transportation systems, and sustainable development. It presents a unique opportunity to evaluate and critically examine our frameworks in the presence of policy planners, administrators, academics and civil society groups. The objective is to develop generic solutions using the successes and failures in addressing Mysore’s myriad challenges in the areas of urban planning, water and sanitation, energy and transportation systems. Full information about the conference.

• Habib University President’s Conference on Questioning South Asia

The 2017 Habib University President’s Conference will be held in Karachi, Pakistan, 22-24 November 2017. The theme for the conference will be ”Questioning South Asia”, focusing on how the politically-charged and contested category of South Asia stay can intact amid geological shifts and political restructuring underway globally? In these times of radical shifts in historical conditions, it becomes important to reconsider frameworks of knowledge determined by the ideologies of nation-states. Papers will be presented by scholars who seek to identify the historical modalities of the emergence of South Asia as an analytical construct, and shed light on how it continues to operate as a geographical, cultural, and economic category. Questioning South Asia as a discourse that at present burdens the scholarly imagination, and overdetermines conference agendas and research funding, might reconfigure the strategies we employ to understand the region. More information

• New Zealand Asian Studies Society Conference in Dunedin

The 22nd New Zealand Asian Studies Society (NZASIA) International Conference will be held in Dunedin 27-29 November 2017. It is being hosted by the University of Otago in Dunedin on south island. In line with NZASIA's key objectives, this biennial conference is multidisciplinary and aims at bringing together scholars working in the broader, open, and contested site of Asian studies. Participants are invited to submit panel or paper proposals presenting original research on any Asian-related topic. Particularly the organisers seek contributions from emerging scholars and postgraduate students and a number of events are specifically targeted to support the new generation of researchers.
Keynote speakers include Professor Subrata K Mitra, Director for the Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS), and Visiting Research Professor, NUS, Singapore. The dynamic interaction of culture and rationality has deeply influenced his research profile, which focuses on governance and administration, citizenship, hybridity and re-use, the evolution of the Indian state from classical to modern times, the transition to democracy and its consolidation, and security and foreign affairs of South Asia. Professor Mitra's presentation is sponsored by New Zealand India Research Institute (NZIRI).  Full information.
• 87th Annual Session of the Indian National Academy of Sciences in Pune

The 87th Annual Session of the Indian National Academy of Sciences (NASI) will be held 8-10 December 2017 at, Savitribai Phule Pune University. In connection with the annual sesssion, a  Symposium on “Basic Research - its role in national development” will be organised. The Scientific Sessions will be held in two sections: Section of Physical Sciences and Section of Biological Sciences. The scientific papers are presented by selected researchers/scientists in scientific sessions, for which prior submission of the abstract(s)/paper(s) is necessary. Full details.

• 2018 Y-SASM Workshop to be held in Zurich

The 8th annual Young South Asia Scholars Meet (Y-SASM) Workshop will be held 15-17 June 2018 in Zurich, Switzerland. The theme of the workshop is ”Claims-making”. It is organised by the History of the Modern World department at Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH), and the Dept. of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies at University of Zurich, in cooperation with the South Asia Forum (SAF). Since 2010, Y-SASM has aimed to provide a platform for interdisciplinary exchange among junior scholars in the field of South Asian Studies, including PhD students, advanced MA/MPhil students, early career Post-Docs and non-tenured faculty staff. While contributions from other places are welcome the main idea is to strengthen the South Asia network within Europe.
While claims-making has implicitly been a major theme in research on South Asia, theoretical understanding of the concept remains rather vague. In general, claims-making is related to certain perceptions and framings of social realities. Claims are linked to assumptions about rights or entitlements, on which demands can legitimately be based. Therefore, analysing processes of claims-making can provide complex insight into social, political and economic structures and the complex ways in which they are negotiated and consolidated. It is, however, not at all clear how the relationship between claims-making and ideological formations or moral paradigms should in fact be conceptualised. When taking a closer look at the process of claims-making, various other questions emerge, such as those about the conditions under which new claims arise or how various claims-making strategies change as a result of new spatial arrangements, technologies and different socio-political structures. Against this backdrop, the Y-SASM conference 2018 seeks to provide an interdisciplinary forum for exploring these issues. Therefore, we invite early career scholars to present their research linked to claims-making in a wide range of contexts. The conference aims at facilitating conversation between researchers from different backgrounds such as anthropology, history, geography, political science or media studies.  Full information about the Zurich Y-SASM 2018.

• Other conferences connected to South Asian studies all over the World

Business and Politics

• ICOMOS World Congress on Cultural Heritage to be held in Delhi

On 11-15 December 2017, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), which is UNESCO's Advisory organisation for Cultural Heritage and the World Heritage List, will hold its General Assembly in Delhi. Such an ICOMOS General Assembly is held every third year somewhere in the world. Over a thousand participants meet. Sweden will be represented by some ten persons. The overall theme of the Delhi symposium is Heritage and Democracy. Sub-themes include Heritage and Sustainable Urban Development and Peace and ReconciliationMore information on the Delhi symposium.
Recently, an agreement was reached between the EU and India on urban development, a declaration on partnership for smart and sustainable urbanization (more information). However, cultural heritage protection is lacking in the declaration as an important factor for the environment and sustainable development, for economic development, and quality of life. At the general conference, there will therefore be raised a resolution on this.
Dr. Nils Ahlberg, President of ICOMOS Sweden, board member of international ICOMOS, and one of the signatories, points out that cultural heritage protection in India is still in an initial phase and may need support and inspiration from outside, even though he is impressed by the knowledge, insights and the great commitment of the Indian colleagues. Europe and Sweden have long traditions in this area and a well-developed system of legislation, institutions, expertise and methodology as well as awareness of the cultural heritage and commitment of a wider public.
Nils Ahlberg therefore wants to promote increased cooperation in the field of cultural heritage conservation between Sweden and the EU on the one hand and India and perhaps broader in Asia on the other. Not least the cultural heritage as part of sustainable development, as an economic development factor and for poverty alleviation, for urban development and as a democracy issue. The Cultural Heritage as Human Rights – a Rights-Based Approach – is a current theme within ICOMOS.

• Information about South Asia related business and politics in Sweden

South Asia related culture in Scandinavia

• Bangladeshi baul singers again perform in Sweden

Baul Shilpi, a group of baul singers from Bangladesh who made a great success during their Sweden tour in 2003 and 2008, again visits Sweden in the end of November 2017. The group, calling themselves ”God’s scapegraces” (Guds vildhjärnor), consists of seven persons – four baul singers, two other musicians, plus the tour leader Sirajul Islam. They are as usual invited to Sweden by Dr. Christina Nygren, Dept. of Musicology and Theatre Studies, Stockholm University. On Sunday 12 November 2017, at 17.00, they will perform at Brokiga Bengalen Butik, Södermannagatan 50, Stockholm. More information about Baul Shilpi (in Swedish only).

• Rani Nair awarded 10 years grant for her contribution to development of dance 
Rani Nair along with Astad Deboo.

On 20 October 2017, the Swedish Arts Grants Committee (Konstnärsnämnden), a Swedish government agency supporting artists who work within the areas of visual art, design, music, dance, theatre and film, decided to award Rani Nair, talented Swedish dancer of Indian origin living in Lund, Sweden, SEK 1 m as a long-time (10 years) grant. Rani was one out of 144 professional artists awarded this type of grant, artists that have showcased artistic activities of high quality and have contributed to the development in their respective area of art. More information about the Arts Grants Committeee awards.
In recent years, Rani Nair has made a number of interesting dance projects together with renowned Indian dance maestro Astad Deboo, both in Sweden and India. It has included re-enacting Astad Deboo’s solo unrecorded works from the 1970s and 80s. They met in 2014, when Rani was introduced to him by the then Indian ambassador to Sweden. Read more in an article in Deccan Chronicle (April 2017).
Rani Nair first came into contact with Indian dance as a young child in the 1980s attending dance classes organised by Danish Bharata Natyam dancer Annemette Karpen and Bubu Munshi Eklund in Lund. It should also be mentioned that Rani is the daughter of well-known Lund University Professor Baboo Nair.

• SYDASIEN again becomes print magazine with SASNET assistance

The Swedish-language journal SYDASIEN, founded in 1977 but since 2011 only available on the Net, now reappears as a print magazine on a trial basis - two magazines per year are planned and they will cover articles previously posted on the Net. The effort has been possible to realize through a collaboration with the Swedish South Asian Studies Network at Lund University (SASNET) and its director Andreas Johansson.
For 34 years - 1977-2010 - SYDASIEN played an important role to disseminate news and information on South Asia. With popularly written articles on politics, history, literature and culture in the eight countries that consist South Asia (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) SYDASIEN was a unique feature in Scandinavia.
The magazine was launched in 1977 by a group of journalists, researchers and development assistance employees, among many others were Staffan Lindberg in Lund, Thomas Bibin in Gothenburg and Kalle Kjellman in Stockholm. Lars Eklund, now working with the Nordic South Asia Network (NSAN), was the editor in chief for 25 years, during the period 1982–2007. From 2008 till the closure in 2010, the magazine was then edited by John Senewiratne in Norrköping. However, in 2011 SYDASIEN resurfaced in a brand new shape, as a high-quality Internet based web magazine. It was launched by the current editor of the magazine,  Johanna Sommansson, holding an MA in Social Anthropology and a BA in Indology from Stockholm University. She is also the editor in chief for the new print edition. Go for the
A searchable catalogue with links to full-text scanned magazines from the entire SYDASIEN production from  1977 till 2007 has been published by Lars Eklund. It includes the full content of 31 years of publication, available as pdf-files. Go for the index.

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

Best regards

  Lars Eklund

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Nordic South Asia Network (NSAN) newsletters are produced by Lars Eklund.
Till 31 December 2016 he worked as deputy director for the Swedish South Asian Studies Network (SASNET), based at Lund University.
After retiring from SASNET, Lars is working part-time as Executive Director, Communications, for the Centre for the Study of Indian Langages and Society (INLANSO) in Varanasi, India. Besides, he runs the NSAN web site and produces monthly newsletters as a follow-up venture to the old SASNET Newsletter service that was closed down in April 2016.