Department of Linguistics and Philology, Uppsala University
Postal address: Asiatiska och afrikanska språk och kulturer, Institutionen för lingvistik och filologi, Box 635, SE-751 26 Uppsala, Sweden
Visiting address: Engelska parken, Humanistiskt centrum, Thunbergsvägen 3 H, Hus 9, 3 trappor
Web page: http://www.lingfil.uu.se.
At Uppsala University, the traditional study of Indian philology dates back to at least the 18th century. There were two aspects of Indian philology, to which, after a certain prelude, a professorship was devoted in 1892. The core of it was Sanskrit, certainly in the comparative, linguistic and historical perspective, but already the first holders of the chair also found it essential to include the study of Indian cultural history.
Until 1 January 2004 Uppsala University had a separate Department of Asian and African Languages, but it was then integrated into the Department of Linguistics and Philology, and became one of its sections.
The section for Asian and African Languages and Cultures consists of a large number of diverse subjects, including Swahili, Assyriology and Chinese.
Two of the sub-sections are dealing with education and research connected to South Asia, one of them being South Asian Languages and Cultures – with study programmes in Hindi, Indology (including Sanskrit), and Comparative Indo-European Philology , besides arranging short orientation courses in topics such as ”Indian Religions, Culture and History”; ”Indian Languages and Literature”; ”Introduction to Sanskrit”; and ”Introduction to Indic Philosophical Traditions” (more information below). In collaboration with other departments at Uppsala University, a Masters Programme for South Asian Studies was organised during the years 2002–04.
The department currently offers a full candidate programme in Hindi and participation in the Orientalistic Programme with specialisation on Hindi. Hindi is tought in the medium of English, exams can be taken in Swedish or English.
Modern indology in Uppsala tries to understand and explain changing patterns of literary reflexivity and identity constructions in the context of colonial and postcolonial knowledge discourses. It actively
contributes to recent efforts to strengthen the interdisciplinary South Asia Forum at Uppsala University, the collaboration with academic partners at several Indian universities, the Swedish South Asian Studies Network (SASNET) and the European Association of South Asian Studies (EASAS).
In 2006, an interdisciplinary seminar group was formed among researchers and PhD candidates at Uppsala University that are involved in South Asia related research. The seminar group includes several people from the Dept. of Linguistics and Philology, but also from other departments, such as History, Cultural Anthropology, and History of Religions. On 8 May 2011, the group organised a Rabindranath Tagore 150th birth anniversary event in Uppsala. More information below.
The sub-section on Iranian Languages also deal with South Asia to some extent, sometimes organising courses in Pashto and Baluchi. See separate page for the Iranian Languages sub-section.
Several people are engaged in research in the department. An Indology study programme is organised up to D-level. A new 60 credits A-level course starts every Fall, and includes a 15 credits course in Introduction to Sanskrit, 30 credits Sanskrit, 7.5 credits Cultural history of India, and 7.5 credits on Modern History of South Asia. More information.
Besides being part of the study programmes, 5 or 10 credits orientation courses are also offered every semester in topics such as ”Indian Religions, Culture and History”; ”Indian Languages and Literature”; ”Introduction to Sanskrit”; and ”Introduction to Indic Philosophical Traditions”.
Summer courses are also held every year. For example, in the Summer 2006 a 5 credits course on ”Religious expressions in Indian culture” was arranged, a course consisting of seminars, lectures and films, studying religions and culture in India of today, focusing on Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Islam.
The late Professor William Smith (1942-2009), Professor of South Asian Literatures and Cultures in Uppsala 2004-2009 had a research focus on the Ramayana traditions in New Indo-Aryan Languages in Eastern India. His latest research during 2007-2009, however, was mainly concerned with Mahabharata traditions in Bengal and adjacent regions. Unfortunately, his untimely death prevented him from getting the book published himself. A posthumous publication is planned in collaboration with Dr. Mirja Juntunen.
Before he took up the position as Professor of South Asian languages and cultures at Uppsala University in October 2004, he worked at the Section for Indology, Department of Oriental Languages, Stockholm University.
His work was appreciated worldwide. His untimely death was a loss for indological and South Asian studies. Professor Heinz Werner Wessler, currently a guest professor at the Dept. of Linguistics and Philology, Uppsala University, wrote an obituary for SASNET. Read his text.
William Smith was a scholar teaching in Hindi, Bengali and Cultural history since many years. He defended his doctoral dissertation titled ”The Myth of Manasa. A Study in the Popular Hinduism of Medieval Bengal” at Stockholm University in 1976. It was later published as a book titled ”The One-Eyed Goddess: A Study of the Manasa Mangal” (read a 1982 review of this book by Tarapada Mukherjee in the Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies).
Over the years he has spent long time in India, especially in Kolkata, West Bengal, and over the years he has written lots of learned, but still popular, articles in magazines such as Orientaliska Studier, and Sydasien. His research interests are in the fields of Bengali, Hindi, Sanskrit, and Indian medieval literature and drama.
In the publication series ”Stockholm Studies in Indian Languages and Culture” he published two books, ”Ramayana Traditions in Eastern India (Assam, Bengal, Orissa”in 1988 and ”Patterns in North Indian Hagiography” in 2000. In January 2003 a volume called ”Maithili Studies” was published as no 4 in the publication series. The book, edited by William Smith while still being a Professor at Stockholm University, consists of papers presented at the Stockholm Conference on Maithili Language and Literature, arranged at the Dept. of Oriental Languages, Stockholm University, in August 1996.
In a separate publication series William Smith published a ”Bengali Reference Grammar” in 1997, as the first in the Stockholm Oriental Textbook Series.
In recent years, Prof. Smith worked on two research projects:
– Tunnel of Love. The Erotic Origins of the Kalika Mangal. A project on the Kalika Mangal or the Vidya Sundar, as it is also known. It is certainly the oddest theme in Bengali mangal literature. Mangal poems are religious epics otherwise based on regional myths which tell the story of how deities such as the Snake Goddess Manasa or the Sun God Dharma spread their cults among mortals.
– The Popular Mahabharatas of Eastern India. The Mahabharata, the great Indian epic, took its present form around the year 400. Composed in Sanskrit, it is said to be the longest poem in world literature. Since Sanskrit could only be comprehended by the educated, new versions of the epic began to appear in the spoken languages of eastern India around a thousand years later. These include the Oriya Mahabharata of Sarala Dasa (1475), the Bengali Mahabharatas of Kashiram Das (17th century) and Kabi Sanjay (early 16th century), and the Assamese Mahabharata of Rama Sarasvati (mid-16th century). Though these works are classified by literary historians as translation literature, they are, in fact, essentially new works which reflect the many changes which had taken place in Indian society since the original epic first appeared. The research for this project was supported by research grants from särskilda fakultetsresursen för forskning vid humanistiska fakuteten vid Stockholms Universitet 1999-2001.
Professor Emerita Gunilla Gren-Eklund (photo to the right) has been involved in a large number of research projects through the years within the fields of Indian Philosophy (especially logics, language philosophy and grammar), the diffusion of Indian cultural traditions in South East Asia, Indo-European, Indic and Burmese language structures, and Indian cultural phenomena in general. She defended her doctoral dissertation titled ”A Study of Nominal Sentences in the Oldest Upanisads” in 1978, and was Professor at the department till 2003 when she retired.
Later she has worked on the tradition of Sanskrit poetics and on contact between languages and language families in the Indian subcontinent in ancient times. She has also participated in a research work on Munda languages, within the framework of a project hosted by the Division for Linguistics and Computer Lingustics, and in cooperation with the Central Institute of Indian Languages, CIIL, Mysore, India. The project was called ”Digital documentation of Indian minority languages”. The research project eventually led up to an extensive web based documentation on Indian languages, and a web site has been constructed.
For more than 10 years Gunilla Gren Eklund has edited the magazine Orientalia Suecana. It is an International journal of Indological, Iranian, Semitic and Turkic Studies, published from Uppsala since 1952. The journal is published with aid of grants from the Swedish Research Council. More information on Orientalia Suecana.
More information on Prof. Gren-Eklund’s research (as a pdf-file)
Besides Gunilla Gren-Eklund was actively involved in the creation of the Nordic Centre in India. In August 2001 she was for example given a SASNET planning grant for a project on ”Planning of meetings and courses for students at the Nordic Centre in New Delhi”.
A comprehensive report on Studying Indian Languages was also prepared by Gunilla Gren Eklund and Stig Toft Madsen, Lecturer, International Development Studies at Roskilde University, Denmark, based on experiences from two journeys to USA and India in 2001 (the latter financed by the planning grant). The report is available as a pdf-file. This work has been instrumental in setting up the Nordic Centre in India, and arranging summer courses in Hyderabad from 2003 and onwards.
Between 1999 and 2006, Prof. Gren Eklund collaborated in a research project run by the Department of Oriental Languages at Stockholm University (but with shared responsibility by several universities in Sweden). As part of a major comparative research project on ”Literature and Literary History in Global Contexts” Gren Eklund was a member of the Working group 1, focusing on ”Notions of Literature Across Cultures”. The project was funded by the Swedish Research Council. In late 2006, the project finally materialised in a set of four volumes being published by Walter de Gruyter in Berlin & New York. In Volume No. 1, Gunilla Gren Eklund has written an article titled ”Traditional Indian learning – text, language and poetics”. More information.
In June 2008, a volume with Prof. Gren-Eklund’s selected papers and lectures was published as a festschrift in celebration of her 70th birthday. The book was edited by Dr. Anna-Pya Sjödin, and distributed through Uppsala University’s publication series Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis: South Asian Studies volume 2. It contains the most important papers and articles that Prof. Gren-Eklund has written, but also three hitherto unpublished lectures. The content varies from Indian language tradition in Burma, via Indian hermeneutics and Sanskrit poetics, to articles concerned with Indian philosophy and religion.
The volume was launched at a half-day seminar at Uppsala University, organised on 2 June 2008. Prof. Eivind Kahrs from Cambridge University held a lecture in honour of Prof. Gren-Eklund. His presentation was titled ”Why Sanskrit? Some reflections on the notion of karma”.
• PhD Candidate Peter Larsson (photo to the right) is working on a dissertation project called ”Using Cultural Heritage in a Political Discourse”, where he studies the dravidian nationalistic organisations in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. These organisations use their cultural heritage (especially the Tamil language) in their struggle for preserving Tamil as the official language in the state, against their opponents, i e the Congress Party. He also studies how ”the other side” responds to this by propagating the ”Indian” cultural heritage. Peter Larsson’s research material mainly consists of newspapers, pamphlets, speeches and books, and the period of the study is the time of the violent language campaigns around 1965.
Being a student of Sanskrit and modern Tamil Peter Larsson was unofficially responsible and the only teacher in the Tamil courses (on A and B level) at the department between 2002 and the autumn of 2004. The Tamil language courses are however now ”resting” because of lack of students and no lecturer or Professor with sufficient competence available.
Peter Larsson has also given several lectures in the department’s summer courses and courses in Indian Cultural History. He participated (without paper) in the World Sanskrit Conference in Torino in 2000 and in Helsinki 2003. He was also teaching Tamil in the courses previously organised by the department up to D-level. Currently no such courses are given. More information about the Tamil courses.
• Anna-Pya Sjödin (photo to the left) defended her doctoral dissertation titled "The Happening of Tradition. Vallabha on Anumana in Nyayalilavati” on Saturday 12 January 2007. The research project deals with the philosophical development of the Nyaya/Navya-nyaya school of Hinduism. It includes a translation and analysis of the Anumana section of Vallabha's Nyayalilavati, a medieval Sanskrit text on deduction. It is a study in philology as well as in history of ideas, using hermeneutic theories of interpretation. Anna-Pya Sjödin’s research interest also includes the formation of Indian post-colonial theories. Prof. Em. Gunilla Gren-Eklund has been her supervisor.
At the dissertation, the faculty opponent was Professor Purushottama Bilimoria, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australien.
Anna-Pya Sjödin also teaches Philosophy at the School of Culture and Communication at Södertörn University College in Huddinge, courses on Buddhism, Materialism and Hinduism.
On 22 October 2007, the Swedish Research Council decided to give SEK 3.3 million as a three-year grant to Anna-Pya Sjödin,for a post-doc project titled ”The little girl who knew her brother would be coming home: cognition and knowledge in Nyaya-Vaisesika” during the period 2008–10. More information about the Research Council grants within the fields of Humanities and Social Sciences 2007.
In 2006, Anna-Pya Sjödin published an article entitled ”The happening of tradition: Vallabha on anumana in Nyayalilavati” in South Asian Studies 1 (Uppsala: ACTA), and in 2009 she has contributed with an article titled “Postcolonial Understandings of Indian Epistemes: Towards a Diversity of Interpretational Stances in Indology” in a volume entitled Postcolonial Challenges to the Study of Religions, edited by W. Pfändnter & D. Thurfjell.
• PhD candidate Jonas Tiljander is working on his dissertation project ”Studies of the purvaranga ceremony in Natyasastra”. The project is however currently dormant.
• PhD candidate Urban Lindqvist is working on a project in Comparative Indo-European Philology. The title of his dissertation project is ”Traditional formulaic language and metrics in Rigveda”. The project is however currently dormant.
Earlier South Asia related research at the department
In 1982, Dr. Ruth Walldén defended her doctoral dissertation titled ”Studies in Dravidian phonology and vocabulary”. The dissertation was published in the series Studia Indoeuropaea Upsaliensia. Dr. Walldén first came to India/Tamil Nadu in the 1950s, where she worked at the Swedish Mission Hospital in Tiruputtur. After returning to Sweden she taught Tamil at Uppsala University for many years. Ruth Walldén passed away in November 2008 at an age of 91 years.
Hindi is taught at the department up to D-level. The teachers are Heinz Werner Wessler, Anna-Pya Sjödin, Christiane Schaefer, Peter Larson and Mirja Juntunen.
Since the Fall 2009, Dr. Heinz Werner Wessler (photo) is in charge of the advanced Hindi courses. Dr. Wessler has otherwise, since 2002, been affiliated to the Division of Indology, Institut für Orient- und Asienwissenschaften, University of Bonn, Germany, where he was in charge of both Hindi and Urdu, as well as modern Indian literature, history of Indian religions, and modern Indian history. Besides his academic qualifications, Dr. Wessler has also been working as a free-lance journalist and as General editor of the quarterly German language magazine SÜDASIEN, published by Südasienbüro e.V. in Bonn.
Dr. Wessler defended his doctoral thesis in 1993 at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. It was entited ”Zeit und Geschichte im Vishnupurana” (Time and History in the Vishnu Purana).
He is now working on Contemporary Dalit Literature in Hindi. The former “untouchables” of India have
started to utter the Dalit voice in several Indian languages including Hindi in recent decades and to discover genuine Dalit perspectives on the history of cultural and literary history.
Several translations and articles have already been published. A monographic publication is planned for 2012. At the same time, the edition of a volume with about 10 research papers is planned in collaboration with Eddy Rodriguez (University of Mumbai) on “Dalit voices beyond victimization”.
On Monday 6 December 2010, Heinz Werner Wessler held a SASNET lecture on ”The Liberating Force of Hindi and ‘Goddess English‘. Language Policies and Identity Politics in India” at Lund University. More information, including an abstract.
On 7–8 March 2011, Heinz Werner was the keynote speaker at a conference on ”The international Form of Hindi Literature” (Hindi sahitya ka antarrastriy svarup) at the University of Mumbai, India. More than 700 academics, mostly
readers, lecturers and professors for Hindi from universities and colleges all over India participated in the event that was organised by the Department of Hindi, University of Mumbai. More information.
In July 2010, he was the main coordinator behind the organisation of the 21st European Conference on Modern South Asian Studies, held in Bonn. More information about the ECMSAS conference.
Tilak Raj Chopra and Heinz Werner Wessler are working on a project on Sikh literature in Old Panjabi and Braj. A selection from the holy scriptures of the Sikhs in German translation with extensive commentary will be published soon (“Verlag der
In 2010, the department had a post-doc position for Hindi and modern Indian studies. The position was taken by Dr. Alessandra Consolaro, lecturer from Turino university (Italy). She has written on modern Hindi literature and linguistics, and gender studies, and is currently working on a project on ”New writing in the Hindi literary field”. She also teaches modern politics and society in India. More information.
Together with Heinz Werner Wessler, she is preparing a special section of the journal Orientalia Suecana issue of 2011 on ”Dissent, opposition and minority in contemporary literature and film from South Asia and the South Asian Diaspora”, going back to a panel during the 21. European Conference on Modern South Asian Studies in Bonn (Germany) in July 2010.
Dr. Mirja Juntunen is also connected to the Section for Indology, Department of Oriental Languages, Stockholm University, where she defended her doctoral dissertation in 2004 (more information on Mirja’s research). She was in charge of an Internet based 10 credits course that Uppsala University ran for a few years. The latest course ”Hindi på Internet" was introduced in 2005.
From September 2006 Dr. Juntunen was appointed as Substitute Director on 50 % basis for the Nordic Centre in India consortium, NCI, its secretariat based at Uppsala University till 2009 (but now moved to Kuopio, Finland). More information.
The department has an agreement with Karlstad University to offer 10 credits courses in Hindi Language studies for Swedish students participating in Karlstad University’s India Programme in Varanasi, India. This programme runs every year in the Fall semester, and the students study Hindi simultaneously with studies in History of Religion or Cultural Geography. It started in 2006 when a group of eight students from Karlstad enjoyed these lessons, held in an outdoor courtyard in Varanasi, and attained 10 extra university credits. The basic Hindi studies were of great benefit in everyday situations on the streets, in the bazaar and during field work studies. More information about Karlstad University’s India Programme.
Web page: http://www.uu.se/en/node698?aKod=JIA&lasar=11%2F12
Contact person: Associate professor Christiane Schaefer
A study programme is organised with courses, which are carried out up to D-level. A new 20 credits A-level course started in the Fall 2007 (A B-level course is run during the Spring 2008, more information).
Christiane Schaefer is working as a research assistant in Comparative Indo-European Philology. Besides teaching she is working on a research project regarding the Vedic Sanskrit language.
Over the autumnal term 2010, the department had a vicar for Sanskrit and Indo-European language studies: Dr. Leonid Kulikov, replacing Christiane Schaefer this term, is a senior researcher from Leiden university (Holland). His specialisation is in Vedic and classical Sanskrit, syntactic and morphological typology, historical linguistics and diachronic typology and the Maldives (language, history, culture). More information on his personal web page.
The Section for Asian and African Languages and Cultures was a driving force in creating the interdisciplinary South Asian studies masters programme at Uppsala University. Already in the Fall 2001 Professsor Gunilla Gren-Eklund (who retired in 2003) was involved with setting up of a 80 credits South Asian Studies course with a multidisciplinary approach, as a co-operation project between the departments of the Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences at Uppsala University.
In the Fall 2002 this course was developed into a full 60 credits Masters Programme, and from the Fall 2003 a further developed multidisciplinary Masters programme in South Asian Studies was run at the university. The Degree of Master of South Asian Studies (Magisterexamen i sydasienkunskap) offered students an interdisciplinary framework for the study of peoples and nations in the South Asian continent. The programme brought together scholars from the humanities, social sciences and language faculties to give a broad introduction to the region’s multifaceted societies and histories and an opportunity to focus closely on one specific area of study. The aim was to provide integrated, interdisciplinary analyses of South Asian social and political processes and the ability to communicate in one of the regional languages.
Since 2008, the department runs a new three-year 180 ECTS B.A. programme in Oriental Studies (Orientalistikprogrammet), focusing on the Middle East, North Africa, Central and South Asia. Half the time is devoted to language studies, and the rest to studies of political, religious, economic, and literary conditions in obth the past and present. The programme is divided into four branches, where the language to study is Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Hindi respectively.
During the second year, one semester should be spent at a language institute in the region of studies, and during the third year, special courses in language and literature, political science, and economics will be given. More information about the programme.
Christiane Schaefer is in charge of the Oriental Studies Programme with Hindi studies.
SAS is a interdisciplinary seminar group that was formed in 2006 among researchers and PhD candidates that are engaged in South Asia related research at Uppsala University. Several of the group members have belonged to the South Asian Languages and Cultures – among them Peter Larsson, Mirja Juntunen, Anna-Pya Sjödin and Gunilla Gren-Eklund.
The convenor of the group has been Dr. Willy Pfändtner, Ethics and Philosophy of Religion, Faculty of Theology; and other members are Gunnel Cederlöf, Leos Müller and Maria Ågren from the Dept. of History; Beppe Karlsson from the Dept. of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology; Anju Saxena from Linguistics and Computer Lingustics; Kajsa Ahlstrand from Church and Mission Studies, Faculty of Theology; and Eva Hellman from History of Religions, Faculty of Theology.
Seminar series are held every semester. In the Fall 2006, a series included a lecture on 18 October by Prof. Andreas Nehring, Dept. of Theology of Christian Mission and Religious Studies at University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, about “The Roaring of the Tiger: Western Encounters with Hindu Spirituality – Dialogue or Exploitation”. Dr. Rajsekhar Basu from the Department of History, University of Calcutta, lectured on 16 November about ”Reinterpreting Dalit Movements in India”; and Dr. Stuart Blackburn from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, lectured on 18 December about “Folklore and Oral Traditions in India: the Case of Tibeto-Burman Oral Traditions in Arunachal Pradesh”.
During the Fall 2007, Prof. Robert Eric Frykenberg from University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA, and Prof. Mahesh Rangarajan, Delhi University, India, lectured. Read the full programme (as a pdf-file).
The Spring 2008 series starts with a lecture with Dr. Thomas Blom Hansen, University of Amsterdam. He talked about ”The India that Does Not Shine: India’s Muslims and new economies of fear”, on Monday 17 March 2008. Prof. Blom Hansen is an internationally acclaimed scholar with major work on religious and political violence in urban India. His main theoretical interests relate the anthropology of politics, the postcolonial state and sovereignty. More recently he has done research on religious revival and the everyday meanings of freedom and belonging in post-apartheid South Africa. His publications include ”The Saffron Wave. Democracy and Hindu nationalism in Modern India” (Princeton 1999); ”Wages of Violence. Naming and identity in postcolonial Bombay” (Princeton 2001), and two co-edited volumes with Finn Stepputat, ”States of Imagination. Ethnographic Explorations of the Postcolonial State” (Duke 2001) and ”Sovereign Bodies. Citizens, Migrants and States in the postcolonial world” (Princeton 2005).
Dr. Mirja Juntunen lectured on ”Language Activism among the Kurmi Community in Jharkhand, West-Bengal and Orissa”, on Tuesday 1 April 2008. During the recent years the Kurmi community in West-Bengal, Jharkhand and Orissa has intensified their activities for (re)constructing a tribal identity in order to strengthen their economic, political, social and legal status in the society. The main instrument, and argument, in this attempt is the Kurmali language, which according to the Kurmis, is a Dravidian language. However, Kurmali seems to be one of those Indo-Aryan languages which involves Dravidian, Munda and Tibeto-Burman substrata. The ultimate aim of the language activities seems to be that of establishing a status of indigenous people and to be included in the list of ‘scheduled tribes’. The lecture was part of a seminar series organised by the Forum for Advanced Studies in Arts, Languages and Theology (SALT) at Uppsala University in collaboration with the South Asia Seminar.
Programme for the South Asia Seminar in the English Park Campus, autumn 2008
Tuesday 16 September 2008, 10-12, room 16-0043
”Litteratur och globalisering. Ett sätt att tolka skönlitteratur” (Literature and Globalisation. One way of interpreting Fiction)
with Prof. Margareta Petersson, Dept. of Comparative Literature, Växjö University. About the relation between theory and practice, based on her book ”Globaliseringens ansikten: Den indo-engelska romanen”, published in 2008.
The book deals with Indian authors writing in English, a tradition since 150 years. The problems regarding authentic or hybrid status of cultures, and the importance of one’s own cultural concepts for the way you interpret lierary works. The book focuses on texts by Raja Rao, Anita Desai, Salman Rushdie, M.G. Vassanji, Amitav Ghosh and Arundhati Roy.
Friday 26 September 2008, 10:15–12:00, room 1-1042
Heike Moser, Universität Tübingen, Seminar für Indologie, taledk about ”The concept of 'invented tradition' and Kutiyattam, the traditional Sanskrit-theatre of South India – a case study”. Kuttiyattam is the only surviving traditional Sanskrit theatre on the whole of the Indian subcontinent. Down to the 1950’s it was exclusively performed in prosperous temples in Kerala as a kind of ritual theatre. Only Brahmins and nobles were allowed to watch a performance. Nowadays pupils from other castes, even foreigners, are allowed to learn and perform Kuttiyattam. Being a foreigner and becoming a Kuttiyattam actress made Heike Moser not only a part of the tradition but also a symbol of transcultural flow in a globalised world. Since the late 1990s this flow is mirrored again and again: Experimental theatre groups in Asia as well as in the West work with performing techniques of Kuttiyattam, traditional actors, actresses and musicians include new ideas and patterns in their performances. This development and its reception illustrate perfectly the problems of the concept of “invented tradition” and related terms.
Thursday 2 October 2008, 13:15–15:00, room 1-1060
Dr. Gunnel Cederlöf, Dept. of History, Uppsala University, talked about ”Landscapes and the Law: the social process of making law". It is a lecture and seminar at the crossroads of environmental, colonial, and legal history, based on her recently published book ”Landscapes and the Law” (Permanent Black). She will examine the role of law in consolidating early colonial rule in South India from the perspective of people’s access to nature in forests and hill tracts. The seminar was organised in collaboration with the Historical Seminar.
Thursday 23 April 2009, 13.15–15.00
Dr. Rohan D'Souza, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi, India, lectured on ”Social engineering, environment and nationalism: On big dams in India”. Rohan D'Souza is a faculty member of Centre for Study of Science Policy, School of Social Science at JNU. His work focuses on some of the major debates in India's environmental history and particularly the interrelation of flood control, ownership, and production, and their implication for river and delta ecologies. Among his publications are ”Drowned and Dammed Colonial Capitalism and Flood Control in Eastern India” (OUP 2006). Venue: Dept. of History, Room 1-1060, Thunbergsvägen 3 A (Campus Engelska parken), Uppsala. More information, and links to two texts by d’Souza that can be downloaded.
Monday 27 April 2009, 14.15–16.00
Dipesh Chakrabarty, Professor of History, South Asian Languages, and Civilizations at Chicago University, USA, lectured in Uppsala on ”Between globalization and global warming: Some thoughts on human history”. Prof. Chakrabarty is also a Faculty Fellow of the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory, holds a visiting position at the Research School of Humanities at the Australian National University, and an Honorary Professorial Fellowship with the School of Historical Studies at the University of Melbourne, Australia. He is a founding member of the editorial collective of Subaltern Studies, a co-editor of Critical Inquiry, and a founding editor of Postcolonial Studies. He has also served on the editorial boards of the American Historical Review and Public Culture. Chakrabarty's books include: Rethinking Working-Class History: Bengal 1890-1940 (Princeton: 1989, 2000); and Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (Princeton, 2000; second edn. forthcoming in 2007). Venue: Dept. of History, Room 1-1062, Thunbergsvägen 3 A (Campus Engelska parken), Uppsala. More information, and link to a short text by Chakrabarty that can be downloaded.
On Sunday 8 May 2011, 16–19, a Rabindranath Tagore 150 years anniversary celebration was held in Uppsala. It was organized by the Uppsala University Seminar for South Asian Studies, and a programme was prepared by Dr. Heinz Werner Wessler, Dept. of Linguistics and Philology. He also held a speech on Tagore’s life and work. Dr. Ferdinando Sardella, History of Religions, Faculty of Theology, then lectured on Tagore and Religion.
Trio Creation, with Jonas Landahl, Suranjana Ghosh and Iti Malo from Uppsala, participated with a cultural programme based on Tagore songs, performed on Tablas and Sitar.
A range of beautiful Tagore songs (Rabindrasangheet) were also sung and played by Bubu Munshi Eklund from Lund on Harmonium.
The event, that drew an audience of more than 100 people, was also attended by the Ambassadors from both Bangladesh and India, Mr. Gousal Azam Sarker and Mr. Ashok Sajjanhar respectively, who both gave inspired presentations.
Venue: Ihresalen, Engelska parken, Thunbergsvägen 3 H. SASNET’s deputy director, Lars Eklund, also participated in the seminar. See his photos from the event.
|Heinz Werner Wessler, Anju Saxena, Gunnel Cederlöf and Christiane Schaefer with Lars Eklund from SASNET.|
The following day, on Monday 9 May 2011, a meeting was organised by researchers involved in Uppsala University’s Seminar for South Asian Studies, with Lars Eklund from SASNET.
Heinz Werner Wessler, Christiane Schaefer, and Anju Saxena, all from the Dept. of Linguistics and Philology, and Gunnel Cederlöf from the Dept. of History, presented among other things their current plans to form a more formalised Forum for South Asian Studies at the university. They also informed about discussions being held with the Embassy of India and ICCR to establish an ICCR professorship at Uppsala University along the same lines that Lund University has since 2010.
Lars Eklund stressed SASNET’s continued commitment to support such South Asia oriented intiatives at all Swedish universities, in spite of the fact that SASNET since 2010 is only funded by Lund University. Collaborative efforts in the field of establishing masters programmes in South Asian Studies is one specific field where SASNET could play a key role.