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Congratulations to Borayin Larios

We congratulate Dr. Borayin Larios. After 10 years at the South Asia Institute in Heidelberg, he has recently been appointed as university assistant at the Department of South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies at the University of Vienna in Austria. He is now assisting Prof. Martin Gaenszle who is the Chair of South Asian Studies in Vienna, where among other tasks, he will continue to work on his second book on popular religion in the urban public space in the city of Pune, Maharashtra.

Larios came to Heidelberg in 2008 to start his Ph.D. under the supervision of Prof. Axel Michaels. His dissertation was published by De Gruyter in 2017 under the title: Embodying the Vedas. Traditional Vedic Schools of Contemporary Maharashtra and is available in Open Access here:  

Since his doctoral defense in 2013, he has been active at the SAI in a number of research projects and also as a lecturer offering interdisciplinary courses.

We wish him all the best, thank him for his precious work at SAI and hope to see him from time to time in Heidelberg. 

Exposé-Scholarship from the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes for Malini Ambach

We cordially congratulate Malini Ambach, who completed her M.A. in Cultural and Religious History of South Asia in the summer term, for receiving an Exposé-scholarship from the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes (German Academic Scholarship Foundation). This scholarship enables former scholarship holders of the Studienstiftung to conduct an academic working phase after graduation and before starting their dissertation. It supports projects that aim at the conception and preparation of innovative PhD projects.

For six months starting in January 2019, Ambach will work on the topic “Religious Networks between the Pilgrimage Centres of Kāñcīpuram and Vārāṇasī and their Sacred Geography in Comparison“. Sanskrit texts from the genre of Māhātmyas which use mythological narratives to describe the sacred spaces and the efficaciousness of Kāñcīpuram and Vārāṇasī serve as a basis for her work. Her project is affiliated with the Department of Cultural and Religious History of South Asia.

Filmscreening "Thrust into Heaven"

Everybody is cordially invited to the Filmscreening "Thrust into Heaven" (2016, 66mins) by Jürgen Schaflechner (Assistant Professor at Department of Modern South Asian Languages and Literatures), which will take place on 12.12.2018, 7:30 at the Institute of Ethnology, Albert-Überle-Straße 3-5 in the Werkstattraum (Poster).

Synopsis: Navigating around stereotypes of Islam and non-Muslim belonging in Pakistan, Thrust into Heaven showcases instances of so-called “forced conversions” of Hindu girls to Islam. These incidents often follow a sequence: a young Hindu woman disappears from her house or place of work, and resurfaces again as a married and newly converted Muslim. Once a conversion occurs and has been publicly announced, a combination of legal issues and the street power of extremist religious groups makes it nearly impossible for newly converted women to go back to their former lives. On the one hand, some of these conversions are, unfortunately, utilized to conceal criminal acts including kidnapping, human trafficking, and rape. On the other hand, they are examples of female agency and ways in which young women navigate through Pakistan’s rigid patriarchal society. Struggling for a dialogic approach to this sensitive topic, this film aims to give room to the various interpretations that emerge around the alleged forced conversion of Hindu women to Islam in Pakistan.


Lecture by Prof. Dr. Marcus Nüsser on 11.12.2018

On Tuesday, 11 December 2018, 7 pm a lecture on "Die Gletscher- und Siedlungspanoramen der Schlagintweit-Brüder - Frühe Ansichten der Natur und Kultur im Himalaya" by Prof. Dr. Marcus Nüsser (Department of Geography at the South Asia Institute) will take place in the small auditorium of the Kirchhoff Institute for Physics, INF 227. It is part of the lecture series "Reisen für die Wissenschaft – Expeditionen, Exkursionen und Explorationen", which is organized by the Heidelberg Geographic Society (HGG). Detailed information is available here.


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Lectures and Events

Dienstag, 05.02.2019
Project Presentation - Department PhD Candidate
Zeit: 16:00 Uhr
Ort: 316, Im Neuenheimer Feld 330
Referent: Sona Prabhakaran
Veranstalter: Abteilung Kultur und Religionsgeschichte Südasiens
Montag, 18.02.2019
Lived Sanskrit Cultures in Varanasi
Zeit: 09:00 Uhr
Ort: Benares, Indien, Im Neuenheimer Feld 330
Veranstalter: Abteilung Kultur und Religionsgeschichte Südasiens
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