South Asia related studies taking place at Karlstad University:

Karlstad University has been involved in a number of activities in South Asia over the last two decades, including sending students for field studies. Karlstad has also earlier been engaged in the training of school headmasters in Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.

Student field studies carried out from Varanasi and Dharamsala

The activities in South Asia go back to the mid-1980s when Marc Katz from the Dept of Religions was doing research in Varanasi (he had earlier been engaged in the University of Wisconsin program there).
Now Karlstad University and Banaras Hindu University every autumn offer 10–14 duly admitted students to the C/D-level courses (20 credits) in History of Religions and Cultural Geography at Karlstad University (if meeting basic requirements for studies in India), the opportunity to spend 10–15 weeks in Banaras (Varanasi). In India they study languages (Hindi/Sanskrit), conduct individualized litterature and field studies (related to their C/D thesis topics) under qualified supervision, and participate in a joint BHU-Karlstad University seminar on the ”Multi-Cultural Aspects of Banaras”. More information on Karlstad University’s India Programme.

Karlstad University also regularly sends teachers training students to do field work in Varanasi. Every year a batch of students goes to Varanasi, or during the hot season (in the Spring) to Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh where Karlstad University has also established lasting contacts. Inga-Lill Fjällsby at the Office for Educational and Research Planning has for a long time coordinated the Indian activities.

More than 300 students have gone to India since the start of the programme. Since 1995 Karlstad University has had a study centre, Ganga Mahal, in a mansion facing the Ganga, rented from the Maharaja of Varanasi. Here students can live, and the study centre is also open to students from other programmes than the above mentioned. Researchers and doctoral students even from other universities in Sweden, e g Linköping, Umeå, Lund, Uppsala and KTH, have stayed at the centre and made it a base for their field studies. Ganga Mahal has also welcomed guests from Swedish folk high schools, and groups of teachers, artists and writers. The rent for Ganga Mahal is mainly paid for with the income generated from the students’ fees.
See an article published in Utblickar nr 3/98 on the cooperation between Karlstad and Varanasi.

Agreements with other universities

Minor Field Studies (MFS) students from various universities have used the centre. Karlstad University has made agreements with Banaras Hindu University at Varanasi and other universities and institutes in the region and the students from Karlstad attend courses at these institutions. Persons in charge of these activities are besides Marc Katz Per-Olof Fjällsby, also from the Dept of Religions; Inga-Lill Fjällsby; and Kjell Härenstam, Dept of History.

Ingela Jansson, Division of Social Sciences, Dept. of Social Care (Social omsorgsvetenskap), has also been taking students to India since 1997. It has been done within the framework of a 5 credits course in Social Care in International Perspective. The division collaborates with Hälsouniversitetet in Linköping. The Dept. of Social Work at Kashi Vidyapith (School of Social Education) in Varanasi is engaged in this program.

Co-operation in India is also taking place with the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies in Sarnath, Varanasi, and the Aligarh Muslim University.

Linnaeus Palme programmes

Karlstad University started a Linnaeus-Palme programme in the fall of 2001, in which Indian students will come to Karlstad for half a year, and Karlstad students will go to India. In Karlstad the Indian students can study, for example, World religions and Swedish geography. Varanasi is the node for this exchange program.
Another L:P program started during 2001 within the Teacher education aiming at teacher exchange and possibly student exchange in the future. The cooperation partner is Vasanta College for Women, Varanasi which is affiliated to BHU.
Albrecht Jung and Jan Rodin guest teachers at Varanasi in the Fall 2002; and P-O Fjällsby went to Varanasi to teach in the Fall 2003.
In the other direction Indian guest teachers have come to Karlstad, and done teaching in History of Religions, Cultural/Human Geography, History, Education, Music and Technology. Besides the academic exchange Karlstad University has also promoted visits to Sweden by artists and dancers, making it possible to arrange Indian art exhibitions and dance performances in Karlstad and other places in Sweden.

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SASNET - Swedish South Asian Studies Network/Lund University
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Last updated 2006-01-27