Research Community News
Ashok Kumar Kaul, Professor of Sociology at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) was inaugurated as the first Visiting Indian ICCR Professor at the University of Gothenburg on Thursday 14th February 2013, 14.00–16.00. An inauguration seminar was held at Lilla Hörsalen, Humanisten (Faculty of Arts), Renströmsgatan 6, Gothenburg. Prof. Kaul will stay at the university for five months, being based at the Department of Literature, History of Ideas, and Religion.
At the inauguration seminar, Prof. Kaul was welcomed by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor Helena Lindholm Schultz. Indian Ambassador, Mrs. Banashri Bose Harrison gave an introductory speech, and Dr. Clemens Cavallin gave a presentation on ”Cooperation with Indian universities at the Faculty of Arts. See the complete programme.
Ashok Kaul has a doctorate from BHU, and thirty years of lecturing and research experience at a number of universities in India and internationally. Originally coming from Kashmir, Prof. Kaul has written a book entitled ”Kashmir: Fractured Nativity (Closed Options, Open Possibilities)”. It was published by German publisher VDM in 2009, and an edited version “Kashmir: Contested Identity” was published by Rawat Publications in India in 2011. More information about the book.
The Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen, announces a position as teaching assistant professor with a workload of 18,5 hours/week in Hindi as a foreign language to be filled by August 1st, 2013. The Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies comprises languages, cultures, religions, and societies, primarily outside Western Europe and the USA.
In cooperation with colleagues from the subject area, the teaching assistant professor is to plan and teach propaedeutic courses in Hindi, as well as planning and conducting the requisite exams and other evaluations. The applicant is expected to be a part of the group of communicative language teachers at the department and further to develop and employ web-based teaching systems.
Applicant must possess an MA or corresponding degree, have full command of written and spoken Hindi and have relevant experience in teaching Hindi as a foreign language. The application deadline is April 2, 2013. More information.
• Fellowships offered by Kerala Council for Historical Research
The Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR) is an autonomous institution funded by the Higher Education Department, Government of Kerala, India. It is a research centre of the University of Kerala, located at Thiruvananthapuram, having bilateral academic and exchange agreements with various universities and research institutes in India and abroad. Chaired by Professor K N Panikkar, KCHR strives to integrate advanced research and scholarship with historical and social consciousness through its projects and programs.
One of its most successful ventures is the Pattanam Archaeological Research project, that has evolved into a major international project in multidisciplinary material culture studies involving many leading universities and research institutes within and outside India, including Oxford University; University of Rome; University of Durham, UK; and University of Georgia, USA. More information about Pattanam project.
KCHR also offers different forms of scholarships to researchers interested to spend time in Kerala. They include short-term Scholar-in-Residence Fellowships to scholars to work on article(s) or monograph(s) or for completing scholarly work in progress, and PhD Fellowships open to research scholars to pursue PhD programme in any of the Indian universities or at KCHR on themes related to Kerala society and history or social science theories.
Special fellowships are also given to scholars who like to revise/modify their PhD theses in social science research for publication; or to design a Post-Doctoral research theme on any aspect of Kerala society/history.
Besides, KCHR offers internships to graduate, post-graduate and M.Phil students from any part of the world interested
in undertaking short term assignments of their interest in social science disciplines. The internships are also meant to expose them to various projects and programmes of KCHR. Internships are available in the major KCHR research projects such as Pattanam Archaeological Research, Contemporary History Archives of Kerala, Digitizing Kerala’s Past, History of Malayali Migrations and Migrant Communities and Writing local/micro histories, life histories and Institutional Histories. For 2013, deadline for applications was 27 January. Full information about the KCHR fellowships.
• Lahore University of Management Sciences VC opponent for Norrköping PhD thesis
Professor Adil Najam, Vice Chancellor of the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) in Pakistan, visited the Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research (CSPR) at Linköping University, Campus Norrköping, on 15 February 2013. He acted as opponent for PhD student Mathias Friman, based at the Department of Water and Environmental Studies, defending his doctoral thesis entitled “Assessing the past in international climate negotiations. More information.
Professor Najam, being an expert in international diplomacy and development, is also the Frederick S. Pardee Professor of Global Public Policy at Boston University, USA. His research interests include sustainable development, Muslim and South Asian politics, environmental politics in developing countries, and philanthropy among immigrant communities in the United States. Much of his work has focused on longer-term global policy problems, especially those related to human well-being and sustainable development.
Adil Najam served as a Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC), work for which the IPCC was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize along with Al Gore. In 2009, Najam was appointed to serve on the UN Committee for Development Policy, a 24 member panel that advises the UN Economic and Social Council. Prof. Najam has written nearly 100 scholarly papers and book chapters, and his recent books include: Pakistanis in America: Portrait of a Giving Community (2006); Trade and Environment Negotiations: A Resource Book (2006); Envisioning a Sustainable Development Agenda for Trade and Environment (2006); and Environment, Development and Human Security: Perspectives from South Asia (2003).
The Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP) is a UNESCO specialized education institute based in New Delhi, India. The Institute now announces the position as Director. Deadline forapplications is 21 March 2013.
Guided by the Institute’s Governing Board, and under the overall authority of the Director-General and the direct supervision of the Assistant Director-General for Education (ADG/ED), the Director of MGIEP is responsible for administering the Institute, as well as for planning, implementing and reporting on its Programme and Budget. He/She also will maintain close cooperation with the UNESCO Office in New Delhi and UNESCO Representative to India, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka, national authorities, United Nations agencies, development banks, bilateral organizations, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, and other partners, with a view to generating projects and mobilizing funding. Prospective candidates hould have at least fifteen years of progressive professional experience at the appropriate management level within the United Nations system or within other international or national institutions, including a wide experience in development issues related to education at the national and international levels, experience in administering and developing research and training programmes in fields related to peace education and education for sustainable development, and experience in the field of international relations and diplomacy. More information.
The Cluster of Excellence ”Asia and Europe in a Global Context” at Heidelberg University invites applications for two PhD scholarships (3 years+) within the Junior Research Group (JRG) C15 ”Agrarian Alternatives: Agrarian Crisis, Global Concerns and the Contested Agro Ecological Futures in South Asia.” The scholarship will start on 1 April 2013 or as soon as possible thereafter, and is awarded for 3 years but may be extended after successful evaluation. The JRG ethnographically investigates contemporary South Asian experiments in agriculture and the search and struggle for agrarian alternatives in a context of agrarian and environmental crisis. The JRG is interdisciplinary in scope and combines theories from anthropology, agrarian studies, political ecology and postcolonial science studies. The successful applicants will be expected to complete an ethnographic Ph.D. dissertation based on field work in any region of South Asia focusing on one of the following fields (or their combination):
– Certified organic farming and fair trade
– Alternative agriculture and the revival of heritage
– Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and their adaptation
– New cash crops, neoliberalism and state agronomy
– Seed banks, traditional varieties, agro-biodiversity conservation
Deadline for applications is 10 March 2013, though applications will be accepted until the positions are filled. More information.
Seminars and Conferences in Scandinavia
The Centre of Global South Asian Studies, and the Centre for Comparative Cultural Studies, Department of Cross-cultural and Regional studies, University of Copenhagen, jointly invite to a Public Lecture by Prof. Arjun Appadurai, Department of Media, Culture, Communication, New York University, USA, on Thursday, 28 February 2013 at 14.00. He will speak about ”Mumbai as Dreamscape: Economy, Media, Property”. Venue: Asia House, Indiakaj 16, Copenhagen. The public lecture is connected to a two day workshop (closed) themed on ‘Speculation in India’. For more information contact Stine Simonsen.
Dr. Saul Mullard, researcher at Ecole Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris, holds a Research Seminar in Tibetan and Himalayan Studies at University of Oslo on Monday 4 March 2013, 15.15–17.00. He will speak about ”State Formation in Sikkim. The guest lecture is organized by the interfacultary series funded by Religion in Pluralist Societies (PluRel). Venue: Seminar room 2, P. A. Munch’s House, Blindern, Oslo.
Dr. Mullard received his D.Phil in Oriental Studies from the University of Oxford in 2009. From 2009-2011 he held an overseas fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust (UK), leading a project on the cataloguing and digitalisation of the Sikkimese Palace Archive. This resulted in the publication of “Royal Records: A catalogue of the Sikkimese Palace Archive” co-compiled with Hissey Wongchuk in 2010. Since then he has written one monograph, “Opening the Hidden Land” (2011: Brill), edited a four volume series on Tibetan foreign relations, “Critical Readings on the History of Tibetan Foreign Relations” (2012: Brill), and authored numerous articles on Sikkim and Tibetan-Sikkimese relations.
The Forum for South Asian Studies at Uppsala University invites to a seminar with seminar with Dr. Anna-Pya Sjödin on Tuesday 5 March 2013, 13.15–15.00. She will talk about ”Lord over this whole world: Agency and Philosophy in the Early Upaniṣads. Venue: 6-0031 (house-room), Engelska Parken, Thunbergsgatan 3H, Uppsala.
The lecture illuminates some of the ways that agency is conceptualized in the Bṛhadāraṇyakopaniṣad (BĀU). The Brhad as an upanishadic text bears traces of discussions and speculations that were formulated within a culture of sacrificial ritual. At the same time it points to a widening of the possibility to think sacrificial agency in terms of general agency. Sjödin’s main interest here concerns in what way thinking the sacrifice orders thinking the human being and thinking knowledge. The presentation will begin with outlining key concepts and presuppositions and then proceed to the topical analysis of the text and then towards the end it will relate this to later philosophical discourses on the self.
Anna-Pya Sjödin has a PhD in Indology from Uppsala University 2007. Junior Research Fellow in philosophy at Södertörn University since 2008. Currently working with the project: “The little girl who knew her brother would be coming home: knowledge and cognition in Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika”. Sjodin’s research is centered on the understandings and conceptualizations of knowledge and cognition, especially intrasubjective cognition, within the commentarial tradition of Vaiśeṣika- sūtra. She furthermore works on the position of Indian philosophy within European academic philosophy.
The Forum for South Asia Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences at Uppsala University invites to a Panel Discussion on ”Challenges to India’s High and Sustainable Growth”, to be held on Friday 22 March 2013, 13.15–15.00. Venue: Hörsal 2, Ekonomikum, Kyrkogårdsgatan 10 B, Uppsala. The panelists consist of H E Banashri Bose Harrison, Ambassador of India to Sweden and Latvia; Uma Kambhampati, Professor of Economics at University of Reading, UK; and Sten Widmalm, Professor, Department of Government, Uppsala University. Ranjula Bali Swain, Associate Professor, Department of Economics, Uppsala University, will be the moderator. For more information, contact Ranjula.Bali@nek.uu.se or Forum for South Asia Studies.
The Centre for Theology and Religious Studies at Lund University organises the conference “Young Sikhs in a Global World: Negotiating Identity, Tradition and Authority” on June 18 to 19, 2013 at the Centre for Theology and Religious Studies, Lund University, Allhelgona Kyrkogata 8, Lund, Sweden.
The conference is organized as a part of the Nordcorp project Sikh Identity Formation, in which Dr. Kristina Myrvold (Lund University), Prof. Knut A. Jacobsen (University of Bergen), Dr. Ravinder Kaur (University of Copenhagen), Prof. Hanna Snellman (University of Helsinki), and Dr. Laura Hirvi (University of Jyväskylä) participate. More information about the project.
The aim of the conference is to bring together scholars to discuss current research on young Sikhs with multicultural and transnational life-styles and how they interpret, shape and negotiate religious identity, tradition, and authority on an individual and collective level. The conference will also provide a forum for discussions about future collaboration between researchers in Europe, Asia and North America, and give young researchers an opportunity to discuss their projects with senior colleagues. Close to 40 doctoral students and researchers from 15 countries will participate in the event. In connection with the conference the film maker Bobby Singh Bansal will show his documentary from 2012, “The Sikhs of Kabul – A Forgotten Community”, about the surviving Sikh community of Afghanistan who has been caught in political crossfire since the rise of the Taliban regime to power in 1992. More information.
Conferences and workshops outside Scandinavia
South Asia related culture in Scandinavia
The Aa-Yang Ensemble from Bhutan visits Sweden for the first time in March 2013. The group performs at Kulturmejeriet in Lund on Wednesday 13 March 2013, at 20.00. Aa-Yang consists of musicians playing dranyen (lute), LIM (flute), piwang (fiddle), yangchin (dulcimer), tabla (drum) and harmonium. Accompanied to the deep and soulful voice of the Jigme Drukpa, the instruments resonate like a meditative session yet it is lively in its nature.
Their repertoire consist of songs and music from Zhungdra (genuine Bhutanese music, meditative music with free rhythm) to Boedra (Tibetan influenced music with definite rhythm and livelier) & Bhutanese Fusion with self-composed songs backed up by the tabla rhythms. Jigme Drukpa is the Founder and the Artistic Director of the Aa-Yang Ensemble. He has performed in over 200 cities worldwide. He has also studied in Norway for several years.
More information about Aa-Yang Ensemble in Sweden.
More information about the Lund concert.
On Thursday 14 February 2013, the Bangladesh Cultural Organization in Skåne (BCAS) organised a peaceful demonstration to express its solidarity to the ongoing Shahbag movement in Bangladesh against the allleged war criminals of the 1971 liberation war, currently under trial in Bangladesh, and their allied political wings. Approximately one hundred Bangladeshi students and a few Swedes took part in the gathering at Gustav Adolfs Torg in Malmö. With placards, banners and national flags, the students from the universities in Lund and Malmö expressed their anger and loathe against the 1971 war criminals and urged for capital punishment to those considered guilty. They also demanded that the Bangladeshi government should ban the extremist Jamaat-e Islami party, since this party is said to have been involved in carrying out massacres along with Pakistani military forces.
The novel ”Innan floden tar oss/Sisters by the River” was one of the best Swedish books published by Norstedts in 2012. It is a fascinating story by Helena Thorfinn on life in Bangladesh, both among poor people in the countryside and amomg foreign diplomats in the capital Dhaka. Thorfinn worked for many years as a journalist for newspapers as well as for TV before making a career change to work as a social analyst for Save the Children and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). After three years at the Swedish Embassy in Dhaka, she and her family returned to Sweden and settled in Lund. She is now working as Communications Manager for the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (RWI) at Lund University.
Innan floden tar oss is her debut novel, and still an unusually mature and well-written book, as sharp in its depiction of contemporary customs as in the analysis of a failure of development policies. It is a novel vibrant with colour and teeming with life. With immediacy and humour Thorfinn describes the Swedes’ attempts to do good while being politically correct, and she movingly narrates the dreams and misfortunes of the Bangla girls. A sweeping, powerful and exciting portrayal touching on the urgent, difficult issues as well as the everyday ones.
More information about the book.
• Fascinating non-fiction novel about Swedish – Indian love story
India-born Swedish artist PK Mahanandia has now been portrayed in a new book by Swedish journalist Per J Andersson. The book entitled ”New Delhi – Borås”, published by Forum bokförlag in February 2013, tells the unbelievable but real life true love story on how Pradyumna Kumar Mahanandia, born poor and in an untouchable community in the small village of Athmallik in Orissa in eastern India, falls in love with a Swedish lady whose portrait he is drawing on the streets in Delhi.
Chances that the two young people would see each other again when Lotta has travelled home to Sweden is minimal. If it were not for a second hand ladies’ Raleigh-bicycle. The cycle takes PK between Asia and Europe. Despite hardship and endless setbacks treading he stubbornly further west and reaches Sweden and his beloved. Today they are married and PK has worked as an art teacher in Borås. Since many years he has been the Oriya Cultural ambassador to Sweden, and in 2012 he was awarded an honorary doctorate degree (Degree of Honoris Causa) by Utkal University of Culture in Bhubaneshwar. He was praised for his long-standing work to promote Odisha culture in Sweden.
More information about PK Mahanandia.
More information about the book.
On Tuesday 7 May 2013, at 19.00, the Lund based Association for Indo-Swedish Cultural Exchange (AISCE) organises a cultural programme in honour of the Indian/Bengali Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, who was the first non-European writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913. The programme features the Indian Choir of Lund, singing Tagore’s songs, being conducted by Bubu Munshi Eklund, as well as a classical Indian music recital on Sitar, and a presentation about Tagore in Sweden by Dr. Heinz Werner Wessler, Department of Linguistics and Philology, Uppsala University.
Indian Ambassador to Sweden, Mrs. Banashri Bose Harrisson, is the guest of honour, and she will hold an introductory speech on Tagore and his relevance today.
The Association for Indo-Swedish Cultural Exchange is a membership based cultural organisation exisiting since the early 1990s, chaired by SASNET deputy director Lars Eklund. The association organises concerts, dance performances and other cultural activities in southern Sweden, and since last year its Indian Choir has held several appreciated concerts in Lund (photo from concert event with Indian Ambassador at Lund University in October 2012).
More information about AISCE.
Venue for the May 7th concert: Sagohuset, Revingegatan, Lund.
Tickets can be reserved by sending an e-mail to the AISCE treasurer, Mr. Christer Fahlström.
New and updated items on SASNET web site
• Swedish departments where research on South Asia is going on
This month there were 6 new departments added to SASNET’s list:
‡ Division of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Department of Woman and Child Health, Karolinska Institutet
‡ Study of Religions, School of Cultural Studies, Linnaeus University, Växjö
‡ School of Health and Caring Sciences, Linnaeus University, Kalmar
‡ Occupational and Environmental Dermatology Unit, Department of Clinical Sciences,
Lund University (in Malmö)
‡ Public Health Science, School of Health and Medical Sciences, Örebro University
‡ Department of Sociology, Umeå University
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: http://www.sasnet.lu.se/institutions/reserch-environments
• 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.
SASNET/Swedish South Asian Studies Network