During the academic year 2013/14, Professor Kalyan Sankar Mandal from the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIM-C) in Kolkata has been appointed as the fourth Visiting Indian ICCR chair professor at Lund University. He is supposed to join the position during September 2013, and he will be hosted by the Department of Sociology.
Kalyan Sankar Mandal is Professor of Sociology within the Public Policy and Management Group at IIM-C. He defended his PhD at IIT Bombay in 1982 with a thesis entitled ”Inequality and Development in India: Study of an Equity-Oriented Rural Development Programme”, and later worked at Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics in Pune, and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in Mumbai. His research interest has primarily been Sociology of rural development, agriculture and food, education, poverty, social welfare and social policy.
Currently his research is focused on Business Solutions for Poverty. Prof. Mandal is shaping up of the idea of „social business‟ (unlike profit maximizing business, social business aims at achieving a social objective in a financial sustainable way) by an NGO with which he is closely associated. As one main cause of child malnutrition in India is unavailability of supplementary food for the children of the low income families, this NGO has set up a social business of a low cost nutritious supplementary food that it has developed. This food will be sold for the children of low income families at affordable prices for the poor for reducing malnutrition in a financially self-sustained manner through social business. This social business has been initiated with an award grant by the World Bank (more information).
The ICCR professorship programme at Lund University is an outcome of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and Lund University, that was signed on 22 June 2010 by Mr. Balkrishna Shetty, former Indian Ambassador to Sweden, and Prof. Per Eriksson, Vice-Chancellor, Lund University. In a first phase, the agreement is valid for four years, with a new Indian Professor to be selected each year.
SASNET was actively involved in finalizing the ICCR professorship at Lund University, with strong support from the Embassy of India in Stockholm. In April 2010, SASNET’s director, Dr. Anna Lindberg, participated in an official Lund University delegation to Delhi (more information), where final negotiations were held with representatives of the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, regarding the proposed Indian visiting guest professorship at Lund University.
The first ICCR guest professor was Prof. Lipi Ghosh from Calcutta University. She spent the period November 2010–March 2011 at the Centre for Gender Studies. More information.
A new ICCR Visiting Professor, Gopal Karanth, arrived at Lund University in September 2011. He stayed for the full academic year 2011-12, and was hosted by the Department of Sociology.
The third ICCR Visiting Professor was Surinder Jodhka, Professor of Sociology at the Centre for the Study of Social Systems, School of Social Sciences at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi. He was installed on Friday 12 October 2012, and stayed till end of June 2013. Prof. Jodhka was hosted by the Dept of Political Science.
For the academic year 2013/14, Professor Kalyan Sankar Mandal from the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta has been appointed as ICCR chair at Lund University. He will again be hosted by the Department of Sociology.
SASNET has recruited Dr. Olle Frödin from the Dept. of Sociology, Lund University, to assist Anna Lindberg with her duties as SASNET Director. Olle joined SASNET on 1 August 2013, and will act as Assistant Director on a 40 % part-time basis during the Fall 2013. He will however primarily work from his office at the Sociology department, where he is employed as a lecturer.
Olle Frödin defended his PhD in 2008 with an Africa related thesis. Later he shifted over his research focus to South Asia, and was affiliated to the Oxford Department of International Development (ODID) at Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford, UK, for a couple of years, before returning to Lund University in 2011. His South Asia related research has focused on the Politics of Food and the Governance of the Public Distribution System in India, examining the political reactions to the liberalization of food procurement regulations in the country.
More information about Olle Frödin’s research.
Dr. Winnie Bothe from the Department of Political Science at Lund University holds the first SASNET/ABF Thursday lunch seminar talk for the fall semester 2013 on Thursday 26 September 2013, 12.30–13.30, at Lunds konsthall. The presentation is entitled ”Gendered Participation in the Buddhist Himalayas. Sikkim and Bhutan: A comparative study on visions of female participation”. See the poster.
In her presentation, Dr. Bothe focuses on the Buddhist women from the Kingdom of Bhutan and the Indian state of Sikkim, sharing a similar cultural background rooted in Tantric Buddhism. Given this cultural similarity she sets out to explore their political engagement under two different models of governance. The main questions asked is the extent to which these women are empowered to participate in local politics, in particular their subjective understanding of their ability to apply the room that is opened to gain influence at local village meetings.
In both Bhutan and Sikkim women would frequently participate in local meetings. But in spite of the similarities of a Buddhist cultural background we found great disparities. In Bhutan illiterate women generally felt they were mere ‘beings’ rather than ‘political beings’, lacking the competence, self-esteem and the political value to speak up in village meetings. In Sikkim, by contrast, the illiterate women in general felt they had the self-confidence, the competence and respect that allowed them to act as ‘political beings’, in the sense of actively taking part in discussions in the meetings. Surprisingly, the difference in rights between the Buddhist women in democratic Sikkim and the monarchic system of Bhutan could not account for the difference found. In fact, the women in Bhutan held larger rights than did the women in Sikkim. Rather, Dr. Bothe suggests the difference in empowerment can better be explained by the difference in the political view of women of these two states. In Sikkim, an egalitarian gender discourse was pursued by preferential treatment for women through gender quotas, promoting a vision of the women as ‘political beings’ with a stake in local politics. By contrast, the traditional approach to governance of the Bhutanese state promoted a vision of state and religion as a male spheres, which was little conducive to the political engagement of the women.
SASNET’s Thursday lunch (brownbag) seminar series, aimed at presenting and disseminating the eminent South Asia related research carried out at Lund University, was launched in 2011. Since last year the seminar series is organised in collaboration with Arbetarnas Bildningsförbund (ABF) Lund, and Lunds Konsthall. The seminars, open for all interested, are held once a month on Thursdays at 12.30 inside the public art gallery (Lunds konsthall) at Mårtenstorget 3 in central Lund. More information on the SASNET/ABF Thursday Lunch Seminars
The textile and clothing industries provide the single source of economic growth in Bangladesh’s rapidly developing economy. Today, about 4 million people, mostly women, work in Bangladesh’s export-oriented ready-made garment industry, and exports of textiles and garments are the principal source of foreign exchange earnings. The backside is super-exploitation and repression of the workers who receive minimal wages, and an alarming lack of occupational health and safety due to corruption. Deadly fires and other incidents occur regularly, and the Rana Plaza garment factory complex collapse on April 24, 2013, when more than 1 000 textile workers were killed is the worst disaster ever in manufacturing (photo).
SASNET invites to a seminar on these issues on Thursday 3 October 2013, at 15.15. The seminar is organised in collaboration with the Dept. of Sociology and the School of Social Work at Lund University, and features Professor Emeritus Doug Miller from the School of Design at University of Northumbria in Newcastle on Tyne, UK. Venue: Edebalksalen, School of Social Work, Bredgatan 13, Lund. See the poster.
Doug Miller will give a presentation entitled ”Forcing Workers to Die – the State of Health and Safety in the Bangladesh Ready Made Garment industry”. He is a leading expert on workers rights in the fashion business. Between 2000 and 2008 he was Research Director at the International Textile Garments and Leather Workers Federation (ITGLWF), the global union for the sector. He has also authored a book, ”Last Night in Savar”, published in 2012, on the 2005 Spectrum Sweater Factory Collapse in Bangladesh (more information), and has an ongoing interest in mechanisms for costing and delivering a living wage in the global fashion industry.
Swedish writer Helena Thorfinn, now working as Communications Manager for the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (RWI) at Lund University, will act as moderator. She has previously worked as a journalist and as a social analyst for Save the Children and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) in Bangladesh. Last year she presented a novel ”Innan floden tar oss/Sisters by the River” based on her work experiences. The book is a fascinating story on life in Bangladesh, including so many true-to-life experiences such as criminally dilapidated textile factories, corruption, etc. More information about the book.
Department of Water and Environmental Studies, Tema Institute, Linköping University. Contact persons: Associate Professor Julie Wilk, and Associate Professor Anna Jonsson. This is an important research environment, with several researchers being involved in research and policy oriented projects in South Asia over the years, primarily in India and Sri Lanka. The common theme of the engagements concerns water and land resources and their management, utilisation and the implications thereof.
For many years, the department was headed by Professor Jan Lundqvist. He was involved in several major research projects on water resources management in South India, carried out in collaboration with the South Asia Consortium for Interdisciplinary Water Resources Studies (SaciWATERs) in Hyderabad, the Dept of Land and Water Resources Engineering, KTH, Stockholm, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in Coimbatore, and Madras School of Economics in Chennai. Lundqvist later worked at the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), chairing its Scientific Programme Committee till 2011, and was involved in planning the Stockholm World Water Week taking place every year in August-September.
Julie Wilk and Anna Jonsson are involved in a comparative project entitled ”Designing climate-smart water adaptation strategies for sustainable urban development. A study of Cochahamba, Bolivia, and Kota, India”. Anna is also involved as a co-partner in a India related research project on climate change, water stress and adaptation carried out in collaboration with the Department of Policy Studies, TERI University, New Delhi. PhD candidate Sivakiruthika Natchimuthu works at the department since 2011. Her research focuses on greenhouse gas emissions from aquatic systems in India.
Associate Professor Joyanto Routh works at the department since 2011. Previously he worked at the Department of Geology and Geochemistry, Earth Sciences Centre, Stockholm University, where he was involved in several South Asia related projects, especially in Northeast India, Bhutan, and most recently Sri Lanka. His research interest focuses on the role of biogeochemical interactions in aquatic and sedimentary environments, and their impacts on the cycling of organic and inorganic components on different time scales. He has worked in aquifers, caves, forests, lakes, peat bogs, mangroves, and river margins, with a primary focus on climate change, ground water remediation and microbial interactions.
Former researchers from the department that have focused on South Asia include Dr. Håkan Tropp, Dr. Jenny Grönwall, and Dr. Mats Lannerstad. More information about the South Asia related research at the Dept. of Environmental Studies.
SASNET tries to keep track of all South Asia related research at the Swedish universities, and in our database we have information about approximately 300 departments where some kind of South Asia related research and/or educational collaboration projects with institutions in the eight South Asian nations is going on. Among our networking partners , we will each month present one or two of these departments and the researchers working on South Asia related projects. Go for SASNET’s list of Swedish departments.
Research Community News
Seminars and Conferences in Scandinavia
Conferences and workshops outside Scandinavia
South Asia related culture in Scandinavia
The ”Incredible India” cultural festival will be held in Uppsala for the third year in a row, 3–22 September 2013. The festival is again organised by Kulturum in collaboration with the Forum for South Asian Studies at Uppsala University (FSAS), and with support from the Embassy of India. The programme includes art and photo exhibitions, concerts and dance performances, lectures, screening of Indian films, Indian cooking and much more.
A cultural evening will be organised on 14 September, featuring a concert with Sur Shakti and Garam Masala, Classical Indian dance and a Bollywood workshop for children, Hindi handprinting, Indian bazar with handicraft, clothes, art, food and more. On the same day, Slottsbiografen organises a programme devoted to 100 years of Indian film production, showing films provided by the Indian embassy. This is followed by a three-day Indian Film Festival on 20–22 September. As part of the festival, Uppsala University will also involved in organising seminars. Full information about the 2013 Incredible India festival in Uppsala.
Veronica Tjerned will dance and talk about the North Indian traditional Kathak dance at Brokiga Bengalen Butik on Tuesday 27 August 2013, at 18.00. During her performance, Veronica will give an introduction to Kathak and Hindustani Music. She is a trained dancer in ballett, jazz and modern dance, but also in Indian dance form such as Kuchipudi, Bharata Natyam and Kathak. Her Kathak training she got from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in London. Nowadays Veronica works as a solo artist, choreographer and dance teacher in Stockholm. Download event poster. Venue: Brokiga Bengalen, Åsögatan 69, Stockholm.
SASNET/Swedish South Asian Studies Network