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New issue of South Asia Institute Papers published

The latest issue of the South Asia Institute Papers (SAIP) has been released. The paper includes Prof. Dr. Rahul Mukherji´s lecture on „Governing India: What do we know and need to know?“, which he held at his Inaugural Lecture delivered in the Alte Aula on 15 November 2017. The paper is available here.

New book by Hossein Zarhani on Governance and Development in India

Routledge recently published the book „Governance and Development in India -  A Comparative Study on Andhra Pradesh and Bihar after Liberalization“ by Dr. Seyed Hossein Zarhani (Department of Political Science, SAI). The book was released as part of the series „Routledge Advances in South Asian Studies“. Further information is available here.

Description of the book:

The study of the political economy of development in India is significant as India has emerged as one of the fastest-growing countries during the last three decades and the rate of economic growth and poverty reduction have not been matched in India’s subnational states. Although the Union Government has introduced and implemented several economic reforms since 1991 to enhance the economic development, the results of implantation have varied.

Governance and Development in India compares two Indian subnational states, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar. The book does not consider the state as an aggregate entity; rather, it disaggregates the state relationally and spatially. Concentrating on the micro-institutional variables and the role of regional elites, the author investigates the political roots of the divergence of development trajectories among India’s subnational states since liberalization, as an essential aspect of the political economy of development in India. The book explores the black box of the multi-layered state of India and interactions among the Central Government, the states, regional leaders and other stakeholders and explains why the regional leaders have pursued divergent economic strategies using the analytical narrative research method and the subnational comparative research method.

Firmly based on the theoretical foundations of the neo-institutional rational choice model of governance, polycentric hierarchy theory and the strategies for regional elite strategy analysis, combined with empirical research, this book is a valuable contribution to the fields of comparative political economy, state politics in India, governance and development in developing countries, and South Asian comparative politics.

Routledge Advances in South Asian Studies

South Asia, with its burgeoning, ethnically diverse population, soaring economies, and nuclear weapons, is an increasingly important region in the global context. The series, which builds on this complex, dynamic and volatile area, features innovative and original research on the region as a whole or on the countries. Its scope extends to scholarly works drawing on history, politics, development studies, sociology and economics of individual countries from the region as well those that take an interdisciplinary and comparative approach to the area as a whole or to a comparison of two or more countries from this region. In terms of theory and method, rather than basing itself on any one orthodoxy, the series draws broadly on the insights germane to area studies, as well as the tool kit of the social sciences in general, emphasizing comparison, the analysis of the structure and processes, and the application of qualitative and quantitative methods. The series welcomes submissions from established authors in the field as well as from young authors who have recently completed their doctoral dissertations.

Interdisziplinäre Zeitschrift für Südasienforschung No.3 (2018) published

CrossAsia e-Journals recently published the third edition of the Interdisziplinäre Zeitschrift für Südasienforschung. The current issue features articles by Sneha Banerjee (Understanding Gestation Work in India through Surrogacy Contracts), Janna Vogl (Protest against Sexual Violence and NGO Activism: Disruptions of Female Solidarity), Loreley Franchina (Did Pandialy Walk on Fire? The Refutation of an Ancestral Mythological Genesis as a Quest for Knowledge and Acknowledgement), an essay on „Indien als Zufluchtsort für jüdische NS-Flüchtlinge“ by Maria Framke and a report on the research project „From Young Researchers’ Mobility Experiences towards an Integral Academic Human Resources Knowledge Management Approach: Design-Research for Pakistani-German Higher Education Cooperation“ by Mustafa Ghulam.

The Interdisziplinäre Zeitschrift für Südasienforschung (IZSAF) is an electronic peer-reviewed journal that seeks to provide a platform for young researchers with a research focus on South Asia to publish their findings. The intention of IZSAF is to bring together young scholars from a variety of disciplines and to enter into interdisciplinary discussion regarding issues surrounding the study of South Asia. IZSAF is open to new formats and also publishes photo essays to present topics in South Asia studies visually.

The Interdisziplinäre Zeitschrift für Südasienforschung (IZSAF) is published once a year. Special issues will be also published.

If you are interested in publishing with IZSAF, then please send a short abstract of your article to our editorial board at:


Publication by Borayin Larios

The South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal (SAMAJ) recently published a special edition on "Wayside Shrines: Everyday Religion in Urban India." This issue contains an introductory article by Borayin Larios (Department of Cultural and Religious History of South Asia) together with Raphaël Voix on "Introduction. Wayside Shrines in India: An Everyday Defiant Religiosity" and also Larios´ article entitled „From the Heavens to the Streets: Pune’s Wayside Shrines“.
Further information as well as all articles are freely available here.

Borayin Larios and Raphaël Voix: Introduction. Wayside Shrines in India: An Everyday Defiant Religiosity

Drawing on this special issue’s ethnographic data and analysis this introduction aims to offer an analytical framework for understanding the notion of wayside shrines. It does so by defining wayside shrines as sites that enshrine a worshipped object that is immediately adjacent to a public path, visible from it and accessible to any passerby. Further, we argue that wayside shrines are spaces in which we can observe a unique form of everyday religiosity that challenges sedimented discourses and practices at three different scales: at the level of the individual, of the community, and of the state.

Borayin Larios: From the Heavens to the Streets: Pune’s Wayside Shrines

This article presents the results from brief ethnographic research conducted in 2016 in the city of Pune, Maharashtra. Through two case studies of wayside shrines in Pune—the first, a tiny pavement shrine which is steadily growing in popularity, and the second, a small shrine turned into an extravagant temple in just a few years—I consider them as more than just spontaneous expressions of devotion. Taking into consideration the roles that urban conditions and social configurations have been playing in how social actors forge connections between localities and different communities, this paper will look at how these shrines can be spaces of creative subversion of the established socio-religious order and its structures of power. In in this contribution, I argue that the wayside shrine reveals the blurred boundaries between the rural and the urban, the sacred and the mundane, the institutionalized and the popular as well as the legal and the illegal.

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