Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

Urdu Intensive Course

2-20 September 2019
Deadline: 31 Mai 2019
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Book Presentation by La Toya Waha on 7 February 2019

The South Asia Institute cordially invites you to a book presentation of the new publication by Dr. La Toya Waha on 7 February 2019, 1 pm in room 209. After a welcoming by Prof. Subrata Mitra (former head of Political Science at the SAI), Waha will introduce her book "Religion and State-Formation in Transitional Societies - Sri Lanka in a Comparative Perspective". The volume deals with the theoretical connection between religion, state formation and rationality and gives deep insights into Politics of Buddhism in Sri Lanka from independence to today and is part of the series Modern South Asian Studies.

La Toya Waha finished her PhD at the Department of Political Science at the SAI and is currently faculty member of the Regional Programme Political Dialogue Asia/Singapore at Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.

Book Description (German):

Bedenkt man die Bedeutung, die Religion weltweit in der Politik wiedergewonnen hat, behandelt dieses Buch eine der drängendsten Fragen unserer Zeit: Wie hängen Religion, Gewalt und der moderne Staat zusammen? Das Rätsel, das dieses Buch zu lösen sucht, zeigt sich in einer Selbstverbrennung für politischen Wandel im Staat. Damit verbunden ist die Frage nach der Rationalität religiöser Akteure. Wie kann der eigene Tod ein politisches Mittel sein, wenn doch für Hobbes die Sicherung des eigenen Lebens der zentrale Grund für die Bildung eines Staates ist? Wie kann ein religiöser politischer Akteur rational sein, wenn doch für Weber die Orientierung des Verhaltens an Werten immer – in unterschiedlichem Grade – irrational ist? Wie beeinflusst Religion Entscheidungen? Was erklärt Unterschiede im Verhalten? Das Buch behandelt die Verbindung zwischen Religion, Staatenbildung und Rationalität theoretisch und gibt tiefe Einsichten in die Politik des Buddhismus in Sri Lanka von der Unabhängigkeit bis heute.

Lecture by Prof. Sasanka Perera on 6 February 2019

The South Asia Institute cordially invites you to the lecture "The Bogey-Man of Area Studies" by Prof. Sasanka Perera (Erasmus scholar of SAI) together with Dev Nath Pathak, South Asia University, New Delhi, Department of Sociology), which takes place on 6 February 2019, 6pm  in Karl Jaspers Centre, Room 212, Voßstraße 2.


By placing in context the twin histories of areas studies that emerged during the European colonial and expansion as well as after the end of World War II and briefly surveying the critiques levelled against these approaches, the presentation seeks to argue for a new kind of approach to read South Asia. It argues that this approach should ideally not be bound by disciplinary or geo-political boundaries in the region, but should be guided by thematics that run across these borders and over time. The approach emerges from recent and continuing work undertaken by a group of sociologists at the South Asian University in New Delhi necessitated by their research and pedagogic needs as well as politics.

Further information is available here.

9th Annual Meeting of the Working Group South Asia in the German Society for Geography

On 25 and 26 January 2019, the 9th annual meeting of the working group South Asia in the German Society for Geography (DGfG) will be held by the Department of Geography of the South Asia Institute and the Heidelberg Center for the Environment (HCE) at Heidelberg University. The aim of the annual conference is to discuss current research results, approaches and projects from the entire spectrum of South Asian geography. It provides a platform for intra- and interdisciplinary dialogue on current developments in the diverse and rapidly changing region of South Asia.

There is no opportunity to submit contributions any more, but interested parties can register by 15.01.2019 by mail ( to participate in the conference. Lectures take place in German as well as in English.

Further information is available here.

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