Dietmar Rothermund (1933-2020),
Professor of South Asian History at the Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg (1963-2001),
Chairman of the European Association for South Asian Studies (1997-2008),
Honorary President of the European Association for South Asian Studies (2010-2020)
It is with profound sadness that we announce that Professor Dietmar Rothermund passed away on 9 March 2020. He was an internationally distinguished historian of South Asia who focused on the history of Indian political ideas and Indian economic history.
In the first half of the 1950s, Rothermund studied history and philosophy in Marburg and Munich. A Fulbright fellowship took him to the University of Pennsylvania where he received his PhD in 1959 for a thesis on the social history of America. After completing his studies, he travelled to India in 1960 as a recipient of a German Research Foundation (DFG) scholarship. This journey was decisive for his future research which thereafter centred on India.
Professor Rothermund’s entire academic career was associated with the South Asia Institute at the University of Heidelberg where he worked from 1963 until his retirement in 2001. From there he was awarded his habilitation in 1968 for the monograph Die politische Willensbildung in Indien, 1900–1960 and was soon appointed to the professorship in the history of South Asia. He also directed the Institute for 15 years during several separate terms and succeeded in establishing an international network for research and cooperation.
In 1968, Professor Rothermund was among the founding fathers of the European Conference on Modern South Asian Studies (ECMSAS) that later evolved into the European Conference on South Asian Studies (ECSAS) and gave birth to the European Association for South Asian Studies (EASAS). He contributed immensely
to the association’s development for more than four decades and served as its first Chairman from 1997 to 2008. Professor Rothermund is especially remembered by EASAS members for his dedication to the cause of promoting South Asian Studies in Europe. In recognition of his decades-long engagement for and representation of South Asian Studies within and beyond academic circles, Dietmar Rothermund was made the – only – honorary life member of EASAS. His inspiration and presence will be sorely missed at future conferences and meetings.
A prolific scholar, in addition to numerous scholarly articles, Professor Rothermund authored many monographs, including Government, Landlord and Peasant in India: Agrarian Relations under British Rule 1865-1935 (1978), An Economic History of India (1993), Mahatma Gandhi: An Essay in Political Biography (1999), India: The Rise of an Asian Giant (2008) and Contemporary India: Political, Economic and Social Developments Since 1947 (2012). His most popular and probably most widely read work, A History of India (originally published in German in 1982), co-written with Hermann Kulke, is well known to students of South Asian Studies across the world as it has appeared in multiple, constantly up-dated editions and has been translated into several languages.
In 1988, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in London. His work on the dissemination of knowledge on South Asia saw him recognised by the German government with the Federal Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (2011) and by the German-Indian Society with the Rabindranath Tagore Culture Prize (2011).
The world-wide community of South Asian scholars has lost one of its most eminent members. He will be remembered as a distinguished professor who put South Asian Studies firmly on the academic map, as a supportive colleague bringing scholars together across Europe, and as an astute and kind human being,
The EASAS Council and Community
Photo: Prof. Dietmar Rothermund at the ECMSAS Conference 2008 in Manchester (courtesy of Lars Eklund).
Welcome to the website of The European Association for South Asian Studies (EASAS). EASAS is a charitable, academic association engaged in the support of research and teaching concerning South Asia with regard to all periods and fields of study. The objectives of EASAS are to promote South Asian Studies in all countries of Europe.
The objectives of EASAS are achieved especially through the following activities:
The Council of EASAS
The council of the EASAS consists of the executive board which is constituted by the president, the vice-president and the treasurer, and in addition, of an advisory committee with at least six and at most nine other individuals reflecting the various academic disciplines represented by the Association as well as the regional specialisations of the members. EASAS members with voting rights elect the council for a two-year period.
DANUTA STASIK, University of Warsaw, Poland
MARTIN FUCHS, Max-Weber-Kolleg, University of Erfurt, Germany
PETER B. ANDERSEN, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
MARTIN GAENSZLE, University of Vienna, Austria
JOSE MAPRIL, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal
ALEKSANDRA TUREK, University of Warsaw, Poland
RAPHAEL VOIX, CEIAS, Paris, France
INES G. ZUPANOV, CEIAS, Paris, France