Punjab Research Group

cfp: International Sikh Research Conference (ISRC)

Posted in Conferences, Events by Pippa on February 16, 2015

We are pleased to announce the call for papers (C4p) and registrations for the second International Sikh Research Conference (ISRC). The conference will take place at the prestigious University of Warwick on the 28 June 2015.

The second conference draws on the unprecedented success of the first ISRC, 2014 by bringing together academics, scholars and researchers and to encourage a spirit of collaboration within international Sikh studies academia.

Scholars, researchers and academics are encouraged to submit a paper which highlights research on any of the following themes: Musicology, History, Philosophy, Scripture, Diaspora, Identity, and Politics.

The call for papers for the second Sikh Research Conference is now live at http://www.sikhconference.co.uk.
See attachment for further details: Call for Papers
Gurinder Singh Mann


Posted in Conferences by Pippa on November 25, 2014
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Raziuddin Aquil and Kaushik Roy, eds, Warfare, Religion, and Society in Indian History (New Delhi: Manohar, 2012)

Posted in New Publications by Pippa on March 7, 2012

Raziuddin Aquil and Kaushik Roy, eds, Warfare, Religion, and Society in Indian History (New Delhi: Manohar, 2012); pp. 341. Price: Rs 995. ISBN 978-81-7304-958-3.

About the Book:

This volume includes essays on a wide range of themes, marked by various distinct approaches to the study of connections between religion and warfare in Indian history from earliest times to the present. Such a collection could possibly cause some consternations, even as the editors began with the basic premise that some of the critical questions be discussed as freely as possible, despite constraints of ideological barriers limiting the fields of inquiry.

Written by a mix of veterans as well as early career scholars, the essays will provoke some debate on what all could possibly be undertaken as legitimate historical exercise and whether it is impossible to write a professional and non-partisan history of such politically sensitive issues as the entanglement of religion and warfare in Indian history and society.

List of Contributors

1. Breaking the Thigh and the Warrior Code

Torkel Brekke

2. Dispatching Kafirs to Hell?: The Languages of Warfare, Politics and Religion in the Delhi Sultanate

Raziuddin Aquil

3. India’s Military Revolution: The View from the Early-Sixteenth-Century Deccan

Richard M. Eaton

4. Rethinking Early Mughal Warfare: Babur’s Pitched Battles, 1499-1529

Pratyay Nath

5. Territories, Wars, Nation: Chronicling Ahom-Mughal Confrontation

Arupjyoti Saikia

6. Responses to Religion and Politics: Riti-kal Poetry, c. 1550-1850

Sandhya Sharma

7. Indian Subaltern Autobiographies: Two Asian Officers in the Eighteenth-Century Bengal Army

Michael H. Fisher

8. Strategies under Stress: Army Management and Environment in Late Pre-Colonial Bahawalpur

Richard B. Barnett

9. Science and Secularization of Warfare: Transition in Siege Warfare in South Asia from Medieval to Modern Times

Kaushik Roy

10. ‘The Nation Within’: British India at War, 1939-1947

C.A. Bayly

Call for Proposals: M4HUMAN Programme. Gerda Henkel Foundation

Posted in Funding opportunities by Pippa on March 1, 2012

In cooperation with the European Commission the Gerda Henkel Foundation launches the second round of its M4HUMAN (Mobility for experienced researchers in historical humanities and Islamic studies) programme. The funding initiative gives outstanding researchers the opportunity to spend a longer period of time at a foreign research institution of their choice.

The call for proposals is open to researchers from all over the world. Main areas of research are the disciplines promoted by the Gerda Henkel Foundation – History, Prehistory and Early History, Archaeology, Art History, Historic Islamic Studies, Legal History, History of Science as well as the special programme “Islam, the Modern Nation State and Transnational Movements”.

The deadline for applications is June 15, 2012.

Further information on the nature and scope of support as well as the application procedure is available online at:



Lecturer in Indian History or Politics, Australian National University

Posted in Vacancies by Pippa on November 27, 2011

Australian National University, School of Culture, History and Language
Lecturer in Indian History or Politics
Institution Type:   College / University
Location:   Australia
Position:   Lecturer

The School of Culture, History and Language (CHL) is one of four
Schools within the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific. Unique in the
world, the school is focused on deep, cutting-edge research and
teaching about the people, languages and land of Asia and the Pacific.

The South Asia Program in the the School of Culture, History and
Language, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, will appoint a Lecturer
in Indian History or Politics (equivalent to Assistant Professor,
tenure track) to coordinate and contribute to the teaching of Indian
History or Politics at undergraduate level. The successful candidate
will have a PhD along with demonstrated potential for high-level
research. Fluency in a modern language is expected and ideally the
successful candidate will commence the position in mind-2012.
Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.

Contact: Dr McComas Taylor
Telephone: +61 2 6125 3179
Email: mccomas.taylor@anu.edu.au

To make an application, please go to

Website: http://chl.anu.edu.au/
Primary Category: Cultural History / Studies
Secondary Categories: South Asian History / Studies

Posting Date: 11/22/2011
Closing Date 01/16/2012

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ESF-LiU Conference on Historiography of Religion, 10-14 September 2012

Posted in Conferences, News/Information by santhyb on November 15, 2011

Programme:  The conference will focus on the question: How, under which conditions and with which consequences are religions historicized? The conference aims at furthering the study of religion as of historiography by analysing how religious groups (or their adversaries) employ historical narratives in the construction of their identities or how such groups are invented by later historiography (comparative  historiography). Thus the biases and elisions of current analytical and descriptive frames have to be analysed, too (history of  research). Combing disciplinary competences of Religious Studies and History of Religion, Confessional Theologies, History, History of Science, and Literary Studies, the participants will help to initiate a comparative historiography of religion by applying literary comparison and historical contextualization to those texts that have been used as central documents for histories of individual  religions and analyze their historiographic character, tools and strategies. Furthermore they will stimulate the history of historical  research on religion; that is, identifying key steps in the early modern and modern history of research. The comparative approach will address Circum-Mediterranean and European as well as Asian religious traditions from the first millennium BCE to present.
Date: 10-14 September 2012

Venue: Scandic Linköping Vast, Sweden

Format: – Lectures by invited high level speakers

– Poster sessions, round table and open discussion periods

– Forward look panel discussion about future developments10-14 September 2012

Chaired by: Jörg Rüpke, Max-Weber-Centre, University of Erfurt, DE

Co-Chaired by: Susanne Rau, Department of History, University of Erfurt, DE

Call for Applications: click HERE

To learn more about the conference, click HERE

Conference flyer  – Please circulate this announcement among your colleagues and contacts!

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Raziuddin Aquil, ed. Sufism and Society in Medieval India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2010

Posted in Book reviews by Pippa on November 14, 2011

Reviewed by Usha Sanyal (Queens University of Charlotte)

This is an interesting collection of essays on aspects of Sufism during the twelfth through eighteenth centuries by well-known scholars in the field, such as K. A. Nizami, J. M. S. Baljon, and Simon Digby, among others. All nine essays have been published previously. They are brought together here, along with an introductory essay by Raziuddin Aquil, the editor, as part of Oxford University Press’s Debates in Indian History and Society series. Thematically, many of the essays are concerned with the role of Sufis in the subcontinent in Islamization and conversion of Hindus to Islam, with the authors taking different stands on the issue. Subsidiary sets of issues relate to Sufis and their relation to the state and to possession of wealth and property, as well as relations between different Sufi orders and between Sufis and scholars of Islamic law (the ulama), language, and social class. One essay, by Richard M. Eaton, deals with the role of women’s songs in transmitting Sufi ideas to illiterate villagers in the seventeenth-century Deccan.

Aquil frames the primary concern of the book, namely, the roles that medieval Sufis played in the conversion of Hindus to Islam, in historiographic terms by focusing on the perspectives of the essay writers themselves. Broadly, Aquil sees three distinct scholarly positions: those whose “writings … emphasize the pluralistic character of Indian society and the commendable role of Sufis in providing a practical framework for communal harmony” (essays by Nizami, S. A. A. Rizvi, and Carl W. Ernst, in Aquil’s view, belong in this group); those who adopt “a more empirically sustainable approach even while remaining committed to the idea of secularism and such other virtues expected from historians in Indian academia” (in this group, he places the contributions by Eaton, Digby, and Muzaffar Alam); and those who take “a Muslim separatist position” (the only example in the volume is the piece by Aziz Ahmad) (p. x). On the one hand, Aquil expresses strong disagreement with Ahmad, writing that he “offers a somewhat cynical interpretation marred by his separatist outlook, which, in turn, was influenced by the post-Partition Muslim predicament in the Indian subcontinent” (p. xv). On the other hand, Aquil feels that Nizami, for example, is prone to making broad generalizations, characterizing the ulama as “conservative and reactionary theologians,… [leaving] the Sufis to rise to the occasion, releasing ‘syncretic forces which liquidated social, ideological, and linguistic barriers’ between Hindus and Muslims for building a ‘common cultural outlook.’” In contrast, Aquil clearly esteems the work of those he terms “empiricist,” describing the essay by Alam, for example, as a “balanced and empirically dense argument on the question of community relations” (p. xvi). Seen in this light, the essays not only offer different perspectives on the roles of Sufis in medieval India, but also illustrate different academic approaches, over the past fifty years, to that history.

Read full review: https://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=32240

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Jinnah re-visited, thank you Jaswant Singh by Beena Sarwar

Posted in News/Information by Pippa on November 6, 2011

Generations have grown up in India and Pakistan fed on distorted versions of history. Attempts to counter these versions don’t go down too well at home, as Jaswant Singh​ found out when he challenged the Indian version that lays the entire blame for the Partition on the shoulders of Mohammad Ali Jinnah​, ignoring the parts played by Jawaharlal Nehru​, the Congress and the British.

Ironically, while eulogising the country’s founder as the Quaid-e-Azam or Great Leader, Pakistan has also censored him, sweeping aside his guiding principles, secularism and insistence on justice and constitutionalism. Similarly, in India, Mahatma Gandhi​ is eulogised while his guiding principles and insistence on non-violence are made increasingly irrelevant.
Each side conveniently forgets the extremisms of its dominant faith. Hindu extremism existed well before 1947 (remember who killed Gandhi) as did Muslim extremism, particularly since 1857, when the British drove a wedge between the two religious communities. Both continue to feed off each other.

Official textbooks, policies or public discourse ignore the findings of scholars like Mubarik Ali, Ayesha Jalal​ and KK Aziz in Pakistan, and Romila Thapar​, KN Panikkar and Sumit Sarkar in India whose work is based on solid research and facts rather than emotive myths. There is no official support for a joint history project.

Read full article: http://www.hardnewsmedia.com/2009/09/3225

Also see review of Jaswant Singh, Jinnah: India, Partition, Independence by Farina Mir on H-net. follow link: https://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=30415

The richness of the Ramayana, the poverty of a University – An interview with Romila Thapar in The Hindu

Posted in News/Information by Pippa on November 6, 2011

The controversial decision earlier this month by the Academic Council of Delhi University to drop A.K. Ramanujan’s celebrated essay on the Ramayana, Three Hundred Ramayanas: Five Examples and Three Thoughts on Translations from the B.A. History (Honours) course has evoked sharp protests from several historians and other scholars.

Coming three years after the Hindutva student body, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), vandalised DU’s History department to protest against the teaching of this essay, the decision has been criticised as a surrender of academic freedom in the face of political pressure.

Romila Thapar, the foremost authority on early Indian history, spoke to Priscilla Jebaraj about the decision, its adverse consequences for scholarship and knowledge, and the efforts by vested interests to project one version of Hindu cultural heritage and religious tradition over all others.

You have said that this issue is not purely about history and academia simply because it involves the Delhi University’s History Department and Academic Council, but that there’s a political background to it.

I think there’s a political background to it because the initial attack against this essay [in 2008] was led by the ABVP which made sure that TV cameras had begun to roll when they carried out the attack, so that it would be properly recorded.

Their demand was that this hurt the sentiments of the Hindu community and therefore it should be withdrawn. This is hardly an academic demand. And quite clearly, the way in which the activity was organised, it was an act of political opposition to the History department and to this particular essay.

The University initially took an academic position and appointed a committee of four historians to assess whether this essay should be withdrawn. Three experts categorically said that under no circumstances should it be withdrawn. One of them, interestingly, did not say that it hurt the sentiments of the Hindu community, but said that it was inappropriate for undergraduate teaching, that undergraduates would not follow the whole question of variants and nuances and so on. So the expert opinion again did not think it was necessary to withdraw the essay.

In spite of this expert opinion, and perhaps because the matter came up in court, it was taken to the Academic Council. And from what I can gather, there was no indication given that this issue would be discussed, and therefore people went there unprepared and suddenly had to decide on this one way or the other. And what this initial action and the reaction of the University raise are the question whether courses and syllabi can be changed by groups beating up faculty and vandalising departments. And I think this is a very fundamental question which academia has to face and answer and take a position on.

Read full article: http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/interview/article2574398.ece

Assistant Professorship in Islamic World or South Asian History

Posted in Vacancies by Pippa on February 28, 2010

The Department of History at Eastern Kentucky University invites applications for a tenure-track Assistant Professorship in Islamic World or South Asian History to start August 15, 2010. Requirements include a Ph.D., by the time of appointment, in history or a closely related discipline from a regionally accredited (or internationally recognized) institution. All applicants must apply at jobs.eku.edu (requisition #0607111). More information about the position is available on the site. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.

Website: https://jobs.eku.edu

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University of Warwick – Research Fellow x 3

Posted in Vacancies by Pippa on February 28, 2010

University of Warwick, Global History and Culture Centre; Europe’s Asian Centuries, Trading Eurasia, 1600-1830, Fixed Term Contract from October 2010 to March 2014, Ref: 70268-020

You will conduct research, mainly in the UK but also internationally, as part of the ERC-funded project Europe’s Asian Centuries, Trading Eurasia 1600-1830 under the direction of Professor Maxine Berg (University of Warwick). You will conduct research on topics relating to the long-distance trade between Asia and Europe in material goods and culture; write publications, and assist in organising a conference, small workshops, and some public events such as podcasts, lectures and a website
relating to the project.

You will cover one or more of the Dutch and Ostend East India Companies, the French East India Companies, and the Danish and Swedish East India Companies, and the private traders connected with these. Prior specialist expertise is not required, but competence will be expected in the relevant European languages.

You will have a first degree or equivalent; a PhD, or equivalent, in history or a related field and first-hand familiarity with historical research methods. You will also be expected, in collaboration with two Research Fellow colleagues, to create an undergraduate module that will be team-taught during the academic years 2011/12 and 2012/13.

For further details and an application form please visit our website below.
Closing date: 17 March 2010.

University of Aberdeen Global Empires Post-Graduate Research Project

Posted in PhD Studentship by Pippa on February 28, 2010

The post-graduate research project below may well be of interest

In recent years across a range of disciplines, empire has become a paradigm for rethinking a globalized world. In this context, the University of Aberdeen is pleased to advertise a number of Masters (fees
only) and Doctoral (fees and partial maintenance) Studentships within a broader interdisciplinary project on the ‘Ideas, Practices, and Impacts of Global Empires’. This brings together a supervisory team drawn from History, Anthropology, Hispanic Studies, International Relations, and the University’s museums. Within the project, we are interested in a number of themes: cross cultural encounters and collecting; material culture and visual representations of encounters; trade, migration, and empire; the ideologies of empires; and resistance and the ends of empires. Our areas of focus include: the British and American empires (especially Canada, the American South, South Asia, South Africa and the Antipodes); empires past and present in Latin America; Holy Roman Empire; modern German empires within and beyond Europe; Russia, especially Soviet Russia, including Russian informal empires; and competing imperialisms in East Asia. We invite applications from candidates with research interests (interdisciplinary or within the disciplines named above) touching one or more of these themes and areas.
See Further: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/cass/graduate/funding/research/empires

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