News

In Memoriam

 

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).


EASAS Events


IMPORTANT: the 26th European Conference on South Asian Studies, ECSAS 2020 has been postponed until July 26-29, 2021. For further information regarding ECSAS 2020 please visit: https://ecsas2020.univie.ac.at/#mainwrapper and especially https://ecsas2020.univie.ac.at/faq/.


ECSAS 2020 Reflecting on Disciplinary Boundaries





  • EASAS Research Student Awards (ECSAS 2018 in Paris):

    One of the stated aims of the European Association for South Asian Studies is to encourage and

    support young scholars working in the field of South Asian Studies. In pursuit of this aim, the

    Association offered awards linked to its biennial conference. Awards were to be made for the most

    outstanding papers by currently registered research students presenting at the conference.

    Awardees EASAS Research Student Award 2018 (in alphabetical order):
    Madihah Akhter: A Wholly Unsuitable Heir: The Bhopal Sucession Case, 1924-26

    PhD Candidate, Dept. of History
    Stanford University, USA


    Madihah Akhter is a fifth year PhD candidate specializing in modern South Asian history. She received a Master’s in History from Tufts University and a Bachelor’s in History from UCLA. Her research and teaching interests include modern South Asia, gender, queer and transhistory, and global history. Her doctoral dissertation, titled, "In Her Own Right: Sovereignty and Gender in Princely Bhopal, 1901-1926," explores the mutual dependencies and contestations of sovereignty between princely rulers and imperial administrators in the twentieth century. Specifically, she excavates the possibilities of princely sovereignty in Bhopal under the direction of its ruler, Sultan Jahan Begum (r. 1901-1926). Bhopal, located in central India, was the only princely state under female rule in the twentieth century and was the second largest Muslim princely state in India. In this project, she interrogates the conceptual and practical articulations of "in her own right" through gendered space, history writing, anticolonialism, symbolism and succession. Her dissertation engages with political theory on early modern and modern sovereignty in South Asia, feminist analysis of performance and embodied sovereignties, and postcolonial scholarship on anticolonialism and nationalism.

    Sara Kazmi:
    Gender, Vernacular Tradition and the Politics of Voice in Punjabi Poetry: Radical Re-tellings of Hir by Amrita Pritam and Nasreen Anjum Bhatti

    PhD Candidate in Criticism and Culture
    Department of English
    University of Cambridge

    Sara Kazmi is a doctoral student at the University of Cambridge. Her project explores literary radicalism in postcolonial Punjab, focusing on poets and playwrights whose work addresses the relationship between emancipatory politics in the contemporary period and vernacular genealogies of critique. Her research examines the reworking of folk forms by contemporary writers to address issues of gender, caste and class in the making of region and nation.

Past EASAS Events

Past EASAS Academic Workshops


  • The fifth EASAS Workshop on Price of Belonging took place at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research, Bielefeld University, Germany, from 12 to 13 July 2018. During the two-day focused discussion group, it was intended to jointly work through and deepen understanding of human sacrifice that belonging implies by focusing upon specific case studies in different South Asian countries. The aim of the workshop was to look into the interior of human bonds that are less about a relationship between the self and a different ‘Other’ – an already established approach to
    investigate belonging and more of a relationship between the self and a distinct ‘Same’, a perspective that will guide us to the hidden yet scarcely understood spheres of belonging.
    The following questions were addressed: How do collectives make claims upon individual persons? How do individuals gain and secure their membership? How are individual and collective commitments (re)negotiated in everyday situations? What makes some people stay in a formation while others opt for an exit? What happens to those who
    are unable or unwilling to bear the costs? Themes of interest include: consequences of class, caste, ethnic and gendered belonging and membership; inter-marriage; individual navigation through collective constellations.
  • The fourth EASAS Workshop on Worker-Contractors: Refiguring low-level labour market intermediaries in contemporary India took place at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK, on 7 July 2017.
    This one-day symposium was to examine on the formation and working practices of low-level contractors, understood as key figures underpinning India’s economic boom.
  • The third EASAS Workshop on ‘Potent Substances’ between Asia and Europe: Redefining materia medica in Tibetan and Himalayan Medicine and Buddhist Ritual took place at the University of Vienna, Austria, from 1 to 4 September 2016. This workshop focused on how medical and ritual substances are identified and categorised in Tibetan traditions, as well as possible impacts on their ‘potency’ within recent EU pharmaceutical regulations.


  • The second EASAS Workshop on South Asian Apparel Workers in the Post-Rana Plaza World: Worker Health Beyond the Factory Floor took place at the University of Edinburgh, UK, from 15 to 16 July 2016. This workshop focused on worker health in the garment industry since the collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh in 2013.

 

  • The first EASAS Workshop on Opening Up Intimate Spaces: Women Writing and Autobiography in India took place at the Adam Mickiewicz University Poznan, Poland, from 19 to 20 May 2016. This workshop focused on Indian women’s writings in India. Most studies of India have tended to focus on the public and the political spheres, seeing them entirely in masculine terms. The fact of women’s much lower literacy levels, their containment within ideologies of femininity and domesticity, compounded by the deafening silence of the imperial archive on women’s experiences have led to the relegation of women’s writings to the margins of mainstream Indian history. This workshop follows an important shift in studies of Indian history towards a reappraisal of women’s roles in the making of pre-modern and modern India by focusing on their writings about their lives.

Past EASAS PhD Workshops


  • The 12th  EASAS PhD Workshop took place at the University of Stuttgart from 19 to 21 September
    2019. Participants hailed from ten countries, in alphabetical order, from Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Twelve students’ chapters were presented by one of the fellow students and commented upon by a senior member of staff. The format of presenting and discussing chapters followed the usual pattern employed at EASAS doctoral workshops.
    The Stuttgart workshop had lively and intense discussions on all presented topics, which ranged from historical to anthropological, and linguistic to performative subject areas. The in-depth discussions offered students with maximum quality feedback on their work in progress.
    The 12th EASAS PhD Workshop was convened by Dr. Margret Frenz, FRHistS, FHEA, University of Stuttgart, and Dr. Georg Berkemer, Humboldt University Berlin.
  • The 11th EASAS PhD Workshop in South Asian Studies was held from 22 to 24 September 2017 in Naples at L'Orientale University of Naples. The EASAS Doctoral Workshops take place annually and aim at giving PhD students the oppertunity to discuss their thesis with fellow PhD students and senior scholars who work on South Asia.
    The 11th EASAS Doctoral Workshop was convened by Dr. Stefania Cavaliere (L'Orientale University, Naples) and Prof. Dr. Alessandra Consolaro (University of Turin).

Other Events Related to South Asian Studies


The Environment and Social Justice in Asia - Asian Affairs Journal Special Issue 2020

 

Articles are invited for a special issue of the Asian Affairs Journal on the subject of "The Environment and Social Justice in Asia", to be published in November 2020. Articles covering any field or issue under this heading, including mining, water issues, forestry, manual scavenging, climate change, pollution, wildlife issues, or any other related matter are sought for this special issue of the Journal. This special issue hopes to focus attention on the interactions of environmental issues, politics, wealth, opportunities and privileges, as well as the effect of interventions and advocacy work on behalf of marginalised groups. 

 

Articles should be 5-7,000 words long, and aimed at both a general as well as an academic audience. Full details guidelines on submissions can be found at the Journal Homepage.

 

Submissions or enquiries should be made by email to the editor, Bijan Omrani

The deadline for submissions is 15 September 2020

 

The Asian Affairs Journal has been published since 1914, and is the journal of the Royal Society for Asian Affairs in London (www.rsaa.org.uk). It is published internationally by Taylor and Francis, and has a wide readership amongst both academics, policy-makers, diplomats, and those in business and government. More information on the Journal can be found at the aims and scope page on the Journal Website.

Recent special issues of the Journal have focused on the Belt-and-Road Initiative, and also Religious Freedom in South Asia. Please see the links below to see these issues: 


 

‘History of the Book in India’ Course

The Institute of English Studies
University of London

 

The London Rare Books School (LRBS) at the Institute of English Studies, University of London is now accepting applications for its summer programme.

Join Graham Shaw for the History of the Book in India, 29 June-3 July 2020.

This course aims to give students an introduction to the history of the book in India – both manuscript and printed – from the 1st century CE to the present day. It will also examine the interplay of manuscript and print with the transmission of text through orature and performance traditions.  It will highlight the influence of different faiths on manuscript production and illustration, and the impact of printing technologies (xylography and lithography as well as typography). It will also cover some important strands in Indian publishing history such as the relationship between India and Britain in the colonial period, and issues facing contemporary publishing.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until a course is full. Courses may be taken for credit toward a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma, MRes or MA in the History of the Book. Courses fees are £650 (standard) and £520 (student), with discounts for multiple bookings.

For the full list of courses, and further information please visit the following link http://ies.sas.ac.uk/lrbs. The application form is available here.
Please contact: GEORGIA REEVES, SUMMER SCHOOL ADMINISTRATOR for questions: georgia.reeves@sas.ac.uk