New professors are inaugurated at Uppsala University

2015-11-10

The Forum for South Asia Studies at Uppsala University is pleased to inform that two scholars that are working on South Asia have been promoted professor. Heinz-Werner Wessler, who holds the chair of Indology at Uppsala University and specializes in modern South Asian languages and cultures, will give his inaugural lecture on Thursday, 12 November at 14:20 in lecture hall IX (main university building) on the topic "Indiens enhet i mångfald: Traditionell mångkultur mot modern nationalism?." Kristine Höglund, Professor at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research, has researched Sri Lanka extensively along many other cases. She will give her lecture on Friday, 13 November at 15:00 in the University main aula on the topic of "Demokrati i våldets skugga."

Kristine Höglund, Peace and conflict research

Armed conflicts have a strong negative impact on societal development. My research focuses on the causes of conflicts, their consequences and how lasting peace can be achieved after a civil war. Among other things, I have been interested in the connection between democratization and conflict, and I have studied what election systems contribute to violent political elections in Africa. How violent incidents impact peace negotiations and how mediators build trust among armed actors are also part of my research. Several of my studies deal with peace making in a long-term perspective, where issues like conciliation and justice are especially important. I am also the co-author of two textbooks: an introduction to peace and conflict research and a methodology book for peace researchers. Through science-based studies I want to contribute to our knowledge of how conflicts can be managed with peaceful means, how violence can be prevented and how the destructive effects of conflicts can be mitigated.

Heinz Werner Wessler, Indology, specializing in modern South Asian languages and cultures

The discovery of Sanskrit and its literature as well as its relation to other classical languages in the Indo-European language family led to the creation of academic Indology in the early 20th century. Classical Indology was focused on the pre-Islamic history of Southern Asia, while the contemporary Indian subcontinent was often regarded as a decline from the Golden Age of Antiquity. Postcolonial theory has shown that this perspective was related to colonial knowledge production. Only in a postcolonial phase, that is after 1947, did the contemporary literature and culture of India come into focus for Indology in the Western world. I started out as a classical Indologist with a great interest in religious history in connection with epic literature and narrative accounts in Sanskrit. After my dissertation my focus shifted to early modern and contemporary literature, primarily in Hindi, and the social and cultural developments depicted in this literature. Two of my primary research areas were classical literature within Sikhism and Dalit literature in Hindi, that is, literature written by the socially marginalized population. I have translated and published several contemporary Hindi authors into German. Another research project involves epic psalms in Garhwali, a so-called Hindi dialect spoken in the state of Uttarakhand. Beyond this I have written publications on language policy, and I am involved in a research team that is working with a historical grammar and a dictionary of Hindi from 1703.

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