Archived News and Events

Pictures from the PhD Workshop



Updated 2016-06-06.


New Visiting Fellows at CISCA: Abhay K. Sinha and Hitendra Anupam

We are thrilled to have Abhay and Hitendra as our new CISCA guests for the next couple of months.

Abhay K Sinha

Abhay K Sinha, is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Geography, Vinoba Bhave University, Hazaribag. His research interests include the study of Urbanization and Social Geography particularly the study of social well-being of communities & regions and also the anthropogenic environmental issues. He is also the Project Investigator to carry out Social Impact Assessment ( SIA) studies in the State of Jharkhand, consequential to mining, urban planning and development to assess the impact of projects on individual and their communities (as mandated in 2013 by The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act). Recently, he is studying the social well-being of the Anglo Indian community of the region.

Hitendra Anupam

Hitendra Anupam joined the Vinoba Bhave University in the Department of History in March 2008 as Assistant Professor. He was awarded Ph.D. degree on the topic “The culture of Bihar during Early Medieval Period 800 – 1200 AD from Patna University, Patna under UGC NET/JRF scheme in 2003. He has authored two books: Hinduism in Early Medieval Bihar and Buddhism and Art in Early Medical Period. He has contributed many articles and research papers including those published in proceedings of Indian History Congress (60 th , 62 nd and 63 rd sessions) and Journal of the Anthropological survey of India. He was editor of first VBU news letter published in 2009. He has translated two books: Translation of Upinder Singh’s book Ancient Delhi (Archaeology), Orient Blackswan, New Delhi, 2010. Translation of Professor Upinder Singh’s book Ancient and Early Medieval India (From Stone Age to 12 th Century AD), Pearsons India Ltd. New Delhi (under publication)

Updated 2016-05-13.


Radio Broadcast about India's Situation after Two Years of Modi

Cover picture of a Danish radio broadcast

Niels Brimnes participated in a discussion on Danish radio about India two years after Narendra Modi's landslide victory in the General Election. To listen to the programme (in Danish) click here.

Updated 2016-04-28.


New Visiting Fellow at CISCA: Janaki Abraham

A very warm welcome to Janaki who will join us at CISCA and the Department for the next three months!

Hamsavahini Singh

Janaki Abraham, is an Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology, Delhi University. Her research interests include the study of kinship, gender and caste, visual anthropology and gender and space, particularly the study of towns. She is author of a number of articles and is finalising her book manuscript titled Gender, Caste & Matrilineal Kinship: Shifting boundaries in Twentieth Century Kerala. She is book reviews editor for the journal Contributions to Indian Sociology.

Updated 2016-04-25.


ICCR-Lecture: “Our Homes, Their Lives: Servitude in Colonial and Contemporary India”

By Professor Radhika Chopra.

Opening remarks by H.E. Sri Rajeev Shahare, Indian Ambassador to Denmark

2nd of May, 2016 – 1-3pm, room 1483-354

Abstract: The master-servant relationship of colonial India governed intimate spaces of the home. Its survival in contemporary India enables me to ask how this impossible relationship of proximity in intimate spaces was historically managed, and how it shapes servitude today. Taking my own middle class world in metropolitan India as a starting point, I ask how an urban middle class in modern India imagine and manage the servitude of others.

See the poster for the event here.

Updated 2016-04-28.


New Visiting Fellow at CISCA: Hamsavahini Singh


Hamsavahini Singh is born in Chennai, Tamil Nadu and brought up in New Delhi. She has Masters degree in Political Science, German and Education. Her doctoral work was on German Literature. She is presently working as Associate Professor in Department of English and MEL (German) in a Women's University in Rajathan. She has presented papers and participated in many national and international level seminars, workshops and conferences. She is a translator and has translates from German into Hindi and Tamil. Since January,2013 she is writing an article in Hindi/German language on alternate saturdays for a reputed Hindi Newspaper in Rajasthan. She has traveled on bicycle for 13 months with her husband and 8 years old daughter in 1999 Japan, the US and Europe to promote Love, Non Violence, Peace and Tolerence. She was felicitated for her contribution in promoting German language in Rajasthan by German Ambassdor H.E. Michael Steiner in 2014 in the Golden Jubilee function of Indo German Society.

Hamsavahini Singh

Updated 2016-04-16.







New ICCR Professor: Radhika Chopra

CISCA and the Department of Global Studies at Aarhus University will welcome Radhika Chopra as new ICCR professor for the spring term 2016. She is based at the Department of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University, and will be involved in the teaching at the Department (both Bachelor and Master level in the India & South Asia Studies programme). She will deliver a public lecture with the title: Our Homes, Their Lives: Domestic work and workers in urban India. Please keep an eye on our webpage as well as facebook group for the detail of this event.

Updated 2016-03-12.



Workshop on Indo-European Studies

In combination with the last meeting of the IBIES project on 26th and 27th of May in Aarhus, the workshop Indo-European Studies: Encounters and Entanglements will be held.

More information will be available later about this workshop.

Updated 2016-03-12.



Workshop on Visualizing Kin

The workshop Visualizing Kin: Representing kinship and family in contemporary Asia is Organized by Janaki Abraham, Anemone Platz and Uwe Skoda and held at Department of Global Studies, Aarhus University on 20th May, 2016.

Read about the call for it right here.

Updated 2016-03-15.



Current IBIES Guests

Sona Prabhakaran is pursuing Integrated Masters in English Studies from Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT,M). Her scholarly orientations lies in Cultural Studies, Religious Studies, Disabilities Studies, and Social Anthropology. As part of her Master's dissertation, she is working on understanding the nexus between aesthetics, disgust, and corporeal deformity. She is currently engaged in working on a paper titled, 'Living Through Times of Ambigious Social 'Unchange': The emergence of trans-local religiosity in India', which has been accepted for the 11th American Graduate School International Graduate Student Conference to be held in Paris. Besides, she has been involved in numerous ethnographic projects dealing with gender and internal migration in India, study on miniature shrines in Chennai, assessment of canal construction, and status of rehabilitation and resettlement in Madhya Pradesh to name a few.

Soumitra Ghosh is Assistant Professor at the Centre for Health Policy, Planning and Management, Tata institute of Social Sciences (TISS). His research interests include health care financing, universal health coverage, equity in access to and utilisation of health care and impact evaluation of health insurance programmes. Besides teaching, he has been actively involved in many research projects. He was the co-Principal Investigator of Health Inc. between 2011 and 2014. (Financing health care for inclusion), a three-year EU funded research project which explored how social exclusion restricts access to health services despite recent health financing reforms in Ghana, Senegal and the Indian states of Maharashtra and Karnataka. He has authored several articles published in national and international peer-reviewed journals. He has masters in economics and population Studies. His PhD dissertation was in the area of health economics. Dr. Ghosh is currently a post-doctoral fellow at Aarhus University, Denmark.



Sourav Kargupta got his PhD degree from the Jadavpur University, Kolkata, working at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta (CSSSC). His doctoral dissertation concerns feminist ethics and the critique of the intentional subject. He has previously worked in an academic project at the Martin Luther University, Germany. He has published on critical theory, literature, feminist philosophy, and the philosophy of the social sciences. His recent publications include, “Spectral Touring: Subject, Consumption, and the ‘Wound’ of the Photograph,” in Touring Consumption. Eds. Wee, D., Sonnenburg, S. (Wiesbaden: Springer). Sourav Kargupta is currently an Erasmus Mundus Post-doctoral fellowship holder at the University of Aarhus, Denmark.




Srihari Hulikal Muralidhar, hailing from the southern Indian state of Karnataka, is a student of Indian Institute of Technology Madras. He is in his final year of Integrated MA in Development Studies. His academic and research interests range from International Political Economy to Technology-use among low-income groups. For his Master's dissertation, he's working on technology adoption (such as Ola/Uber, Airtel Money) by auto rickshaw drivers in Bangalore, India. He has interned at Microsoft Research India. His non-academic interests include listening to Carnatic (south Indian classical) Music and reading fiction. His favourite authors are Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Ian Fleming. He's been actively involved with the Classical Music Club and National Service Scheme, IIT Madras. Srihari would like to take up a career as an academic and is aiming for a PhD when he completes his Masters next year. Currently he is an Erasmus-Mundus IBIES scholarship student at the Faculty of Arts, Aarhus University.

Shabnam Surita, presently on exchange studies at Aarhus University, Denmark under the Erasmus Mundus scholarship (IBIES scheme), she holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Political Science with International Relations from Jadavpur University, India. Apart from this, she has been actively involved with the Jadavpur Association of International Relations as a Secretary for three terms. Her academic interests have varied from South Asia, Culture, Memory Studies, Public History, Gender, Music and Identity Politics. A cultural activist by choice and a regular television, radio and stage performer in India and abroad, she has played diverse roles of responsibility for various arts and cultural platforms like the Banglanatak.com and Sahaj Parav Root Music Festival. She works on an oral history project collecting memories of the Indian Partition of 1947 in the North-eastern part of India named tentatively, “The Memory Project”.



Jayashree Balasubramanian is a Ph.D scholar from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India registered in 2013, currently collecting data. Her research work is on Internationalization of Higher Education: Academic Challenges, Cultural Adjustments and Adaptation of International Students: A Case Study of an Higher Education Institute in India. She has also headed the International Relations Office since 2009 as the Program Manager.






Pratyush Ranjan Nanda is a student of Master of Social Work at Sambalpur University, India. He chose social work as his career due to a strong inspiration from Lord Jesus Christ and from the life of Mother Teresa. During his master programme he got the opportunityto stay in Europe at Aarhus University for 10 months through the IBIES programme, in Denmark to excel his career objective in more efficiently.




Updated 2016-03-16.


PhD workshop Indo-European Studies: Encounters and Entanglements

27th of May, 2016
Stakladen, Frederik Nielsens vej 2, 1422, Aarhus University

Click here to see abstracts for the lectures listed below.
Get a copy of the schedule here.



Updated 2016-05-17.


Screening of "A Far Afternoon: A Painted Saga" by Sruti Harihara Subramanian

with an introduction by Radhika Chopra

Time and place: 6pm, 19th May, 2016 at Nobelparken, 1467-316

As a kick-off for the workshop on "Visualizing Kin" we will screen the documentary film "A Far Afternoon: A Painted Saga", 2015 - 1h 12m (72 minutes)

Krishen Khanna is one of the most eminent painters in the Indian art landscape. In a career spanning over fifty years, the banker-turned-artist joined the Bombay Progressive Artists Group in 1950 to become a full-time artist.

‘A Far Afternoon’ is a filmmaker's attempt to memorialize the artistic process as the artist paints one of the largest canvases of his career - Baraat – the wedding procession. The film captures and archives what is seen as an important moment in the history of Indian art.

A Far Afternoon: A Painted Saga
2015 - Biography/Documentary ‧ 1h 12m (72 minutes)
Director: Sruti Harihara Subramanian

See the event on Facebook here.

Movie Poster

Updated 2016-05-13.


“Visualizing Kin: Representing kinship and family in contemporary Asia”

Workshop at Department of Global Studies, Aarhus University

9am - 5 pm, 20th May, 2016

Venue: Nobelparken, 1467-316

The workshop 'Visualizing Kin' will look at the ways kin or family are visually represented in contemporary Asia. In this workshop, we will focus on a broad range of visual and multisensorial media forms, such as photography, videofilm, and genealogical charts. We will also like to look at the multiple sites in which such visualizations of kin may take place, ranging from domestic spaces, studios, clinics, to courts of law, and internet sites.

See the poster for the event here.
Abstracts for the lectures can be found here.



Updated 2016-05-10.


Lecture - European Union and South Asian Perceptions on Environmental Policy

On the 10th of Decemeber Dr. Shazia Wülbers and Prof. Dr. Friedrich Lehmann are coming to Aarhus University to hold a lecture. This talk will compare the European and South Asian perspectives on environmental issues through analysing the politico-legal framework that exists. On the one hand, the European treaties regulate common market law but since 1987 environmental law has been included. Is the European Union environmental law at the same level as the European Union common market law? What happens when they clash? On the other hand in the South Asian countries the approach to environment issues in general and environmental law in particular is in the emerging phases and it needs to be seen which direction it will take. This lecture will chart out the different European and South Asian approach to the environment and will try to predict the direction it is heading to.

10th of December, from 1.15 pm to 4 pm, building 1461/516


Workshop: Making Connection on the Margins. Perspectives on Indigenous and Vernacular India

It is not only a truism that Indian society has changed rather rapidly over the last decades under the impact of economic and cultural transformations often epitomized by an expanding middle class, but also that indigenous people have been affected to a large extent by the very same transformation processes leading to various new aspirations and subaltern empowerment, but also to labour migration, forced displacement, marginalization and social exclusion.

Our workshop critically looks at the issue of connectivity which we apply to socially and culturally
marginalised contexts. We discuss how connections areestablished, forged, maintained or appropriated but also
undone in the overlapping spheres of religion, politics, economics etc.; how they might differ in terms of their
quality and materiality as well as their scope and immediacy; how are they utilized as markers of status
and wealth or as back-up, security net or resource and how they might have been altered in changing
environments, mediatized in novel ways or even lost in a new order?

We are specifically interested in the role of media in these processes of linking and relating and propose a wide understanding of media which are expressing and informing the socio-political dynamics and change of contemporary indigenous, Adivasi and vernacular India.

Read more here, here and here.


Diwali Mela at Indians in Aarhus

We are pleased to announce that the IIA (Indians in Aarhus) are going to organize a Diwali event on 05th December 2015 (16.00-20.00) at Skovvangsvej 150. More information will be uploaded soon on IIA facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/IndianInAarhus/). If members/ students from Aarhus University would like to participate in performing any culture events for the day, like a Play or a Drama (Natya Kala)/ Classical Indian or Bollywood Dance, then they should contact contact@indiansinaarhus.com.

The event's facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/182408808773153/.


IMC presents: Traditional Industries as a Research Context for Scholars

Traditional industries can be an interesting research area for scholars for multiple reasons. First, these industries are in many ways our connection to the past. Second, they may provide employment in rural areas whilst simultaneously mitigating urban migration. Third, human interactions are likely to play a significant role in the working of the industry. Fourth, the craftsmen are found to be extremely entrepreneurial in nature and therefore still relevant in modern times. Handloom (making of fabric using hand operated looms) is one such traditional industry where all the above reasons to study it can be found. To date about 2.6 million people are still involved in this industry across India. While many of these (about 65%) are in the remote areas of India with production serving domestic markets, the rest (35%) of the industry produces day-to-day clothes & furnishings for markets across the nation. My talk will look at the workings of the handloom industry in two States in South India. Indian states of Telangana and Andra Pradesh with a focus on the interplay between human and social capital of the small entrepreneurs.

Read more here


On Coming to Terms with (and Governing) Unchange: Social Change’s Contradictions in India

The talk is about a paper in the making which aims at reflecting on the contradictions of social change in a historically ‘traditional’ society had had been India. The Nehruvian notion of ‘Unity in diversity’ or the Srinivasian description of ‘Dual cultures’ of India have come increasingly under pressure as the pace of social change has intensified. While the first few decades all public policies aimed ushering in social change of certain kind and direction, the task of the state has become even more focused on minimising the social (and political costs) of dualities of culture. Not only has it become a challenge to plan and govern social change, it has become equally important challenge to govern ‘Un’- change. These may concern issues pertaining to religious practices in public places, behavioural practices towards one another with varying social and regional identities, and in most institutions such as caste, family and marriage. The purpose of the lecture is mainly to share a few ideas concerning this set of newly emerging contradictions in social change process in modern and globalising India. The key themes include ‘Made Snana’ and similar religious practices in the context of making a cultural policy, state and the dietary habits, empowered women in socially vulnerable and patriarchal circumstances.


New staff - Gopal K. Karanth

Professor Gopal K. Karanth served as Professor of Sociology in the Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore, India where he taught and researched since 1989. His research interests include social stratification and mobility, equality, caste and ethnicity, India’s Middle Class. In addition to papers in scholarly journals, he has published Rural Youth: A Sociological Study of a Karnataka Village, (New Delhi: Concept 1981); Change and Continuity in Agrarian Relations, (New Delhi: Concept 1995); Surviving Droughts, (Bombay: Himalaya 1995); Challenging Untouchability: Dalit Initiatives and Experiences fromKarnataka, South India, (Editoed with S.R. Charsley) New Delhi: Sage 1998); Weaned Participation or Deserted Watershed? Impact Assessment of an Integrated Watershed Development Programme [PIDOW]. (Bangalore: Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation, 1999); The Pace of Social and Economic Change in the Indian Republic since Independence: The Question of Poverty" (With R. S. Deshpande), Bangalore: Institute for Social and Economic Change, and New Delhi: The Constitution Review Commission, 2000); Rejuvenating the Tanks: A socio-ecological approach. (Bangalore, Books for Change. 2003); Experience: Key Ideas in World’s Major Culture.( New Delhi: Sage, 2003); At Loggerheads or Towards Sustainability? Changing Rural Livelihoods and Management of Natural Resources. (Bangalore: Institute for Social and Economic Change 2005); Dimensions of Social Development. (2005. Bangalore: Institute for Social and Economic Change 2005); Design and Management of Social Security Benefits for Unorganized Workers in Karnataka. (New Delhi: GTZ – German Technical Cooperation; and Bangalore: Government of Karnataka, 2006. With other Co-authors). His most recent publications are: ‘Feeding the Needy Student: Auto-Ethnographic Reflections From South India.” ‘Feeding the Needy Student: Auto-Ethnographic Reflections From South India, Food, Culture and Society 17(3): 417-32 and ‘Made Snana: Indignity in the Name of Tradition’ Economic and Political Weekly 58 (13): 27-30.

He has been the recipient of National Fellowship (2014-16) Indian Council of Social Science Research, New Delhi and is affiliated to the Jain University, Bengaluru, India.


Lectures on October 8th - Chandi Prasad Nanda and Hermann Kulke

CISCA and the Dept. of Global Studies are presenting two lectures on Indian history:

Hermann Kulke (Professor emeritus, University of Kiel) - India's Pre-colonial History: An Overview (linked to his currently revised book “History of India”)

Chandi Prasad Nanda (Professor and Head of Dept. of History, Ravenshaw University, currently AU) - People, Nation, Narration: Changing focus in Indian Historiography

The talk broadly intends to focus on some of the principal debates associated with the academic subject called ‘modern Indian history’ by delineating some of the major arguments of different historiographic perspectives namely; imperialists; nationalist,Marxist and the subaltern school. It further seeks to briefly examine how subaltern studies emerged as a contestatory scholarship in so far as it critiqued the dominant historiography of Indian nationalism thereby offering new ways to conceptualize politics at the popular realms.

Thursday, 8th of October, 1.30-3pm (sharp), room 1467-316.

Chandi Prasad Nanda, Professor of History, Ravenshaw University in Odisha (India) has recently co-authored Rethinking Local History: Locating Kudmi Community in Odisha (2015) with Prof. Hermann Kulke. He is Currently working on a Wellcome Trust (U.K.) funded project titled Ethics, Policy and Practice of Poliomyelitis Vaccination in Orissa: A case study in community, professional and governmental attitudes to mass public health programmes in India and a ICSSR Sponsored Research Project on ‘Development, Displacement and Resistance: Exploring contemporary Social Movements in Odisha’. His domains of research include Colonial, Contemporary History; Popular and mass movements; Social History and Local Histories; Issues in Public health and History of Disease, and Medicine.




Professor Kulke is a world leading expert on pre-colonial history in India and on the history and anthropology of the state of Orissa. He is (with Prof. Dietmar Rothermund) author of the widely used text-book A history of India (published in five editions), and has published extensively on Orissa. Between 1999 and 2005 he was the coordinator of the second ‘Orissa Research Project’, sponsored by the German Research Council.






Shazia Aziz Wülbers

Dr. Shazia Aziz Wülbers is a senior lecturer at the Bremen University of Applied Sciences. Her research interests include international relations theory, EU-India relations, South Asian politics and sustainability studies. Her important publications have been The Paradox of EU-India relations: Missed Opportunities in Politics, Economics, Development Cooperation and Culture, and EU-India relations: A Critique. Her present research focuses on comparing the comparing the mechanisms and processes of intended and unintended norm diffusion activities of the EU and the US in India.

She will be hosting the following guest lecture (in building 1465, room 215):

October 8, 2015, 10:00-12:00: India’s Foreign Policy after Modi



Pierre Gottschlich - New Guest Professor

Dr. Pierre Gottschlich is an assistant professor at the department of political science at the University of Rostock, Germany. In 2010, he completed his PhD thesis on the Indian diaspora in the United States. His research focuses on government, politics, and international relations in South Asia and on the political, socioeconomic, and cultural effects of transnational migration. He has published two monographs and numerous research articles on various subjects, ranging from nuclear proliferation to election studies.

He will be hosting the following guest lectures during his stay (in building 2110, room 140):

September 24, 2015, 8:00-10:00: The Political System of India

September 24, 2015, 10:00-12:00: The State of India’s Democracy

October 1, 2015, 8:00-10:00: Introduction to India’s Foreign Policy

October 1, 2015, 10:00-12:00: Regional Cooperation in South Asia – Case Study SAARC


Summer Break

CISCA is going on a summer break. We wish everybody a wonderful summer. The CISCA center activities will resume in August. Enjoy the vacation!


Lecture: Vivek Kumar - Hindi Swear Words

On the 4th of June, Vivek Kumar, Teaching Assistant Professor at the South Asian Studies branch, will be holding a lecture on Hindi swear words, where he will trace their cultural and historical background.

4th of June, 10 am to 12 am, in building 1485, room 224


Lecture: Indian Land Administration: Issues and Challenges

On the 8th of June, Contested Property Claims research group will be hosting a lecture with N.K.Kumaresan Raja PhD., Assistant Professor, Dept. of Politics & International Studies, Pondicherry University on the topic of Indian land administration.

8th of June, 10.30 am to 12 am, in building 1467, room 616. Read more here


Lecture: Elitism and De-elitisation

CISCA will be holding two lectures on the 15th of May, from 2 pm to 4 pm in room 1453-223, in regards to elites in India. Presenting the lectures will be Prof. Kumaresan Raja and Prof. Jyotirmaya Tripathy.

Read more here


Cultural Elites in Contemporary India: Constructions and Deconstructions

On the 5th and 6th of May CISCA will be hosting a conference on the understanding of elites.Starting with a broad understanding of elites as “makers and shakers” in influential positions in society, the workshop aims to explore the shifting landscape of elite dis-course in conversation with existing literature and research.

Read more here and here


Guest Lecture by Amrita Basu - Violent Conjuntures in Democratic India

Amrita Basu’s talk is based on her book by the same title published this Spring and is a discussion of when and why Hindu nationalists have engaged in discrimination and violence against minorities in contemporary India. She asks why the incidence and severity of violence differs significantly across Indian states, within states, and through time. She calls for a broader understanding of social movements and greater appreciation of party-movement relations. All student and staff welcome. See attached poster for more information.

Amrita Basu is Paino Professor of Political Science and Women’s and Gender Studies at Amherst College, USA. The lecture will take place the 30. of April, 2 pm, building 1342-455 (Juridisk Auditorium).

Read more here


CISCA Newsletter 2015

The CISCA newsletter 2015 is out! Read it here


Galina Rousseva-Sokolova - Bhakti and Gender

In Hindu anthropology feelings belong to the sphere of competence of women. Accordingly, bhakti ideology, particularly, but not exclusively, in its Krishna-centered version, prescribes adopting a female alter ego when embracing the path to salvation. Bhakti poets often assume a female voice in their compositions and living emulations of the ubiquitous milkmaids (the gop?) recurrently appear in the devotional life in Braj and elsewhere.

What does this imagined womanhood mean? How is it constructed? How does it relate to the rare authentically female voices among bhakti poets? What’s the place of women in practical devotion today? This is the range of questions this presentation will attempt to address.

Galina Rousseva-Sokolova is an Associate Professor and the Vice-Dean, at the Faculty of Classical and Modern Philology, Sofia University. The lecture will take place the 28. of April, 3.15-5.00 pm, building 1485-123 (Nobelsalen).


New guest professor - N.K. Kamaresan Raja

Dr.N.K.Kumaresan Raja, Assistant Professor, Department of Politics & International Studies, Pondicherry University, India has been teaching Political Science and Public Administration in Indian Academic Institutions for the past twelve years. He also had a stint as a Professor in India’s premier Civil Service Training Academy, Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie. Dr.Raja have also lectures extensively in European Universities that includes Cologne, Siegen, Ludwig Maxmillians University Munich, Oldenburg, Potsdam , Passau of Germany , Groningen University , The Netherlands, Aalborg University in Denmark and University of Massachusetts and the College of the Holy cross in Worcester, USA. Dr.Raja has been also associated with the Government of Samoa as a Land Policy Consultant and has been working on Land related issues, Governance and Public Policy. Dr. Raja has to his credit a book and articles on National and International Journals.

His select publications includes co-authored Text Book for Schools in the Province of Tamil Nadu in Political Science and an article entitled "Fostering Social Inclusiveness through Readdressing Indian Land Administrative System", International Journal of South Asian Studies Vol 5, Article in an edited volume by Cambridge Scholars Publishing, edited by Mogens Rudiger “Women in Rural Indian Households and Energy Needs: Struggle and Solace – Cultural Perspective to Reality.

Dr.N.K.Kumaresan Raja would be teaching in Aarhus during spring 2015 on Issues on Politics, Governance and development in India apart from conducting workshops on related themes.


Call for Papers - Cultural Elites

There is currently a call for paper to the Workshop on Cultural Elites in Contemporary India: Constructions and Deconstructions, which will be organized by Contemporary India Study Centre Aarhus (CISCA) at Aarhus University, Denmark - more specifically Jyotirmaya Tripathy, Sudarsan Padmanabhan and Uwe Skoda

Read more here


Master program at South Asian studies

CISCA is proud to present the MA in South Asian studies at Aarhus University. The whole description can be found here


Guest professors at CISCA - Jyotirmaya Tripathy & Sudarsan Padmanabhan

Once again CISCA is happy to welcome Jyotirmaya Tripathy and Sudarsan Padmanabhan.


Jyotirmaya Tripathy is in the faculty of humanities and social sciences, IIT Madras, Chennai, India. His
areas of interest are cultural studies,postcolonial theory, gender studies and alternative approaches to development. His book After Globalization published in 2007 by Allied Publishers, New Delhi and his second book The Resisting Indian was published in 2009 by Sarup and Sons, New Delhi.Jyotirmaya Tripathy has visited Aarhus University and CISCA annually since 2010, holding the position of guest faculty and lecturer, teaching the students of Aarhus University's South Asian Studies programme, besides giving lectures to wider audiences. Here are a few titles: (the abstracts can be found in the Lecture Section) "Vernacularization of Democracy: The Indian Experience" and "Does Development Exist outside Representation?"




Sudarsan Padmanabhan specializes in social and political philosophy, developmental ethics, Indian philosophy and culture.His research focuses on the confluence between law, democracy, and ethics in the public sphere. Currently, he is working on an understanding of an Indian social imaginaryassociated with politics, culture, society, language, religion and region and its relationship to the Constitution of India. He joined IIT Madras as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences in Fall 2007. Dr. Padmanabhan graduated with a Ph.D. in Philosophy from University of South Florida and also has another Doctoral degree in Philosophy from Pondicherry University. Dr. Sudarsan Padmanabhan has visited
Aarhus University and CISCA annually since 2010, holding the position of guest faculty and lecturer, teaching the students of Aarhus University's South Asian Studies programme, besides giving lectures to wider audiences. Here are a few titles: "Multicultural Democracy and the Construction of Inclusive Imaginaries" and"Purusharthas and the Conception of Public Sphere in India".


Mary Hancock - Moving Pictures: India in the American Evangelical Imaginary, 1860-1920

This paper is based on work in progress on evangelical Protestant mission networks that linked India and the US, from the early 19th century forward. These linkages were materialized not only in the circulation of persons, but in periodicals, books and pamphlets, and in the performed spaces of conferences and expositions staged in the late 19th and early 20th century. I am especially interested in the pictorial representations that circulated within those networks and the cultural work that they performed. These images and their distribution help constitute a global “imaginary” (following Charles Taylor) – one that fashioned the global by affixing moral boundaries on territorial and cultural spaces.

23rd of March, 3 pm, building 1324, lecture hall 011

Read more here


Master in Asian Studies: India and South Asia Studies - India and Beyong in the Asian Century

The final poster for the MA in India and South Asia Studies has come out. See it here!


Lidia Guzy - Adivasi Religion

The indigenous people of India, also known as adivasis, “tribals,” and “ST’s”, constitute around 10 % of the Indian population (1,21 billion) and are the largest grouping of indigenous peoples in a state apart from the indigenous peoples of the African subcontinent, but in the study of South Asia and South Asian religions they are largely invisible and voiceless. Adivasis, however, have their own religious traditions, observances, stories, and ideas which deserve documentation, recognition and study. This lecture introduces to the topic of indigenous Adivasi religions in India. It addresses the ethnographic/anthropological basis for this approach and discusses recent indigenous discourses on formalisation of indigenous worldviews into an Adivasi Religion.

12th of March, 1-3pm, room 316, building 1467.

Read more here


New staff - Jyoti Sharma

Dr. Jyoti Sharma comes with a diverse experience in Hindi Literature and her creativity has been a motivating factor to expand the reach of the literary works of eminent creators to the general masses in the simplest of terms. As a Subject Expert on “Dr. Ram Vilas Sharma and his critics world”, she delivered a lecture at the National Seminar ’14 by Kendriya Hindi Sansthan, while, presenting a research paper on “Media: Pros and Cons” at the 2013 International symposium on Language, Linguistics, Literature and Education in Okasa, Japan.

She has authored more than a dozen research papers, including Dalit sahitya, Hindi ki Janta, Janta ki Hindi, Soor kavya, amongst others. Conferred with “the winning poet” at the Hasya Kavi Sammelan, she has been decorated several times in her academic life for her achievements. These achievements have earned her many invites to several National and International Conferences organised by UGC, India. She has been Published on half a dozen Titles and translated around 47 books on Enlish-Hindi & vice-versa as well as Hindi-Punjabi & vice-versa. Apart from her established academic life, she has also been responsible for many cultural events back home in India. As a result, she has earned high references from eminent and well known professors for her achievements.

She personally admires the initiatives by CISCA to bridge the gap between the general masses to come together and learn accomplished work-of-art in Hindi literature as well as get a glimpse of the diversified and colourful Indian culture.


New staff - Vivek Kumar Shukla

Vivek Kumar Shukla is the new Hindi teacher at the South Asian Studies at Aarhus University. He has a PhD in Hindi Translation, where he worked on Translations of Kabir, an early Modern Hindi Poet. He wrote his M.Phil. Dissertation on Salman Rushdie’s Midnights Children. He taught Hindi as second Language at Jawaharlal Nehru University where he was also a grad student for 5 years. He worked as Senior Hindi Teacher at American Embassy , New Delhi and at Knowledge must, a Intercultural Training Institute . Vivek also has worked with MIT JPAL projects in India as an Interpreter and Translator.

He is academically interested in Early Modern Hindi Bhakti Poetry, Socio Linguistics, Hindi as a language in Popular culture, Hindi Translation, and Intercultural communication .




Dr. Kiran Sharma

Dr. Kiran Sharma is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Aarhus University. She received her Ph.D and M.Phil degree from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and did her Graduation and Post-Graduation from Banaras Hindu University, U.P. She has qualified the UGC-National Eligibility Test (NET) for lectureship. She has worked at Indian Social Institute and Indian Institute of Dalit Studies, New Delhi. Her research interests include poverty, inequality, urbanisation and development, food security and tribal migration.







Aya Ikegame - The guru and the allocation of responsibility: village disputes at the informal arbitration court in rural south India

The Nyaaya Peetha is an informal arbitration court established by a renouncer (guru) in the state of Karnataka, south India. In recent years, Hindu religious institutions called mathas have gained significant influence over politics and governance in rural Karnataka. The Nyaaya Peetha is one of the initiatives that a guru and his matha promote in order to provide social services and social justice that the state has failed to deliver. Villagers seek for the judgement of the guru over issues ranging from marital disputes to the division of land. This paper will examine two village disputes concerning temple lands and analyse how and why the guru is emerging as an alternative locus of trust and responsibility. Temple land has been instrumental not only in financing temple rituals and festivals, but also for maintaining and affirming the existing social structure. Disputes over temple land reveal the rapid change and collapse of ‘traditional’ power structures. It also shows how people distrust modern, democratic (narrowly defined) and secular ways of forming trusts and selecting their representatives. This paper argues that the guru-renouncer appears as an ideal type of Indian king: simultaneously transcendent from and embedded within social norms and relations, and serving as an alternative focus for a different form of democracy.

The lecture is organized by the research programme Transnational Modernities.

3rd of December, 1-3pm, Nobelparken: room 316 in building 1467

Read more here


New Agreement to host an Indian Council for Cultiural Relations (ICCR) Chair at Aarhus University

Aarhus University and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) agree to support an ICCR Chair at Aarhus University. Under this agreement visiting professors will join AU for a period of up to six months and will contribute to the academic activities at the university - particularly through teaching in the newly established Master in Asian Studies with the specialization India and South Asia.

Read more: 1, 2, 3, 4


DEVELOPMENT DILEMMAS IN INDIA: The Polavaram Dam and the livelihoods of indigenous people

This panel debate will focus on the huge Polavaram Dam project – a very important project for the Indian government. Before 2020, many tribal villages will be submerged and the villagers displaced due to the construction of the dam. The speakers will be Pagano Didla, Indian philanthropist and founder of SEEDS, Benjamin Sovacool, Professor, Aarhus University, expert on renewable energy, Uwe Skoda, Associate professor, South Asian Studies, Aarhus University and Jørgen Dige Pedersen Associate professor, Political Science, Aarhus University.

The debate seminar is organized by Action Child Aid in collaboration with CISCA: Contemporary India Study Centre Aarhus. It has been made possible through a grant from CISUs Oplysningspulje.

The debate will take place on November 10th, 4.30-7.00 pm Studenterhuset, Mødelokale 2, Nordre Ringgade 3, 8000 Aarhus C.

Read more here and see the event.


Ülo Valk (Department of Estonian and Comparative Folklore, University of Tartu) - On Vernacular Hinduism in Contemporary Assam: Construction of the Supernatural and Contested Beliefs

Assam, a state in North Eastern India belongs to a region, which is culturally and linguistically extraordinarily diverse. Historically known as K?mar?pa (‘the realm of passion’) it is one of the cradles on Hindu tantra with its famous K?m?khy? temple in Guwahati as the main centre of goddess worship. These and the related ?aiva traditions were contested by bhakti movement and its charismatic leader ?ankaradeva (1449-1569), who reformed the religious life and village society in Assam. Islam is the second religion as regards the number of adherents and Christianity in its different denominations has spread among the indigenous peoples.

The lecture will considers this big picture of religious landscape in Assam but, based on fieldwork, it will focus on some aspects of vernacular Hinduism on the grassroots level. It will discuss the traditions of village healers and wizards (bej) in the historical region of Mayong in Marigaon district, which has become famous as a centre of magical practices (bej?li, tantra-mantra). The lecture will explore, how is magic and the supernatural constructed in local narrative traditions. It will also address the discrepancies inside and between religious traditions and the use of folk narratives in making arguments of belief.

The lecture is on the 5th November, from 1 pm to 3 pm, room number 1467/316.


David Gordon White - Jackals, Goddesses and Yogis: Cremation Ground Asceticism in South and East Asian Tantra

David Gordon White is a professor at Santa Barbara University and is one of the most prominent researchers on the subjects of tantrism and yoga. He will be holding a lecture at SAR, as a part of their program.

The lecture is on the 22th October, from 3.15 pm to 5 pm.


CISCA Newsletter 2014

Dear all, the new CISCA newsletter is out now and can be downloaded through this link.


Fazal Rizvi

Fazal Rizvi is a Professor in Education at the University of Melbourne and a fellow of the Australia India Institute. He joined the University in July 2010 from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, where he directed the Global Studies in Education program. Much of professor Rizvi’s recent research has focused on issues of identity, culture, global mobility of students; and theories of globalization and the internationalization of higher education. His current projects include an examination of the ways in which Indian universities are negotiating pressures of globalization and the knowledge economy, as well as a more theoretical exploration of the cosmopolitan possibilities of education. His recent books include: Youth Moves: Identities and Education in a Global Era (Routledge 2007), (Routledge 1996), Globalization and the Study of Education (Wiley 2009), Globalizing Educational Policy (Routledge 2010), Encountering Education in the Global (Routledge 2014). Professor Rizvi will be visiting Department of Education at Aarhus University as a MALLL fellow October 1-18, 2014, where he will be hosted by the EPOKE research program.

The lecture will be on the 7th October, Room D165 at Campus Emdrup, from 2.30 pm to 4.30 pm.


InAsia - Asian Secularisms?

Both “religion” and “secularism” (or “secularity”) are concepts based on Western contexts. Asian history challenges such notions, and Asian cultures are differently affected by the realities, which the concepts describe. How does China deal with religion and secularization? Is India possible to imagine without religion and secularization? Is there a secular Buddhist ethics, how is media used in creating Tibetan Buddhist identity? How does Buddhism and violence connect, and how do young Tamil Hindus in Denmark respond to secularity? What are the political and social implications of these issues?

InAsia’s Asia Day will address these important questions with presentations from and discussions with international and local scholars. All are welcome to join the seminar.

On the 20th October, at Vontilius Auditoriet, Søauditorierne.

Read more here.


Vigør and the Cognitive Creolistics Research group - Substrate influence and language shift in Roper Kriol (Australia) + An overview of the Luso-Asian creoles and their salient characteristics, endangerment, etc.

The first lecture will be presented by Brett Baker (University of Melbourne) and Rikke Bundgaard-Nielsen (University of Western Sydney/La Trobe University), while the second lecture will be presented by Hugo Cardoso (University of Lisbon). This is one of two international guest lectures about creoles presented between 1pm and 3.30 PM on October 10th.

The lectures will be on the 10th October, in building 1483, room number 444, from 1 pm to 3.30 pm.


Student Journal in Hamburg - 'Dhara'

Students in Hamburg have started a student driven journal called 'Dhara'. If you wish to contribute to the journal, then follow the this link to their Facebook page.


Rita Brara - Visualizing Climate Change: An Analysis of Cartoons

Cartoons, somewhat predictably, express and visualize climate change in the public domain through the devices of irony and humour. The analysis of climate cartoons further shows up the development of social and visual scales that frame and calibrate climate change for the reading public.

Cartoons transform the phenomenal scales of climate data into lay perceptions, attempt to voice the affective impact on human and non-human beings in the epoch of the Anthropocene and venture into terrains ranging from the local to the extra-planetary. In these modes, cartoons proffer imaginings of frames and scales that mediate between what Bruno Latour (2011) describes as ‘matters of fact’ and ‘matters of concern’ in the arena of climate change.

14th of May, from 1 to 3 pm, room number, 1481-224.


Guest Lecturer - Rita Brara

Dr. Rita Brara (MA; M. Phil; PhD University of Delhi) teaches at her alma mater, the Department of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi, India. Her book is titled ‘Shifting Landscapes: The Making and Remaking of Village Commons in India’ (2006: Oxford University Press). She researches in the areas of popular visual culture, climate change, environment and kinship.

Over this summer she is working on the significance of giving and receiving flowers in Danish/European culture. Alongside she hopes to encounter and explore contemporary imaginings of climate change.


Seminars in Copenhagen - South Asian Discussiongroup

The South Asian discussion group at Aarhus University, based at the Contemporary India Study Centre Aarhus (CISCA), in collaboration with students at Copenhagen University, invites participants to join a two day seminar sesion at Copenhagen University on 24-25th of April 2014. The seminars main aim is to enhance the collaboration between students at the two represented universities and inspire an 'out-of-the-box' approach when it comes to studying South Asia. Examples of topics that will be discussed are tribal religions, Hindu nationalism, Sikhism and other various topics. Lectures, debates and discussions will be led by both students, academics and private persons. The seminar will be held both in Danish and English.

An updated programme is available on the facebook event.


Sirpa Tenhunen - Smart phones in rural India: gender, intersectionality and mediation

The lecture explores how mobile telephony mediates social interaction, communication and intersecting hierarchies in rural India. I examine differences in phone use and especially in the way people use smart phones and avail the internet. Is the ideology about the need to bridge the digital divide in internet access simply an extremely powerful utopia or does internet access empower people in some ways? How does people’s use of the internet and smart phones differ according to their social position? Theoretically, I aim to develop a research strategy to understand new media and social change through exploring how different forms of mediations interact as part of local hierarchies when a powerful new medium is appropriated.

Sirpa Tenhunen is the director of the Nordic Centre in India and an asso-ciate professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology in the University of Helsinki. In addition to new media, her research interests cover gender, work and politics in India. Her recent books include “Introduction to India: Culture, Politics and Development” (with Säävälä), “Culture, Power and Agency: Gender in Indian ethnography” (with Fruzzetti) and “Means of Awakening: Gender, Politics and Practice in Rural India”.

2nd of April, from 13.30 to 15.30, room number 1467/215.


New Research Trainee - Prastuti Priya

Prastuti PriyaPrastuti Priya is the new research trainee at the South Asian study branch. She holds a B.A degree from Banaras Hindu University, a MA in Hindi from Mahatama gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth, and a B.Ed form Mahatama gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth. She has furthermore been qualified for NET (National eligibility test)in Hindi.
Before coming to Aarhus University she used to work at Nirman as a kindergarten teacher (2007-09). In 2009 she shifted to a different position called HINDI TEACHER FOR NON HINDI SPEAKERS. At the same time she also had the post as associate manager for C.P.E (center for post colonial education). In May 2011 under a US-Exchange programme she went to Kalamazoo college in order to observe the language classes being taught there. During her stay, she will be teaching the conversation classes for the South Asian students at Aarhus University.
Both CISCA and the South Asian Studies branch are happy to welcome her.


Jyotirmaya Tripathy - "Indian Environmentalism and its Fragments"

Modern environmental consciousness is often represented as a Western middle class origin and as a response to the growing realization of global environmental degradation. Third World environmentalism, in contrast, is not fired by any such global awareness and instead concerns itself with “the question of equity”. This theorization produces Third World difference and it is in the process of producing this difference that Third World environmentalism is ‘third-worlded’.
Here I would like to introduce the origin and development of two environmental movements in Odisha, a state in the eastern part of India. One is in the coastal region involving the South Korean Steel company POSCO and the other involves a British company Vedanta Aluminium Limited. The theorizing and delivery of environmental awareness around these movements not only establish the antinomies in environmental thought, but also proves unstable the neat separation between First World and Third World environmental movements.

Jyotirmaya Tripathy is in the faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras. His areas of interest are cultural criticism and critical development studies. He has published in these areas in various journals. He is also the co-editor of The Democratic Predicament: Cultural Diversity in Europe and India (Routledge: 2013) and Becoming Minority: How Discourses and Policies Produce Minorities in Europe and India (Sage: forthcoming).

6th of March, from 1 to 3 pm, room number 1453-215.


Stephan Beutner

Stephan Beutner, 1983, studied Social Anthropology and Philosophy at the Free University at Berlin (Germany). His key interests are in history of ideas, social philosophy, political and religious anthropology with a regional focus on Southasia. Currently he is a Ph.D. Student at the Southasian Seminar of the Humboldt University at Berlin (Germany). The title of his project is „Bhumijan – Master of the Soil. The Environmental History of the Maikal Hills“, which deals with land rights and imaginations of property and nature with a special focus on indigenous Baigas.

He will be holding two lectures on the 5th of March: Relocation Processes Reconsidered: Nature, Property and their link to “Development“ & Introducing English Ideas: From Bewar to Plough Cultivation?


Stephan Beutner - Relocation Processes Reconsidered: Nature, Property and their link to “Development“

Presentinging different relocation projects in the Maikal Hills beginning with relocation for agriculture or forestry mainly during colonial time, and nowadays for big dam projects, natural resource exploitation and National Parks. It will be seen, that different imaginations are getting in contradiction: On the one hand, processes of improving and thereby civilizing nature as well as people and on the other, a repitition of relocating villages at which Baigas concepts of nature, fertility and illness related to the earthgodess and the soil do not coincide with notions of property. How are these processes justified? How are the processes related to different notions of “development“ and “primitivity“ ascribed to Baigas? What influence do have utilitarian imaginations related to „improvement“ and „development“?

5th of March, from 13 to 15, room number will be announced.


Stephan Beutner - Introducing English Ideas: From Bewar to Plough Cultivation?

Change of concepts of Bewar, the mode of slash-and-burn cultivation done by the Baigas. How has the imagination and concept of Bewar changed is influencing agriculture nowadays? Analysing property relations and embedding them in the context of english legal ideas mainly following the ideas of John Locke and his justification of property. How are these ideas related to the ban of Bewar and support of plough cultivation? What are the leading interests in these processes?

5th of March, from 9 to 12, room number will be announced.


The South Asian Discussion group

The discussion group at South Asian Studies invites you to join the big India Quiz. It all happens on the 12th of February, 2-4 pm, at Aarhus University Nobelparken 1465/215. There will be cake, coffee and tea - and a great opportunity for you to test your knowledge about India. Everybody is welcome!

Read more here.


Indian Encounters

In the Autumn semester of 2012, students from the South Asian Studies programme of Aarhus University travelled to Varanasi to study Hindi at Banaras Hindu University (BHU). Like other students before them, they here share a few pictures from their Indian stay.


To see more of the students' pictures go to our Gallery section here and find 'Encounters with India'.

Chandi Prasad Nanda, Professor of History, Ravenshaw University in Odisha (India) has recently co-authored Rethinking Local History: Locating Kudmi Community in Odisha (2015) with Prof. Hermann Kulke. He is Currently working on a Wellcome Trust (U.K.) funded project titled Ethics, Policy and Practice of Poliomyelitis Vaccination in Orissa: A case study in community, professional and governmental attitudes to mass public health programmes in India and a ICSSR Sponsored Research Project on ‘Development, Displacement and Resistance: Exploring contemporary Social Movements in Odisha’. His domains of research include Colonial, Contemporary History; Popular and mass movements; Social History and Local Histories; Issues in Public health and History of Disease, and Medicine