Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

SAI - News        

SAI - News

Setting up the Heinrich Zimmer Chair for Indian Philosophy and Intellectual History
On Monday, November 16th the SAI, Heidelberg University and the Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe" represented by Rektor Prof. Bernhard Eitel, and Professors Axel Michaels und Gita Dharampal-Frick have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) on the establishment of the "Heinrich-Zimmer Chair for Indian Philosophy and Intellectual History". The Chair will be awarded to Heidelberg starting from summer 2010. For further details see the press release and press coverage from Heidelberg University. 
Dr. Clemens Spiess on EU-India relations
Dr. Clemens Spiess, lecturer at the department for Political Science at the SAI, was interviewed Deutsche Welle for an article entitled "European Union's relation to India growing in intensity". Find the article here.

Guest Professor Political Science South Asia

In this semester we are happy to welcome Professor Dr. Bhattacharyya, Ph. D (London School of Economics and Political Science, London University) as a visiting professor at Department of Political Science, SAI. Prof.  Bhattacharyya is permanently based in the Department of Political Science, University of Burdwan, West Bengal (India), and stays with us until 31 January 2010. Formerly a Professor of Comparative Politics and Indian Politics, Delhi University, and Dean, Faculty of Arts, Commerce, Management, Law and Fine Arts, University of Burdwan (2006-08), Professor Bhattacharyya has been the recipient of many visiting assignments in the universities in the West such as Hull University, UK, Fribourg University, Switzerland and of course South Asia Institute Heidelberg as Baden-Wurttemburg Fellow (1998) and DAAD Fellow (2007).


He has been associated with many international organizations for research projects such as World Bank, Ford Foundation, Institute of Federalism, Fribourg, DFG project on ‘Governance in India’, and the International Council on Human Rights Policy, Geneva (as a Research Consultant). Professor Bhattacharyya has also taken part in international peace making for Burundi (Arusha), Sri Lanka in Austria and Locarno, and was a Facilitator for Nepal’s Constitutional Transition in 2008. He has been collaborating with Professor Dr Subrata K Mita, Head of the Department of Political Science, SAI for more than a decade and half, and jointly published with him too.


Professor Bhattacharyya has to his credit some eight books (including jointly edited) and more than 80 research papers. His book include: Federalism in Asia: India, Pakistan and Malaysia (Routledge, forthcoming 2010); (jointly edited) The Politics of Social Exclusion in India: Democracy at the Crossroads (Routledge, forthcoming 2009); India as a Multicultural Federation: Asian Values, Democracy ad Decentralization (In Comparison with Swiss Federalism (Fribourg, 2001), and (jointly edited) The Rule of Law and Organization of the State in Asia: The Multicultural Challenge (Fribourg, 2000).


His current research interests are: Indian politics with special reference to globalization; comparative federalism and ethnic identity; human rights and decentralization; and the politics of social exclusion and inclusion.

He can be contacted at:  Room 416 Ph 54-8943. For more information see his website.

Lectures in the Research Colloquium

In the ongoing term we will have a series of lectures by emminent guests and interim professors of the SAI in the research colloquium.

The series will start on Tuesday, November 10th with a methodological talk by the historian and current Iqbal-Fellow Prof. Dr. Sayed Wiquar Ali Shah entitled Personal Interviews as a Source of Oral History. Three weeks later on December 1st Prof. Harihar Bhattacharyya will give an introduction into Federalism and Ethnic Identity in India, Recent Trends. Prof. Bhattacharyya is a professor in political science at University of Burdwan, West Bengal, and is guest professor in the department for political science South Asia.

The new year starts with a lecture by PD Dr. Beatrix Hauser, who serves as interim professor for Professor Sax in the current semester and in addition took over the burden of organizing the research colloquium. She will deliver a talk on Shoeing, Gandhigiri and the Burning of Effigies: Reflections on the Transcultural Flow and Interpretation of Political Performances. The last talk in the colloquium will be held by Prof. Dr. Monika Kirloskar-Steinbach, who serves as guest professor in the history department. On February 2nd 2010 Prof. Kirloskar-Steinbach tackles the question Kann es eine indische Menschenrechtsbegründung geben?

All lectures start at 17h and will be held in room 317. For the discussion thereafter we will convene in the Cafeteria. All colleagues and students of the SAI are welcome.

Interim Professor Anthropology

A warm welcome to PD Dr. Beatrix Hauser who is presently interim professor at the Department of Anthropology. She studied Social Anthropology in Hamburg, Heidelberg and London. In 1989 she received her Magister Artium from the University of Hamburg and in 1997 her PhD, on the basis of her research on a contemporary Bengali tradition of story telling that is performed with the help of scroll paintings (Mit irdischem Schaudern und göttlicher Fügung: bengalische Erzähler und ihre Bildvorführungen, Berlin 1998). She taught at several universities and was, apart from other activities, research associate at the collaborative research centre 626: „Aesthetic Experience and the Dissolution of Artistic Limits“ at the Free University of Berlin. In January 2009 she passed her habilitation at the Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg and received the venia legendi (postdoctoral lecture qualification) for Social Anthropology. Her habilitation thesis is about Hindu women in Orissa in their religious practices (Promising Rituals: Doing Gender in Southern Orissa, India, Halle 2008).


Beatrix Hauser’s research interests are the anthropology of religion (Hinduism, subaltern and transreligious practices, spirit possession, notions of im/purity, ritual theory), the anthropology of the body (cultural concepts of body and self, body techniques, emotions and senses, embodiment), the anthropology of performance (ritual, theatre, play, festival, oral tradition, arts, political performances, aesthetics, performance theories) and gender (cultural notions of femininity and masculinity, self-images and social identities, female religiosity, goddess worship, menstruation).


Beatrix Hauser’s current research focuses on Ramlila performances as an example of ritual theatre. She compares its mode(s) of performance and reception in different regions of India, last but not least in the megacity of Delhi where Ramlila has turned into a multimedia event. Two new projects aim to explore (1) the impact of modern transcultural yoga on concepts of the healthy body, and (2) the mediatization of conflicts and violence, with special reference to the burning of effigies as a form of protest.

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