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Nordic Conference on South Asian Studies for Young Scholars (2009)

The First Nordic Conference on South Asian Studies for Young Scholars took place on August 17 to 19, 2009 at the Falsterbo Conference Retreat in the wonderful region of Skåne, Sweden.

The conference welcomed all masters students, Ph.D. candidates, and postdoctoral researchers from the Nordic Countries interested or working in the field of South Asian Studies.

Goals and structure of the conference

The main goal of the conference was to discuss various issues which young scholars face in doing research focused on South Asia – from organising their fieldwork to publishing the results of their investigations and locating a job.

In pursuit of its overall objective, the conference included plenary and thematic sessions addressing issues related to South Asian Studies from both disciplinary and multidisciplinary points of view. The themes discussed in the plenary sessions were the following:

  • Input: Career Planning and Passion for South Asian Studies
  • Outreach: Publication, Conference, Teaching, and Other Activities
  • Output: Networking and Future Research

On the first day, all young scholars had the opportunity of presenting and discussing their own research projects in parallel sessions divided into five thematic groups and supervised by senior chairpersons. The five thematic groups were:

  • History, Religion and Culture
  • Society, Development and Gender
  • Nature, Health and Environment
  • Politics, Economics and International relations
  • Technology, Business and Innovations

On the second and third days, the participants gathered in three plenary sessions for discussions on themes related to research and academic careers in South Asian Studies.

In order to generate fresh and novel questions the plenary sessions began with presentations by two or more “challengers” – junior scholars on the masters, doctoral or postdoctoral levels – who had prepared questions on issues linked to the respective themes. In response, two or more “champions” – senior researchers and resource persons – followed up the questions. All participants would then gather in either thematic or multidisciplinary groups to continue the discussion for approximately one hour. At the end, all would again meet for a joint session to summarize the discussions and draw conclusions.

The Falsterbo retreat area where the conference took place helped facilitate for creating better networking opportunities and facilitated the informal communication of all participants.