About Us


CDEN was established in March 2007 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Kala Shreen and Maruska Svasek. The creation of the CDEN Website was funded by the Internationalisation Funds, School of History and Anthropology, Queens University Belfast.


kala thumb Kala Shreen (CDEN initiator and director) is a graduate of Morgan State University, Baltimore, U.S.A.  She currently works for the Sri Aurobindo Institute of Research in Social Sciences (SAIRSS), Pondicherry and as a lecturer in MOP Vaishnav College for Women, affiliated with University of Madras in India.  Her principal research interests include visual culture, religion, community studies, development and participatory methodology.  She is currently working on research projects for SAIRSS in areas of rural development, communication and film studies, health, education and Indian culture.  She teaches Visual Culture at MOP Vaishnav College for Women.  Her current interests also include visual documentation.  She has developed and produced a documentary film 'Little Traditions of Tamilnadu' screened at Rice University and University of Houston, U.S.A. in 2005 and in Queen's University Belfast (QUB), U.K. in 2006.  She curated a photo exhibition 'Viewing Hinduism' at Queen's Film Theatre, U.K. in 2007 during her fellowship in QUB.  She was the first Indian to receive an award from the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion in the U.S. in 2006 following which she presented a paper on the Nagarathars at their Annual Conference in Portland, USA. She was nominated for the Tamilnadu Young Women Scientist Award - 2007.  She received the Best Teacher Award for 2006 from Lions Club International, Chennai, India. Kala also pursues consultancy work for the Aurobindi Institute of Research in Social Sciences (SAIRS), Pondicherry on research projects in the areas of rural development, communication and film studies, health, education and Indian culture.

Selection of recent publications

Shreen, Kala. 2007. Temple Intervention among the Nattukottai Chettiars. Journal of Institute of Asian Studies, Vol. 20, No. 1&2.

Shreen, Kala. 2007. The Role of a Temple among the Nattukottai Chettiars.  Indian Journal of Public Affairs and Policy Research, Vol X – No.1-4.

Shreen, Kala. 2008. Participatory Approach in Rural Development. Syndicate, Vol. 7, No.1, p. 59-67.

Shreen, Kala. 2008. Revisiting and Rethinking the Approaches to Health and Healing. New Approaches to Medicine and Health, Vol. 16, Issue 1, p. 46-53.

Shreen, Kala 2008 The Social Functioning of Religion. A Case of the Nattukottai Chettiars. International Research Journal of Social Sciences, Vol 1, No 2 July/Dec. p 65-75.

Shreen, Kala 2008 Celebrating Children, the Nagarathar Way. Chennai: The Chettinad House.

Shreen, Kala (forthcoming) Temple-Centred Nattukottai Chettiar Society. Chennai: Palaniappa Books.

maruska thumbMaruska Svasek (CDEN initiator and director) is a graduate of the University of Amsterdam, and has worked for over eight years as a lecturer in Social Anthropology at Queens University Belfast. Her principal research interests are in emotions, migration, art, material culture, and border issues. She has done extensive research and has published widely on the topics of art and politics in Ghana and Czechoslovakia/the Czech Republic, on identity formation and the politics of emotion in the Czech-German border region, and on emotional dynamics and belonging in the context of globalising forces. Her current research examines experiences of belonging and non-belonging amongst Dutch, Chinese and Polish migrants in Northern Ireland. She is Associate Editor of the journals Focaal. European Journal of Anthropology and Identities. Global Studies in Culture and Power. In 2006 and 2007, Svasek organised three AHRC-funded international interdisciplinary conferences at Queens University Belfast on migration and emotion. More specifically, the individual conferences examined the emotional dimensions of transnational family life, emotional interactions between migrants and members of local communities, and migrant art, artefacts and emotional agency. Partly resulting from the conferences, Svašek is currently working on a book and several Special Issues that explore the emotional dimensions of human mobility and diasporic belonging.

Selection of recent publications

Svašek, M. and Skrbis, Z. 2007 Passions and Powers. Emotions and Globalisation. Identities. Global Studies in Culture and Power 367-83.

Svašek, M. 2007 'Moving Corpses: Emotions and Subject-Object Ambiguity', in: The Emotions: A Cultural Reader (ed. Helena Wulff), Oxford: Berg.

Svašek, M. 2007  Anthropology, Art and Cultural Production. London: Pluto

Svašek, M. (ed.)  2006 Postsocialism: Politics and Emotions in Central and Eastern Europe. Oxford: Berghahn.

Svašek, M 2005 'Emotions in Anthropology' in Mixed Emotion Anthropological Studies of Feeling (eds. K. Milton and M. Svašek). Oxford: Berg.

Svašek, M 2005 'The Politics of Chosen Trauma. Expellee Memories, Emotions and Identities', in Mixed Emotion Anthropological Studies of Feeling (eds. K. Milton and M. Svašek). Oxford: Berg.