History is taught both as courses on their own, and as part
of the Teachers training programmes at Karlstad University. The
students at these courses/programmes, due to an initiative taken by P-O
Fjällsby and other academic teachers at Karlstad University already
in the late 1980s, regularly go to to India for field studies and
exchange programmes with different universities and other cultural institutions.
More information on Karlstad Universitys
South Asian studies.
In 1996 Karlstad University established a Study Centre,
Ganga Mahal, which offers opportunities for students from Karlstad, and
from other Swedish universities, to spend shorter or longer periods of
field works in Varanasi. P-O Fjällsby has been largely responsible
for the management of Ganga Mahal, located close to the river Ganges at
Assi Ghat, not far from the Banaras Hindu University. Lars Eklund, SASNET,
vivited the centre in March 2002. Read his report.
P-O Fjällsby teaches contemporary South Asian history
at the department, as well as at the Centre for
Asian Studies, CEAS, at Göteborg University.
Research at the department connected to South Asia
to the South Asia connection advanced students (C- and D-level) at the
department sometimes carry out research on India. However no PhD level
studies is done in Karlstad, which means that the students who want to
proceed with research move to other universities.
Per-Olof Fjällsby himself (photo to the left)
is therefore since 1998 registered as a part-time PhD candidate at the
Department of History
at Göteborg University, where he is working with a project called
Theosophy and Indian nationalism.
The thesis deals with political ideas and activities related to the Theosophical
Society and its involvment in the Nationalist movement in India during
the period 18791930.
Abstract: The first attempt from the Theosophist's
to interact with the nationalist movement in India was taken already in
1879. Contact was than established with the Hindu revival movement, Arya
Samaj and its leader Dayananda Saraswati. In 1885 A O Hume, at that time
a theosophist, was (one of) the founder to the Indian National Congress.
In 1909 more than 10 000 were members in TS, mostly people from the middle
class in the Anglo-Indian society.
The most famous of political activists among the Theosophists are of course
Mrs. Annie Besant, founder of Central Hindu College and the first women
to become president of the Indian National Congress as a result of her
leadership in her All India Home Rule Movement 1915-17. She was, at the
same time, president of the International Theosophical Society. Mrs. Besant's
quality for political leadership lay also in her earlier political involvement
in the Freethought Movement in Britain before she became a theosophist
1889 and came to India in 1893.
In the study P-O Fjällsby tries to explore the various ways in which
the past was used by the Theosophist in order to construct a national
identity in India. Three subjects are in focus; their national political
ambitions, efforts in the field of a national education and in the women's
At the moment P-O Fjällsby is engaged in a project about Change and Continuity in the mohallas in Benares. The purpose is to see how earlier integrated townships are affected over time by modernisation/globalisation.
History Seminar programme in collaboration with Dalarna
University, Campus Falun
Since the Fall 2004 the Department of History at Karlstad
University is involved in a collaboration project on common Higher Seminar
in History with the Department of History
at Dalarna University, Campus Falun. This is carried out within the framework
of the National research school for Didactic work (NaPa). The Higher Seminars
are held alternately at Falun and Karlstad (and sometimes on neutral ground,
in Kopparberg). More
information on the Higher Seminars.
On 9 March 2005 P-O Fjällsby presented his ongoing PhD research
project , titled ”En udda brobyggare mellan öst och väst.
Teosofernas roll i Indiens frihetskamp”, at a seminar in
Karlstad, and a year later, on 29 March 2006 he presented another part
of his project at a seminar titled ”Indiskt