FALL 2013

Identiteter i en globaliserad värld

Möt hela världen på Museum Gustavianum den 16 november - det bjuds på allt från pekingopera till argentinsk tango. Under rubriken Identiteter i en globaliserad värld diskuteras länder och regioners självbild.

Uppsala universitet bjuder in till en spännande dag med föreläsningar och roliga aktiviteter där olika länders syn på sig själva diskuteras. Hur pass lika eller olika är vi egentligen? Hur ser vi på oss själva? Vad innebär det egentligen att vara amerikan, ryss, kines, eller afrikan?

Evenemanget arrangeras av forskargrupper knutna till de sju områdesstudier som finns vid Uppsala universitet: Centrum för Rysslandsstudier, Forumen för Afrika-, Kina-, Latinamerika-, Sydasien-, och Tysklandsstudier, samt av Engelska institutionen/Svenska Institutet för Nordamerika studier och Museum Gustavianum.


Understanding Indian bhakti: The Comparative Analysis of Civilizational Diversity

Martin Fuchs (Max-Weber-Kolleg, Erfurt)

 Time: 21 nov 2013, 16:15 — 18:00Place: Engelska parken, Lokal: 2-0023Martin Fuchs (Max-Weber-Kolleg, Erfurt)

How to conceive of “civilizations” in a meaningful way without falling into the trap of essentialization? How to do justice to cultural divergences and ruptures in civilizational analysis and inter-civilizational comparison? Addressing these questions the paper explores aspects of Indian bhakti – the strand of personal religious devotion or “participation in God” (Prentiss) – from a sociological as well as anthropological point of view. Taking prominent attempts of constructing an integrated picture of India the paper discusses the difficulties their authors have in coming to terms with bhakti.

The paper suggests alternative ways to allow social theory to give full scope to the particular experiential modality of bhakti and examines the potentialities bhakti has offered to disadvantaged segments of society in India. The paper ends with some considerations for new approaches to the idea of “civilization” in the Indian context.


A Series of Indian Art Films at Uppsala University
Place: Ihresalen (Engelska parken, Thunbergsvägen 3H) at 17:15 on Wednesdays
Free entry

13.11. Umrao Jan (1981)
In Faizabad, British India, Daroga Dilawar is sentenced to several years in prison after Amiran's dad testifies against him. After his discharge around 1840, he extracts his vengeance by abducting Amiran and selling her to a brothel. It is here Amiran will be re-named Umrao Jaan. Years later, Umrao has grown up and is an accomplished poetess as well as an extraordinary dancer. She has many patrons, chief amongst them are Nawab Sultan and his father. The young Nawab is smitten by Umrao's beauty and her poems, but is finally forced to marry a girl of his mother's choice, leaving behind a heart-broken and devastated Umrao, who seeks solace in the arms of Faiz Ali and finally elopes with him, only to find out that he is a wanted bandit, and is shot down and killed by some guards. Umrao re-locates to Lucknow where she establishes herself as a Poet and dancer, but is hunted down by brothel-keepers, Gohar Mirza and Husseini and brought back, where she is told that she must marry Gohar. Watch what Umrao does to escape from being married against her will, and her attempts to try and find her way back to her parents.
Director: Muzaffar Ali. Writers: Mirza Muhammad Hadi Ruswa (novel), Shama Zaidi (screenplay). Stars: Rekha, Farooq Shaikh, Naseeruddin Shah.

27.11. Monsoon Wedding (2001)
A stressed father, a bride-to-be with a secret, a smitten event planner, and relatives from around the world create much ado about the preparations for an arranged marriage in India.
Director:  Mira Nair. Writer: Sabrina Dhawan. Stars:  Naseeruddin Shah, Lillete Dubey, Shefali Shetty.

Organizer: Prof. Heinz Werner Wessler, Department of Linguistics and Philology, Uppsala University in collaboration with the Forum for South Asia Studies


Gästföreläsning i indologi

28 nov 2013 kl. 16:15 — 18:00

Lokal: 2-0026

Ines Fornell (Göttingen University (Tyskland))

The fictionalization of violence in contemporary Hindi literature

For several decades India has frequently been tormented by outbursts of large-scale communal violence, especially between Hindus and Muslims. One of the most traumatic incidences was the destruction of the Bābrī Masjid by Hindu nationalists on December 6, 1992 in Ayodhya followed by a wave of bloody riots in many parts of India. Those events prompted several Hindi writers to deal directly or indirectly with the problem of Hindu nationalism and religious violence in a fictionalized manner. In my paper I will give a short overview of important Hindi novels and stories dealing with different aspects of communalism and communal violence in the 1990s. In this regard, I will mainly focus on the novel Kathāvācak (2001, The Story-teller) by Ābid Surtī which includes fictionalized scenes of the demolition of the Bābrī Masjid as well as the novel “Triśūl” (1993, Trident) by Śivmūrti which describes the effect of the Ayodhya incidents on the relationship between the Hindus and Muslims of a small North-Indian town.

Lunchföreläsning 19 november: Vilken roll spelar privata skolor i utvecklingsländer?

Vilken roll spelar privata skolor för att utbilda fattiga barn i utvecklingsländer?

Välkommen att höra skolforskaren Pauline Dixon föreläsa om hur entreprenörer axlar ansvaret för de fattigas skolgång när offentliga satsningar inte räcker till.

I Lahore, Pakistan, köper hälften av familjerna i extrem fattigdom skolgång från privata aktörer, trots att de har tillgång till offentliga skolor som är gratis. I Indien ser det likadant ut, och i stora delar av Afrika pågår en boom inom den privata utbildningssektorn. Den främsta anledningen till att fattiga familjer aktivt engagerar sig i sina barns skolgång uppges vara låg kvalitet i de statliga skolorna.

Vad kan Sverige dra för lärdomar av de privata aktörernas roll i utvecklings- och tillväxtländer? Pauline Dixons forskning vänder uppochned på invanda föreställningar om såväl hur valfrihet inom välfärden fungerar, som hur biståndspolitiken bör prioritera i val av samarbetspartners och kvalitetskriterier.

Pauline Dixon är forskningschef för EG West Centre vid universitetet i Newcastle och betraktas tillsammans med sin kollega James Tooley som världsledande inom området om privata skolors roll i utvecklingsländer. Hon harägnat över tio års tid åt detta ämne och bedrivit omfattande fältstudier i framför allt Indien och i flera afrikanska länder. Dixon aktuell med boken International Aid And Private Schools For The Poor – Smiles, Miracles and Markets (2013).

Frågor besvaras av Henrik Sundbom, projektledare på Frivärld,
henrik@frivarld.se 070 330 32 15



Book launch

A Revolutionary in British India

Prof. Gunnel Cederlöf

Department of History

Tuesday 15 October

15:00, Carolina Rediviva, Boksalen

Kali Ghosh grew up in Bengal when the independence movement against British colonial rule spread like wild-fire. He came to political awareness during its “terrorist phase” in the 1920s, when the leading Congress movement leaders were either jailed or withdrew from the larger scene. He was one of the many disillusioned young men and women who found no other way to battle the British than violence—Kali Ghosh himself became particularly good at making explosives.


Jailed and deported to England, he met a Swedish woman, journalist and translator, in London. She encouraged him to write down his memories and, in the form of an autobiography, his reflections on a crucial and formative period of anti-British movements in India were ready as a manuscript already in 1939. Now, 74 years later, it has come into print.


It is a unique manuscript and rare account of a young mind in the movement, far from the biographies of the leading Indian nationalists. It is now published as Kali Ghosh, The Autobiography of a Revolutionary in British India (New Delhi: Social Science Press 2013). The manuscript will be donated at the seminar to the archived collections of Uppsala University.


Introduction by Prof. Gunnel Cederlöf, Department of History, Uppsala University.


Please note: This event is held at Carolina’s Bookhall/Boksalen where certain security regulations are in place. You therefore need to send an email to Maria Berggren Maria.Berggren@ub.uu.se, latest on the day before the event, and she will make sure your name is on the list of participants. Participants meet in the Entrance Hall at Carolina Rediviva.


Wednesday 16 Oct. 13:15-15:00

“The Eastern Indian Ocean Trading World”

Forum for South Asia Studies

Rila Mukherjee, Professor of History and Director of the Institut de Chandernagor, India.

Plats: Engelska parken Eng 2/1024

This lecture will elaborate the global flows across the eastern Indian Ocean world until c. 1600. This part of the ocean includes the vast water-body stretching from Sri Lanka (central Indian Ocean) through the Bay of Bengal, the Java seas, the Melaka and Sunda Straits, and into the China seas.

Although being a ‘trading world’, the lecture will highlight the cultural flows—the circulation of people (traders, officials, pilgrims, scholars), commodities (trade), objects (gift/tribute), deities (maritime goddesses), art styles, and ideas (religion).

The research on which the lecture is based has developed in dialogue with scholars on sub-regional systems within the Indian Ocean. Starting from Abu-Lughod (Before European Hegemony: The World System 1250-1350, 1989) and Chaudhuri (Asia before Europe, 1990), they are: Hall (‘Ports-of-Trade, Maritime Diasporas, and Networks of Trade and Cultural Integration in the Bay of Bengal Region of the Indian Ocean: c. 1300-1500’, JESHO, 53, 2010), Flores (Sea of Ceylon, ‘Portuguese Entrepreneurs in the Sea of Ceylon (Mid-Sixteenth Century’ in Sprengard and Ptak, eds., Maritime Asia: Profit Maximisation, Ethics and Trade Structure,1994) and Mukherjee, ed., (Oceans Connect, 2013). 

OTHER LECTURES by Rila Mukherjee :

Monday 14 Oct. At 13:15-15:00

“Writing a Water History: New directions for historical research”

Historiska seminariet and Mind and Nature, universitetshuset sal VII

This presentation will chart the shifts in studies on the Indian Ocean: from maritime studies to oceanic studies and water based studies. It will take new directions in research into account, as for example artefact histories and object biographies. It will also elaborate new spatial conceptions, such as how to integrate the uplands into maritime studies – what is called upstream/downstream interaction – to bring new regionalisms into play.

The difficulties of writing a water-based history pose particular challenges to researchers. Can we write a truly water-based history without taking into account the shores that give a waterscape definition (Pearson, 2012)?


Rila Mukherjee is Professor of History and Director of the Institut de Chandernagor, India. Among her publications are Strange Riches: Bengal in the Mercantile Map of South Asia (2006), Merchants and Companies in Bengal: Kasimbazar and Jugdia in the Eighteenth Century (2007), and Oceans Connect (2013).


Forum for South Asia Studies Seminar: Middle Class Education and Religion in 19th Century Colonial Bengal

Thursday 24 October, 14.15-16.00

Engelska parken, Eng 9/1017 (from gate 3H take the stairs up right after Karin Boye’s library)

“Debates on Women’s education in nineteenth century Bengal: Its form and content”

1. Rachana Chakraborty,  Professor, Department of History, University of Calcutta 

The nineteenth century witnessed the consolidation of British power in India and the acceleration of Western contact brought about far- reaching changes in the structure of the Bengali society.  Efforts to provide education for Indian females had begun early in the 19th century, the missionaries, being the early players in the game. But as they were primarily driven by proselytizing urge they were inclined to focus on the poor and low caste women. These efforts met with little success until the idea of female education had gained respectability amongst the intelligentsia. The nineteenth-century project of constructing the New Indian Woman (an enterprise primarily associated with Bengal, a hub of liberal thought) had its share of illustrious male catalysts, such as Raja Rammohan Roy and Iswarchandra Vidyasagar. But to uncover variegated inflections of this radically-gendered discourse one has to turn to Bengali women's magazines with a view to locating the form and content of female education and also the new role model that these educated women were expected to follow. This new concept of womanhood was a fine blending of the self-sacrificing Hindu wife and the Victorian helpmate. By the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries these educated women had become much more articulate in expressing their minds through their writings. Women often held a different position, as novel writers – a necessary fallout of the new education, but nevertheless undesirable.  An analysis of the same helps us to understand the complex and unique intersection of patriarchy, nationalism and literature in late colonial Bengal. 

2. “British Raj, Bengal Renaissance and Bhadralok Vaishnavas”

Abhishek Ghosh, Department of South Asia Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago 

In this presentation, Ghosh discusses the European ‘gaze’ of civilizing mission on Hinduism and analyze the specific response of the Vaishnava savant Kedarnath Datta Bhaktivinode (1838-1914). The presentation captures the broader socio-historical context of nineteenth century Bengal through a discussion of the beginnings of ‘Orientalism’ and the establishment of Christian missions, but also of the Hindu reform movements of the intellectual middle class (bhadralok). Orientalist research and missionary discourse often criticized what they viewed as the ‘lewd’ and ‘reprehensible’ aspects of Hindu traditions such as Caitanya Vaishnavism, and in response those Hindu reform movements tried to ‘redress’ these issues through an agenda for organized social, religious and political reform. Within this context, this presentation aims to analyze and theorize the contributions of bhadralok Vaishnavas, which have so far been relatively overlooked by contemporary scholarship on modern Hinduism. It will also place the role of Bhaktivinode at the cusp of this encounter. 



The Indological Department, Institute for Linguistics and Philology 

in collaboration with the Forum for South Asian Studies, Uppsala

University invites:

Thursday, 24.10.2013, Time: 16:15-18:00

Place: Engelska parken, 4-2007
Guest Lecture:

Phenomenology from the outside:Bodily being and flourishing in the earliest Indian medical text, the Caraka Saṃhitā

by Ram-Prasad Chakravarthi

I read the text of the Caraka Saṃhitā as yielding the idea of the body as the physical field of the human ‘situation'. This empirical ‘given’ becomes the nexus of three vectors - the reflexive epistemology of the physician, the organic state of the patient, and the disciplinary values of the environment. The whole then becomes a phenomenological ecology realised in the human as bodily being. This in turn contains a multidimensional, analytically constructed but phenomenologically whole ideal of human flourishing.

Ram-Prasad Chakravarthi is Professor of Philosophy at Lancaster University. His main research interests are the theories of self and theories of consciousness in Hindu philosophy and Indian thought, religion and politics, and comparative Indian and Chinese philosophies. Among his book publications are:Knowledge and Liberation in Classical Indian Thought, Palgrave, Basingstoke, 2001; Eastern Philosophy, Weidenfield and Nicholson London, 2005; Indian Philosophy and the Consequences of Knowledge: Themes in metaphysics, ethics and soteriology, Ashgate, Aldershot, 2007; Divine Self, Human Self: The Philosophy of Being in Two Gita Commentaries, Bloomsbury, Academic 2013.



A Series of Indian Art Films at Uppsala University

Place: Ihresalen (Engelska parken, Thunbergsvägen 3H) at 17:15 on Wednesdays


Free entry

16.10. Gandhi (1982)

Biography of Mohandas K. Gandhi, the lawyer who became the famed leader of the Inydian revolts against British rule through his philosophy of nonviolent protest.

Director: Richard Attenborough. Writer:  John Briley. Stars: Ben Kingsley, John Gielgud, Candice Bergen.

30.10. Water (2005)

The film examines the plight of a group of widows forced into poverty at a temple in the holy city of Varanasi. It focuses on a relationship between one woman, who wants to escape the social restrictions imposed on widows, and a man who is from the highest caste and a follower of Mahatma Gandhi.

Director:  Deepa Mehta. Writers:  Anurag Kashyap (dialogue), Deepa Mehta. Stars:  Lisa Ray, John Abraham, Seema Biswas.

13.11. Umrao Jan (1981)

In Faizabad, British India, Daroga Dilawar is sentenced to several years in prison after Amiran's dad testifies against him. After his discharge around 1840, he extracts his vengeance by abducting Amiran and selling her to a brothel. It is here Amiran will be re-named Umrao Jaan. Years later, Umrao has grown up and is an accomplished poetess as well as an extraordinary dancer. She has many patrons, chief amongst them are Nawab Sultan and his father. The young Nawab is smitten by Umrao's beauty and her poems, but is finally forced to marry a girl of his mother's choice, leaving behind a heart-broken and devastated Umrao, who seeks solace in the arms of Faiz Ali and finally elopes with him, only to find out that he is a wanted bandit, and is shot down and killed by some guards. Umrao re-locates to Lucknow where she establishes herself as a Poet and dancer, but is hunted down by brothel-keepers, Gohar Mirza and Husseini and brought back, where she is told that she must marry Gohar. Watch what Umrao does to escape from being married against her will, and her attempts to try and find her way back to her parents.

Director: Muzaffar Ali. Writers: Mirza Muhammad Hadi Ruswa (novel), Shama Zaidi (screenplay). Stars: Rekha, Farooq Shaikh, Naseeruddin Shah.


27.11. Monsoon Wedding (2001)

A stressed father, a bride-to-be with a secret, a smitten event planner, and relatives from around the world create much ado about the preparations for an arranged marriage in India.

Director:  Mira Nair. Writer: Sabrina Dhawan. Stars:  Naseeruddin Shah, Lillete Dubey, Shefali Shetty.


Organizer: Prof. Heinz Werner Wessler, Department of Linguistics and Philology, Uppsala University in collaboration with the Forum for South Asia Studies




1. During September Uppsala guests the cultural Festival Incredible India. Forum for South Asia Studies is co-organizer of some of the events. Click here for the program.

 2. Special event in connection with the 100th Anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore's Nobel Price in Literature


Modern Asian Culture Unknown: Uncovering South Asian Life 

Time: 15.00-16.30, Monday, September 30, 2013

Venue: Uppsala University, Engelska Parken, Thunbergsv. 3H

Lecture hall: house 7, sal 0043 (on the floor under the restaurant Matikum, see map below).

Speakers: Nirmalendu Goon (Bangladesh), Ruby Rahman (Bangladesh), Muhammad Samad (Bangladesh), John Y. Jones (Norway) and Anisur Rahman (Bangladesh)

Moderator:  Dr. Ferdinando Sardella, Director, Forum for South Asian Studies, Uppsala University.

Organized by the Forum for South Asian Studies at Uppsala University in collaboration with the Daghammarskjöld Program-Voksenåsen, Oslo, Litteraturcentrum Uppsala, Studiefrämjandet i Uppsala län and Networkers SouthNorth

About the speakers:


Born in 1945, Nirmalendu Goon is one of the most popular poets in Bangladesh, known by many for his accessible verse in an age where Bangla poetry has become increasingly complex. Goon was one of the few people who openly protested Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's assassination in 1975 in a period when even mentioning Mujib was considered dangerous. His first book of poetry was published in 1970. Since then he has published forty-five collections of poetry and twenty collections of prose. Part of the generation of poets of 1960s, Goon's poetry contains stinging criticism of the nouveau riche and a touching description of the contrasting fate of the masses.



Muhammad Samad was born in 1956 in a remote village in the Jamalpur District of Bangladesh. Dr. Muhammad Samad is Professor of Dhaka University. An eminent social scientist Dr. Samad has taught twice as a visiting Professor at the Winona State University, Minnesota, USA. He has worked as a Fellow of Katherine A. Kendall Institute of International Social Work Education, USA in 2009. Currently he is the Vice Chancellor of the University of Information Technology and Sciences (UITS), Dhaka, Bangladesh. The first collection of poems, Ekjan Rajnaitik Netar Menifesto (Manifesto of a Political Leader), was published in 1983 and won him the Bangladesh Trivuj Literary Award for young poets. He has subsequently published several works of poetry and received a number of awards for his contribution to Bengali poetry and literature which has made him widely known and celebrated. Among the awards are Jasimuddin Literary Award, Jibanananda Das Award and the Sukanta Literary Award. Samad has served as General Secretary of the National Poetry Council of Bangladesh from 1997 to 2001.



She was born in 1946 in Dhaka, then in East Bengal, the third daughter in a middle-class, urban, literary family. She was much influenced in childhood by her grandfather, who composed and performed songs; and by her mother, who was a devoted reader of the work of Rabindranath Tagore, and who wrote poetry and sang Rabindrasangeet (the songs of Tagore). Several of her sisters also wrote, sang and performed—two sisters are popular singers in Bangladesh; another sister is a well-known journalist.

She studied at Dhaka University, receiving a B.A. with Honours in English, Psychology, and Bengali; and an M.A. in English. After her marriage, she lived with her husband and their two children in Lalmatia, a middle-class neighborhood of central Dhaka, near the university. For over thirty years she taught English at the Government Commercial College in Dhaka, and she has served on the Bangladesh national review board for textbooks and educational curricula.



He heads the Dag Hammarskjöld Program in Oslo, actively involved in South Asian questions internationally. He holds PhD on American Jews literature from Oslo University. He has published many essays at different international journals including UN publication and edits journals and books. He was one of a two-member delegation who submitted the proposal for Nobel Peace Prize for Bradley Manning this year. He has also edited the publication I Raise My Head Beyond This World featuring poems by visiting Bengali poets marking the 100 years of the Nobel Prize awarded to the Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore in 1913.


Author and journalist Anisur Rahman was born in Bangladesh in 1978. He writes in both Bengali and English, and debuted in 2003 with the poetry collection Empty Glass. Due to several years of political reprisals in Bangladesh, he currently lives in Uppsala, Sweden, where he also was a guest writer 2009-2011. 2011 he received a scholarship from Natur & Kultur. Sex årstider [Six Seasons] is Anisur Rahman's first collection of poems in Swedish. Apart from a few poems from his earlier books, the book contains newly written poems from the past few years. As a playwright Rahman has done work for the Swedish Radio in 2012.



SPRING 2013 

1.    Lord over this whole world: Agency and Philosophy in the Early Upaniṣads, Anna-Pya SjödinTuesday 5 March 2013, 13:15-15:00. 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.

2.    Mahatma Gandhi and Zionism: "Kidush Hashem" and Satyagraha, Shimon Lev Tuesday 5 March 2013, 15:15-17:00. Venue: 16-1058 (house-room), Engelska Parken, Thunbergsgatan 3H, Uppsala
The Forum for South Asian Studies in collaboration with the Institute for Linguistics and Philology and the Hugo Valentin Center

On  November 1938  Gandhi published an article about the two questions that most preoccupied the Jewish world,  Nazi Germany and the conflict between the Arabs and Jews in Palestine. The article disappointed many of his Jewish friends and admirers.   Gandhi used the Harijan newspaper as a stage for presenting his rather demanding suggestion to the European Jews to adopt his Satygraha (Non- Violence) strategy in order to resist the Nazi type of racist violence. This harsh demand raised a wide variety of responses among the Jewish political and intellectual community, the most famous ones being from Martin Buber's, Judea Magnes' and Haim Grinberg's. In their responses, Buber and Magnes claimed that the Jewish concept of "Kidush Hasem" is a kind of Non-Violence doctrine.The Holocaust raises the question of whether non-violence in the emphatic sense in Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy has any meaning in the confrontation with extremely malicious doctrines. In my lecture, I will focus on Gandhi’s attitude towards Nazism as a doctrine and present Gandhi’s moralism, which is the basis of his reflection on the kind of action Jews of Europe should take in an extremely vulnerable situation. In light of Buber's and Magnes' responses, I will also focus on Gandhi attitude to Zionism and on the similarities and differences between "Kidush Hashem" and Satyagraha.

Shimon Lev is currently completing his Doctoral Studies in the Hebrew University on the topic "The cultural and political meeting between the Jewish world and the Indian World – A comparative research in the light of the development of the Indian and Zionist national movements". His last book "Soulmates: The Story of Mahatma Gandhi and Hermann Kallenbach" (2012) was published by Orient BlackSwan Publishing House, India. 

3.     Panel Discussion: Challenges to India’s High and Sustainable GrowthHer Excellency Banashri Bose Harrison, Ambassador of India to Sweden and Latvia
Uma Kambhampati, Professor of Economics, University of Reading, United Kingdom
Sten Widmalm, Professor, Department of Government, Uppsala University
Moderator: Ranjula Bali Swain, Associate Professor, Department of Economics, Uppsala University

Friday 22 March 2013, 13:15-15:00. Venue: hörsal 2, Ekonomikum, Kyrkogårdsgatan 10 B, Uppsala
For more information contact Ranjula.Bali@nek.uu.se or the Forum for South Asia Studies fsas@humsam.uu.se 

4. "Democracy and Foreign Policy in India" by Christian Wagner, Thursday May 2, 2013, 15:15-17:00. Venue: hus 2 sal 0076, Uppsala University, Engelska parken, Thunbergsvägen 3H 

India is often emphasizing its common democratic values in its relations with the EU and the United States. This raises the question of how far the promotion of democracy has become an instrument of India's foreign policy as it is the case with Europe and the U.S. The lecture will first look at domestic changes in India's democracy and its implications on foreign policy. The second part will look at India's attempts to promote democratic processes.

Christian Wagner works at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, a research and analysis institution between politics and academics, and one of the most renowned institutions of its kind in Germany. For a presentation, seehttp://www.swp-berlin.org/en/scientist-detail/profile/christian_wagner.html


5. COLLOQUIUM: "Area Studies at Uppsala University"

Venue: hus 2 sal K1028, Uppsala University, Engelska parken, Thunbergsvägen 3H, Tuesday May 21, 2013, 13:15-16:45

Challenges and Convergence in Researching South Asia"

Uppsala University has recently initiated interdisciplinary regional research forums and the Forum for South Asia Studies is one of them. The colloquium will stimulate reflection and discussion about the development of area studies in the 21st century, and the opportunities it holds for Uppsala University. 


13:15-14:00     Keynote speech: “Reinventing Area Studies: A continuing challenge and opportunity”

Prof. Roger Jeffery, University of Edinburgh


Area studies, an invention of the post-World War II world, has had to fight off two different challenges. One, from the disciplines, focuses on the absence of core theoretical frameworks, and the ‘messiness’ of inter-, multi- or cross-disciplinary work. The other, from public intellectuals, focuses on the (mis)-use of area studies in the pursuit of global power politics, in particular (but not only) by the USA. With particular reference to the study of South Asia, I will argue that reinventing area studies is a worthwhile and valuable activity, and set out some thoughts about the role of area studies in the contemporary world.

14:00 – 15:00    Panel discussion

Challenges and Convergence in Area Studies.

Prof. Margareta Fahlgren (Vice-rector for the Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences), Dr. Hans Blomqvist (Department of Government), Prof. Roger Jeffery, moderator Prof. Gunnel Cederlöf (Department of History).

The panel will discuss Uppsala University's initiatives for internationalization and area studies, the challenges involved in interdisciplinary studies and the potential for developing area studies in the future.

15:00-15:20       Coffee

15:20-15:50       South Asia Scholars Reflect over the Research Theme “Constructing Identities”.

Prof. Heinz Werner Wessler (Philology and Linguistics), PhD student Pawel Odyniec (Philology and linguistics) and Dr. Ferdinando Sardella (Theology).

15:50-16:20     Building Bridges: Cooperation between the Humanities and Medicine in South Asia Studies.

Prof. Gunnel Cederlöf (Department of History) andDr. Birgitta Essén (Department of Women's and Children's Health)

16:20-16:45       Concluding remarks

FALL 2012 


Sverigebilden i världen

Gustavianum (Akademigatan 3)

Saturday, 17 November 2012
Kl. 10.00-16.00. Free entrance.

Vad vet man om Sverige i andra länder? Vad uppfattas som typiskt svenskt? Och hur har denna sverigebild uppkommit och förändrats? Vid Uppsala universitet finns hög kompetens om världen omkring oss. Här bedrivs undervisning och forskning  om kultur, historia och samhällsförhållanden på de flesta kontinenterna. Den 17 november erbjuds rika möjligheter att möta och lyssna till forskare med inriktning på världen omkring oss. Dessutom presenterar de olika områdesstudierna sig själva med bokbord och andra aktiviteter. I en serie mini-föreläsningar kommer just frågan om omvärldens syn på Sverige att diskuteras. Vad består de olika sverigebilderna i Afrika, Kina, Latinamerika, Ryssland, Sydasien, Tyskland, och USA av? Vilken roll spelar IKEA, Astrid Lindgren, Ingmar Bergman, den svenska välfärdsstaten och de svenska köttbullarna? Dagen avslutas med en paneldebatt om vad en sverigebild egentligen är och hur man kan arbeta med att skapa en. I denna debatt deltar både forskare och företrädare för Svenska institutet. Dagen arrangeras av forskargrupper knutna till de sju områdesstudier som finns vid Uppsala universitet: Centrum för Rysslandsstudier, Forumen för Afrika, Kina, Latinamerika, Sydasien, och Tysklandsstudier, samt av Engelska institutionen/SINAS och Museum Gustavianum.



Dalit Cultural Identity Politics in the 21st Century


Workshop, Uppsala University, 15 November 2012, time: 10:15-17:00

Universitetshus, seminarierum 3 (Biskopsgatan 3)

Forum for South Asia Studies/Dept. of Linguistics and Philology

Recent research on Dalit discrimination is shifting away from strictly human rights issues towards cultural aspects of Dalit identity. The rediscovery and redefinition of cultural identity is usually understood to follow the incentive from subaltern and postcolonial studies. “De-Brahmanizing History” (Braj Ranjan Mani), however, lies on the borderline between the academic and the political world. The workshop will try to develop a scope on shifting patterns of Dalit discrimination and emancipation in the cultural field.

10:15 Greeting and Introduction (Heinz Werner Wessler)

10:30 Mirja Juntunen (Aarhus, Denmark): The Formation of Dalit Identity and the Politico-economic Conditions in Uttarkhand versus Eastern UP in the 1950s as Reflected by Two Dalit Writers: Omprakash Valmiki and Tulsiram

11:00 Andrew Morton (Uppsala/Stockholm, Sweden): Tulsiram and Dalit autobiography in the 21st century.

11:30 Ruth Manorama (Chennai, India): Dalit Emancipation and the Identity of a Dalit Activist12-13 Lunch break

13:00 Sukumar Narayana (Delhi, India): Constructing Dalit Identity: The Thoti's Stick

13:30 Heinz Werner Wessler (Uppsala, Sweden): A rediscovery of Dalit subaltern narrativity

14:00 Hans Magnusson (Stockholm, Sweden): My Identity as a non-Indian pro-Dalit-Activist

14:30 Walter Hahn (Stuttgart, Germany): My Identity as a non-Indian pro-Dalit-Activist

15:00-15:30 break

15:30 Eddie Rodrigues (Mumbai, India): Dalit identity politics and the Caste discourse in Western India: Rethinking the strategy of emancipation

16:00 Meena Dhanda (Wolverhampton, England): Certain Allegiances, Uncertain Identities: the fraught struggles for recognition of dalits in Britain

16:30-17:00 Final Discussion. Further Participant: Eva-Maria Hardtmann (Stockholm, Sweden)





Myth and literary imagery of rock
and mountain in Early Vedic texts

Christiane Schaefer

Dept. of Linguistics and Philology


7 November, sal 2-0023, time: 15.15-16.45

Engelska Parken, Uppsala University

Mountains and rocks are not only ingredients of some of the most prominent cosmogonic myths in the earliest Vedic text, the Rigveda, they are also integral parts of the Rigveda’s literary imagery. The poetic language of the hymns reflects conflicting notions: on the one hand mountains are described as spaces of protection, nurture and stability, on the other hand they are depicted as unsteady, undependable and treacherous.

Christiane Schaeferis currently working as a Senior Lecturer in Comparative Indo-European Linguistics at the Department of Linguistics and Philology, Uppsala University. Her research interests are mainly in the field of Vedic linguistics and literature, Tocharian, and language contact in Central Asia.   




Technological Education in a Colonial Context: Bengal Engineering College in late Nineteenth Century India

Arun Bandopadhyay, Department of History (University of Calcutta)


1 November, time 14.15-15.45, Sal 1-1060, Department of History Thunbergsvägen 3 A, Engelska Parken, Uppsala


Development of engineering education in Bengal is a major area of historical research and investigation. It has multifaceted aspects on which our research has mainly focused on. In much of colonial India, Bengal was the core area of all round development especially in the field of education. For the requirement of the British Raj in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, it was necessary to create professional people in the fields of various engineering services, medical and survey operations. Bengal Engineering College (hereafter B.E. College) was a pioneer institution (the subcontinent’s second oldest, only next to Roorkee Engineering College) which provided professional people in various engineering branches. Founded in 1856, B.E. College had great impact on the social, political, economic and cultural realms and on other science institutions in the country.

However, engineering education in India in the late nineteenth century was directly related to ‘the colonial expansionist programme’ and was imposed from above without any educational demand for it at that point in time. Both the quantitative and qualitative  growth was very limited in the late nineteenth century. Secondly, the colonial context of engineering education in India in the second half of the nineteenth century is specially made clear by some extant materials on the origin and operation of B.E. College during the period. The close relationship of the development of technical education in Roorkee Engineering College and B.E. College in the beginning and with Cooper’s Hill College in England later is clear from these materials. The colonial context of the engineering education in India and England is thus highlighted. The history of technical education in India during the periods 1856-1886 and 1886-1908 is to be especially studied in this context. The present paper makes an attempt  to focus on the nature of multiple colonial connections in the very limited development of engineering education in India in the late nineteenth century.

Arun Bandopadhyay is currently Nurul Hasan Professor of History and formerly Dean of the Faculty Council for Post-graduate Studies in Arts at the University of Calcutta. He previously taught at BenarasHinduUniversity, Varanasi and Visva-BharatiUniversity, Santiniketan and served as Visiting Fellow in JawaharlalNehruUniversity, New Delhi, Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Paris and Uppsala University, Sweden. His research interest covers a wide range of areas:  agrarian history, business history and history of science and environment. His published works include The Story of Jessop (Calcutta, 1988), The Agrarian Economy of Tamilnadu, 1820-1855 (Calcutta, 1992), History of Gun and Shell Factory, Cossipore: Two Hundred Years of Ordnance Factories Production in India (New Delhi, 2002), Tribes, Forest and Social Formation in Indian History (edited with B.B. Chaudhuri, New Delhi, 2004), Documents on Economic History of British Rule in India: Eastern India in the Late Nineteenth Century, Part I:1860s-1870s (edited with Amiya Kumar Bagchi, New Delhi 2009) and Documents on Economic History of British Rule in India: Eastern India in the LateNineteenth Century Part II: 1880s-1890s (edited with Amiya  Kumar  Bagchi, New Delhi, 2011). He is also the Executive Editor of The Calcutta Historical Journal. He was the Secretary of the Indian History Congress during 2009-2012.


 Forum for South Asia Studies lectures


3 October at 14:15–16:00, English Park Campus, the Geijer Hall

Panel debate on “Nation, Conservation and Democracy

Mahesh Rangarajan, Mukul Sharma, and May-Britt ÖhmanCo-organised by the research node Mind and Nature, and the Forum for South Asia Studies 

Mahesh Rangarajan is professor of history and the Director of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library in New Delhi. He is a leading scholar in environmental history with a particular focus on India, and a political analyst commenting in public media on wildlife conservation and Indian politics.

Mukul Sharma is an independent scholar and writer, and holds the position of South Asia Regional Director of Climate Parliament. He has worked in relation to a wide spectrum of the South Asian society – government agencies, media, research organizations and international agencies. 

May-Britt Öhman, PhD in the History of Science and Technology, works at the Centre for Gender Research, Uppsala University. She leads the project “DAMMED: Security, Risk and Resilience around the Dams of Sub-Arctica”, researching hydropower in relation to ecology, social life and identity formation among the Sámi. 


Other relevant events related to the theme



Ecology, Landscape and Polity: A Longer View of India’s Environmental History

Mahesh Rangarajan, prof. of history, New Delhi

2 October at 14:15–16:00, English Park Campus, the Geijer Hall

Co-organised by the Department of History and CEMUS (Centre for Environment and Development Studies)



Forum for South Asia Studies lectures


 Conservation and Community Engagement: Critical Questions from India

Lecture by Mukul Sharma

 4 October at 13:00–15:00, English Park Campus, 6/0031

Co-organised by the research node Mind and Nature, and the Forum for Africa Studies



Forum for South Asia Studies lectures

Political tolerance in India - results from the heartland 

 Prof. Sten Widmalm

Department of Government 

Time: Thursday 13 September,  15.15-16.45 
Place: Brusewitzsalen 
Department of Government 
Gamla Torget 6, plan 3 



Sten Widmalm will present some of the first research results from the TOLEDO project (co-authored with Sven Oskarsson). The project is intended to shed light on what determines levels of tolerance and intolerance among citizens who live in areas that differ in measures of economic prosperity or in degree of ethnic pluralism, or in states in differing positions on the continuum from authoritarian rule to democracy. This presentation will focus on survey results from India. Standard assumptions about tolerance have been tested, such as those relating to the influence of literacy, class, gender, membership in civic organizations, levels of social capital, interpersonal trust, and religious and political affiliation. Widmalm will also discuss the influence of party membership (BJP and Congress (I)) and contextual variables such as the character of state institutions, their level of democratic performance, and varying degrees of cultural or ethnic pluralism. 



Forum for South Asia Studies lectures

Incredible India cultural festival: “Bollywood and beyond…” 100 years of Indian film making

Thursday, 13 september. Time: 16 – 19. 
Place: Engelska parken, Geijersalen, Thunbergsv. 3H, Uppsala.

Organised by the Forum for South Asia Studies.



Bollywood celebrates 100 years in 2013. Lectures and discussion.  



Introduction by Heinz Werner Wessler, prof. of Indology at Uppsala University. Lecture by Ajit Rai (New Delhi), a leading cultural journalist that has presented a number of international film festivals in India. Special guest is TV-producer Anuj Garg (New Delhi).



The ”Incredible India” cultural festival is held in Uppsala for the second year in a row, 8–18 September 2012. Last year it hosted 40 different events all over the city and attracted about 10 000 visitors. The 2012 festival is again organised by  Kulturum with support from many public and private organisations. The programme includes art and photo exhibitions, concerts and dance performances, lectures, screening of Indian films, Indian cooking and much more.
During three days (13–15 September) a special Bollywood film theme will be hosted at several locations, among them Uppsala university and Fyrisbiografen. A mix of modern and classic films is promised, the oldest film is from 1913. In connection with the screenings, lectures and presentations will be given by two speakers – Ajit Rai, culture journalist, and Anuj Garg, film- and TV producer, both from Delhi. 

See the full program of the festival at



Forum for South Asia Studies lectures

 HINDI DIWAS - three lectures 

Friday 14 sept kl 9-12.30

Place: Universitetshuset, sal IV, Uppsala University, Biskopsgatan 3

Forum for South Asia Studies lectures

Regional Languages, English, Modern Standard Hindi and its Dialects

Heinz Werner Wessler, prof. Uppsala University 

The Constituent Assembly of India had adopted Hindi written in Devnagari script as the Official Language of the Union on 14th September 1949. This is the reason why the 14th September is celebrated as Hindi Day (Hindi Diwas) in India and among Hindi speakers worldwide. Besides, the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution provides the status of “national languages” to altogether 22 languages – and of course, there are many more written and spoken languages and dialects. Beyond that, India’s elite usually speaks English. The original idea of the fathers and mothers of India’s independence to replace English by Hindi as an instrument of the de-colonization of the mind is not forgotten, but has for practical reasons been dismissed. India has accepted English as part of its cultural heritage and continues to produce some of the most prolific authors in English, while the modern literatures written in regional languages are often suffering from neglect, and particularly from bad or non-existing translations.  

 Garhwali and the history of Indo-Aryan: some observations

Claus Peter Zoller, Oslo University

George Abraham Grierson had suggested a division of the New Indo-Aryan languages into Inner Languages (Middle Ganges Valley) and Outer Languages (to the West, South and East of the Inner Languages). This suggestion was not accepted for a long time until more recently Franklin Southworth took it up again and tried to support it with additional linguistic arguments. Both scholars, however, ignored the linguistic position of the Indo-Aryan languages spoken in the mountains between Nepal and Afghanistan. Claus Peter Zoller will modify this old suggestion and argue that that the Indo-Aryan languages in the mountains, including Garhwali, constitute a distinct branch which is closely related with the Outer Languages but less related with the Inner languages located in-between. 

Central Himalayan Oral Literature

Ram Prasad Bhatt, prof. Hamburg University

The socio-cultural unity of Garhwal is essentially reflected by the fundamental framework of oral culture of this central Himalayan region and the Garhwali language unifies and defines the region Garhwal more than any other single factor. The multifaceted role of oral tradition in the life of Garhwali’s that are both benefactor and beneficiary is considered to be the real lifelines of the social groups and a dynamic force of their cultures. The oral tradition of this region has preserved incredible continuity of handing down the knowledge, culture, religion and ideas from generation to generation by word of mouth that in general is a strong experiential dimension of the transmission of cultures and fulfils diverse functions in the life of the society. In this talk an effort will be made to analyse the socio-cultural and political functions of Garhwali oral literature and the subtle, suggestive power of words and the elegance of expression in Garhwali.




Forum for South Asia Studies lecture

7 May 2012, 15.15-17.00, Main University Building (universitetshuset), Sal VIII 

Climate, Polities and the Making of a Citizen:

Founding an Empire on India’s Northeastern Frontiers

  Prof. Gunnel Cederlöf

Department of History, Uppsala University

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.

Firstly, the larger region’s climate and natural disasters sent shock waves into the EIC in the late 18th century. Survey reports and weather observations using new scientific methods reflected a landscape out of human control.
   Secondly, the right to govern territory landed the EIC in a whole new situation. As an early-modern, global mercantile corporation, the Company strove to establish monopolies within the skills, grants and agreements they held. Governing a monopoly of territory in Bengal required the integration of the governor in socioeconomic and religious hierarchies – hierarchies in which the EIC had no place.
   Thirdly, revenue settlements and military force served the purpose of keeping bureaucratic control of land and people. However, the revenue settlements formed into a complete mismatch between climate and administration. Revenue administration took half a century to restructure.

When the neighbouring autonomous polities were drawn into dependent relations to the EIC in the 1820s and 30s, forms and political settlements were significantly different. Already from the earliest subjugation of territories and people, colonial rule on the EIC’s ‘North Eastern Frontier’ formed into dual polities under one government.


Forum for South Asia Studies lectures

18 April 2012, 13.15-15.00, Main University Building (universitetshuset), Sal VIII

The Microfinance Impact:

Self Help Group Bank Linkage Programme in India

  Dr. Ranjula Bali Swain

Department of Economics, Uppsala University

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.



Forum for South Asia Studies lecture

 25 January 2012, 14.15-16.00, Main University Building (universitetshuset), Sal IV

Rural Social Transformation in (South) India: Pitted Against Collective action?

 Prof. G K Karanth


The lecture focused on Indian rural society, which for decades has been perceived to be ”hard” to change. Recently though, it has started to show symptoms that it is beginning to be more similar to its urban counterparts in several respects. This process appears to be happening more rapidly than ever before. Historically, rural communities have proved to possess greater internal interdependence, and ‘everyday’ life has been characterised to a larger degree by collective action. Today, however, several economic and political changes have started to undermine their ability to preserve these vital processes. Not only the contexts for such a participative collective action have been rapidly transforming,  but also a number of institutions that facilitated them have disappeared. Factionalism based on political loyalties and economic individualism, rather than collective interests, seems to be the new dominant feature of rural communities.
Prof. Karanth’s lecture is based on a series of studies conducted especially in South Indian village communities. The presentation brought together some of the above mentioned issues concerning participative development and collective action. Venue: Room IV, Main University building, Biskopsgatan 3, Uppsala.

During the academic year 2011/12, G K Karanth, Professor of Sociology at the Centre for Study of Social Change and Development, Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC) in Bangalore, is the second Visiting ICCR Professor at Lund University. He arrived in mid-September 2011, and is hosted by the Department of Sociology. Prof. Karanth has a PhD from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi, and his main research fields are Peasant Economy and Society; Caste and Social Stratification; Rural-Urban Linkages; and Sociology of Development. He is the second Visiting ICCR Professor at Lund University.


Welcome to the 

Forum for South Asia Studies 

The aim of the Forum is to support and facilitate research on South Asia within the Humanities and Social Sciences at Uppsala University.

You can also find the Forum on Facebook and Twitter.