Report by Mette Gabler
The 10th European PhD workshop in South Asian Studies was held June 17-19, 2016 outside Lisbon, Portugal, inviting a small group of PhD students affiliated with various universities around Europe to present and discuss current questions and ideas relevant to their theses. This annual workshop, organised by the European Association for South Asian Studies (EASAS), was hosted by the Centre for International Studies (CEI) at the University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE), and provided stay for 18 PhD students and five senior scholars at the Inatel Oeiras, a resort by the river Tagus, 20 minutes away from Lisbon by train.
Following the thought behind EASAS, an academic association engaged in the support of research and teaching concerning South Asia in all fields of study and with the objective to promote South Asian Studies in all countries of Europe, the participants belonged to a range of disciplines. Among them anthropology, philology, history of literary or theatre, sociology, conflict management and development, economy, history and biomedicine, which provided not only broad discussions but insights from various perspectives. This lead to rich debates on topics as diverse as analysing Puranic texts, Marathi Literature during colonial times, and recent Hindi novels, investigating gender dynamics in health care, ethnographic studies on migration in Bangladesh and refugees from African countries in Delhi, as well as discussions on Malayalam cinema, advertising, and Parsi theatre.
The three day workshop was organised by Rosa Maria Perez and Jason Fernandes affiliated with the University Institute of Lisbon, and main commentators included Rosa Maria Perez herself, Alessandra Consolaro (University of Turin), Roger Jeffrey (University of Edinburgh) and José Mapril (New University of Lisbon). The papers that were circulated before the workshop were divided among them for an initial comment, followed by discussions among all participants.
The weekend began with an afternoon program of four papers but left ample time for informal discussions and connecting to PhD students currently situated across Europe; many also with ties to universities in South Asia. Also Saturday brought a full schedule and the engagement with the different topics continued outside the formal sessions. I left after another round of five papers on Sunday with affirmative impressions of meeting interesting people, thoughtful insights and useful comments.
Photograph by Mette Gabler: Manju E P affiliated with Freie Universität, Berlin showing a clip form a Malayalm film in connection with discussing the paper: “Cinema within Cinema: Self-Refelctive/Self-Erasing Nature of Malayalam Cinema”.