Nordic Newsletter 6 - 12 April 2017


Subscribe to the newsletter by sending an e-mail to


Research Community News

• Lars Eklund reports from Stockholm University and Royal Institute of Technology

On 4-5 April 2017, the NSAN editor Lars Eklund visited Stockholm on invitation by the Dept. of Education, Stockolm University, to attend the dissertation by Khaleda Gani Dutt at the Institute of International Education (IEE), but Lars also took the oportunity to meet researchers at Stockholm University’s departments of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies; and Social Anthropology, who are involved in South Asia related research; besides visiting KTH Royal Institute of Technology and its departments of Dept. of Land and Water Resources Engineering; and the KTH Unit of Energy and Climate Studies (ECS). Read Lars’ Stockholm report..

• Late decisions regarding Swedish Research Links grants 2016

On 19 January 2017, the Swedish Research Council finally confirmed the decisions regarding the 2016 Swedish Research Links grants. Normally these decisions are presented in October-November the same year, but due to financial uncertainties the Research Council had to await notification on the development aid budget from the Swedish government before making decisions on the grants. Meanwhile, the Swedish Research Council had published lists of projects recommended for funding, within an assumed budget frame based on the previous year. 27 applications were approved, see the full list.
Nine South Asia related collaboration project applications were given grants for the three-years period 2016–18, including projects by Anna Godhe, Dept. of Marine Sciences, University of Gothenburg; Almut Kelber, Dept. of Biology, Lund University; and Alexandra Krettek, School of Health and Education, University of Skövde. Read more about the nine projects

• Swedish Research Council 2016 grants to South Asia related projects
Lars Åke
Joyanto Routh, Johanna Lundström Gondouin, Eva-Charlotte Ekström and Per Knutsson, four of the recipients of South Asia related Swedish Research Council grants 2016.

In late October 2016, the Swedish Research Council decided upon project grants within Humanities. Two projects given a grant related to South Asian studies, from Uppsala University and Stockholm University. Within Medicine, one project grant from Uppsala University that was given a grant related to South Asian studies.
On 19 January 2017, the Swedish Research Council finally confirmed the decisions regarding the 2016 Swedish Development Research Project grants. Normally these decisions are also presented in October-November the same year, but due to financial uncertainties the Research Council had to await notification on the development aid budget from the Swedish government before making decisions on the grants.
Out of the accepted South Asia related projects, four were applied by researchers from Uppsala University (Eva-Charlotte Ekström, K C Ashish, Heinz Werner Wessler and Albert Mihranyan); and one each from Gothenburg (Per Knutsson and Anna Godhe); Linköping (Joyanto Routh); and Stockholm (Johanna Lundström Gondouin). Read more...

• Linköping University organised high-profile Nanotechnology conference in India

The International Conference on Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology (ICNANO-2017) was conducted during 1-3 March 2017 at Vinoba Bhave Research Institute in India. The conference was organized by Ashutosh Tiwari from Linköping University, Sweden through the International Association of Advanced Materials (IAAM) with head office in Mjärdevi Science Park, Linköping, and in collaboration with VBRI Press AB (also located in Mjärdevi Science Park). 
On photo: Rajeev Ahuja, Uppsala University gives plenary talk at ICNANO 2017.
The goal of conference was to provide a global platform for high-tech materials and their manufacturing activities in India. The Vinoba Bhave Research Institute, located in Saidabad outside Allahabad, was particularly elected as hos since one focus of the organizers is on rural development. The Vinoba Bhave Research Institute is managed by Ashutosh Tiwari and Mikael Syväjärvi, both with affiliation at Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology at Linköping University, Sweden and being members of the executive board of IAAM.
The researchers and engineers at the conference, coming from academia and industries, interacted for the advancements of high-tech materials and their manufacturing activitie through step towards 'Make in India' campaign. In total, about 500 participants attended (researchers, industrial, politicians, media etc). The conference was inaugurated by Anand S Khati, joint secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India and Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology during the New Age Technology Summit on the first day of conference. For more information, visit; or

• Doctoral thesis on Sustainable Arsenic Mitigation in Bangladesh

Mohammed Hossain at the Department of Sustainable Development, Environmental Science and Engineering (SEED), KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, defended his doctoral dissertation entitled ”Sustainable Arsenic Mitigation. A Strategy Developed for Scaling-up Safe Water Access” on 17 December 2015. The faculty Opponent was Associate Professor Marinus Eric Donselaar, from the Dept. of Geoscience and Engineering, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands.
The thesis includes a comprehensive study leading to the development of a strategy for arsenic mitigation and scaling-up safe water access in Bangladesh. His principal advisor was Prof. Prosun Bhattacharya; with Prof. Shaun K. Frape at the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Waterloo, Canada, and Prof. Em. Gunnar Jacks at KTH being the co-supervisors. Dr. Hossain is now working at University of Ottawa, Canada. Go for the full-text thesis.

• No sea-level change in the Indian Ocean according to research results from Goa

The three shorelines of the last 400 years in the Caranzalem section of the Goa beach, proving that no sea-level change occured ober the last 50 years.

Professor Emeritus Nils-Axel Mörner, Swedish researcher with sea level changes as his special focus area, working at the Palegeophysics and Geodynamics Unit at Stockholm University till it was closed down in 2005, has published an article on ”Coastal Morphology and Sea-Level Changes in Goa, India during the last 500 Years” in the March 2017 issue of peer reviewed Journal of Coastal Research.
It is based on recent research carried out on the Indian west coast, and giving detailed record of the changes in sea level in Goa over the last 500 years. It is an oscillation record: a low level in the early 16th century, a þ50-cm high level in the 17th century, a level below present sea level in the 18th century, a þ20-cm high level in the 19th and early 20th centuries, a ~20-cm fall in 1955–1962, and a virtually stable level over the last 50 years.
This sea level record is almost identical to those previously obtained in the Maldives and in Bangladesh. Mörner’s findings therefore proves that the Indian Ocean seems to lack records of any alarming sea-level rise in recent decades; on the contrary, 10 sites analyzed indicate a sea level remaining at about 60.0, at least over the last 50 years or so. Read the full-text article.

• Doctoral thesis on Role of Adult Literacy in Transforming the Lives of Indian Women

On Tuesday 4 April 2017, at 13.00, Khaleda Gani Dutt at the Institute of International Education, Department of Education, Stockholm University, successfully defended her doctoral dissertation within the field of International and Comparative Education. The thesis is entitled ”The Role of Adult Literacy in Transforming the Lives of Women in Rural India: Overcoming Gender Inequalities. Comparative case studies in Bhilwara District, Rajasthan & Howrah District, West Bengal, India”. Venue: Lilla Hörsalen, Naturhistoriska riksmuseet, Frescativägen 40, Stockholm. The faculty opponent was Professor Airi Rovio-Johansson from Gothenburg Research Institute (GRI) at School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg. The NSAN editor Lars Eklund attended the dissertation.
The research was conducted in Bhilwara District, Rajasthan and Howrah District, West Bengal, India where literacy has played an intrinsic role in transforming the lives of the rural and marginalized women. In Indian society social norms often prevent women from exercising their free choice and from taking full and equal advantage of opportunities for individual development, contribution and reward. Read more...
In the February 2017 issue of the peer reviewed magazine Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, Khaleda has published an article entitled ”Reversing the Gaze Through Intergenerational Learning”. Go for the article.

• Shodhganga disseminates Indian doctoral dissertations online

To make Indian doctoral dissertations more accessible, the Ahmedabad based Shodhganga@INFLIBNET Centre provides a platform for research students to deposit their theses and make them available to the scholarly community in open access. The repository has the ability to capture, index, store, disseminate and preserve ETDs submitted by the researchers. Shodhganga received e-INDIA Jury Choice award for the Year 2011 under Digital Learning category. 
The Shodhganga Centre also offers links to other Indian (and World) repositories of ETDs, for example  the digital repository of Theses and Dissertations of Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore; and the Vidyanidhi Digital Library (hosted by the University of Mysore) which is  India's premier Digital library initiative to facilitate the creation, archiving and accessing of doctoral theses.
​Currently (March 30, 2017) the archive contains 134 970 full-text theses from 281 Indian universities.
More information on Shodhganga@INFLIBNET Centre.

• Stockholm researchers work on Arsenic content in Bangladeshi Rice
Arifin Sandhi collects rice grains from the paddy field located in Matlab, Bangladesh.

Swedish researchers from the Dept. of Ecology, Environment and Plant Science at Stockholm University have discovered that the Arsenic accumulation factor (AF) in rice is one of the key factors for screening Arsenic safe rice grains grown from an Arsenic hotspot located in Bangladesh.
In the research team, PhD candidate Arifin Sandhi, Tommy Landberg and the group leader Associate Professor Maria Greger from the Plant Metal Group, have collaborated with Prof. emeritus Gunnar Jacks and Professor Prosun Bhattacharya from the Dept. of Sustainable Development, Environmental Science and Engineering at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. Their research findings have been published recently in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Monitoring & Assessment. The researchers have collected different rice grains (both hybrid and local rice aromatic rice varieties) from paddy fields located in one of the prominent arsenic hotspot, Matlab (a sub-district area under Chandpur) in Bangladesh. The results show that As uptake in rice grains not only depends on arsenic concentration in the soil, but also on the accumulation factor or AF value (the ratio between arsenic content in rice and alongside soil) of rice grains. Read more...

• Large grant to SOAS Asia Institute for exploring impact of Nepal earthquakes 

Professor Michael Hutt, Director of the SOAS Asia Institute at SOAS, University of London – the only Higher Education institution in Europe specialising in the study of Asia, Africa and the Near and Middle East, has been awarded an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) grant of £576,419 to lead a 3 year project exploring the impact of the 2015 Nepal earthquakes on Nepali society. Whilst physical impact of a natural disaster such as a major earthquake is immediately visible, the longer-term impact of such an event is less apparent. ‘After the Earth's Violent Sway: the tangible and intangible legacies of a natural disaster’ will study the impact that the earthquakes of 2015 had on Nepali society. It will examine public discourse to understand social change; study efforts to reclaim and reinvent material culture; and study archival material to identify the permanent marks left by previous disasters.
The project will feature three strands to determine what changes in Nepali society take and have taken place after a major disaster. First, it will investigate the earthquakes' impact upon on-going cultural and political discourse in Nepal. The researchers on this project will investigate the ways in which the disaster changed the direction and content of the national debate on a number of key cultural and political issues over a three year period beginning on 25 April 2015 (the day on which the first quake occurred). Second, the project will ask who it is that decides which elements of an aid-dependent country's destroyed physical heritage is worth restoring. And finally, the project will draw historical comparisons between the sociocultural and political impacts of the 2015 quakes and those of the major quakes that struck Nepal during earlier periods of political and cultural transition in 1833 and 1934.
Professor Michael Hutt is the Principal Investigator on the project and Dr Stefanie Lotter, Teaching Fellow in the Languages and Cultures of South Asia, will be a co-Investigator, along with researchers from Kathmandu, Hong Kong and Chicago. The project begins on 1 April 2017 and will run for 3 years. Read more...

• Karl Reinhold Haellquist Memorial Collections at Lund University


The renowned Swedish scholar Karl Reinhold Haellquist passed away in 2000. He was a historian specialised on South Asia and worked for many years at the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) in Copenhagen. His wife Inger donated 5,000 volumes from his private library to form a Memorial Collection at Lund University’s Asian Library. It included rare books, journals, videotapes and pamphlets on various aspects of South Asian studies. More information about K R Haellquist
Parts of the collection, approximately 600 volumes selected by Lund University researchers Neelambar Hatti and Jan Magnusson, are now available at Asienbiblioteket, hosted by the Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, Lund University, in their new premises at Sölvegatan 18. 
One special section consists of the Mahatma Gandhi Book Collection, consisting of works by or about Gandhi. The collection reflects Haellquist’s lifelong interest in Gandhi, and many of the books contain review clippings and other notes. With funding from the Crafoord Foundation the archive was digitalized in 2008 by a hired librarian, Erik Svanström. 

Book donationThe Mahatma Gandhi Book Collection was formally inaugurated by the Indian Ambassador to Sweden, Mr. Balkrishna Shetty, on 10 September 2009. On behalf of the Indian government, the Ambassador also took the opportunity to donate to Lund University another 120 volumes of Mahatma Gandhi literature. The function included a puja ceremony by Ms. Bubu Munshi-Eklund, and a large number of Lund University professors and researchers, as well as Indian students and guest researchers participated. The university was officially represented by the Assistant Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Sven Strömqvist. 
List of the available titles in Libris

Another large part of the Haellquist books collection is hosted by the Swedish South Asian Studies Network (SASNET) in its Villa Norlind office at Biskopsgatan 5, Lund. More information on SASNET’s library, including links to World Cat catalogues.
Among a few other collections, the SASNET library also includes an impressive collection of South Asia related doctoral dissertations in all fields by Nordic scholars during the last 25 years till 2016, a collection made possible by former SASNET deputy director Lars Eklund. Go for the list of doctoral theses.

• Indian Oil Corporation researcher visited Lund University

Dr. Ruchi Gaur, Senior Scientific Officer at the DBT-IOC Centre for Advanced Bio-Energy Research at Indian Oil Corporation’s Research & Development Centre in Faridabad, outside Delhi, visited Lund University during two weeks in end-March 2017. She was hosted by the Dept.of Environmental and Energy Systems Studies, and her visit focused on life cycle assessment of enzyme production utilized in the ethanol fermentation process. Her visit was part of an ongoing partnership agreement signed between DBT-IOC Centre for Advanced Bio-Energy Research and Lund University.
The partnership agreement is based on developing and researching renewable forms of energy and particular ethanol production from cellulosic feedstock. It is based on an 2013 MoU agreement that has been extended to continue till 2017. The idea is to explore the ongoing biofuel energy research of different kinds in Lund and Faridabad, and exchange expertise. Several senior Indian researchers have visited Lund, and vice versa. During the Fall 2015, SASNET also funded a two-months fellowship at Lund University for PhD candidate Shveta Soam – working with Life cycle assessment of biofuels.
Indian Oil, with its headquarters in Mumbai, is India's largest refiner and fuel retailer with a state of the art Research and Development Center manned by over 400 scientists across the country. The main location is the R&D Center in Faridabad. The Bioenergy center is jointly financed by Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, and Indian Oil corporation.
NSAN editor Lars Eklund visited the Faridabad complex in December 2015. 
Strict security rules applied for visiting the site, and it took almost an hour for Lars to complete the formalities before being allowed to enter the campus. Once inside the beautifully set campus area the atmosphere was however totally relaxed. Read more...

• Detailed analysis of India's National Rural Employment Guarantee Act

Politics and the Right to Work. India's National Rural Employment Guarantee Act by Rob Jenkins and James Manor. Hurst Publishers, March 2017. ‘A magisterial work on India’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, a major departure in India’s development trajectory, and much talked about in India and among development professionals globally. It is a valuable contribution to the understanding of India’s adoption of this rights-based development programme, the politics and processes of the implementation and its overall impacts on the deepening of Indian democracy. It also has great value for scholars of comparative perspectives on development.’ (Ashok Pankaj, Professor, Council for Social Development, New Delhi).
India’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), passed in 2005, has been among the developing world’s most ambitious anti-poverty initiatives. By ‘guaranteeing’ 100 days of work annually to every rural household, NREGA has sought to advance the Indian constitution’s commitment to securing citizens’ ‘right to work’. This book offers a detailed analysis of the politics surrounding NREGA: the model of political action that motivated its architects, the public advocacy and parliamentary maneuvering involved in its passage, the political dynamics shaping implementation at state and local levels, the institutional constraints on reforming how it operates, and its complex impacts on the political capacities of poor people. Read more...

• New reflections by Shalini Grover on Marriage among Urban Poor in India

Marriage, Love, Caste and Kinship Support: Lived Experiences of the Urban Poor in India by Shalini Grover, Associate Professor in the Unit of Social Change (Sociology/Anthropology) at the Institute of Economic Growth (IEG), University of Delhi, India. New revised edition of her 2010 monograph to be published in the United Kingdom by Taylor and Francis during the spring 2017. 
”With fascinating case studies and detailed ethnographic material, Shalini Grover enriches our understanding of how poor urban women in Delhi negotiate their married lives, move in and out of relationships, and mobilise support from their kin or from women-led informal courts. Using her data to argue robustly against the many unfounded presumptions about gender politics, love, marriages, intimacy, and married women’s relationships with their families of origin, she makes important interventions into wider debates about gender, marriage and kinship” (Professor Patricia Jeffery, University of Edinburgh). More information.
​This new edition brings the narrative forward to 2016 (the original fieldwork was conducted in 2000-2). It offers new reflections, as well as a new preface. An up-dated bibliography and index are also part of the additions. As Grover has argued in this new edition, she is rather skeptical of the way marriage is being positioned or interlaced with India's economic growth story.

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

Educational News

• Lars Eklund goes for reconnaissance tour to India and Bhutan 

The NSAN editor Lars Eklund, who is also Executive Director, Communications, for the Varanasi-based Centre for the Study of Indian Languages and Society (INLANSO), will do a reconnaisance tour to India in end-April 2017. During the period 25-29 April, he will spend time at INLANSO in Varanasi but then join Dr. Mirja Juntunen, Academic Director at INLANSO, and Dr. Dipak Malik, INLANSO Managing Director, to Mussoorie in Uttarakhand state, and launch the new summer course in Hindi there from early May.
Since 2012 INLASNSO, which is an independent registered trust, successfully runs Hindi Study Programmes for Nordic and European students in Varanasi. In recent years, it has also launched an Urdu programme in Lucknow, a Tamil programme in Pondicherry, and soon a Bengali programme will be set up in Kolkata. INLANSO is currently expanding its activities, teaching more languages, and attracting new groups of students. Lars role is to develop the INLANSO web site but also represent the organisation at international conferences and events. The work will be carried out both from Sweden and India.
Besides, Lars will also spend a week in Bhutan from 5-12 May 2017, on invitation by the Royal University of Bhutan and in particular its School of Education in Samtse, where he will give a presentation on Swedish Research on South Asia. Finally, he will spend a few days in Kolkata till the 15th May.

• Swedish Folk High Schools with South Asia programmes.

Folk high schools - study centers for adults - have a long background in Scandinavia and most of them have their roots in the popular movements. The first folk high schools in Sweden were established in 1868 and today there are around 150 such schools in the country. A number of the Swedish folk high schools have developed special international courses focusing on the Third World and include extended visits to e g South Asia. Some of them have had such programmes for many years, but have recently stopped, but others remain.
• Albin Folk High School in Landskrona offers a one-year basic course entitled ”Global change – Sustainable world”, consisting of two modules that are interrelated and complementary. The Autumn term module is entitled ”Sustainability and Readjustment” whereas the Spring Term module is entitled ”Meet India” that includes travelling to South Asia. The students visit local organizations working on sustainable development and readjustment.
• Nordens Folkhögskola Biskops-Arnö offers a 36 weeks trainee programme on Ecology and Global Solidarity every year. The next programme runs from 24 August 2017 till 25 May 2018. The programme is intended for students who already have a degree in development studies or environmental studies. It is organised in collaboration with the Swedish NGO Framtidsjorden, Latinamerikagrupperna, and their networks in India and South America.
• Kristinehamns folkhögskola offers a full-time general course programme entitled ”Barn i världen - fokus Indien” for students with a background of no or few years in high school (gymnasium). It gives the opportunity to go on a study trip to India, and experience the Indian culture. The trip takes place in the spring and lasts for about three weeks, most of the time spent in the holy city of Varanasi. More information on the folk high schools with South Asia programmes.

• Closed down folk high school programmes


Swedish folk high schools that used to have South Asia related courses:
- Hållands Folk High SchoolChristian folk high school in Åre, Jämtland, used to organise a one year Development studies course (”U-landslinjen”) every year, starting in August. The course included a two months stay in either India or Tanzania during the Spring semester. The subjects taught include Missionary research, Hindi (or Swahili), Development studies, and Cultural understanding. 
- Ljungskile Folkhögskola. A World course (”Världens kurs med Indienresa”) on Justice, Peace and Environment, including a three weeks tour to north India, was arranged by Ljungskile Folk High school for many years. The tour included a stay at the village folk high school Jagriti Vihara in Ranchi, Jharkhand. 
- Österlen folk high school, Tomelilla. A one-year course on India/South Asia was arranged for several years starting in 2001. Till 2007, it was organised as an academic undergraduate social science course in co-operation with the Dept. of Sociology at Lund University, but from 2010 it was run in collaboration with the Global Political Studies programme at University of Malmö. A new programme started every year in August, with field work in south India during the period January–March coming year. After an initial common course at Kerala the students visited different places in India and Bangladesh where they made individual field work. The students gave regular reports through Internet travel diaries.
- Vadstena folkhögskola. During the spring 2016, Vadstena folk hogh school offered an International Course entitled Welcome to Asia. The aim was to give the students insight into a different culture and a different way of thinking; to develop as a person; to not just be a tourist, but to experience a different country "into the skin”; getting a focus in their future life; and to make a difference. In Bangladesh, they worked at the Samaritan Children Home just outside Dhaka. In India, the students went to the state of West Bengal, and work with a Christian church movement called Masihi Mandli.
Read more about theses folk high school courses.

Seminars and Conferences in Scandinavia

• SASA seminar on Mahatma Gandhi as a Communicator

The South Asia Students Association at Lund University (SASA) organises a seminar with Dr. M. S. Harikumar from the Department of Communication and Journalism, University of Kerala, India on Thursday 20 April 2017, 17.00-19.00. He will speak about ”Mahatma Gandhi As a Communicator”. Venue: Centre for Middle Eastern Studies, Finngatan 16, Lund.
Abstract: Apart from being a national leader and social reformer, Gandhi was a great communicator. More than any one else, he recognized that communication is the most effective tool to shape opinion and mobilize popular support. He was successful because he had a latent skill in communication that surfaced in South Africa where he had gone initially to set up practice as a lawyer. This gave him the clue to rally millions of his countrymen when he returned to India. Gandhi’s journalism belonged to an era when there was neither radio nor television. Such was the power of his 'soul communication' that whatever he said and wrote reached the farthest corners of this country within days and to the entire world thereon. Read more...

• Stockholm seminar by Knut Jacobsen on Yoga in Modern Hinduism

On Tuesday 25 April 2017, at 12.30, Prof. Knut Jacobsen from the Department of Archeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion at the University of Bergen, Norway, holds an open lecture at Stockholm University. He will speak about ”Yoga in Modern Hinduism - The Restart of Samkhyayoga”. It is organised by the Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies (ERG) at Stockholm University. Venue: Frescati, E420.
The topic of the lecture is the historical context of a restart in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Bengal of Samkhyayoga as a living tradition. This Samkhyayoga institution was founded by Hariharananda Aranya (1869-1947) who is one of the most enigmatic figures in the early history of modern yoga. His restart of Samkhyayoga represents one of the earliest manifestations of the revival of the text of the Yogasutra in Bengal, where modern yoga is supposed to have originated with the publication of Vivekananda’s translation and commentary of the Yogasutra in 1896. Read more...

• Stockholm conference on Hinduism in Europe

An international conference on ”Hinduism in Europe” will be held in Stockholm on 26-28 April 2017. The conference is organised by Dr. Ferdinando Sardella from the Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies (ERG) at Stockholm University, and Prof. Knut Jacobsen from the Department of Archeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion at the University of Bergen, Norway. It is funded by the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet) and the Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies at Stockholm University. Venue: Stockholm University, Frescati Campus, conference room “Bergsmannen” (Aula Magna).
The number of Hindus in Sweden is estimated to be about 13 000, in Norway 20 000, totally in the Nordic Countries around 55 000, and in Europe between 2 and 3 million, making the Hindus one of the large religious minorities of the European continent. Hinduism is globally the third largest religion in the world, with one billion Hindus mostly concentrated in South Asia. The increasing financial, political, and cultural relations between Europe and India, one of the Asian financial and political giants, makes the study of Hindus and Hinduism in Europe highly relevant.
The papers of the conference are divided in two parts, those dealing with the history and presence of Hinduism and transnational themes, such as the development of Indology in Germany, the impact of Hindu texts among the great European intellectual traditions, as well as Hindu migration history after World War II. The second part includes presentations on the history and development of the multitude of Hindu traditions in different countries of Europe and their present state. Invited speakers include John Zavos, University of Manchester, UK; Peter Schalk, Uppsala University; Marianne Fibiger, Århus University, Denmark; Igor Kotin, St. Petersburg State University, Russia; and Milena Bratoeva, Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, Bulgaria. Full information about the conference.

• Oslo seminar on Dalit Pentecostalism in Chennai’s slums

On 3 May 2017, 15.15-16.45, Asianettverket in Oslo organises a seminar entitled ”Hegemony and Its Discontents: Translating Gramsci with Dalit Subalterns”, in which Karin Kapadia analyses the relatively new phenomenon of Dalit Pentecostalism in Chennai’s slums as a crucial counter-hegemonic challenge to the ideological and moral legitimacy of the Modi regime. Venue: Senter for utvikling og miljø (SUM) Sognsveien 68, seminar room 4th floor, Oslo.
​Karin Kapadia is a social anthropologist and Research Associate at South Asian Studies, Oxford University. In her presentation, she discusses how the spiritual message of Dalit Pentecostalism is a radical egalitarianism underpinned by a passionate insistence on the equal worth and dignity of all human beings, explicitly directed against the worsening economic inequalities generated by casteist capitalist neoliberalism and also, implicitly, directed against patriarchal oppression. At the same time, the Pentecostals’ challenge to the ideological and moral legitimacy of the Modi regime is shown to be inherently ambiguous because of a latent aspiration among Dalit women to ‘move up’ within a deeply unequal class system. Read more...

• Aarhus conference on Anthropology of Fright. Perspectives from Asia

A workshop on ”Anthropology of Fright. Perspectives from Asia” will be held at Aarhus University 18-19 May 2017. The conference is jointly organised by Stefano Beggiora (Dept. of Asian and North African Studies, Ca' Foscari University of Venice, Italy); Lidia Guzy (India Study Centre Cork, School of Asian Studies, UCC Cork, Ireland); and Uwe Skoda (CISCA, Dept. of Global Studies, Aarhus University, Denmark.
Headlines around the globe in 2016 – ranging from terrorist attacks to war in Syria, Brexit etc. – were dominated by “frightful” events. For this workshop the organisers would like to focus on fright and fear in a broad sense – not limited to the above-mentioned global events. Taking a distinctive Asian perspective they are interested in the idea of fright: what are sources of fright and fear, how do we encounter them and handle such fears whenever we are confronted with them, when and how are ‘monsters’ produced, what mechanisms are employed to suppress, transform or seek fright? In a comparative and multidisciplinary approach we would like to bring together different but often overlapping contexts of fright. Contributions are invited from across the humanities, arts and social sciences spectrum including anthropology, sociology, religious studies, area studies, folklore studies, political science etc based on empirical research. Full information.

• Asian Century in focus for 2017 ADI conference in Copenhagen


The Asian Dynamics Initiative at University of Copenhagen organizes its 9th annual international ADI conference on 26-28 June 2017. The focus for the 2017 annual ADI conference will be the question of ‘the Asian century’ that is yet to be fully examined. The ways in which new connected histories, flows and connections both within, and beyond, territoriality are taking shape will be discussed. What kind of circulatory worlds are produced through these multiple connections forged across temporalities via commodity trade, investments, human migration, technology, tourism, religion, art, literature and other forms of cultural consumption? How has Asia historically circulated beyond its territorial boundaries? And how do these circulations shape the contemporary world?
The conference organzers invite abstracts for paper presentations addressing Asian circulations and dynamics in a global context, but especially welcome perspectives relating to one of the panels listed below.
There is a panel with a direct South Asia focus, entitled "(En)countering sexual violence in the South Asian city", convened by Atreyee Sen and Emilija Zabiliute, University of Copenhagen; Raminder Kaur, University of Sussex. More information.

• Copenhagen meeting to form a South Asia across the Nordic Region collective 

The Centre of Global South Asian Studies and the Asian Dynamics Initiative (ADI) at University of Copenhagen invite scholars and practitioners across the Nordic region for what is supposed to become the First Annual Meeting of an initiative entitled ”South Asia across the Nordic Region (SANR)”. The meeting will be held on Tuesday 27 June 2017 at University of Copenhagen. The new collective will offer a platform to present ongoing research, and generate fresh ideas and information that will enhance our knowledge of the South Asian region. This interaction is expected to increase scholarly collaboration across the region in fruitful ways, and the organisers invite participants to submit paper or panel proposals for this inaugural meeting. There is no conference fee required to present papers. The organizers will provide local hospitality, whereas the travel and accommodation costs will be borne by the participants themselves. Proposals (250 words max) should be sent to Ms. Marie Yoshida. For any further queries, please contact Dr. Ravinder Kaur. Deadline to send proposals was 31 March 2017.

• Oslo Research School on Critical Perspectives on NGOs in Development

Oslo Academy of Global Governance, and SUM Research School at the Centre for Development and the Environment, University of Oslo, calls for applications to a Ph.D. course entitled 'Critical perspectives on NGOs in development', to be held 16 – 18 August 2017. The objective of this interdisciplinary course is to critically analyse the changing role of NGOs in development, focusing especially on health and environment.
- What roles do NGO-actors play: for example in communicating local realities to those in power, in representing civil society, or as sub-contractors to donors?
- What are their resources, and sources of power; and how is this power exercised?
- What are the wider implications of the increased influence, proliferation-, and professionalization of NGOs?
The lecturers include Prof. David Lewis from London School of Economics and Political Science; and Associate Professor Ann Swidler, Professor, University of California, Berkeley.
The interdisciplinary nature of the course will be most suitable for doctoral students engaging with different disciplines within the social sciences – anthropology, sociology, political science, geography, and development studies. Doctoral students will be prioritised, although other applicants may be considered only if space permits. Full information.

• Information about South Asia related lectures and seminars

Conferences and workshops outside Scandinavia

• BASAS 2017 conference at Nottingham

On 19-21 April 2017, the British Association of South Asian Studies (BASAS) holds its annual conference in Nottingham. The conference is hosted by Nottingham University’s Institute of Asia and Pacific Studies (IAPS) and Nottingham Trent University’s Postcolonial Studies Centre. The keynote speaker is feminist historian, publisher and writer Urvashi Butalia, sponsored by IAPS.
An award of £250 will be made for the best paper presented at the Annual Conference. The winning paper may be considered for publication in one of BASAS's associated journals, Contemporary South Asia or South Asian Studies. More information.

• Brandeis University conference on the Unfinished Legacy of Ambedkar

The third annual international conference on the Unfinished Legacy of Dr B.R. Ambedkar will be held 28-30 April 2017 at Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts, USA. The theme for te conference will be ”Re-imagining Religion, Caste, and Social Justice in South Asia”. It is being organised by the Center for Global Development and Sustainability (GDS) at Brandeis University, and co-sponsored by the The Indian Institute of Dalit Studies in New Delhi; The India China Institute at The New School, New York, USA; The Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy at the National Law School of India University in Bangalore; the Boston Study Group; The W.E.B. DuBois Department of Afro American Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA; and the Ambedkar International Mission, USA. More information.

• Dhaka conference on Anthropological Explorations of Media and Culture

An International Conference on ”Visual South Asia: Anthropological Explorations of Media and Culture” is held at University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, on 10-11 May 2017. It is jointly organized by the Dept. of Anthropology at University of Dhaka, and the Dept. of Sociology at South Asian University in New Delhi, India.
The significance of the conference is indicated when juxtaposed with some crucial but misplaced tendencies in visual and media anthropology. For instance, visual and media anthropology tend to appear as sub-disciplines with exclusiveness in theory and method. But more interesting questions should be: why would one need to be cornered within the limits of sub-discipline in the first place?  This conference envisages to bring together an international group of established researchers, as well as young scholars, cultural critiques and artists who could explore the pictorial, audio-visual, performative, artistic and in general, visual methods in socio-cultural research. The conveners are Professor Saifur Rashid, University of Dhaka & Dr. Dev Pathak, South Asian University. Full information about the conference.

• Rural South Asia in focus at SOAS Graduate Conference 

The 2017 South Asia Institute Graduate Conference at SOAS University of London will be held 12-13 June 2017. The theme of the conference is "Interrogating the 'rural' in South Asia: ruptures and continuities". Abstracts should be submitted by 15 April. This workshop explores the varied interpretations of ‘the rural’ as a simultaneous space of both rupture and continuity in terms of its social, political and economic dimensions. Through such discussion, the workshop seeks to question and reimagine the continued relevance of ‘the rural’. Read more...

• Asian Dream in focus for 5th ICAS conference in Ottawa

The Fifth International Conference on Asian Studies (ICAS2017) will be held in Ottawa, Canada, 17 - 18 June 2017. The theme for the ICAS2017 will be "Asian Dream – Global Prosperity: Challenges & Issues". It is jointly organised by the International University of Japan; the International Center for Research & Development, Sri Lanka; and the and Unique Conference, Canada. Abstracts should be submitted by 15 May 2017.
ICAS2017 is a two day interactive international forum will create an opportunity for academics, practitioners, and PhD students to come together, review their research findings, exchange ideas, and discuss emerging trends. The conference convener is Prabhath Patabendi. The keynote speakers include Professsor N. S. Cooray, Associate Dean, Graduate School of International Relations, International University of Japan; and Wimal Rankaduwa,   Professor of Economics and International Development Studies at University of Prince Edward Island, Canada. More information.

• Honolulu summer institute on Islam in Asia: Traditions and Transformation

The Asian Studies Development Program (ASDP), a joint initiative of the East-West Center and the University of Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, organises a four-weeks summer institute programme entitled "Islam in Asia: Traditions and Transformation" from 12 June to 7 July 2017 . It has been made possible in part by a major grant from the US National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).
This multidisciplinary summer institute will offer context-rich and critical engagement with Islamic traditions, examining their origins and how they have shaped and been shaped by the cultures and societies of South and Southeast Asia. The first three weeks of the program will consider how Islam historically addressed both personal and social needs in ways that were inseparable from the dynamics of intellectual exchange, artistic production, social organization and politics. The final week will examine the complex interplay of Islam and globalization in the context of contemporary Asia. More information.

• Triple conferences on Comparative Peacebuilding in Asia

Three conferences with the theme ”Comparative Peacebuilding in Asia - Liberal and Illiberal Transitions from Ethnic Conflict and Authoritarianism” will be held in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the United Kingdom in 2017 and 2018, supported by the British Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Independent Social Research Foundation (ISRF). This series of three conferences seeks to promote research and facilitate interdisciplinary discussions on the illiberal, nationally driven peacebuilding processes in conflict-affected South and Southeast Asia. There has been an extraordinary expansion of academic interest in this field, and a new generation of scholars is producing exciting research drawing on theoretical innovations and empirical advances, including interesting comparative work. More information about the project.
The aim is to bridge academic nodes and peacebuilding knowledge and practice in the UK, Europe, Australia, North America and Africa, with Asia, and also to connect scholars and policy-makers within South and Southeast Asia. In particular, the organisers - including Dr Rajesh Venugopal, London School of Economics and Political Science - are looking for contributions that deal with liberal and illiberal peacebuilding conditions in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Indonesia, Cambodia, Nepal, India, Timor-Leste, Philippines, and Thailand. The conference dates are:
Colombo, Sri Lanka: 30 June - 2 July 2017
Yogyakarta, Indonesia: December 2017 (precise dates to be confirmed)
London, UK: June 2018 (precise dates to be confirmed)
Full information.

• High-level Summer School on Indian society at University of Torino

On 3-7 July 2017, the Department of Culture, Politics and Society, University of Torino, Italy, organises the second edition of its Summer School on Politics, Development and Social Change in Contemporary  India (TOIndia Summer School 2017). This is a unique high-level and demanding Summer School, taught by leading scholars from India and Europe, providing insights into contemporary India at the highest possible level. The staff includes eminent researchers such as Jan Breman, University of Amsterdam; C P Chandrasekhar, Jawaharlal Nehru University; Barbara Harriss-White, University of Oxford; and Christophe Jaffrelot, SciencesPo Paris. The working language is English and the programme is suitable for students and professionals with different disciplinary backgrounds.
The School aims to offer in-depth knowledge of key aspects of politics, economy and society in contemporary India through a multidisciplinary approach. Important recent trajectories of social change – as well as continuity – will be explored, encouraging critical reflection among students. In particular, the 2017 edition will provide an analysis on India’s development trajectory in the past two decades, with attention to poverty, inequality and labour informalisation in a gendered perspective, as well as to issues such as the agrarian question and pauperisation. A specific focus will be placed on the most recent political transformations with attention to identity politics and social movements. Deadline for applications is 28 April. Full information about the TOIndia Summer School 2017...

• Middle Bengali Retreat cum Workshop in Transylvania in August

For the second time, a Middle Bengali Retreat and Workshop will be held in Miercurea Ciuc/Csíkszereda, Romania, 3-13 August 2017. It is organised by the Faculty of Economics, Socio-Human Sciences and Engineering, Department of Human Sciences at Sapientia - Hungarian University of Transylvania, in collaboration with AIBS (American Institute of Bangladesh Studies) and the University of Chicago, USA. Deadline for applications is 2 May 2017. (Photo from the 2016 retreat)
The aim of the retreat is to bring together scholars and advanced students of Middle Bengali in a relatively informal way, to discuss or simply to enjoy reading together texts on which a specialist is working. In this way, not only the audience would benefit from the leaders’ expertise but important feedback will also be provided for panel leaders from a qualified audience. Participants are normally academics and graduate students; however, undergraduates with a firm commitment are also encouraged to attend.
The format will be similar to the other Intensive Retreats (for Sanskrit see e.g. including outings and reading texts outdoors within beautiful scenery. Each day, three ninety-minute reading sessions will be conducted by outstanding specialists. One text will be read through several sessions.
This year, the readings will cover a wide range of Middle Bengali texts and a variety of genres (narrative, lyric, didactic) and periods (from the Bengali Sultanate to late Mughal times). After a general introduction on Middle Bengali grammar, prosody and literary genres, we will read texts such as Rūprām’s Dharmamaṅgal, narratives on the lives of Sufi saints, Brajabuli lyrics by Vidyapati and other poets, Vaiṣṇava hagiographies and plays, etc… Session leaders who confirmed their participation are Tony Stewart (Vanderbilt University), Rebecca Manring (University of Indiana, Bloomington), Thibaut d’Hubert (University of Chicago), and Ishan Chakrabarti (University of Chicago). Full information.

• Vilnius conference on Nation, Gender and History in Asian film

Asian Arts Centre and The Centre of Oriental Studies at Vilnius University, Lithuania, organises an international conference entitled 'Nation, Gender and History: Asian Cinemas in Perspective' on 7 - 9 September 2017. Scholars, film professionals and other interested are invited to participate. Deadline for abstracts is 30 April 2017.
The idea of a national culture has played a fundamental role in the definition, historiography and evaluation of Asian cultural practices for at least two centuries, and cinema is no exception. In today’s world, however, ideas of the nation appear as increasingly problematic. The same can be said of gender, the pertinence of which in individuals’ understanding of themselves and their history has, over the last decades, been challenged from many fronts. And yet both ideas of nation and gender continue to mark discourses about identities and countries, including and perhaps especially in situations of conflict. 2017 marks the 70th anniversary of the independence and partition of India and Pakistan. The conference takes this opportunity to raise the question: can we still argue for the centrality of national cinemas? What role do notions of gender play in our appreciation of a nation’s cinema? And how do the interconnections between gender and nation in cinema help us understand the present historical moment?
While the organisers are interested in papers on the cinema of every Asian country, they particularly welcome papers on the all too often overlooked and still poorly researched cinemas of Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, as well as on regional language formations such as Pashto, Sindhi, or Bhojpuri cinemas. They especially welcome papers on popular, low-budget genres (exploitation, B-grade, horror, sci-fi, and erotic films). Full information.

• 11th EASAS PhD workshop in South Asian Studies to be held in Naples

L’Orientale University of Naples will host the 11th European PhD workshop in South Asian Studies, to be held in Procida, Naples, Italy, from 22 to 24 September 2017. The EASAS doctoral workshops take place annually and aim at giving PhD students the opportunity to discuss their thesis with fellow PhD students and senior scholars who work on South Asia. The doctoral students who wish to attend the workshop must be in their 2nd or 3rd year. The Scuola di Procida, Centro di Alta Formazione dell'Università degli studi di Napoli and EASAS will provide accommodation and board at Procida, the smallest island in the Bay of Naples measuring 4 km2 and thus walkable in its entirety. Hydrofoils take about 40 minutes from Naples (Molo Beverollo), ferries take one hour from Naples (Porta di Massa). At the workshop, the PhD researchers are to share rooms with another participant, as is usually the case at EASAS PhD workshops. Applicants must be members of EASAS at the time of submission of the application for funding. The deadline for the submission of proposals will be 30 April 2017. Full information.

• 46th Madison conference will be an open-topic conference

The 46th Annual Madison Conference on South Asia will be held 26 – 29 October 2017. The conference, that is sponsored by the Center for South Asia at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, attracts over 800 scholars and specialists on South Asia, who travel from countries all over the world and much of the United States. It is a great venue for intellectual, professional, and social exchange. Panels, roundtables, and individual papers on all topics pertaining to South Asian studies are welcome. Registration and proposal submission forms (single papers, panels, roundtables, preconferences) are available on line. Registration as a non-presenting participant at the Conference is open to the general public. The conference features nearly 100 academic panels and roundtables, as well as association meetings and special events ranging from performances to film screenings. This year's conference chair has invited an open-topic conference; there is no theme. Venue: Madison Concourse Hotel, 1 West Dayton St., Madison, Wisconsin, USA. More information.

• Peshawar conference on State and Society in South Asia

The 26th International Pakistan History Conference will be held at University of Peshawar on 9-11 October 2017. The theme for the conference, jointly organised by the the Pakistan Historical Society; the Dept. of History at University of Peshawar; and the Hamdard Foundation Pakistan, is ”State and Society in South Asia: Historical Perspective”.
​Historically South Asia consists of the present day states of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. The region has more than 2,000 ethnic entities with populations ranging from hundreds of millions to a few thousand. The blend of these various groups has produced composite cultures with some common traditions and beliefs. Despite the tendency towards assimilation, the traditions of some ethnic groups in South Asia have persisted throughout history, sometimes giving rise to strong local traditions such as the distinctive South Indian and Bengali cultures. The conference aims to generate an academic debate on different aspects of State and Society in South Asian context from earlier times to the recent past. The debate would look into the various phases of the development and growth of Society and State in the past, their role in present, and impact on the future. Abstracts should have been submitted before 15 March 2017. Selected papers will be published in a reputable journal or edited volume from a reputable publisher, subject to fulfillment of procedural requirements including plagiarism check and blind peer review. Full information.

• Time to propose panels for the 2018 ECSAS conference in Paris

The 25th European Conference on South Asian Studies (ECSAS) is scheduled for 24-27 July 2018 in Paris, France. It will be held at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, (54 and 105, Blvd. Raspail). It is organized by the Centre d’Etudes de l’Inde et de l’Asie du Sud (CNRS-EHESS). The call for panels is now open and will close on 30 April 2017. Panel convenors and paper presenters at the 24th ECSAS must be members of EASAS through 2017 & 2018 or 2018 & 2019. Non-members cannot attend the conference. More information at the conference web page.
If you would like to convene a panel at this conference, please submit your proposal via the online form:
Conveners may also present a paper during the conference, either in their own panel or another. Due to the 'competition for time' within such a conference, colleagues are allowed to convene no more than one panel and present only one paper during the conference. All panels are open to paper proposals through the website and not just to previously-solicited contributions. EASAS appreciates a well-balanced composition of convenors and panelists within a panel (by gender, with an international mix of participants, and senior and junior scholars) but the main criterion will be the high academic quality of your panel. One convenor per panel must be based in a European institution. The conference organizers will also seek to ensure that the wide range of disciplines usually represented at the conference finds adequate coverage, both separately and in interdisciplinary panels.
ECSAS requires all accepted panels to be open to paper proposals through the website: proposed panels should not be ‘closed’ to further papers ab initio. Young researchers are advised to contact panel convenors to be considered for inclusion in their panel; young researchers are also encouraged to propose panels themselves. No panel may run for more than 4 sessions of 90 minutes.
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 Warsaw, Poland, in July 2016. Lars Eklund attended the conference, at that time representing SASNET, Lund University (but also as a member of the EASAS board - re-elected for the position as treasurer). Go for his Warsaw report.

• Other conferences connected to South Asian studies all over the World
See our page,

South Asia related culture in Scandinavia