Newsletter 134 – 4 April 2012

• SASNET co-organises Indian Mela at Lunds konsthall on 14th April

An Indian cultural programme/Mela will be held at Lunds konsthall on Saturday 14th April 2012, 14.00–17.00. The programme is jointly organized by Konsthallen, SASNET, Lunds kommun/Kulturskolan and ABF, and is held in connection with an Indian art exhibition at Lunds Konsthall, an exhibition entitled Social Fabric, curated by Grant Watson, currently on display in London, but at Lunds Konsthall from 5 April till 27 May.
The exhibition includes works by prominent Indian artists such as Archana Hande, The Otholith Group, Sudhir Patwardan, Raqs Media Collective. There will also be film programmes by visual artists Ashim Ahluwalia, Anjali Monteiro, K.P. Jayasankar, Madhusree Dutta, Tushar Joag, and Anand Patwardhan. More information about the exhibition (in Swedish).

Tania Alyhr
Ashok Sajjanhar

The 14th April will be introduced by Director Ms. Åsa Nacking. Indian Ambassador H.E. Mr. Ashok Sajjanhar will participate in the 14th April event at Lunds konsthall, and hold an introductory speech. He is followed by Senior Lecturer Tania Alyhr from Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm, who  will lecture on ”Textile Life in Western India”.
In her presentation, she will to talk about her encounter with India, starting with an invitation to be a guest teacher of textiles at the National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Little did Tania realise then that this was going to turn her into a part time tour guide to textile life in western India for years to come. The breathtaking colors of India, the mass of textile expressions and crafts, the multitude of uses of textiles, the beauty and the variety of Indian clothing and the highly skilled, thorough and highly dedicated craftspeople who perform their work in such a meticulous way, it all became an almost consecrated experience.
The mela programme also includes dance and drama presentations by students at Kulturskolan Lund, and songs performed by the Association for Indo-Swedish Cultural Exchange choir. See the poster with the full programme for the 14th April event.

• SASNET seminar on Indian Economy in Transition

Ramnath Narayanswamy, Professor in the Economics and Social Sciences Area at the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore (IIMB), holds a SASNET lecture about ”Understanding India. A Country in Transition” on Wednesday 11 April 2012, 10.15–12.00. The seminar is co-organised by the Dept. of Economic History, Lund University. Venue: Lund university School of Economics and Management, Room EC3:207, Tycho Brahes väg 1, Lund.
See the poster for the seminar.
In his presentation, Prof. Narayanswamy focuses primarily on understanding the Indian economy, society and polity as a bumpy transition process from an economy dominated by state controls to an economy  dominated by competition. Specifically, he focuses attention on an issue that is likely occupy attention of policy makers, namely, a program of affirmative action in the private sector. The author along with two other colleagues completed a piece of research on this subject and the paper is a summary of its results.
Since 2009, Ramnath Narayanswamy is spending extended periods in Sweden as a Visiting Professor at the School of Business, Economics and Law (SBEL), University of Gothenburg. His areas of research interest include Business and Society, Spirituality and Self Development, Entrepreneurship in the Creative Sector and Creativity and Innovation.
More information about his research work in Gothenburg.

• SASNET Brown Bag seminar on Sri Lanka’s vanishing beaches

The next SASNET Brown Bag Lunch seminar will be held on Thursday 19 April 2012, 12.30–13.30, at Lunds konsthall, Mårtenstorget 3, Lund. Professor Magnus Larson from the Department of Water Resources Engineering will 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.
More information on the seminar poster.
The interdisciplinary South Asia seminars were introduced by SASNET a year ago, and from 2012 they are organised in collaboration with Arbetarnas Bildningsförbund (ABF) Lund, and Lunds konsthall.
More information about previous Brown Bag seminars.

• Anna Lindberg reports from 2012 tour to Delhi and Kerala
Anna at a Delhi meeting with Ruchi Chaturvedi, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Hunter College, New York, and Professor Susan Visvanathan, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

SASNET’s director Anna Lindberg recently returned to Sweden after a month-long tour to Delhi and Kerala in India. In Delhi she visited Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), where she spent time with students, gave a seminar, and met with faculty to discuss future collaborations. She also participated in a major conference organised by the School of Social Sciences on “Democracy, Pluralism, and Justice: Challenges for India in a Changing World”.
Then off to Kerala for a number of important meetings, including holding a speech at the University Senate Chamber at Kerala University in Thiruvananthapuram in connection with the celebration of International Women’s Day. The overall theme of the event was Violence against Women, and Anna’s speech outlined the history of marriage payments but also considered dowry-related problems in contemporary society (read a report in The Hindu, 9 March 2012). While being in Kerala, Anna also met with colleagues and worked to complete her ongoing research project on dowry and marriage (more information).
Read Anna Lindberg’s full report.

• SASNET visit to South Asia researchers at Linköping University

On Wednesday 7 March 2012, SASNET’s deputy director Lars Eklund, and assistant webmaster Julia Velkova visited Linköping University (LiU) in order to meet with researchers working on South Asia related projects.
They had fruitful meetings with representatives from the Department of Culture and Communication (Alia Amir); the Department of Water and Environmental Studies at Tema Institute (Julie Wilk, Anna Jonsson, Joyanto Routh and Sivakiruthika Natchimuthu); the Division of Gender and Medicine at the Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine (Katarina Swahnberg and Humlan Svensson); and finally the Department for Studies of Social Change and Culture (ISAK) at Campus Norrköping (Ingemar Grandin and Per-Anders Forstorp).
Read a detailed report from the visit to Linköping University.

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

Research Community News

• Doctoral dissertation on Mobile Phone use among Bangladeshi farmers

Sirajul Islam, Örebro University School of Business, defended his doctoral dissertation entitled ”Creating opportunity by connecting the unconnected : mobile phone based agriculture market information service for farmers in Bangladesh” on Thursday 10 November 2011. The faculty opponent was Professor Rahul De from Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Bangalore, India. The thesis is framed within the research area of Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D), which is concerned with how ICT can make a difference to the lives of the poor. This study focuses primarily on mobile phones and how they can be used as part of an Agriculture Market Information Service (AMIS) in order to provide crucial information to farmers in Bangladesh. More information about Sirajul Islam and his research. More information about the thesis, incl. link to full-text thesis.

• Major Partner Driven Cooperation grant to Sweden India Gender Network in Work, Environment & Health
First SIGN steering committee meeting held in India.

In late February 2012, Professor Annika Härenstam and Dr. Birgitta Jordansson from the Department of Work Science, University of Gothenburg, were awarded SEK 3 m from  the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida, as a Partner Driven Cooperation grant (more information) to develop the Sweden India Gender Network in Work, Environment and Health(SIGN), that was launched in 2011. The SIGN network aims at facilitating collaboration in research and an exchange of knowledge between universities, organisations and corporations in India.
Other partners at University of Gothenburg are Associate Professor Hanna Westberg, Dept. of Work Science, and Dr. Karin Allard, Dept. of Psychology.
On the Indian side, SIGN is coordinated by Associate Professor Sunita Kaistha from Jesus & Mary College in New Delhi, and Dr. Amita Sahaya, founder secretary of the New Delhi based non-profit organisation Women Work & Health Initiative (WWHI). Other Indian partners in the network are Professor Surinder Jaswal from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in Mumbai, Professor Vibhuti Patel, Shreemati Nathibai Damodar Thackersey Women’s University (SNDT) in Mumbai, and Professor Urmi Nanda Biswas, University of Baroda.
More information about the Sida grant to SIGN.

• Report on Indian migration and population in Sweden by Kristina Myrvold

The European University Institute (EUI) recently published a report on the ”Indian migration and population in Sweden” compiled by Assistant Professor Kristina Myrvold from the Dept. of History and Anthropology of Religion at Lund University. The publication provides an overview of the migration and the demographic and socio-economic profile of the Indian population in Sweden. Dr. Myrvold’s study shows that Indians in contemporary Sweden have diverse migrations histories and constitute a more heterogeneous group of people with different economic, social and cultural backgrounds. In general the Indians have succeeded fairly well in their economic, social and cultural integration into Swedish society, while their political participation has been more restricted.
In 2010 the number of Indian-born individuals recorded for Sweden amounted to 17,863 individuals. The statistics further indicate that within a ten-year period, between 2000 and 2010, the population of Indian origin has increased by 61 percent. In addition, Sweden has a growing second and second-point-five generation with children of Indian origin as well as inter-ethnic families. As of 2010, there were 2,109 Sweden-born persons with both parents from India and 5,592 persons with one Indian and one Swedish parent.
The publication is part of a larger European project called ”Developing a knowledge base for policymaking on India-EU migration”. The project was officially launched on 4 March 2011 and is carried out by EUI in partnership with the Indian Council of Overseas Employment, (ICOE), the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, (IIMB), and Maastricht University (Faculty of Law) with the main goal to consolidate a constructive dialogue between the EU and India on migration covering all migration-related aspects. Go for the full report.

• 500 researchers participated in the 40th IIS conference in Delhi
The 40th International Institute of Sociology (IIS) World Congress was held at India Habitat Centre and India International Centre in Delhi on 16–19 February 2012. The congress was co-organized by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) in Delhi, and the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS), Uppsala, on behalf of the International Institute of Sociology (IIS) – whose Secretariat is currently located at SCAS in Uppsala. The theme of the congress was “After Western Hegemony: Social Science and Its Publics”. The congress attracted approximately 500 participants from 47 countries around the globe and thus demonstrated the truly international community which is one of the foundations of IIS. Nine plenary sessions, three special sessions, and 84 regular and ISA sessions were held during the three and a half day event, which involved a great number of high quality presentations. Not only did a high number of scholars participate in the congress, but also many students. For further information, please visit the conference web site.
See also the final programme for the plenary sessions.

• Colombo based IWMI named 2012 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate

The International Water Management Institute (IWMI), with headquarters in Colombo, Sri Lanka, has been named the 2012 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate for their pioneering research that has served to improve agriculture water management, enhance food security, protect environmental health and alleviate poverty in developing countries. This announcement was made on 22 March, the UN World Water Day. H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden will present the prize at a Royal Award Ceremony during the 2012 World Water Week in Stockholm on August, 30th.
Seventy percent of global freshwater withdrawals are used in agriculture. With global food demand projected to double by mid-century, more food will need to be grown with less water. IWMI has been the driving force promoting policies and techniques to help farmers to produce ‘more crop per drop’, and to implement solutions that enable agriculture to cultivate enough food to feed the planet’s growing population with limited water resources.
In its citation, The Stockholm Water Prize Nominating Committee states: “The International Water Management Institute is the foremost organisation in agricultural water management. Their work has led to new policies and investments in agriculture that have not only enabled more productive use of water, but have enhanced food security, economic development and environmental health around the world.” More information.

• International research networking project on Nepal’s Democratic Transition

Associate Professor Ingemar Grandin from the Department for Studies of Social Change and Culture (ISAK) at Linköping University, Campus Norrköping, is a member of an international research network focusing on the democratic transition of Nepal. It is part of a collaborative research project launched in 2010 by the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at University of London, UK, and the Martin Chautari (MC) research institution in Kathmandu, Nepal. The project, entitled ”The Creation of Public Meaning during Nepal’s Democratic Transition”, runs until March 2013 and is being coordinated by Professor Michael Hutt at SOAS and Dr Pratyoush Onta at MC. The project’s main goal is to explore the ways in which the meaning of socio-political events and developments is constructed, conveyed and consumed in Nepal, focusing first upon spheres in which there is already a body of analysis, such as the print media and FM radio, but also exploring less well developed areas of research such as Nepali theatre, film, rumours and conspiracy theories, TV, poetry and popular song.
The project operates also as a network and tries to foster increased collaboration between Nepal– and non–Nepal based researchers on the understanding of the democratic transition in Nepal. A workshop will be organised on 4–5 July 2012 at SOAS in London, details about which will be announced during early summer 2012. More information.

• ENTITLE network offers 11 PhD Scholarships in Political Ecology

The European Network for Political Ecology (ENTITLE) offers 11 generously-funded three-year PhD scholarships available to candidates from anywhere in the world. ENTITLE is an EU-funded Initial Training Network under the Marie Curie actions of FP7, coordinated by the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain, and with the collaboration of 11 research and NGO partners, including the Dept. of Human Geography, Lund University, Sweden. Successful applicants will be hosted in one of the participating institutes of the network, besides Lund and Barcelona, also Coimbra, Manchester, Berlin, Athens, Istanbul or Santiago de Chile.
The aim is to promote European research and advanced training on the field of political ecology, including: the study of the commons; social metabolism and environmental conflicts; movements; disasters; ecological democracy; and environmental justice. Researchers selected for the program will be trained through an integrated curriculum of local and intensive network courses on related topics, summer schools with teachers of international calibre, secondments to EJOs (environmental justice organizations) and the public and private sector and training through work.
Deadline for applications is 20 April  2012. Full information.

• SASA launches Exemplar: The Journal Of South Asian Studies

In February 2012, the US based South Asian Studies Association (SASA) launched a new biannual peer-reviewed  magazine, entitled ”Exemplar: The Journal Of South Asian Studies”. It is a different kind of academic journal, with a ”crossover” character, appealing to academics as well as other sophisticated readers with a keen interest in South Asia. Exemplar has an ambition to emphasize cultural understanding, mated to contemporary economic and political concerns, with a strong bias toward issues of globalization. Exemplar eschews jargon to appeal to academic and sophisticated non-academic audiences.
The editorial board is chaired by Dr. Chandrika Kaul, University of St. Andrews, and the book review editor is Dr. Vandana Asthana, Eastern Washington University. Other members of the editorial board are Dr. Dina Bangdel, Virginia Commonwealth University, Dr. Minoti Chakravarty-Kaul, Delhi University, Dr. Muthusami Kumaran, University of Florida, Dr. Ronie Parciack, University of Tel Aviv, and Dr. Alexander Stolyarov, Russian State University for the Humanities. The managing editor is Dr. Joe Pellegrino, Georgia Southern University.
The first issue of the magazine, the Spring 2012 issue, is available for purchase as individeul numbers via the net, but from Volume No 2 (Fall 2012) the magazine will be available only through subscriptions. More information about Exemplar, with details about subscription.

• German research group studies Asian views of the EU

The German interdisciplinary NFG Research Group ”Asian Perceptions of the EU” has published its first edition of the NFG Working Paper Series on ”How does Asia view the EU? Security in an Interpolar World”. This paper provides an outline of the research agenda that the NFG (Nachwuchsforschergruppe) is pursuing. Funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research for the period 2011-2014 and based at the Freie Universität Berlin, the Research Group aims to analyse elite perceptions in India and China of the European Union in security policy fields, with its case studies focusing on export control and peacekeeping.
More information about the Asian Perceptions of the EU Research Group.
Go for the working paper on How does Asia view the EU.
The NFG Research Group ”Asian Perceptions of the EU” also invites applications to its ”Visiting Fellow Programme”. Visiting Fellows – scholars from the region – are welcome to join the NFG for up to 6 months for academic exchange. Grants vary depending on the level of professional experience. More information. 

• Doctoral scholarships at Asia and Europe in a Global Context cluster in Heidelberg

The Graduate Programme for Transcultural Studies of the Cluster of Excellence ”Asia and Europe in a Global Context” at Heidelberg University announces eight doctoral scholarships scheduled to start from 1 November 2012. The applicants are expected to suggest a doctoral project with strong affiliation to the research framework of the Cluster, along with having above-average grades from an M.A. in humanities or social sciences. The Cluster offers a monthly scholarship of 1000 euro, and half of the scholarships are reserved for junior scholars from Asia.
Deadline to apply is 15 May 2012. More information.

Educational News

• Linnaeus Palme grants to 32 Swedish South Asia related collaboration projects

In late February 2012, the Swedish International Programme Office for Education and Training decided upon the eleventh round of Linnaeus Palme Exchange Programme grants, for the period 1 July 2012 – 30 June 2013 (and in some cases one year longer). A total amount of SEK 63 Million was distributed to 262 projects at Swedish universities. The grants, meant to stimulate an exchange of students and teachers in both directions between Sweden and third world countries, are funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). Go for the full list of Linnaeus Palme grants 2012 (as a pdf-file).
Out of 262 projects given grants, 2 are with Bangladesh, 20 with India, 5 with Nepal, and 5 with Sri Lanka. SASNET provides information specifically about those projects that involve South Asian universities.
Go for the list of the South Asia related projects.

• Danish-US joint dissertation workshop to be held in New York
David Ludden
Ravinder Kaur

A Dissertation Workshop on ”Globalizing Class: Spaces, Places, and Networks of Power” will be held in New York, USA, 8–9 June 2012. The workshop is co-organized by Prof. David Ludden, History Department, New York University, and Associate Professor Ravinder Kaur, Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Venue: Institute for Public Knowledge, 20 Cooper Square, 5th Floor, New York. Deadline for applications is 15 April 2012.
This interdisciplinary dissertation workshop is concerned with class identities, formations, genealogies, cultures, and power relations in processes of globalization, past and present. The workshop brings together eight students and four faculty members, who meet from 9 to 5 for two days at IPK.  Students from outside the United States can be offered three days’ residence in a local hotel, two students to a room. The organisers are however unable to cover travel expenses.
More information.

• International semester course in India on Gandhian Nonviolence: Theory and Application

Gujarat Vidhyapeeth, the university established by Mahatma Gandhi in Ahmedabad, India, offers an International Orientation Course on ”Gandhian Nonviolence: Theory and Application” from 15 September 2012 till 15 January 2013. The first two months of the programme will be held at Gujarat Vidyapith, and at Kochrab Ashram – the first Ashram founded by Gandhi, also in Ahmedabad. After these two months, the course participants will be taken out to stay in different Gandhian institutions all over India, like Sampoorna Kranti Vidyalaya (Institute of Total Revolution) in Surat, Gujarat; Sewagram Ashram(the main Ashram where Gandhi lived and worked since 1936) in Wardha, Maharashtra; Institute of Gandhian Studies, also in Wardha; Lok Bharati Gramvidyapith in Sanosara, Bhavanagar District, Gujarat; Centre for Science for Villages in Wardha; to a Naturopathy Centre; or an Organic Farming place, for a period of ten to fifteen days in each place. There they have to observe, study and participate in the applications of various Gandhian principles.
The overall purpose of the course is to give its seekers orientation in the theoretical and practical dimensions of Nonviolence as explained and applied by Mahatma Gandhi in his personal and public life. However, the course content will not be limited to the Gandhian framework only; the examples and interpretations of other practitioners of nonviolence will also be relied upon.
In order to avoid legal complications and to make the granting of Resident Permit (from the Home Department) to stay in Vidyapith hazel-free, participants are required to arrive first in Ahmedabad and report directly to the Registrar, Gujarat Vidyapith. Travel in other parts of India before reporting to Vidyapith might make the granting of Resident Permit difficult and sometimes impossible. Applications should be delivered before 30 June 2012.
More information.

• Barefoot College offers unconventional education for Indian women

Barefoot College is an Indian NGO that has been providing basic services and solutions to problems in rural communities, with the objective of making them self-sufficient and sustainable, since 1972. It has a head office at Ajmer District in Rajasthan, but operates in 17 Indian states, mainly in rural areas working to provide competence to the rural population and marginalized groups in unconventional ways. One such initiative is an initiative to educate women, especially middle-aged in disadvantaged position, such as widows or single mothers with families to become solar power engineers and develop the energy production in their villages and rural communities. This will also give an additional income to the women. Besides the solar program, Barefott College also focuses on water issues, health care, crafts and communcation. The courses usually take 6 to 9 months, and while the education is free it does not lead to a diploma or certification. The school has had an enormous success and popularity, and has expanded its activities also outside India to more than 30 countries.  Read more about Barefoot College.

• Tenth Annual Course on Forced Migration to be held in Kolkata

The Annual Winter Courses on Forced Migration are held each year in Kolkata, India, this year from 1 – 15 October 2012. The short-term courses, organised by the Mahanirban Calcutta Research Group, are preceded by a two and a half month long programme of distance education. The course is intended for younger academics, refugee activists and others working in the field of human rights and humanitarian assistance for victims of forced displacement. The curriculum deals with themes of nationalism, ethnicity, partition, and partition-refugees, national regimes and the international regime of protection, political issues relating to regional trends in migration in South Asia, internal displacement, the gendered nature of forced migration and protection framework, resource politics, environmental degradation, and several other issues related to the forced displacement of people. Applicants must have 5 years experience in the work of protection of the victims of forced displacement, OR hold a post-graduate degree in Social Sciences. Deadline for applications for the coming course, the tenth Annual Course on Forced Migration, is 10 April 2012. More information.

• 2012 Summer Indological program at Leiden

For the seventh year, the Leiden Summer School in Languages and Linguistics at the Faculty of Arts, Leiden University, the Netherlands offers an Indological Programme during the period 16–27 July 2012. The Indological programme consists of four courses: – Features of Vedic poetry , and – The syntax of Vedic prose, both courses taught by Dr. Werner Knobl, University of Kyoto, Japan; a course on”Early Saiva Literature, taught by Peter Bisschop, Leiden University; and a course on ”Selected Passages of Sanskrit Prose Poetry”, taught by Csaba Dezső, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest. More information.

• Intensive courses in Malayalam at Tübingen University

The Dept. of Indology and Comparative Religion, Asien-Orient-Institut, University of Tübingen, Germany, offers an intensive courses in Malayalam language (the language of the Indian state of Kerala), 8–12 Oktober 2012, and 13–17 February 2013. This Malayalam Winter School is led by Dr. Heike Moser and MA Jaison Vallooran. More information.

Seminars and Conferences in Scandinavia

• Lund University Symposium in honour of Professor Göran Djurfeldt

On Thursday 12 April 2012, 13.00 – 17.00, the Departments of Sociology and Human Geography at Lund University invite to a Symposium in honour of Professor Göran Djurfeldt: Student, researcher and teacher at Lund University 1966 – 2012. Venue: Eden auditorium, Paradisgatan 5, Lund.
The symposium is entitled ”Farmers, States and Markets – Agricultural Development in India and Africa” focusing on Prof. Djurfeldt’s research. For more than forty years he has been devoted to these types of studies, starting with studies of oppressive post-colonial agrarian relations in South India in the 1960s. Then came the Green Revolution and a break with stagnation and utter starvation. With this experience Göran then went into African studies. Could there be a potential for a Green Revolution also in the rather different situation of African smallholders. What are the similarities and differences with Asia? What has happened in the post-colonial period and what is now happening?
The Keynote speaker is Professor Ernest Aryeetey, Vice Chancellor, University of Ghana, and senior fellow with the Brooking Institute, Washington. The Indian part of the symposium, on Agrarian Transformation in Tamil Nadu, will be introduced by Prof. Staffan Lindberg, Göran’s colleague at the Department of Sociology, Lund University, and Prof. Gopal Karanth from the Institute for Economic and Social Change (ISEC), Bangalore (and ICCR Guest Professor at Lund  University during the academic year2011-12) will comment on the book ”Behind Poverty” and other South Asia related writings by Prof. Djurfeldt. More information.

• Oslo seminar on Buddhist Schools in Ancient India
Dr. Oskar von Hinüber, Professor Emeritus in Indology at University of Freiburg, Germany, held a lecture at Oslo Buddhist Studies Forum on Tuesday 17 April 2012, 16.15–18.00. He spoke about ”Buddhist Schools as Represented in Inscriptions and in Images in Ancient India”. Venue: University of Oslo, P.A. Munch’s Building, Seminar room 4, Blindern, Oslo.
The lectures offered in The Oslo Buddhist Studies Forum are given either by University of Oslo researchers, by invited international Buddhist Studies scholars, or by Buddhist practitioners. More information.

• Uppsala seminar on Microfinance and Self Help Group Banks in India

The Forum for South Asia Studies at Uppsala University invites to a public lecture and book presentation with Associate Professor Ranjula Bali Swain, Researcher at the Dept. of Economics, Uppsala University, on Wednesday 18 April 2012, 13.15–15.00. The seminar is entitled ”The Microfinance Impact: Self Help Group Bank Linkage Programme in India”. Venue: Main University Building (universitetshuset), Room 8, Biskopsgatan 3, Uppsala.
Microfinance has enabled a positive change in the lives of the poor, by allowing poor around the world to receive small loans without collateral, build up assets, and buy insurance. With its mission ‘to promote sustainable and equitable agriculture and rural prosperity through effective credit support, related services, institutional development and other innovative initiatives’, the National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has covered 97 million poor households under its  Self Help Group Bank Linkage (microfinance) Program (SBLP). The Indian policy makers have proclaimed SBLP as ”the most potent initiative for delivering financial services to the poor in a sustainable manner.” Investigating this further, Bali Swain discusses the evidence  on the impact of SBLP microfinance program, from her forthcoming book.

• Bergen conference on inclusive growth and good governance in Bangladesh

Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI) in Bergen, Norway, organises a conference focusing on Inclusive growth and good governance in Bangladesh on Thursday 19 April 2012, 09.15–16.30. The conference, entitled ”Bangladesh conference: New Context and New Challenges”, aims at highligting the fight against poverty, a fight that should  be won. The fight against poverty howevere depends on knowledge and political will. The morning session focuses on “Corruption, Governance and Development”, and the afternoon session on “Development of Productive Capacity and Governance”.
The conference is part of a joint three-year research programme on inclusive growth and good governance between CMI and  the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) in Bangladesh, funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). More information about the research programme.
CMI has more than 50 years’ experience in research, consultancy and capacity building in Bangladesh. The overall objective of the programme is institutional research co-operation on issues relevant to the poor in Bangladesh, support policy-relevant research and to build capacity that may contribute to improved governance and inclusive growth in Bangladesh. CPD and CMI will also collaborate with the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS). Senior Researcher Arne Wiig is the contact person at CMI while Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem is the contact person at CPD. Invited speakers to the conference include Professor Rounaq Jahan (CPD, Colombia University); Professor David Lewis (London School of Economics); Professor Arild Engelsen Ruud (University of Oslo); Dr. Willem van der Geest (Senior Advisor and former Chief Economist of ITC). Venue: Bergen Resource centre for International Development. More information about the conference.

Lund University lunch seminar on treatment of textile wastewaters in India

Dr. Maria Jonstrup who defended her India related doctoral dissertation entitled ”Treatment of textile wastewaters using combinations of biological and physico-chemical methods” at the Department of Biotechnology, Lund University, in September last year, held a lunch seminar at Kemicentrum, Lund University, on Tuesday 24 April 2012, 12.15–13.00. Her lecture was entitled ”Vad blir kvar i Indien när din tröja lämnat fabriken? Utveckling av vattenrening för en indisk textilindustri” (What remains in India when your shirt has left the  factory? Developing water treatment facilities for an Indian textile industry). Venue: Kemicentrum, sal B, Getingevägen 60/Sölvegatan 39, Lund.

Maria is now working as a Consultant for Sweco in Malmö, an international consulting engineering company that provides qualified consulting services with a high knowledge content. Her PhD research was carried out in Tirupur and Kanpur in India, and in collaboration with Indiska Magasinet AB, Sweden. The ambition was to deliver a viable treatment method to the textile industry for cleaner production, focusing on degradation of textile dyes using white-rot fungi and combining anaerobic-aerobic bacterial processes. Part of the effort also lay on photocatalysis, though being a physico-chemical process it has many advantages.
More information about Maria Jonstrup and her research.
More information about the lunch seminar.

• Uppsala conference on Religious Actors as Drivers of Change

An International conference on ”Faith in Civil Society. Religious Actors as Drivers of Change” will be held at Uppsala University on 24–25 April 2012. It is organized by Uppsala Centre for Sustainable Development in cooperation with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation.
The conference will discuss how to understand diverse faith-inspired actors, who not always fit neatly within liberal notions of civil society. When are they promoters of social change, democratisation and development, and how do their adherents envision such changes? Researchers, actors in international development cooperation, activists, and others with interest in the issues to participate and make presentations are invited to attend the conference.
The conference is being planned by Mia Melin and Heidi Moksnes, coordinators of the project ”Outlook on Civil Society” at CSD. Full information to be given on the CSD web page

• Gopal Karanth lectures in Oslo on South Indian Rural Water Supply

Professor Gopal K. Karanth from the Centre for Study of Social Change and Development at the Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC) in Bangalore, India, but during the academic year 2011/12 ICCR India Chair Professor at Lund University, Sweden, held a guest lecture at University of Oslo on Friday 27 April 2012, 10.15–12.00. He spoke about ”Hurdles to Equity in Rural Water Supply: Karnataka State, India”. Venue: Seminar room 144, Georg Morgenstiernes hus, Blindern, Oslo.
The lecture was part of the Georg Morgenstierne Series of lectures on South Asia, funded by the departments of Archaeology, Conservation and History (IAKH) and Culture Studies and Oriental Languages (IKOS) at the University of Oslo.

• Oslo seminars on Religious Art of South India

The Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages (IKOS) at University of Oslo, organises two guest lectures on ”Religious Art of South India” with Professor Marzenna Czerniak-Drozdzowicz from the Dept. of Indology, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland, on 30 April and 2 May 2012.
On Monday 30 April, 16.15–18.00, she will lecture about ”Temples and Temple Cult”. More information.
On Wednesday 2 May, 16.15–18.00, she will lecture about ”Consecration and Installation Ceremonies”. More information.
Venue for both seminars: Seminar room 1, P.A.Munchs hus, Blindern, Oslo.

• Stockholm seminar on Everyday Life among South Asian Intellectuals

Dr. Kerstin B Andersson, PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Gothenburg, held a public lecture on ”New forms of media and a changing world; virtuality, reality, and everyday life among intellectuals in South Asia” at Stockholm University on Wednesday 2 May 2012, 15–17. The seminar was organised by the Dept. of Oriental Languages, and was part of its weekly seminar series on ”Aktuellt Asien” during the spring semester 2012.  Venue: Kräftriket 4A, Sal B, Stockholm.
Please note change of date (originally set for 25 April)

• Cederlöf lectures at Linnaeus University Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies

Linnaeus University Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies is a brand new research environment at Linnaeus University (located in Växjö and Kalmar). The Centre, established in 2012, focuses on colonial and postcolonial interactions between cultures. The research team consists of eleven scientists from multiple disciplines, and projects are carried out both individually and in groups. The researchers include Professor Margareta Pettersson from the School of Humanities in Växjö. More information about the Centre for Concurrences.
The Centre will organise seminars on a regular basis. On Thursday 3 May 2012, at 14.15, Professor Gunnel Cederlöf from the Department of History, Uppsala University, will come and lecture on ”Climate, Polities and the Making of a Citizen: Founding an Empire on India’s Northeastern Frontiers”. Venue: Lammhult Room, F-Building, Växjö. More information.

• Copenhagen 2012 conference on Rising Asia – Anxious Europe

The Asian Dynamics Initiative (ADI) at University of Copenhagen, Denmark, invites participants to an international conference entitled ”Rising Asia – Anxious Europe” to be held at the University of Copenhagen on 2–3 May 2012.
The conference features distinguished keynote speakers including Professor Peter van der Veer (photo), Director of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity at Göttingen, Germany, and paper presentations from an inter-disciplinary group of scholars, focusing on Europe’s ‘new’ relationship with Asia or the changes in Europe and Asia against the backdrop of such changing relationships.
Rising Asia – Anxious Europe is the fourth in a series of annual conferences initiated by ADI in 2008. ADI is a cross-faculty and interdisciplinary effort to meet the current challenges and demands for better knowledge of and deeper insights into Asian matters. Last day to register for the conference is 15 April 2012.
Full information about the ADI 2012 conference.

• Uppsala seminar on Founding an Empire on India’s Northeastern Frontiers

The Forum for South Asia Studies at Uppsala University invites to a public lecture with Professor Gunnel Cederlöf, Department of History, Uppsala University, on Monday 7 May 2012, 13.15–15.00. The seminar is entitled ”Climate, Polities and the Making of a Citizen: Founding an Empire on India’s Northeastern Frontiers”. Venue: Main University Building (universitetshuset), Room 8, Biskopsgatan 3, Uppsala.
In public debates for most of the last century, North East India remained a region at the far end of the state, cut off from the ‘mainland’ and the larger markets, and haunted by violence. It has carried legacies of colonial governance into the present of government being unable to subdue and domesticate people and landscape within the larger polity. This secluded position of the region has a comparatively short history. The interest in mineral wealth of the hills, and of connecting Bengal (and India) with the large markets in China was a major driving force behind the British East India Company’s advance eastwards. Commercial prosperity and private returns pushed forward Company initiatives to establish de facto control of the territories argued to be included in the diwani grant of 1765 providing extensive revenue rights over large territories. The British Company sought to reopen, not close the commercial overland routes to the east. This talk focuses on conflicts involved in establishing colonial governance and will elaborate on three themes and their interrelatedness.

• Jyotirmaya Sharma holds SCAS lecture on Hindu Identity

Jyotirmaya Sharma, Professor of Political Science, University of Hyderabad, India, holds a lecture in Uppsala on Tuesday 15 May 2012, at 11.00. Prof. Sharma, who is a Fellow at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS) in Uppsala during the Spring semester 2012, will talk about ”Creating a Religion: Some Thoughts on Hindu Identity”. Venue: Linneanum, Thunbergsvägen 2, Uppsala.
Founded in 1985 SCAS was the first institute of its kind in Northern Europe. It is a national scientific institution, chartered by the Government of Sweden as an institute for advanced study mainly in the social and human sciences. A core component of an institute for advanced study is a highly selective programme for visiting fellows, and over the years, several researchers from South Asia have been selected for fellowships at SCAS.
Prof. Sharma’s recent publications include, ”Hindutva: Exploring the Idea of Hindu Nationalism” (Penguin/Viking, 2003) and ”Terrifying Vision: M.S. Golwalkar, the RSS and India” (Penguin/Viking, 2007). He is currently working on the thought of Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, Tagore and Gandhi, while simultaneously working on a book exploring the life and ideas of Gandhi. An edited volume titled ”Grounding Morality: Freedom, Knowledge and the Plurality of Cultures” (co-edited with A. Raghuramaraju) was published by Routledge in 2010.
More information about the SCAS lectures during the spring 2012.

• Call for papers for Helsinki conference on Asian Performance and Visual Arts

The Finnish Theatre Academy Helsinki (Teak), and the Asian Art and Performance Consortium (AAPC) of the Academy of Fine Arts (Kuva) organise an international symposium on ”Shifting Dialogues: The Politics of Site, Locality & Context in Asian Performance and Visual Arts” to be held in Helsinki on 18-19 May, 2012. The event is part of a research project that focuses on Asian Performance and Fine Arts (read more about the project).
Some of the issues that the symposium will examine are: – the concepts of Site, Locality, Context; – Buying & Selling the Tradition; –Vanguard culture: Are there new avant-gardes or vanguards responding to new economic conditions? – What are the aesthetics corresponding to the new equations of economic and political power?, and more.
Full information.

• Environment in focus at Oslo University’s 4th annual India seminar

The University of Oslo holds its 4th annual contemporary India seminar on Thursday 6 September 2012. The theme for the 2012 seminar is ”The Politics of Environmental Challenges in India”. It seeks to explore how various environmental challenges are politicised in India. The organisers wish to examine how environmental issues have entered the realm of political discussions as a result of intentional actions by individuals or groups, who have sought to mobilise people around environmental agendas. The seminar is organised by the Nordic Forum for South Asia (NoFSA) in collaboration with the Nordic Network for the Study of Environmental Challenges in South Asia (NECSA). The deadline for submitting an abstract is 1 May 2012. More information.

• Eighth ECO-TECH conference to be held in Kalmar

The Eighth International Conference on the Establishment of Cooperation Between Companies and Institutions in the Nordic Countries, the Baltic Sea Region, and the World, Linnaeus ECO-TECH’10, will be held 26-28 November 2012 in Kalmar. It is a conference on Natural Sciences and Environmental Technologies for Waste and Wastewater Treatment, Remediation, Emissions Related to Climate, Environmental and Economic Effects.
The conference is organised by the Linnaeus University, a fusion betwen the University of Kalmar and Växjö University. The organising committee includes Prof. William Hogland, Division of Environmental Engineering in Kalmar. He has been involved in research focusing on waste treatment in Nepal, and has also been responsible for organising the Kalmar Eco-tech conferences since they were introduced in 1997. Prof. Kurian Joseph from Anna University, Chennai, India, is part of the scientific committee behind the ECO-TECH’10 conference. Deadline for sending abstracts is 15 June 2012. More information.

• Oslo conference on Imagining Multiple Indias in India and beyond

The Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo organises a three day conference on ”The Indian Phantasm: Imagining Multiple Indias in India and Beyond” 6–8 December 2012. Venue: Museum of Cultural History, Frederiksgate 2, Oslo.
The idea is to identify and analyze the multiple narratives, representations and imaginaries of contemporary India, both within and beyond its borders. Papers featuring analysis of Indian material culture, consumer goods, Bollywood and other Indian film production, calendar art, fashion, posters, photography, soap operas, advertising, music videos, TV-shows, theater, performance, religious expressions and spiritual tourism are particularly welcome. The idea is to get a grasp of what the phantasm of contemporary India might consist of and how it could be creatively approached in ethnographic research and what it can tell us about the current Indian postcolonial condition. The conference will feature several ethnographic movies and therefore theoretical papers on ethnographic filmmaking and the use of photography and image in ethnography are also of interest. Featured ethnographic movies include FlyoverDelhi by Paolo Favero & Angelo Fontana (2004), India Deluxe: Dreams of Luxury, Realities of Life by Tereza Kuldova & Arash Taheri (2012), and Beggars of Lahore by Sheba Saeed (2010).
Abstracts should be submitted before 1 August 2012. More information.

• Information about South Asia related lectures and seminars

See SASNET’s page,

Conferences and workshops outside Scandinavia

• Yale University Modern South Asia Workshop

Yale University Modern South Asia Workshop 201 will be held 7–8 April 2012 at New Haven, Connecticut, USA. Abstracts are now invited for this two-day workshop that brings together the ongoing work of advanced graduate students and recent PhDs working on topics of current interest in modern South Asian Studies. Submissions of paper proposals from all disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences are invited, particularly those that will foster cross-disciplinary dialogue and exchange of ideas from across the diverse regions of South Asia. Past papers have tackled issues ranging from film and ethnomusicology to state formation and elections and have presented new theoretical and methodological alternatives in the study of South Asia. The workshop is sponsored by the South Asian Studies Council at the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University. More information.

• Future of South Asia theme for the BASAS Conference 2012

The British Association for South Asian Studies, BASAS, invites for its Annual Conference 2011 to be held at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), in London between 12 and 14 April 2012. The theme for the conference will be the future of South Asia.
The conference aims to lay bare the diverse and complex ways in which future trends and developments in the South Asia region and the way in which we understand and encourage interdisciplinary conversations about the region.
The conference organizers are Dr. Lawrence Saez, and the Centre of South Asian Studies at SOAS.
More information about the BASAS 2012 conference.

• Sixth SASA conference at Claremont

The American South Asian Studies Association invites individual papers and panels for presentation at its sixth annual conference to be held at the Claremont Graduate University, USA, April 13-15, 2012. The conference strives to advance the understanding of South Asia’s history, cultures, societies, politics, issues and opportunities in a professional environment unique for SASA’s warm collegiality. We welcome papers from all academic disciplines and all periods of time that address the rich tapestry that is South Asia’s past, present and future. The Keynote Speaker for SASA VI will be Eklil Ahmad Hakimi, the Afghani Ambassador to the United States.
More information.

• Honolulu conference on South Asian cities

The Center for South Asian Studies at the University of Hawai’i, USA, holds its 29th Annual Spring Symposium entitled “Settling and Unsettling: The City in South Asia” on 18–20 April 2012, in Honolulu. It is co-sponsored by the School of Architecture, and the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Hawai’i.
Stepping outside of technocratic approaches, and the view of the city as a site of intractable problems, this symposium aims to highlight the multifaceted energies and imaginaries that animate contemporary interpretation of cities. Keynote speakers include Ravi Sundaram, Sarai Program, Center for the Study of Developing Societies, India.
More information.

• Kansas University conference on Afghanistan 2014 and Impacts on Global Security Identities

The Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies at Kansas University (KU) in Lawrence, USA, organises a conference entitled ”Afghanistan 2014 and Impacts on Global Security Identities” on Wednesday 25 April 2012. 20-minute papers are invited from experts in all world areas. With the reduction of the United States and international military presence in Afghanistan after 2014 the global security environment will change. The United States and its partners consider that Afghanistan will have adequate means of security, albeit with long-term assistance. However, the specific security perspectives and concerns of other regional and global actors have not been as well articulated. Who are the key regional and global players? What do neighboring states think are critical concerns in the post-Afghan-war environment?How do other, more distant countries and global actors view anticipated changes in the global security environment? Is there a helpful, reinforcing narrative that underscores a scenario of stability? What are the serious possible impediments to regional and global security?
Keynote speakers include Dr. Graeme Herd (Geneva Centre for Security Policy), Dr. Roger Kangas (Dean, Near East and South Asia Center), and Dr. Marlene Laruelle (Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES), George Washington University). More information.

• Emerging Scholars Symposium on China/India Studies in New York

The India China Institute at The New School, New York organises an Emerging Scholars Symposium on China/India Studies on 26–27 April 2012. Abstract submissions are now invited for this symposium entitled “India China Conversations: Inaugural Interdisciplinary Symposium for Emerging Scholars.” It is an unique initiative designed to provide a platform for both advanced level graduate students in professional fields as well as current PhD scholars and those who received their PhD within the last five years, to present their ongoing research and to discuss recent advances and new trends in research on India and China.
The first day will be a public event where the selected participants will present their work and ICI fellows and other scholars committed to the study of India-China relations will be invited to serve as moderators and discussants. The second day will be a closed-door session aimed at providing a space for the establishment and strengthening of scholarly networks in which participants may discuss methodological and other relevant issues. More information.
This symposium is part of a series where a similar event will be held with emerging Indian scholars who are conducting research on China and emerging Chinese scholars who are conducting research on India.  A total of 10 scholars will be selected, two from India, two from China and six from the US, to present their papers at The New School, New York, on April 26, 2012. The six selected scholars from the US will be comprised of a mix of advanced level graduate students and young PhD scholars, both current as well as those who received their PhDs within the last five years.

• 4th annual Educators for Teaching India Conference at Harvard

The 4th annual Educators for Teaching India Conference will be held at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, on 27 April 2012. The theme for the 2012. conference, hosted by The South Asia Initiative at Harvard University, will be “Holy India: Religion in the Modern Subcontinent”. The conference will explore why India is so often defined by its spirituality and re-examine the stereotypes of a “sacred” India. What function does religion actually play in India and its individual faiths?
Keynote speaker Diana Eck, professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies at Harvard Divinity School, will address these issues, and participants will examine them through compelling workshop topics that consider pedagogy and other implications for teaching India in the middle and high school classroom. The day will close with a panel discussion of the role of religion in 21st century India and an outdoor reception. Venue: South Asia Initiative, Center for Global and International Studies (CGIS), 1730 Cambridge Street. More information.

• After Subaltern Studies: Early Career South Asian Studies Workshop at Princeton

The After Subaltern Studies: Early Career South Asian Studies Workshop will be held at Princeton University, USA, 27–28 April 2012. Since its intervention in the early 1980’s, “Subaltern Studies” has transformed the historiography of South Asia. This conference aims to examine the trajectories South Asian scholarship has taken three decades from its inception and five years since the last publication from the collective. The aim is not to debate Subaltern Studies but to engage with questions raised by the field in the aftermath of its intervention.
The workshop would particularly encourage work that steps beyond the colonial period and explores both early modern and postcolonial South Asia. The workshop aims to bring the work of early career scholars (graduate students and junior faculty) in conversation with senior scholars.
Professor Partha Chatterjee (Columbia University) will deliver the keynote address at the conference.
More information.

• Seventh Annual Tamil Studies Conference to take place in Toronto

The Seventh Annual Tamil Studies Conference will be held in Toronto, Canada, 11–12 May 2012. It is being organised by the University of Toronto the University of Windsor. The plenary speakers are Noboru Karashima, Emeritus Professor, University of Tokyo, Japan; and A.R. Venkatachalapathy, Professor, Madras Institute for Development Studies, Chennai, India. This conference aims to understand the means by which people come to know, feel, and reflect upon their past. Questions of history, memory, and heritage are all guided by the ethical concerns of the present and by desires regarding the future. The production of alternatives to the dominant narrative might also entail their own forms of exclusion. Contestation arises precisely when the past becomes a resource to remake the contemporary world. But how do we narrate pasts? What counts as “evidence” in such narrations? Whose stories prevail? Which pasts are silenced? More information.

• Politics of Religion in Asia conference in Iowa

An International Conference on “Politics of Religion in Asia” will take place 12 – 13 May 2012 at the University of Iowa, USA and a call for papers is now open. The conference will focus on the development of religion and its role in politics in Asian countries, among which China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and India. The conference organisers from the International Programs, University of Iowa will support the participants whose papers are accepted with airfare and lodging, as well as with publishing the papers in an edited volume. More information (as a pdf-file).

• Islamabad conference on Muslim Everyday Ethics

An International Workshop entitled ”Being Muslim in the World: Everyday Ethics and Cultures of Adab” will be held in Islamabad, Pakistan, 23–24 May 2012. The conference is jointly organised by the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict, Arizona State University, USA, and the Iqbal International Institute for Research and Dialogue & Islamic Research Institute, International Islamic University, Islamabad, Pakistan. The workshop will bring together a select number of scholars focusing on the two spheres of ethics: adab (formally enacted ethics) and everyday ethics. The concern of the workshop is to identify concepts, issues, and directions of research in Muslim lived ethics.
Selected papers presented at the conference will be submitted to appropriate journals such as Journal of Islamic Studies, Journal of Islamic Philosophy, Muslim World, Journal of Asian Studies; Journal of Religious Ethics, and Islamic Studies (Journal of the Islamic Research Institute). The ambition is also to form a network of engaged scholars to organize future conferences and scholarly exchanges. More information.

• London conference on India: A Veneration Nation

A one-day conference entitled ”India: A Veneration Nation?” will be held at University College London on 12th June 2012. It is organised by the university’s Dept. of Anthropology, and with a purpose to critically examine India through the lens of a “Veneration Nation” – a country with thriving and recursive cultures of adulatory practices and aesthetics. By looking at contemporary research on India that invokes ideas of ritual, spectacle, prayer, and affectivity we hope to interrogate and extend the application of analytic categories of ‘religion’, ‘politics’ and ‘embodiment’. The conference will be accompanied by an ethnographic exhibition from private collections, a film screening and a web publication. In the interests of highlighting new and emerging work on this subject, the speakers will include post-fieldwork PhD students and postdoctoral researchers as well as established academics such as the renowned Sumathi Ramaswamy, Professor of History and Director of the Duke Center for South Asian Studies, who will provide the Keynote Address.
Abstracts should be submitted before 1 May 2012. More information.

• 19th biannual Asian Studies Association of Australia conference at Parramatta

The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) organises its 19th Biannual conference 11 – 13 July 2012 on the Parramatta Campus of the University of Western Sydney, Australia. The conference is hosted by the University’s Institute for Culture and Society, the School of Humanities and Communication Arts, and the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Muslim Societies. The main theme is ”Knowing Asia: Asian Studies in an Asian Century” through which there will be explored the shifts related to Asia’s becoming of an increasingly prominent, complex and self-confident region in the world which requires a rethinking of the concept of ”knowing Asia”. The conference will work also to encourage reflection on the implications of these shifts on the field of Asian studies in general by working with different sub-topics among which new Asian hegemonies, urban cultures and social transformation, cultural diplomacy and cultural policy. Keynote speakers include Professor Prasenjit Duara, Director of Research at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. Registration deadline is 31 March 2012. More information. 

• Wales conference on Warren Hastings and Indian Pluralism

A conference on ”Indian Pluralism and Warren Hastings’ Regime” will be held at University of Wales in Gregynog, Powys, UK, on 18–20 July 2012. Plenary speakers include Dr Natasha Eaton (King’s College, London); the author William Dalrymple; Professor Carl Ernst (North Carolina), Professor P. J. Marshall (King’s College, London), and Professor Daniel White (Toronto). The aim of this conference is to provide a more complete and multidisciplinary picture of the amateur Orientalists of the Hastings circle and the politico-cultural significance of their work. Jones sought similitude between West and East, and part of this overarching project was to stress the compatibility of Hindu and Islamic mysticism. There was an imperialist ideological dimension here; it was a means of aligning the regime’s need to appear both neo-Brahmanical and neo-Mughal. (Portrait of Warren Hastings).
Deadline for paper proposals is 15 April 2012. More information.

• Ninth International workshop on Tamil Epigraphy in Puducherry

The ninth International workshop on Tamil Epigraphy will be held 6–17 August 2012. Please note that the workshop will be held in Pondicherry and in Tanjavur in Tamil Nadu, India. It is coordinated by Dr. Appasamy Murugaiyan from the research group Iranian and Indian Worlds at Ecole Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE), University of Paris 3 (Sorbonne Nouvelle); and Dr. K. Rajan, Pondicherry University, India. No registration fees are required, but each participant has to bear the cost of practical works and travelling to different sites. The workshop will be held from Monday till Friday, morning 9.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. (lunch break) afternoon 2.00 to 4.00 p.m. The participants have to arrange themselves their travel. This special program, part of the regular seminar, is organised as requested by many researchers on humanities working on Tamil in different countries. More information.

• Second Nepal and Himalayan Studies Conference at Kalamazoo

The Second Conference of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies (ANHS) will be held at the Fetzer Center on the campus of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA, in conjunction with the 61th Annual Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs, 21–23 September 2012. The format of the conference will include traditional panel with presentations by four panelists and a discussant; workshops around papers presented; roundtable discussions on a topic of broad interest; and panels on a recent significant publication or film. Submissions open on 16 March 2012 and close 18 May 2012. More information.

• CROP conference in Cairo on Political Economy of Poverty

The Comparative Research Programme on Poverty (CROP) invites to a conference on ”The Political Economy of Poverty and Social Transformations of the Global South” to be held in Cairo, Egypt, 10–12 December 2012. It is co-organised by the Arab and African Research Centre (AARC), the American University in Cairo, and the South-South Exchange Programme for Research on the History of Development (SEPHIS). This cross-continental and interdisciplinary workshop will approach social change toward poverty eradication and prevention in an interdisciplinary and critical way taking current politics as the point of reference. The event aims to enhance the understanding of the nature of social change and transformations (at global, national or local levels) in which poverty alleviation, eradication, and prevention is either the axis of a social strategy or a tangible result. In this sense, the workshop will focus on questions like:
What are the main sources of social change in the global South?
Who are its actors, and how do they express their agenda and action?
Is it possible to find ideological and material conditions for poverty eradication in the South?
Which experiences in the South provide an alternative path toward poverty alleviation, eradication, and prevention?
Has neoliberalism changed the meaning and manifestation of poverty and its eradication?
Deadline for submission of abstracts is 9 July 2012. More information.

• 5th SSEASR conference on Healing, Belief Systems, Cultures and Religions of South and Southeast Asia

The 5th International Conference of the South and Southeast Asian Association for the Study of Culture and Religion (SSEASR) will be held at Manila, the Philippines, 16–19 May 2013. the Conference is being organized by the National Museum of the Philippines in Manila from May 16 to 19 2013, and will be held in collaboration with some local Universities(details being worked out). The theme for the conference will be ”Healing, Belief Systems, Cultures and Religions of South and Southeast Asia”. The 5th SSEASR conference is co-sponsored as a Regional Conference by the SSEASR parent body – the International Association for the History of Religions (IAHR), an affiliate organisation of the UNESCO.
Deadline for Show of Interest is 24 November 2012, and deadline for submitting abstracts is 24 February 2013. Full information.

• ICAS 8 conference to be held in Macao 2013

The International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS) will hold its eigth biannual conference, ICAS 8, in Macao, China, on 24–27 June 2013. ICAS 8 will be hosted by the University of Macau (UM) and will be held in the Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel. Some 1,500 to 2,500 Asia specialists are expected to attend. Participants are expected to fund their own travel and accommodation.
ICAS is the premier international gathering in the field of Asian Studies. It attracts participants from over 60 countries to engage in global dialogues on Asia that transcend boundaries between academic disciplines and geographic areas. Since 1998, ICAS has brought more than 15,000 academics together at seven conventions.
Submission of individual papers are now invited , as well as proposals for organized panels (organized by a group of varying (national) backgrounds), institutional panels (constituted and sponsored by an institution, association, network or company), and roundtable proposals. Deadline for proposals is 15 July 2012.
The ICAS Book Prize (IBP) will also be awarded for outstanding English-language works in the field of Asia Studies. The five awards are: – Best study in the Humanities; – Best study in the Social Sciences; – Best dissertation in the Humanities; – – Best dissertation in the Social Sciences; and – The Colleagues’ Choice Award. Deadline for IBP proposals is 15 October 2012. More information on ICAS 8.

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

See SASNET’s page,

Business and Politics

• SIBC seminar in Lund on Indian Business Culture

Sweden-India Business Council (SIBC) organises a breakfast seminar in Lund on Wednesday 11 April 2012, 08.00–10.00. The theme for the seminar is ”Indian Business Culture”, and the speakers are Mr. Robin Sukhia, SIBC Secretary General, who will discuss the differences between Swedish and Indian business culture; and Håkan Kingstedt, Former President, Sandvik Asia Pvt. Ltd., who will share his experience from managing people and a company in India.
Register to:, no later than April 6th. Full information.

South Asia related culture in Scandinavia

• Bangladeshi Cultural Programme organised by Embassy in Stockholm


The Embassy of Bangladesh in Stockholm organised a well-attended half-day public cultural programme on Saturday 31 March 2012, 10.30–13.00. The programme was entitled ‘Glimpses of Literary and Cultural Heritage of Bangladesh’. The ambition was to give a good outline on the literary and cultural heritage of Bangladesh and also give some taste of Bengali music and poetry. Venue: Embassy of Bangladesh, Anderstorpsvägen 12, Solna.

 Invited speakers included Mr. Mustafa Jamil, who spoke about Bangla songs and music; Associate Professor Christina Nygren, Dept. of Oriental Languages, Stockholm University, who spoke about the Bengali drama and theatre traditions, especially jatra; and Dr. Matiur Rahman, who compared Rabindranath Tagore and Tomas Tranströmer, Nobel prize awarded poets from Bengal and Sweden respectively. The Ambassador himself, Mr. Gousal Azam Sarker, made a presentation about Mystic Literature of Bengal. The Swedish writer of children’s literature, Ms. Monica Zak, presented her recently published book with motifs from Bangladesh, entitled ”Kasta Syra” (Throwing of Acids).
Christina Nygren
Lars Eklund
Ambassador Gousal Azam Sarker

SASNET’s deputy director Lars Eklund also participated, presenting Swedish research and educational collaboration with Bangladesh. See his presentation (as a pdf file)
The seminar programme was interluded by musical performances. Ms. Bubu Munshi from Lund sang a beautiful set of Rabindrasangheet songs, and so did Ms. Dilruba Jamil from Gothenburg, whereas Ms. Kakon Akhter from Stockholm (photo to the right) ended the programme by singing Nazrulgeet (songs by Bangladeshi national poet Nazrul Islam). See the full programme (as a pdf file) More photos from the Glimpses of Bangladeshi Cultural Heritage seminar.

• Fascinating Rabindranath Tagore programme at Brokiga Bengalen

In 2011, Dr. Christina Nygren, Department of Musicology and Performance Studies, Stockholm University, established a shop-cum-café in Stockholm, Brokiga Bengalen Butik at Södermannagatan 50. The shop is open Thursdays and Fridays 12–18, and on Saturdays and Sundays 12–15.
On Saturday 31 March 2012, 15.30–17.00, a well-attended cultural programme was held at Brokiga Bengalen. Rabindrasangheet singer Bubu Munshi Eklund (photo to the right) from Lund performed songs by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore and other Bengali songs. The actress Lena T Hansson (photo to the left) recited poems by Tagore in Swedish translations, and also read out fascinating Tagore letters from Silaidaha written in the early 1890s. Invitation to the event.
More photos from the cultural programme.

• Initiative Asia invites South Asians in Stockholm to celebrate Pohela Baisakh

The Stockholm based organisation Initiative Asia (iA), dedicated to friendship and cooperation among Swedes, particularly Swedes with an origin in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal, was founded in 2011. iA is a network, working for cultural, intellectual and social interaction between peoples and countries. In ideological, religious, political and economic matters iA shall be neutral and unbound. It was inaugurated with a South Asia Friendship Event in November 2012 (see the poster for the event).
iA now invites to Pohela Baisakh/Bengali New Year’s Celebration on Saturday 21 April 2012, 15.00–18.00. Venue: Tensta Träff, Hagstråket 13, Spånga. The Indian writer Pascal Alan Nazareth from Bangalore has been specially invited to the event to talk about Mahatma Gandhi’s visions. He has written a book entitled ”Gandhi’s Outstanding Leadership”, a book that has been hailed by among others US President Barack Obama. Mr. Nazareth will give a speech on ”Gandhi and the Asian Resurgance”. The festive programme also includes a food & clothes mela; songs, dance & musical performances.

• Information about South Asia related culture in Sweden/ Scandinavia

New and updated items on SASNET web site

• SAARC perspective on Informatics For Peace & Development in South Asia

Dr. Biswajit Mohapatra from the Dept. of Political Science at North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU) in Shillong, India has published an interesting book entitled ”Informatics For Peace & Development in South Asia: Perspectives Of SAARC”. The book examines how access to information and communication technologies (ICTs) can help in improving the use of ICTs for poverty reduction with focus to the South Asian region. The author claims that it is a challenge to examine some of the main challenges in reducing the discrepancies in access to ICTs and use of ICTs between developing countries, particularly in South Asia. He also suggests that there is much work to be done on improving policy coherence and there is a need to engage more actively with partner countries. Making the most of ICTs requires that they are seen as part of innovation for development, rather than just another development tool. The book is published by LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing GmbH & Co, Saarbrücken, Germany.
Go for the book (available through Scribd).

• Impressive volumes on India’s Environmental History

A set of two volumes on ”India’s Environmental History A Reader: (Vol. 1: From Ancient Times to the Colonial Period, Vol. 2: Colonialism, Modernity, and the Nation)” has been published by Orient Blackswan. The impressive volumes offer some of the best and most interesting writing on India’s ecological pasts. The editors of the volume are Mahesh Rangarajan, Professor  of Modern Indian History at University of Delhi, India, and Professor K. Sivaramakrishnan from Yale University, USA.
Volume 1 provides an antidote to the existing historiography, which barely takes notice of the era before 1800. The essays range from prehistoric India to the middle of the 19th century. They provide insights on forest and water disputes, contests over urban and rural space, struggles over water and land, and frictions over natural wealth which have led to a reinterpretation of source materials on early and medieval India.
Volume 2 shows how colonial rule resulted in ecological change on a new scale altogether. Forests covering over half a million sq km were taken over by 1904 and managed by foresters. Canal construction on a gigantic scale gave British India perhaps more acreage than any other political entity on earth. Similar new forces were at work in relation to the animal world, with species being reclassified as vermin to be hunted down or as game to be selectively shot.
Go for the India’s Environmental History volumes

• 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! 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