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2017: a productive year for SASNET

2017 was a very productive and successful year for us at SASNET. Our researchers and staff published books, peer-reviewed articles and made over 40 public appearances. Our many followers on social media were continuously kept updated on research and other activities. During 2018 SASNET will continue to grow as Sweden's leading center for South Asian Studies.

Research 

During 2017 SASNET has been engaged in six research projects. sasnet

1. Andreas was part of Associate Professor Kristina Myrvold’s project on the use of religious miniature scriptures during World War I at Linnaeus University. His part of the projected started in February 2016. The research project investigates the production, distribution, and use of miniature scriptures by Muslim and Sikh soldiers from the province of Punjab in India who fought for the British Army at the Western front during World War I between 1914 and 1918. This project ended in December 2017. 

2. Admir’s research at SASNET uses conceptual history, transnational history, and historical sociology to examine how Afghan refugeehood and asylumhood has been constructed and contested by the state, humanitarian NGOs, international organizations, immigration attorneys, voluntary associations, and refugees themselves during the Cold War and the War on Terror. He focuses on Afghans in the Swedish region Scania, the San Francisco Bay Area, and potentially northwestern Pakistan somewhere down the road. During 2017, Admir has conducted over 60 interviews in Sweden and the United States, and conducted archival research in the archives of the Swedish Migration Agency and the Swedish Afghanistan Committee, among others. This project will continue throughout 2018. 

3. As a SASNET researcher, Maria Tonini has explored patterns of inclusion and exclusion as they are articulated in digital media in India and Sweden, with special focus on social media platforms and user-generated content. Issues of interest include: online harassment, marginalization, and visibility. She plans to focus specifically on individuals and groups in minoritized positions such as women and queer-identifying people. The objective of this initial study is to gather insights on the ways in which individual and collective identities are shaped, articulated, enabled and disabled through digital media. This project ended in December 2017.

4. Another project that SASNET has funded during 2017 is the South Asia Media Project (SAMP), which aims to study and report on the growing digital media landscape in South Asia together with the development of the Swedish media landscape. Moreover, it aims to create a forum for exchange of ideas, perspectives and future outlooks on the South Asian and Swedish media landscape. It also aims to build up a network of South Asian and Swedish media researchers and journalists to discuss and exchange ideas about work methods, trends within the media industry and business models.

5. The project “Comparative Environmental and Economic Analysis of Biomass Waste Utilization Strategies for Biofuel Production in Sweden and India” was conducted by Dr. Shveta Soam and Professor Pål Börjesson at the Department of Environmental and Energy System Studies. The project analyzed the utilization of lignocellulosic waste for biofuels production in India and Sweden. Their research focused on the environmental assessment of biochemical conversion pathways of converting lignocellulose waste into renewable fuels like ethanol and biogas. The aim behind Dr. Shveta Soam and Professor Börjesson’s current research project is to analyze the environmental benefits of biofuels and their ability to reduce global warming. This project, which started in 2014 (partly funded by SASNET), has already resulted in two peer reviewed articles: “Global Warming Potential and Energy Analysis of Second Generation Ethanol Production from Rice Straw in India” (2016), and “Life Cycle Assessment of Rice Straw Utilization Practices in India” (2017).

6. Since 2010, Professor Helle Rydström and Dr. Anindita Datta have collaborated in both research and teaching. The 2017 SASNET funded project is entitled “Cross-cultural and Cross-disciplinary Collaborations: Gender, Space, and Precariousness in Asia”. Underlying their collaboration is the exploration of gender, space, and precariousness in Asia. Their research seeks to redress the paucity of knowledge about ways in which gendered spaces in rural and urban settings in Asia constitute particular arenas which provide the socio-cultural, political, and economic conditions that allow for the abuse of various groups – especially women, girls, and other marginalized and vulnerable groups such as ethnic minorities and people with disabilities. The ways in which gender, space, and precariousness underpins their collaboration is indicated by their jointly authored publications and Linnaeus-Palme program. The Linnaeus-Palme program, with a focus on gender and space, was initiated in 2013 and granted funding for two sequential phases, with the second face closing in the fall of 2016. Their collaboration under the Erasmus Mundus program, granted to Dr. Datta in 2012, was devoted to identifying the scientific and pedagogical synergy effects of integrating gender and space. The Linnaeus-Palme program as well as the Erasmus Mundus program enabled Dr. Datta to spend longer periods as Visiting Fellow at Lund University, allowing her to develop close relationships with the scholarly community at Lund University. The collaboration between the Department of Gender Studies at Lund University and the Department of Geography at the Delhi School of Economics has led to good scholarly and pedagogical results for both departments. In this project, Dr. Datta and Professor Rydström will build on the solid platform which they have developed over the years by infusing a Global South perspective on space and gender in the Lund Gender Studies Department on the one hand, and strengthening the gender component in the Delhi Geography Department on the other.

Research dissemination

In order to disseminate news about research and news on the South Asian region SASNET has begun collaborating with the magazine Sydasien. Sydasien is an important channel for spreading news and analyses about South Asia in the Swedish language. Sydasien was founded in 1977. First appearing in print, Sydasien transitioned into an online-only format in 2011 (www.sydasien.se). Through the collaboration between Sydasien and SASNET the magazine will once again appear in print biannually. Through SASNET the online version of Sydasien will gain more depth as a platform for reports and articles that present new research on South Asia in a clear and accessible manner. Selected articles will appear in the printed version of Sydasien. The printed version will be sent out to researchers, journalists and old subscribers. It will also be handed out at events in the hope of further spreading knowledge of the region to a broader audience. Sydasien

As a service to researchers and students SASNET is also keeping a library at the Lund University office. The library holds academic South Asia journals and a collection of 200 doctoral dissertations related to South Asia defended at Nordic universities. SASNET has been re-organizing the library collections for some time, but it recently re-opened its doors to visitors.

Read the whole report here: PDF iconactivity_report_sasnet_2017.pdf

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