Prof. Dr. Hans Harder has published the book "Disciplines and Movements: Conversations between India and the German-speaking world", together with Dhruv Raina, issued by Orient BlackSwan: "The late nineteenth and early twentieth century saw the introduction of modern disciplines within the university system. In India, the modern university as a ‘teaching and examining body’ set up as an instrument of colonial governmentality, was slowly progressing towards the institution of postgraduate teaching and research. While many disciplines were still fluid, there was a distinct movement towards the institutionalisation of disciplinary identities in South Asia.
Disciplines and Movements studies this historical period till a little after the end of colonialism in India through an exploration of a set of conversations and transnational encounters between Indian and German-speaking intellectuals and academicians at this time, which shaped the contours of disciplines such as psychology and sociology, and of course, in a different way, Indology. Moving away from the customary binary of Eastern and Western knowledge forms, the chapters bring together diverse aspects of this encounter: the movement and meeting of scholars, shared intellectual and scientific concerns, the mode and content of communication, and how colonial and other knowledge forms constituted the identity of the modern sciences and social sciences.
Coming from a wide range of disciplines, the book has chapters by Martin Fuchs, Roddam Narasimha, Dhruv Raina, Axel Michaels, Benjamin Zachariah, Angelika Malinar, Rajendra Dengle, Christiane Hartnack, and Hans Harder. The chapter authors highlight little-known, yet key aspects of these encounters: the critical role of translation in facilitating – and, at times, distorting – flows of knowledge; exchanges between Indian and German/Austrian scientists between the two World Wars; German disciplinary engagements with India in the fields of sociology, psychology, and media theory; and the extent and nature of the closeness of Indian and German thought in relation to fascism and National Socialism."
You can find more information about the book here.
The Heinrich Böll Foundation has published Dieter Reinhardt's study 'Coal, Capital and Conflict, The Rampal Power Plant in Bangladesh, the Protection of the Sundarbans and the Role of German Companies'. In it, he describes the causes for the extreme endangerment of the Sundarbans, the largest contiguous mangrove forest area in the world. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, covers a large part of the coast of Bangladesh and is a natural protective barrier against the increasingly strong cyclones in the Bay of Bengal triggered by climate change. Only a few kilometres north of this protected area, the "Rampal" coal-fired power plant is being built, in which the Stuttgart-based company Fichtner GmbH is significantly involved.
Further information can be found here.
For almost 10 years, Fichtner GmbH has been the lead engineering firm for the construction of this power plant and the associated Mongla coal port. The Rampal power plant will go into operation in the course of 2022. In the future, about 200 container ships per year will pass through the mangroves to supply the power plant with almost 4 million tonnes of imported coal. Waste and pollutants threaten the regional ecosystem and the population. The construction is justified with the necessary industrialisation of the country.
The author shows why the construction of this coal-fired power plant is an anachronism. Bangladesh has very large, almost untapped potentials of renewable energies, which are considerably cheaper than fossil fuels. Despite very large and diverse protests in Bangladesh and numerous studies by scientists inside and outside Bangladesh showing the very large negative impacts of the power plant on the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Sundarbans, the construction of the power plant could not be prevented. In Germany, limited criticism of the extensive involvement of Fichtner GmbH in this power plant project began very late.
On Tuesday 17th May, 7.15 pm the department of Cultural and Religious History of South Asia cordially invites to the screening of four short films, which were made for the exhibition “The Mirror: Our Reflected Image” of Museum Rietberg in 2019. The screening will take place in room 010.01.05 of the South Asia Institute, be introduced by the Director of the short films, Harsha Vinay, and will be followed by a Q&A session.
Harsha Vinay led fieldwork in northern Kerala and Tulunadu with colleagues and associates at temples dedicated to deities personified as mirrors. He documented remarkable rituals of consecration and possession that use mirrors as well as deities which were shown with the mirror as their attribute.