For the second year, SASNET invited researchers at Lund University to apply for a one month position (”ansökningsmånad”) at SASNET in which to prepare a research application with a South Asian focus. The purpose is to promote more South Asia-related research at Lund University. Members of all faculties and disciplines at the University were invited. Applications were especially encouraged from the faculties of Social Sciences, Humanities and Theology, Fine and Performing Arts, and Law.
Dr. Maria Tonini's plan was to write an application entitled ”A new Lesbian Visibility? Queer Women and Social Media in Contemporary India”. While issues of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) sexuality in India have been at the centre of attention in recent years due to the complex legal developments of the case against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalises sodomy and other sexual practices considered ‘against the order of nature’, Maria states that a large part of the debate (both in the media and in academia) surrounding sexual minorities had focused mainly on gay men and partially on transgender persons. The lives and voices of lesbian women remain still largely invisible and unheard; and when lesbian women are the subject of media and scholarly attention, their existence is either instrumentalised for sensationalistic purposes (such as in the cases of lesbian marriages or lesbian suicides), or framed within the context of queer/feminist activism, gendered and class-based marginalisation and cultural representation.
Dr. Ted Svensson's plan was to write an application entitled ”Divine Ganges, Profane Development: Governing Pollution, Flood, and Well-Being”, revolving around the basic tension between notions of the river Ganges that stem from religious and secular conceptions of its meaning. These are often incompatible and result in disparate and dissonant ideas regarding how to manage the river in order to respond to its present state of pollution, degradation, and periodical capriciousness. If given research funding, Ted intends to carry out the project in collaboration with Dr. Sammyh Khan, Lecturer in Social Ssychology at Keele University, United Kingdom. Khan has previously been involved in research on pilgrimage impacts on social identity in relation to the Prayagh Magh Mela, with a particular emphasis on social identity at collective events and the manner in which social identification informs and enables increased stress-related self-efficacy and well-being.
The previous call for applications in 2015 received a very positive response. One of the granted applications, by Ebbe Nordlander at the Division of Chemical Physics, Department of Chemistry, later resulted in a Swedish Research Links (SRL) grant from the Swedish Research Council for a three-year project entitled “Development of Bio-inspired Catalysts for Oxidative Degradation of Organic Pollutants in Wastewater”.