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Academic ceremony in honour of Prof. Dr. Gita Dharampal-Frick on 06.07.2018

The Department for History of South Asia and the South Asia Institute cordially invite you to the academic ceremony in honour of Prof. Dr. Gita Dharampal-Frick’s retirement on 6 July 2018 from 10 am to 5.00 pm at the Heinrich-Zimmer-Room at the South Asia Institute. The poster of the event is available here and the detailed programme here.

The celebrations begin with a festive part from 10 to 12 pm which is honouring Gita Dharampal-Frick‘s life‘s work, followed by academic talks by former students and colleagues from 1 to 5.30 pm. A literary reading (organised by the Department of Modern South Asian Languages and Literatures) and the yearly summer fest (organized by the Institute’s student council) will conclude the festivities.

Gita Dharampal-Frick was the head of the Department of History at the South Asia Institute (SAI) since 2002 and has left her mark on the institute as well as on the university in general. She filled positions in numerous academic and administrative bodies, was engaged in interdisciplinary research projects, initiated Indo-German collaborations and put her heart into teaching and conducting research. Whereas the impressive bibliography of Professor Dharampal-Frick’s works bears testimony to the latter, it has always been her original and critical mode of teaching that made her a students’ favourite at the SAI.

Having celebrated her sixty-fifth birthday in 2017, Gita Dharampal-Frick can look back on a fruitful academic career that exemplifies her own transcultural biography. Hailing from an Indo-British Gandhian family, she spent her childhood years in India as well as in England. After completing her undergraduate education at Manchester, SOAS (London) and Cambridge, she went on to receive her masters (1977) and PhD (1980) in Indology/History from the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris with the dissertation "La religion des Malabars. Tessier de Quéralay et la contribution des missionnaires européens à la naissance de l'indianisme". Professor Dharampal-Frick was habilitated with her seminal study on German accounts of India from the pre-modern era ("Indien im Spiegel deutscher Quellen der Frühen Neuzeit (1500–1750): Studien zu einer interkulturellen Konstellation") at Freiburg University, Germany in 1992. She was a Heisenberg Research Fellow with the German Research Foiundation, before she was appointed full professor and head of the Department of South Asian History at Heidelberg University

During her time at Heidelberg University, Professor Dharampal-Frick was involved in interdisciplinary and innovative projects like the Collaborative Research Center (SFB) 619 “Ritual Dynamics” Socio-Cultural Processes from a Historical and Culturally Comparative Perspective (2005–2009), where she led the sub-project A7 “Ritual Transfer between South Asia and the West, 1600–2000”. Gita Dharampal-Frick was also a committed member of the Heidelberg Cluster of Excellence Asia and Europe in a Global Context: The Dynamics of Transculturality.

Gita Dharampal-Frick's research interests are political, economic, social and (trans-)cultural history of South Asia (18th–20th c.), regional and local historiographical traditions (oral and pictorial histories), modernizing processes and movements of resistance in post-independence India, South Asia and the entangled history of the Maritime World between the Indian Ocean and the China Sea. Among her many important contributions to German-speaking historical scholarship on South Asia her pathbreaking work on the intercultural constellations in premodern Germany’s perception of India and her multifacetted analysis of the life and philosophy of M.K Gandhi stand out.




CATS Student Lab - Vacation Programme Asia

This summer, the Student Lab of the Center for Asian and Transcultural Studies (CATS) at the University of Heidelberg will be opening its workshops for individual registration. Religion, film, geography and art are in the focus. From now on, students of class 9/10 or in the age of 15 years can register for the vacation programme Asia of the CATS student lab free of charge. There are various workshops on topics around the countries and region of Asia.

Please register for the free holiday programme here:

Workshop dates

- Religion in Asia | Mon, 30th and Tue, 31st July, 9am - 7pm | Registration deadline: 2 July

- Watch movies, understand China | Wed, 1st August, 9am - 15pm | Registration deadline: 4th of July

- War and Film in East Asia | Thu, 2nd August, 9am - 17 pm | Registration deadline: 5th of July

- Water in the Himalayas | Mon, 6th August, 9am - 2pm | Registration deadline: 9th of July

- Urbanization in China | Thu, 9th of August, 9am - 4pm | Registration deadline: 12th July

- Art and Museums in China | Wed, 15th August, 9am - 4pm | Registration deadline: 18th of July

- 3000 Years of East Asian Script Art | Wed, 22th August, 9am – 16pm | Registration deadline: 25th of July

Detailed information about the workshops is available here.

The poster is available here.

All information is also available on



Urdu Afternoon on 22.06.2018

The Department for Modern South Asian Languages and Literatures cordially invites you to an Urdu Afternoon on Friday, 22 June 2018, 4:00 at the Heinrich-Zimmer-Saal at SAI. Small lectures and recitations about or in Urdu will be given by SAI-staff, students and guests from outside. A hommage to a literary culture and also to Christina Oesterheld, who taught Urdu at the SAI for two and a half decades and filled it with soul. The poster of the event is available here.



Dr. Himanshu Jha: State Processes, Ideas, and Institutional Change

Dr. Himanshu Jha published an article entitled "State Processes, Ideas, and Institutional Change: The Case of the Right to Information Act in India" in the latest issue of the Pacific Affairs (Volume 91, No.2, June 2018). Using historical evidence, this article presents an alternative to the dominant narrative about the evolution of the Right to Information Act in India. Dr. Jha demonstrates that ideas on openness emerged as part of the opposition politics within the state after independence in 1947, gradually and incrementally became part of mainstream politics, and eventually led to the RTIA. The article can be accessed here


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News from previous years

Lectures and Events

Donnerstag, 21.06.2018
Sri Lanka on Screen
Zeit: 18:00 Uhr
Ort: Z10, Im Neuenheimer Feld 330
Veranstalter: Südasien-Institut Heidelberg
Freitag, 22.06.2018
Zeit: 16:00 Uhr
Ort: Heinrich-Zimmer Saal, Im Neuenheimer Feld 330
Referent: SAI-Mitarbeiter, Studierende und Gäste von außerhalb
Veranstalter: Abteilung Neusprachliche Südasienstudien
Donnerstag, 28.06.2018
Sri Lanka on Screen
Zeit: 18:00 Uhr
Ort: Z10, Im Neuenheimer Feld 330
Veranstalter: Südasien-Institut Heidelberg
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