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Symposium for PhD students (2002)

Report from the SASNET Symposium for PhD candidates and post-docs 25–27 October 2002, at Marstrand.

General information

SASNET arranged a symposium 25–27 October, 2002, for Swedish PhD students and post-docs engaged in research related to South Asia, at Marstrands Varmbadhus, north of Göteborg.
The main content of the symposium was to discuss the situation of PhD students in South Asian Studies or South Asia relevant studies (recruitment, fieldwork, supervision, finishing, post-doc situation). Some experienced supervisors and PhD students presented their views. Important points to discuss were:

  • recruitment
  • finance
  • coursework, languages, the need for summer and winter schools
  • seminars, workshops, conferences
  • need for and room for inter-disciplinary co-operation in PhD research
  • supervision
  • publishing
  • post-doc positions and possibilities

Conference programme

A total number of 46 participants took part in the symposium. 

Friday 25 October:

The first evening was dedicated to gathering of the conference group. An introduction and welcome speech was held by Staffan Lindberg, SASNET co-ordinator/director, after which the organising committee presented the programme and the focal points for the conference.
Professor Lindberg underlined the importance of the symposium and the role of discussing the situation for South Asia related research and the situation for PhD students and post-docs, not the least because ”today’s PhD students will become tomorrow’s professors”.

Staffan Lindberg and Lars Eklund, SASNET webmaster and deputy director, then presented the activities of the Swedish South Asian Studies Network, and had a frutful discussion on this with the 45 participating PhD students, post-docs and senior researchers.

Saturday 26 October was devoted to two major session; on INPUT – Recruitment, financing and supervision; and OUTREACH – Publishing, seminars, workshops and other activities during the PhD work, followed by the third and final session on Sunday 27 October

General feature:

All the three sessions were organised in a similar fashion. They began with presentations by two ”challengers”, selected PhD candidates, who presented a catalogue of relevant demands and questions in relation to the theme discussed. After that followed one ore two so called ”champions” – senior researchers and resource persons invited, who followed up the matters that the PhD students had brought to attention.
Then followed group discussions, in four groups, where the seniors made up a separate group. These discussions were afterwards summarized at a new joint session, wishes were presented and conclusions drawn.

Saturday 26 October:

The session was initially prepared by Kristina Myrvold and Katarina Plank, both PhD students from the Dept of History of Religion, Lund University.
They had written a basis for discussion on the theme ”Input”. 

Neither of them could finally attend the symposium, and therefore the preparations for the session had been taken over by Ulla Thoresen, from the same department at Lund University.

9.00–9.10 Introduction (Ulla Thoresen)
9.10–9.40 Wimal Pathmasiri and Lisa Eklund (PhD students) – see photo
9.40–10.00 Staffan Lindberg (senior resource person from the Dept of Sociology, Lund University)
Group discussions 10.15–11.00, followed by a final general session with conclusions of the group discussions, 11–12

After lunch the participants made a walk around Marstrand and up to the majestic fortress guarding the town. Hans Egnéus, professor of Human Ecology, Göteborg University, spent his childhood in Marstrand and was therefore the natural guide on this sight-seeing tour.

A basis for discussion was prepared by Christer Norström and Eva-Maria Hardtmann from the Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University. 

Just like in the morning it was divided into three parts:

14.00–14.10 Introduction (Christer Norström)
14.10–14.50 Christer Norström (PhD student) and Pamela Price (senior)
14.50–15.30 Tashfeen Ahmad (PhD student) and Bo Lindblad (senior).
15.30–15.45 Gunnel Cederlöf concluded and introduced the group discussions. Followed by group discussions 16-17, and a final general session 17–18.

Senior resource persons: Pamela Price, from the Department of History, University of Oslo, Bo Lindblad, from Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, and Gunnel Cederlöf, Dept of History and Dept of Cultural Anthropology, Uppsala University.

In the evening Björn Hettne, Professor at PADRIGU, Göteborg University, and chairman of SASNET, lectured about ”One year after 11 September – what happened in South Asia and why?”. A similar text by Hettne was published in the September 2002 issue of SYDASIEN. 

Sunday 27 October:

A basis for discussion was prepared by Malin Arvidson, Department of Sociology, Lund University. 

9.00 – 9.15: Introduction by Malin Arvidson
9.15 – 9. 45: Jon Sigurdson (senior) gives his views on the topic
9.45 – 10.30: Björn Hettne (senior) and Jan Magnusson (post-doc) comment on what has been said, and give their views.
11.00 – 12.30: Group discussions and a final general session.

Senior resource persons: Jon Sigurdson, who is in charge of the Swedish School of Advanced Asia Pacific studies (SSAAPS) with funding from STINT and Riksbanken during 2002-2006. He presented his programme and the experiences from it; and Björn Hettne from PADRIGU, Göteborg University, presented plans for a suggested Nordic Research school based at Göteborg University.

12.30 Final Conference Session: Summary and Conclusions

13.00 Conference closing with lunch, and departure from Marstrand