Newsletter 131 – 16 January 2012


• SASNET seminar on the 1947 Partition and Ethnic Cleansing of Punjab

On Thursday 2 February 2012, 13.15–15.00, Ishtiaq Ahmed, Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science, Stockholm University, holds a SASNET lecture about the 1947 Partition of Punjab. Ishtiaq’s speech is entitled ”The Punjab Bloodied, Partitioned and Cleansed: Unravelling the 1947 Tragedy through Secret British Reports and First Person Accounts”.
The seminar is organised in collaboration with the Lund university Master in International Development and Management programme (LUMID). Venue: Lund University, Geocentrum, Hall ”Världen”, Sölvegatan 12.
The lecture is based on Ishtiaq Ahmed’s recent book on the tragic events during and after Partition in the two Punjabs – more information. He will shed light on how and why the Punjab, a Muslim majority province of British India with large Hindu and Sikh minorities, was partitioned in 1947. Had India not been partitioned the Punjab would not be partitioned either. Once power was transferred to the provincial governments in the Indian and Pakistani Punjab, violence escalated dramatically. The end result was ethnic cleansing on both sides.
Associate Professor Catarina Kinnvall, Dept. of Political Science, Lund University, will be discussant during the seminar.
More information about the seminar.

• SASNET social evening with film show in Lund

SASNET network members in or nearby Lund are invited to participate in a social gathering  with food (knytkalas) and film show on Wednesday 18th January 2012, at 6 P.M. The event is jointly organised by SASNET and the Division of External Relations, Lund University, and aims primarily at the South Asian Erasmus Mundus scholarship holders – students and researchers – currently staying at Lund University, but other interested people within or outside the university are most welcome to join if space permits.
The film to be screened is Girish Kasaravalli’s 2002 Kannada movie “Dweepa” (The Island), a film that has been shown at several international film festivals, including in Gothenburg a few years back. The film will be introduced by Professor Gopal Karanth, the honorary guest for the evening, and distinguished ICCR Professor at Lund University during the academic year 2011-12. More information about the film.
Participation is free but pre-registration is necessary, and everybody are supposed to bring some food items to share with others, in the form of a typical Swedish ”knytkalas”.
More information about the social evening.

• Spring 2012 SASNET Brown Bag seminars to be held at Konsthallen

In 2011, SASNET introduced Brown Bag lunch seminars, aimed at presenting and disseminating eminent South Asia related research at Lund University. The Brown Bag seminars were successful, and they will be continued during 2012. The format will however be slightly changed, due to the fact that SASNET now organise the seminars in collaboration with Arbetarnas Bildningsförbund (ABF) Lund, and Lunds Konsthall.
Lectures will be given by eminent Lund University researchers as a lectures series, and be held once a month on Thursdays at 12.30. The new venue for the seminars will be Konsthallen, the public art gallery at Mårtenstorget 3 in central Lund.

Neelambar Hatti
Kristina Myrvold

– The first seminar for 2012 will take place on 16 February when Professor Emeritus Neelambar Hatti from the Department of Economic History will speak on “Where have all the girls gone?” – a lecture on the ongoing gendercide in India.
– The second seminar will be held on 15 March when Assistant Professor Kristina Myrvold from the Centre for Theology and Religious Studies will present her current research, holding a lecture with the title ”I’m a Punjabi-speaking Swedish Sikh: Identity Constructions among Young Sikhs in Sweden”.

Magnus Larsson
Maria Meinert

– The third lunch seminar during the spring 2012 will take place on 19 April when Professor Magnus Larson from the Department of Water Resources Engineering will come and speak on Sri Lanka’s vanishing beaches”. In this seminar, Prof. Larson will present to a broad audience the different projects that his department does that focus on various problems in the coastal region of Sri Lanka. The audience does not need any preliminary knowledge in the field.
– The fourth and final seminar will be given on 10 May when PhD candidate Mariam Meynert, Division of Education, Dept. of Sociology, will speak on ”Children without Childhood”. Mariam is working on a doctoral thesis entitled ”Conceptualizing Childhood, Knowledge, Pedagogy and Research into the Postmodern”.
See the Brownbag seminar 2012 poster.
More about previous SASNET Brown Bag seminars.

• SASNET visit to Malmö University departments

On Tuesday 10 January 2012, a SASNET team consisting of Julia Velkova and Lars Eklund visited Malmö University to meet some of the researchers and administrators involved in South Asian collaboration projects. They first visited the School of Arts and Communication (generally known as K3) at the Faculty of Culture and Society, located in an old factory building in Malmö’s Western Harbour, close to the Turning Torso. There they had a fruitful meeting with Oscar Hemer and Katherine Winkelhorn, strongly involved in collaboration with institutes in Bangalore, India. For eight years K3 has had a successful Linnaeus Palme exchange programme running with the Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), and recently a brand new project between K3 and Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore – involving both academics and artists – has been funded by the Swedish Arts Council. This project, entitled Memories of Modernity will concentrate on seminars and workshops both in Malmö and Bangalore during the coming year. The project also includes a series of spectacular trans-disciplinary interventions in January 2013 that will be carried out in the old commercial district of Shivaji Nagar in Bangalore, conducted in collaboration by artists, academics and students.
At K3, Lars and Julia also met Micke Svedemar, who was a guest teacher at IIITB in December 2011. He informed about new contacts he established with the Asian College of Journalism (ACJ) in Chennai, a premier Indian journalism school under the aegis of the Media Development Foundation.
More information about the South Asia activities at K3.
SASNET’s Lars Eklund and Julia Velkova then proceeded to another department within Malmö University’s Faculty of Culture and Society, namely the Department of Urban Studies, located in ”ubåtshallen”, a neighbouring building that used to be part of Kockums’ submarine production. From 2011/12, this department is involved in a Linnaeus Palme exchange programme with Moratuwa University in Sri Lanka. Associate Professor Karin Grundström is coordinating the project, and she informed about the developments going on.
More information about the South Asia activities at the Dept. of Urban Studies.

• SASNET celebrated Rabindranath Tagore’s 150th birth anniversary 2011

2011 was the 150th birth anniversary year of the great myriad-minded Indian/Bengali poet, philosopher and Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941). Celebrations were frequent in India and Bangladesh but also all over the world, including Scandinavia.
In Sweden, SASNET played a great role in organising a week-long Tagore celebration week in Lund already in March 2011, in collaboration with other organisations. Celebrations were then held in Gothenburg and Uppsala in May, and finally a week-long celebration tour with academic seminars and concerts, again efforts being coordinated by SASNET, were held in Copenhagen, Lund, Stockholm and Uppsala in September.
More information about the Scandinavian Tagore celebrations.
Professor William Radice, who participated both in the March and September events in Sweden, also took part in a large number of other grand Tagore celebration events held all over the world in 2011.
”Kolkata, Santiniketan, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi and Ahmedabad; Marbach, Copenhagen, Lund, Zagreb and Rijeka; London, Dartington, Cambridge, Birmingham and Hull; Stockholm, Leiden, Salamanca, Barcelona and Valladolid; Washington and Chicago; Kuala Lumpur and Singapore….Who would have thought when I started learning Bengali in 1972 that Bengali and Rabindranath Tagore would take me all over the world? The 150th anniversary of his birth has kept me and other Tagore specialists exceptionally busy in 2011, and the celebrations seem likely to continue, culminating with the centenary in 2013 of his Nobel Prize.”
In an article entitled ”Timeless Tagore”, published in the Indian magazine Frontline, 13 January 2012, he gives a broad overview of the exciting and fascinating events, and a hope that they will contribute to a new appreciation of Tagore as a thinker, and in the long run enhance the understanding of his creative achievements.
Go for William Radice’s article.

• Staffan Lindberg lectured at Indian conferences

Staffan Lindberg, Professor Emeritus at the Dept. of Sociology, Lund University, and SASNET’s former director, participated in the Indian Sociological Society’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations,  held 10–13 December 2011 at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi. The theme for the conference, gathering 2,000 participants, was ”Sociology and the Crisis of Social Transformation in India” and Staffan gave a short speech in the first session focusing on an international perspective.
Staffan also lectured at the Young Sociologists Workshop on Doing Ethnography, held in conjunction with the Indian Sociological Society conference, at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi. From Delhi he then proceeded to Udaipur in Rajasthan, where he lectured at the Indian Society of Labour Economics 53rd Annual Conference, held 17-19 December 2011.
More information about Staffan’s India lectures.

• Lawyer working on Indian biodiversity standards visited SASNET

On Tuesday 3 January 2012, Maya Thomas, a lawyer from the UK now recently settled in Lund visited SASNET’s office to meet the SASNET team, Anna Lindberg, Lars Eklund and Julia Velkova, in order to brainstorm ideas about how to bring Swedish expertise, knowledge and experience in a project about creating a biodiversity standard in India.
Anna Lindberg provided tips about research funding in Sweden, while Lars Eklund promised to link up Maya Thomas with Swedish scholars working in similar fields. They also discussed the possibility of organising seminars on the topic.

• SASNET’s Gandhi pages are now back online!

Since 2009, SASNET has maintained and catalogued a large books donation from the private library collection of the renowned Swedish historian Karl Reinhold Haellquist, who passed away in 2000 (after working for many years at the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, NIAS, in Copenhagen). A large part of the collection, more than 6,000 South Asia related books, journals, videotapes and pamphlets on various aspects of South Asian studies, was later donated to SASNET/Lund University by his wife, Inger Sondén-Haellquist. The collection includes Haellquist’s unique collection of books on Mahatma Gandhi. These Gandhi books, and other works from the collection, are now on display in Lund University’s Asia Library (adjacent to the SASNET root node office in Lund. The remaining part of Karl Reinhold Haellquist Memorial Collection is still kept at SASNET’s office.
SASNET dedicates a special section of the SASNET website to this collection, featuring unique photos from Karl Reinhold Haellquist’s own notebooks on Gandhi, index of books and more. Go for this section.

• More information about SASNET and its activities

See SASNET’s page,

Research Community News

• Doctoral thesis on arsenic aquifers for safe drinking water supplies in Bangladesh

Mattias von Brömssen, Department of Land and Water Resources Engineering, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm, defends his doctoral dissertation entitled ”Hydrogeological and geochemical assessment of aquifer systems with geogenic arsenic in Southeastern Bangladesh – Targeting low arsenic aquifers for safe drinking water supplies in Matlab” on Friday 20 January 2012, at 14.00. The faculty opponent will be Professor David Polya, University of Manchester, United Kingdom. Venue:  F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, KTH, Stockholm.
The thesis covers a crucial period of the work on the arsenic problems in groundwater in Bangladesh. Especially it includes the discovery of the local drillers ́ strategy to find low iron groundwater by assessing the colour of the sediments. With the link between mobilisation of arsenic along with iron which was published by a KTH team in 1997 this gave an immediate hint on means of predicting arsenic low groundwater during well construction. The strategy was discovered by the author of the thesis when he was advising a M.Sc. thesis project. More information.
Read the full dissertation (as a pdf-file)

• Substantial EU funding for Swedish coordinated project on functional food

Professor Dag Jenssen at the Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Toxicology, Stockholm University coordinates a major India related research project funded by the European Commission. In 2009, Prof. Jenssen and his research team working in the area of cancer studies, received EUR 1,49 m (about SEK 13 m) from the 7th European Union Research Framework Programme (FP7) for a project entitled ”Impact of agents with potential use in functional foods on biomarkers for age related diseases”. The project is carried out during four years, 2010 – 2014, with an aim to investigate agents with potential use as functional food with respect to protection against cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes. Indian collaboration partners include the Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Annamalai University, Tamil Nadu; the National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, and the Apollo Hospitals subcontracted by the Department of Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras, Chennai.
More information about the project.

• Horizon 2020 successor programme to EU’s seventh framework programme

EU’s Seventh framework programme for research and technological development (FP7) will run for another two years, till the end of 2013 (more information). The European Union is however already planning for a successor programme, that has been named Horizon 2020 (H2020). This is supposed to be the next EU framework programme for research and innovation. On 30 November 2011, a proposal was submitted to the European Parliament. H2020 will be launched in 2014 and go on until 2020. The proposal involves some changes compared to the current FP7.
The focus of the programme is research and innovation. New elements in the programme are the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and parts of the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP) which have been moved into the Horizon 2020.
The program is built on three priorities with different programme content:
1.     Excellent Science: ERC grants, the Marie Curie Mobility Program, Future and Emerging Technologies and Research Infrastructure’
2.     Industrial Leadership: Key enabling technologies: ICT, nano-technology, Advanced Materials, Biotechnology, Advanced Manufacturing and Processing, Space, Research for SMEs, Access to Risk Finance
3.     Societal Challenges: Health, demography and well-being; Food security, sustainable agriculture and bio-economy; Secure, clean and efficient energy; Smart, green and integrated transport, climate action, resource efficiency and raw materials; Inclusive, innovative and secure societies
More information on Horizon 2020.

• Erasmus Mundus Action 2 India and Asia Regional lots announced for 2012-13

In late December 2011, the European Commission (EC) announced a new round of the Erasmus Mundus Action 2 – Strand 1 – Partnership programme, EU’s flagship programme aimed at promoting the attractiveness of the European Higher Education system and third country cooperation and partnerships. The new call for proposals are for mobility activities starting in the academic year 2012–2013.
After a break of two years, there is now again a separate India lot (nr 11) announced, designed to promote academic collaboration between EU and India. Four consortia will be selected, each involving 20 partner universities in Europe and India. Each project will have a budget of EUR 3 m, and the minimum number of individual mobility flow should be 100 fully funded students/researchers/academic staff. The flow is only from India to Europe, not the other way. At least 25 % of the Indian universities in the lot should be located in what is identified by the Government of India to be less developed districts of the country.
Just like last year, two Asia Regional lots (nr 9 and 10) have also been announced, each to be shared by four consortia. Lot 9 should consist of universities from Europe and at least three of the following countries: Afghanistan, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Besides each consortium should also include universities from at least two other Asian countries presented on the optional list – that includes India, Sri Lanka and Maldives. The budget for each consortium will be EUR 2.5 m, and the mobility flow (from Asia to Europe only) to at least 100 individual partnerships.
The other Asia Regional lot, no 10, should consist of universities in Europe plus Cambodia, Myanmar, Mongolia, Laos and Vietnam, but the consortia may also include countries from the optional list, including India, Sri Lanka and Maldives.
Deadline for submission of applications is 30 April 2012, and decisions will be taken by July 2012. The programme is administered by EU’s Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA).
Read the 2012-13 proposals announcement.
Read SASNET’s information about previous and ongoing India and (South) Asia Regional
Erasmus Mundus Action 2 programmes.

• Rabindranath Tagore Cultural Price 2011 to Dietmar Rothermund

In October 2011, the Indo-German Society awarded its Rabindranath Tagore Culture Prize 2011 to Professor Dietmar Rothermund, the nestor of South Asian Studies in Europe and the initiator of the biannual European Conferences on South Asian Studies (ECSAS). He was honoured with the prize for his outstanding work for supporting knowledge about India in Germany. The emeritus professor for South Asian History at the Heidelberg University has influenced the image of India in Germany during his 33-years of teaching at the South Asia Institute (SAI). He has contributed in making SAI into a leading European centre for South Asian studies. Professor Rothermund also initiated the Heidelberg South Asia Talks to promote the exchange between representatives of science, economy and politics. The Rabindranath Tagore Culture Prize was introduced by the Indo-German Society in the 1986 for unique contributions  for a deeper understanding of Indian cultures and ways of life in German speaking areas. The prize is named after the Poet and Nobel Prize Winner Rabindranath Tagore. More information.

• Stockholm University research project on corruption and social traps

The Centre for the study of Cultural Evolution, Stockholm University is currently involved in a research project to examine how people are influenced by living in countries with high levels of corruption. Part of the project focuses on India, where the mathematicians Dr. Pontus Strimling and PhD candidate Alexander Funcke have made experiments in collaboration with the Centre for Experiments in Social & Behavioral Sciences at Jadavpur University in Kolkata, an eminent laboratory for experimental economics. (On photo: Alexander Funcke at the Jadavpur laboratory).
More information about the project.

 Seminar programme at Nehru Memorial Museum and Library in New Delhi

The Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML) in New Delhi is a premier Indian institution of research on the history, society and thought of the modern and contemporary period. NMML is housed in the historic Teen Murti Bhavan and its grounds, located south of Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.
Designed by Robert Tor Russel and built in 1929-30 as part of Edwin Lutyens’ imperial capital, Teen Murti House was the official residence of the Commander-in-Chief in India. In August 1948, after the departure of the last British Commander-in-Chief, Teen Murti House became the official residence of independent India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, who lived here for sixteen years until his death on May 27, 1964. Soon thereafter, the Government of India decided that Teen Murti Bhavan should be dedicated to him and house a museum and a library.
All through the year, the Nehru Memorial Museum & Library presents a rich programme with open seminars and lectures by renowned academics. Go for the 2012 programme.
NMML also offers fellowships to scholars to pursue research in (i) Modern Indian History and Contemporary Studies (ii) Perspectives in Indian Development (social economic and cultural) and (iii) India and Changing Trends in World Economy and Polity. The fellowships are only open to Indian nationals, and they are offered are for a duration of two years only. More information about NMML fellowships.

• Bangladeshi student protest in Lund against river destruction

Bangladeshi students at Lund University made a public demonstration against what they call the Titas River Destruction, on Friday 30 December 2011. The manifestation was held in front of the Lund University Vice Chancellor’s building and Lund Tourist Office at Stortorget. It was broadcast by some of the national media of Bangladesh. Titas is a trans-boundary river of south-eastern Bangladesh. As part of an agreement on transit rights between the governments of India and Bangladesh, a road has recently been built over the river by dividing the same, though there are already one rail and road bridge over Titas river. The students demand that Bangladeshi authorities should see to it that the new built road is removed. Their goal is to sustain the destructive attitude to international organizations and remove the road from Titas by saving the ecology.
More information.

• Academic Iqbal seminar at University of Copenhagen

The Faculty of Theology at University of Copenhagen organised an academic seminar inspired by Allama Iqbal, the national poet philosopher of Pakistan, on 12 November 2011. It was the first seminar of its kind ever held in Copenhagen. It was arranged by Dr. Jørgen S. Nielsen, Professor and director of the university’s Centre for European Islamic Thought (CEIT); Dr. Lissi Rasmussen, director for the Islamic-Christian Study Centre (IKS); and Dr. Safet Bektovic, in collaboration with Ghulam Sabir, Chairman, Iqbal Academy Scandinavia (IAS).
More information.

• Interesting articles on the East India Company

The current economic crisis have brought attention to look closer at the case of the East India Company – the largest at its time trully international state-backed company. SASNET recommends two excellent articles that explore this topic and analyse the company’s successes and failure in a contemporary context. The first article is published in the 2011 Christmas special edition of the Economist and is entitled ”The East India Company – The Company that ruled the waves”.
Read the article.
The second article, entitled ”Loot: in search of the East India Company”, was written by Nick Robins and published by already in 2003.
Read the article.
More articles recommended for reading can be found in SASNET’s special page here.

• New book on Yoga Powers, edited by Knut A. Jacobsen

The book, entitled “Yoga Powers – Extraordinary Capacities Attained Through Meditation and Concentration” is published by BRILL, and was released in the end of 2011. It is edited by Professor Knut A. Jacobsen, Dept. of History of Religion, University of Bergen. His present book focuses on the extraordinary capacities called yoga powers that are at the core of the religious imagination in the history of religions in South Asia – a topic neglected in the research on yoga and meditation traditions. Yoga powers explained the divine, the highest gods were thought of as great yogins, and since major religious traditions considered their attainment as an inevitable part of the salvific process the textual traditions had to provide rational analyses of the powers. The essays of the book provide a number of new insights in the yoga powers and their history, position and function in the Hindu, Buddhist and Jain traditions, in classical Yoga, Haṭha Yoga, Tantra and Śaiva textual traditions, in South Asian medieval and modern hagographies, and in some contemporary yoga traditions. Brill. Go for the book.

Educational News

• Time to apply for the NCI summer course on Contemporary India at Hyderabad

For the tenth year, the Nordic Centre in India (NCI) consortium offers a 7.5 ECTS summer course on  ‘Contemporary India’ at University of Hyderabad during the period 1–28 July 2012. The course is tailor-made for 50 Nordic students and introduces issues of politics, culture and economy. It consists of the following five parts:
– Introductory course
– The diversity of India
– The political system and questions of identity
– Globalisation and the economy focusing on the city of Hyderabad
– Development, environment and human rights, and
– Indian literature and cinema.
It is open to graduate and post-graduate students from the Nordic member universities, and they are given board and lodging in an excellent guest house. Applications should be delivered before 31 March 2012. Each member university nominate their candidates and reserves on this course through their international offices. More information about the Hyderabad summer course.

• NCI summer course on Demography, Gender and Reproductive Health

For the sixth year, the Nordic Centre in India (NCI) consortium offers a 7.5 ECTS summer course on demography and gender in India, in collaboration with the International Institute for Population Science (IIPS) in Mumbai during the period 8 July – 4 August 2012. The course is entitled “Demography, Gender and Reproductive Health. 
An Introduction to Population Studies in India”. The course is a multi-disciplinary course that is open for 25 under-graduate and graduate students from the Nordic member universities. Deadline for applications is 31 March 2012. Each member university nominates its candidates and reserves on this course. More information about the Mumbai summer course.

• Summer course on environmental issues in Bangalore, India

For the sixth year, the Nordic Centre in India (NCI) consortium offers a 7.5 ECTS summer course on environmental issues in India, in Bangalore during the period 24 June – 21 July 2012. The course titled “Approaching the Environment in India. New theories and methods in the study of the nature-society interface”, is being organised in collaboration with the Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC) in Bangalore. It is a four-weeks multi-disciplinary course for 25 graduate and post-graduate students from the Nordic countries, that seeks to introduce students to recent theories and methods in the study of contemporary environmental issues in India. Applications should be delivered before 31 March 2012. Each member university nominate their candidates and reserves on this course through their international offices. More information about the Bangalore summer course.

• Apply for the master’s programme on Health and Society in South Asia at Heidelberg!

Since 2008, the South Asia Institute at University of Heidelberg, Germany, runs an interdisciplinary Master’s programme entitled ”Health and Society in South Asia” (MAHASSA). The programme is a taught, two-year interdisciplinary degree with a focus on Medical Anthropology and South Asian Studies. It is intended for students who plan to work (or already work) in health-related fields but also for those who wish to pursue an academic career. The programme is administered by the Dept. of Anthropology at the South Asia Institute, specializing in Medical Anthropology, with various staff members conducting research on ritual healing, folk medicine, South Indian medicine, health and environment, Ayurveda, Tibetan Medicine, gender and health, women’s reproductive health and Islam, and other topics. In the first semester, students are introduced to the main theories and research themes in the field of Medical Anthropology as well as to the major medical traditions and current health issues in South Asia. In the second semester all students are obliged to learn one South Asian language, and also receive training in research methods and presentation skills. The third semester is used for the extensive preparation of a practical field experience or a work placement, which will form the basis for the Master’s thesis, which will be prepared and written over the fourth semester.
Admissions for the next program starting in October 2012 is now open and applications should have reached the University before 15 June 2012. More information.
Read more about other courses in Europe and the Nordic countries on South Asia.

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

See SASNET’s page,

Important lectures and seminars in Scandinavia

• Stockholm and Uppsala seminars with Gopal Karanth

Professor Gopal Karanth from the Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC) in Bangalore, India, and ICCR India Visiting Chair Professor at Lund University during the academic year 2011-2012 (more information), holds lectures at Stockholm and Uppsala universities 24–25 January 2012.
On Tuesday 24 January, 13.00–15.00, the Department of Political Science, and the Forum for Asian Studies at Stockholm University organise a seminar with Prof. Karanth, where he will talk about ”Changing Caste in India: Discerning a new ´System´”. Venue: Room F702, Stockholm University, Frescati. More information.
On Wednesday 25 January, 14.15–16.00,  Prof. Karanth will hold a seminar in Uppsala, organised by the Forum for South Asian Studies at Uppsala University. Here, he will speak on ”Rural Social Transformation in (South) India: Pitted Against Collective action?“. The lecture focuses on Indian rural society, that for decades had been perceived to be ”hard” to change, has begun to demonstrate it is beginning to be similar to its urban counterparts in several respects, and this process is happening much more rapidly than ever before. Historiacally, rural communities have demonstrated greater inter-dependence, and ‘everyday’ life characterised by a collective action, but now several economic and political changes undermine the potentials for it. Not only the contexts for such a participative collective action have been rapidly transforming, several institutions that facilitated them have disappeared. Political party based factionalism, and economic individualism rather than collective interests seem to be the dominant feature of rural communities as they are now transforming.
Prof. Karanth’s lecture is based on a series of studies, especially in South Indian village communities, and the seminar aims at bringing together some of the issues concerning participative development and collective action. Venue: Room IV, Main University building, Biskopsgatan 3, Uppsala.

• Uppsala symposium on Emergent cities and Conflicting claims

The Swedish Development Research Network on Nature, Poverty and Power (DevNet), and the Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology, Uppsala University, organise a symposium entitled ”Emergent cities. Conflicting claims and the politics of informality” on 9th March 2012. The symposium will address the various processes through which people are creating space in the city; sometimes manifesting an emergent insurgence that challenges existing hierarchies and whereby people claim new forms for urban and national membership.
Keynote lecturers include Professor Ananya Roy from the Department of City and Regional Planning Education, University of California, Berkeley, USA. Prof. Roy will speak about ”Making Postcolonial Futures: The ‘Slum-Free’ Cities of the Asian Century”.
Venue: University Building, Hall IV (bottom floor) Ö. Slottsgatan/S:t Olofsgatan, Uppsala. No pre-registration necessary. More information.

• Information about South Asia related lectures and seminars

See SASNET’s page,

Conferences and workshops

• International conference on “Asian Religions & The World” in Kolkata

The “Focus Asia Organisation” of Kolkata, India convenes an international conference ”Asian Religions & The World” on 23–25 January 2012. The objective is to provide a common platform for the exchange of ideas & views among those, who are seriously engaged in the study of religions and associated topics. The academic periphery of the upcoming conference includes the growth, evolution and changes of the religions, interactions among them and their role in the modem world particularly in the background of globalization. The “Focus Asia Organization” is a voluntary body, formerly known as “Society for Indian Culture & Heritage”. More information.

• 24th Kerala Science Congress to be held in Kottayam

The 24th Kerala Science Congress is scheduled from 29th to 31st January 2012 at the Rubber Research Institute in  Kottayam. It will be jointly organisd by the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment (KSCSTE) – the umbrella organization of the research establishments in the State – and the Rubber Board.
Realising the critical role of Science and Technology in socio-economic development, Kerala has made substantial efforts to strengthen its science base through a number of research and development initiatives. In almost every key sector, whether it is agriculture, forestry, fisheries, industry, transport, environment, energy, material sciences, there are top class institutions undertaking research relevant to the needs of the State. Every sphere of science as well as the different phases of research – basic, strategic, applied and adaptive – are being addressed by the Universities and the R&D institutions in the State. Being a state with high population density and limited natural resources, wise use of the resources and building up human skills are essential. The 24th Kerala Science Congress will have a number of sessions for providing an opportunity for intense interaction and knowledge sharing. Particular thrust will be given to encourage young researchers through Young Scientist Awards and Children’s Science Congress.
More information about the 24th Kerala Science Congress.

• Australia symposium on India and the Age of Crisis

The University of Western Australia in Crawley organises a symposium on the local politics of global economic and ecological fragility on 2–3 February 2012. The symposium is entitled ”India And The Age Of Crisis”. The purpose of this symposium is to consider how politics in India are likely to be shaped by global economic and ecological crises.

Confirmed presenters are:
– Palagummi Sainath, popularly known is India’s most highly-awarded journalist with over 40 international and national awards for his investigative and social sector reporting in a career spanning three decades. He is currently the Rural Affairs Editor of The Hindu – a 133-year-old daily with a circulation of over 1.6 million.
– Swapna Banerjee-Guha, Professor of Development Studies in the School of Social Sciences, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai. From 1981 to 2006 she was the Professor of Human Geography at the University of Mumbai. – – Anjal Prakash, Senior Fellow and Director – Peri Urban Water Security Project at South Asia Consortium for Interdisciplinary Water Resources Studies – SaciWATERs, Hyderabad, India. More information (as a pdf-file)

• 12th Delhi Sustainable Development Summit in February 2012

The 12th Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS) will be held 2-4 February 2012 in New Delhi, India. DSDS is organized annually by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) since 2001, being an international undertaking that provides a platform for the exchange of knowledge on all aspects of sustainable development. Over the past ten years, DSDS has emerged as one of the most important forums on global sustainability issues, which brings together important heads of the State and Central Governments, academicians, and policy makers to deliberate over environmental issues. The theme of DSDS 2012 is Protecting the Global Commons: 20 years post Rio. The debates at this DSDS will revolve around the commons and take stock of the situation since the Rio summit of 1992. More information.

• Conference on the postcolonial city at University of Leeds, UK

The Annual Institute of Colonial and Postcolonial Studies (ICPS), University of Leeds and Postcolonial Studies Association (PSA) Postgraduate Conference will take place 2–3 February 2012 at University of Leeds, UK. The theme for the 2012 conference will be ‘Re-evaluating the Postcolonial City: Production, Reconstruction, Representation’, and is likely to have a strong Asian Studies strand running through it.
This conference re-evaluates the postcolonial city-space as a site of cultural production. The postcolonial city has reconfigured itself in literature and culture, as an urban space that incessantly explores its modernity along various, conflicting lines of identity, representation and consumption. The event brings together practicing cultural producers and their critics, early career scholars and postgraduate students working with the subject of the postcolonial city. In order to re-evaluate the impact of the postcolonial city on lives beyond the remit of the academy, the organisers seek to posit the figure of the cultural producer as a primary focus area of our conference. More information.

• Belief Narratives International Symposium at Manipur University

The Manipur University in collaboration with the International Society for Folk Narrative Research (ISFNR) organize the Belief Narratives International Symposium at Manipur University, Imphal, Manipur from 6-8 February 2012. The International Society for Folk Narrative Research is an international academic body whose objective is “to develop scholarly work in the field of folk narrative research and to stimulate contacts and the exchange of views among its members”. The research interest of ISFNR members around the world includes a number of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, “covering all aspects of narrative as representing the pivotal category of human communication”. The Symposium theme will be ”Local Legends in the Global Context”. More information.

• Conference on “India in Global Contexts” at Yale University

Yale University Center for British Art organises a conference on ”Art, Agency, Empire: India in Global Contexts” to be held on 11 February 2012 in Connecticut, United States.
The conference aims to gather graduate students and to work with asserting the existence of multiple forms of agency in India (artistic, cultural, political) from about 1600 to Independence and beyond. It will also focus on visual and cultural exchanges between India and the rest of the world, with a reference to the colonial period.
The call for papers opened on 31 October 2011. Papers on visual materials, architecture and material culture, representations in media, and proposing interpretations that may engage with questions of agency, artistic identity, power, and politics are welcome. Travel funds for speakers are available upon application. See here the full call for papers.

• Conference on “The Gujarati Community: Globalisation, Mobility and Belonging”

The Gujarat Studies Association (GSA) invites to its 4th Biennial Conference to be held 15–16 February 2012 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The theme for the conference will be ”The Gujarati Community: Globalisation, Mobility and Belonging”. Keynote speakers are Dr. Farouk Topan from Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (AKU-ISMC) in London; and Prof. Helene Basu, University of Münster. More information.

• 40th World Congress of International Institute of Sociology

The 40th World Congress of International Institute of Sociology (IIS) will be held at New Delhi, India 16–19 February 2012. The theme of the conference is ”After Western Hegemony: Social Science and its Publics”. It is jointly sponsored by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) in Delhi and the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS) in Uppsala. The main organisers are Rajeev Bhargava, Director of CSDS and Björn Wittrock, Principal of the SCAS and President of the IIS. More information about the Delhi conference.
Among the many panels to be convened at the 40th World Congress, could be mentioned a panel on ”Social Change as the Story of Contemporary Indian Society and Social Scientists as the Story Tellers”, convened by Sailaja Nandigama and Eswarappa Kasi from Wageningen University, Netherlands, and University of Hyderabad, India. More information.

• Hyderabad conference on the transformations in Indian diaspora

The Centre for Study of Indian Diaspora at the University of Hyderabad, India organises an international conference on “Empire, Nation and Diaspora: Mapping the Trajectories of Transformations in Indian Diaspora“. The conference will take place 20 – 23 February 2012 and will aim to explore from a comparative perspective the Indian diaspora as a dynamic construct which has undergone and is still undergoing through several processes of transformations. The conference main topics are: – Social and Cultural Transformations, – Economic Mobility, – Political Positioning, – Twice (or Multiple) displacement and its course of transformation, – Changing Meanings and relations with homeland, – Gendered Perspectives, and – Reflective Representation of Transformations in Text and Visual Medium.
Both senior and younger scholars are invited to present papers. The organisers provide local hospitality that includes lodging and board for all conference participants. Limited travel funding is also available.
Venue: Centre for Study of Indian Diaspora, University of Hyderabad (a Central University), Hyderabad (India)
Full information.

• Guwahati seminar on Contemporary Sri Lankan Fiction in English

An International Seminar on Contemporary Sri Lankan Fiction in English will be held in Guwahati, India, 23 – 25 February 2012. It is organised by the Dept. of English at  Gauhati University, in collaboration with the university’s Institute of Distance and Open Learning. They are organizing a series of International Seminars on Contemporary South Asian Fiction, considering the fact that this is an emerging area in English Studies today. In the first of the series the focus will be on Sri Lanka, while subsequent seminars will focus on Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and so on.
The seminar seeks to define a more nuanced and sensitive critical framework that actively reclaims marginalized voices and draws upon recent studies in migration and the diaspora to reconfigure the Sri Lankan critical terrain.
Some of the leading Sri Lankan writers  Nihal de Silva, Michael Ondaatje (photo), Romesh Gunasekera, Shyam Selvadurai, A. Sivanandan, Jean Arasanayagam, Carl Muller, James Goonewardene and Punyakante Wijenaike  rigorously challenge the theoretical, cultural and political assumptions that pit insider against outsider, resident against migrant and the authentic against the alien.
More information.

• Allahabad conference on Civil Society in the Era of Globalization

A two-day Indian National Seminar on ”Civil Society in the Era of Globalization” will be held at Allahabad, India, 24–25 February 2012. It is organised by the Rajiv Gandhi Chair in Contemporary Studies at University of Allahabad (the Chair being established by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India.
The seminar will focus on the following areas: • Theoretical Concept of Civil Society; • Historiography of the Institutional Evolution of Civil Society; • Civil Society in the era of Globalization; • Rise and Growth of Civil Society in India; • Evaluation of Different Civil Society movements in India; • Challenges of Civil Society; • Civil Society, Democracy and Public Policy; • State and Civil Society; and • Market and Civil Society
The list of areas mentioned above may be treated as illustrative rather than exhaustive. Paper-presenters are free to choose an area of their interest which broadly falls within the theme of the seminar i.e. Civil Society in the Era of Globalization. Papers will be reviewed by a committee formed for this purpose. Needless to mention that besides hospitality the Rajiv Gandhi Chair will bear travel expenses by Indian participants as per university rules.
Full information.

• Delhi conference on India and the European Union in a Changing World

A conference on ”India and the European Union in a Changing World: Perceptions and Perspectives” is being organised by  the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU)’s Jean Monnet Chair and Centre for European Studies and will be held at JNU, Delhi on 1-2 March 2012.
The conference is multidisciplinary and open for students, academics, and practitioners, who will debate the relevance and impact of relations between the EU and India since the first summit in 2000 at the bilateral, regional and global levels. The main themes are: – The European Union and South Asia; – India-EU Strategic Partnership; – Economic and Trade Relations; – Indian FDI in Europe/European FDI in India; – India-EU Free Trade Agreement; – India, EU and Global Governance, Multilateralism; – Multiculturalism and Identity in India and Europe; – Environment, Climate Change and Energy Security; – EU and Conflict Resolution in South Asia; – India and the EU: Perceptions and Misperceptions.
More information.

• Phnom Penh conference on Mathematics Education in Developing Countries

The 5th International Conference on Science and Mathematics Education in Developing Countries will be held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 1–3 March 2012. It is hosted by Zaman University, Phnom Penh. Science and mathematics play vital roles in developing the economy, interacting with the environment wisely and providing for public health and services. These subjects are also essential to making informed personal, social and political decisions. When taken together science and mathematics can be used ethically to improve the human condition in a sustainable manner.
The International programme committee behind the conference include Dr. Peter Sundin, International Science Programme (IPS), Uppsala University; and Dr. Om Prakash Niraula from Tribhuvan University, Nepal.
More information.

• Haryana conference on Humanism, Democracy and Culture

The Department of English at RKSD College, Kaithal – affiliated to Kurukshetra University in the state of Haryana, India – organises an interdisciplinary, international conference to explore humanism, postcolonialism and democracy discourses from in India from both western and Indian perspectives on 20–21 March 2012. Interested scholars can now submit a 300–400 words abstract of a paper that should address the following topic(s): – Postcolonialism and Indigenous Representation; – Postcolonialism and Indian humanism; – Postcolonialism and Western Aspirations; – Postcolonialism and Marxism; – Postcolonialism and Nativism, and Cultural Fundamentalism in East and West; – Postcolonialism and Indian languages. The deadline for submitting abstracts has been extended till 31 January 2012. Keynote and plenary speakers include Dr. Rajender Dudrah, Head of Drama & Senior Lecturer in Screen studies, School of Arts, Histories and Cultures, University of Manchester, UK;  Dr. María do Mar Castro Varela,  Professor for Gender and Queer Studies at Alice Salomon University, Berlin, Germany; Dr. Nikita Dhawan, Junior Professor for Gender and Postcolonial Studies, Cluster of Excellence ‘The Formation of Normative Orders’ at Goethe-University, Germany; Dr Bhaskar Mukhopadhya, Convenor MA Postcolonial Studies, Goldsmith, University of London, UK; and Dr. Pavan Malreddy, Chemnitz University of Technology (CUT), Germany.
More information.

• Glasgow conference on Scotland and the Indian subcontinent

The Economic and Social History Society of Scotland organises a conference on “Scotland and the Indian subcontinent” to take place in Glasgow, UK, on Wednesday 21 March 2012. The conference will focus on exploring the historical connections between Scotland and all the Indian subcontinent including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burma, Ceylon, India and Pakistan. Submissions of papers that focus on – cultural exchange; – health and medicine; – trade; – industry; – religion; – conflict/cooperation; – migration (both directions); – gender; – British East India Company; – identity and subaltern responses are welcome. The proposals should explore the interface between Scotland and the Indian subcontinent. Both colonial and postcolonial perspectives are accepted. Abstract submission deadline: 23 January 2012.
Venue: SYHA Conference Suite, 7/8 Park Terrace, Glasgow G3 6BY
More information.

• Oxford Symposium on Indian Religions

The 37th Spalding Symposium on Indian Religions will be held at Merton College, the University of Oxford, UK, on 23–25 March 2012. The Spalding Symposium is an annual conference bringing together scholars from many disciplines who are working in the general areas of Indic Studies. This year the organisers encourage papers relating to ecology and related matters, such as animals; however, they will also consider papers on other themes. The symposia are funded by the Spalding Trust. It is expected that a selection of papers from the Symposium will be published in our peer-reviewed journal, Religions of South Asia (RoSA).
Abstracts should be submitted before 3 February 2012. More information about the Symposium.

• Aligarh conference on Population Dynamics and Sustainable Resource Development

An International Conference on ”Population Dynamics and Sustainable Resource Development” will be held in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, India, 25–27 March 2012. It is being organized by Dept. of Geography at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), and aims to form a platform to discuss and debate about population dynamism and sustainable resource development. Sub-themes include – Population Dynamics. Fertility, mortality, migration; – Modern Innovation in agriculture and Changing Land Use Pattern; – Human Resources, Health and Hygiene; and – Remote Sensing and GIS Application in Resource Development, Management and Planning. Abstracts should be submitted before 28 February.
More information about the Aligarh conference.

• 2012 World Water Week focuses on Water and Food Security

The agenda will feature workshops on the following themes: – 
Scholars and professionals from all the world are currently invited to submit proposals for the workshops, as well as for exhibitions or paper presentations of relevance to the main conference focus topic. Priority will be given to proposals that are facets of the global challenge and present practical solutions, policies, and strategies for keeping earth’s water and food resources safe, shared and accessible to all. Deadline for submitting proposals is 15 February 2012. See more information and submission guidelines.
The World Water Week is the leading annual global meeting place for capacity-building, partnership-building and follow-up on the implementation of international processes and programmes in water and development, with large relevance to South Asia. The conference is filled with plenary sessions, seminars, workshops, side events and special activities. The Scientific Programme Committee (SPC) planning for the conference was for many years chaired by Prof. Jan Lundqvist at SIWI (previously at the Dept. of Water and Environmental Studies, Linköping University), but from this year the chairman position is taken over by Dr. Torkil Jönch-Clausen (read his CV). Venue: Stockholm International Fairs and Congress Center (Stockholmsmässan) in Älvsjö, 9 km south of central Stockholm. Full information.

• IIAS Summer Programme on World Wide Asia: Asian Flows, Global Impacts

The International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) organizes its second Summer Programme at Leiden 27 August – 1 September 2012. The theme will be ”World Wide Asia: Asian Flows, Global Impacts”. IIAS runs the programme in partnership with the Leiden Global Interactions Group (LGIG) at Leiden University.
It starts with a four-day master class followed by a two-day international conference. The aim is to critically explore Asian migrations as a globalizing force. The flows of people, goods, capital and ideas within and from the Asian continents have been transforming the global landscape for centuries. Arguably, this influence has become more recognizable and acute in the present day. The study of Asian mobilities can provide important insights into the conditions, processes and effects of globalization and historical global forms. 
The programme will be run by three leading scholars in the fields of global migration history, the history of globalization, and modern Asian history. They include Prof. Radhika Singha from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi.
PhD candidates and advanced research masters students worldwide whose work deals with some aspect of Asian migration are invited to participate. Deadline for submission of paper proposals is 1 February 2012.
The programme will close with a two-day conference on the same theme of Asian migrations, featuring international scholars. Students who participate in the Summer Programme will be given opportunities to meet and interact with the conference panellists and a select number of students may be invited to present their research in one of the conference sessions. All students will be invited to attend the conference and participate in the discussions.
Full information about the 2012 IIAS Summer Programme.

• 3rd Conference of the Asian Borderlands Research Network

The 3rd Conference of the Asian Borderlands Research Network, with the theme ”Connections, Corridors, and Communities” will be held in Kunming, China, 12–15 October 2012. The conference is organised by the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) in the Netherlands, but is hosted by the Centre for Southwest Borderland Ethnic Minority Studies, Yunnan University (YU) in Kunming. Conveners include Prof. Willem van Schendel, University of Amsterdam (UvA),  and Dr. Erik de Maaker, Leiden University.
Extensive land and maritime networks have crisscrossed Asia for centuries, providing the basis for encounters between diverse ethnic, linguistic, economic, religious, and political groups.  Today, developments such as new infrastructural projects, an increase in media access, and renewed interest in shaping cross-border cultural identities serve to both underscore these long-standing linkages and create new forms of connections across Asia. During the 3rd Asian Borderlands Research Conference in Kunming, we invite submissions that address continuities and ruptures along routes and borders in Asia, broadly related to the theme, “Connections, Corridors, and Communities”.
Only a small number of individual papers will be selected. New to this Asian Borderlands conference, the roundtable format is intended to allow for a more open forum on a broader theme. Typically, panelists will each address the main issue or topic of the roundtable, and the remainder of the time is open for an informal discussion between the panel members and a more extended question-and-answer period with the audience. Some examples of wide themes in relation to Asian borderlands may include, but are not limited to: migration; security; gender; technology; environmental issues, etc.
More information.

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

See SASNET’s page,

Business and Politics

See SASNET’s page,

South Asia related culture in Scandinavia

• Bengali feature and documentary to be screened at Gothenburg film festival

The 35th Göteborg International Film Festival, from 27 January till 6 February 2012, has a rather limited stock of South Asian movies. The only feature to be screened is ”Runaway” by the Bengali-American film maker Amit Ashraf, previously working with a number of documentaries, short films, commercials and animations. ”Runaway” is his first feature film that took him back to Bangladesh to work with producer Sumon Arefin. It is a film about three men who run from their homes, searching for something better. Perhaps a better wife. Perhaps a better life. Then there is one man who is hired to find these runaways. He locks them up and brings them back  home. He is constantly on the prowl for his big catch.The director Amit Ashraf will be present at the festival in Gothenburg. The film is scheduled for 4 and 5 February.
Kolkata-based film maker Nilanjan Bhattacharya will also be represented in Gothenburg with his 2011 film ”Rain In The Mirror”, a documentary about three generations of men from one family living in Sikkim near the border with Tibet in the Himalayas. Bhattacharya has been involved in film making for the last 15 years. He has worked in feature films as an assistant director to Tapan Sinha. The new film, that is scheduled for 28th and 30th January,  has been produced with support including from  Göteborg International Film Festival’s Film Fund.
Finally, British director Michael Winterbottom has made an adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s novel ”Tess of the d’Urbervilles”.  The film, entitled ”Trishna”, was shot in Jaipur and Mumbai, India, and the leading stars are Freida Pinto and Riz Ahmed. More information on the 2012 Gothenburg International Film Festival.

• Information about South Asia related culture in Sweden/ Scandinavia

New and updated items on SASNET web site

• Swedish departments where research on South Asia is going on

Constantly added to the list of research environments at Swedish universities, presented by SASNET. The full list now includes nearly 300 departments, with detailed descriptions of the South Asia related research and education taking place! Newly added departments this month are:

‡ Division of Public Health Sciences, Department of Health and Environment,
Faculty of Social and Life Sciences, Karlstad University
‡ Centre for the Study of Cultural Evolution, Stockholm University
‡ Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Toxicology, Stockholm University
‡ Department of History, Stockholm University
‡ Department of Computing Science, Umeå University
‡ Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care, Department of Surgical Sciences, Uppsala University

See the full list of departments here:

• Useful travelling information

Look at our Travel Advice page. Updated travel advises from the The British Foreign & Commonwealth Office about safety aspects on travelling to the countries of South Asia.

Best regards

  Lars Eklund

Deputy director/webmaster
SASNET/Swedish South Asian Studies Network