Dear Lyne,

 thank you for your support and of course also all the others who have signed the petition so far!

> I would suggest to speak of « rare subjects » rather than « small subjects »

Your suggestion is of course very welcome. Hardly anyone in their right mind who knows our disciples from the inside would ever think of calling them "small". Unfortunately, we have no choice, because this is a designation that has been quasi-officially introduced and has been formally in use in Germany since then. This can be looked up on the portal of the "Arbeitsstelle Kleine Fächer":

"A quantitative criterion is used to distinguish small subjects from large and medium-sized subjects, which refers to the number of professorships per location."

It is also correctly explained there that "the distinction between small and large subjects - and thus the emergence of the term "small subject"  as such - [...] goes back to the development of the "mass university" in the 1960s in the FRG."


More need not be said, except that a deliberate misunderstanding of "small" as "insignificant" has been approved here.


We shall collect all Indology related comments made by the petitioners in order to present the complete package to the persons in charge.


Thanking you,

and with my very best wishes,






Am Di., 1. Juni 2021 um 11:28 Uhr schrieb Lyne Bansat-Boudon <>:
Dear Walter, dear colleagues,

I have also signed and I allow me to encourage others to do the same. Besides, I would suggest to speak of « rare subjects » rather than « small subjects », which will do justice to the real impact of our domains.

In case it could be of some use, I have developed my motives and arguments for supporting the petition on the online document.

With warmest wishes,



Le 31 mai 2021 à 16:58, Walter Slaje via INDOLOGY <> a écrit :

Dear Luther,

thank you!
This first campaign of the petition only serves to make clear to the Senate meeting on Wednesday the resistance that the university and the state government would have to reckon with if the rectorate's decision were to be implemented. Perhaps the plan for this sacrilege in the humanities will fail already at this early stage. That would settle the matter. Only if it does not, other measures would have to be taken and the Ministry of Culture would have to be approached directly. In this case, I will gladly turn to the list for appropriate support.

Warm wishes,

Am Mo., 31. Mai 2021 um 15:57 Uhr schrieb luther obrock <>:
Dear Walter,

Thank you for sending this on. I have signed and I encourage others to do the same. The link you provided in the second message, worked for me. Please do let us all know if there is any other ways to support the study of South Asian languages and cultures at the University of Halle,



On Mon, May 31, 2021 at 9:45 AM Antonia Ruppel via INDOLOGY <> wrote:
While I am aware that many on this list read German fluently, I also know that many don't. In that spirit, I respectfully offer the translation given below.

We call on the rectorate of the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg to stop the massive cutback plans and not to cut 10 chairs/institutes as planned. We call on the state government and the democratic parliamentary groups in the state parliament of Saxony-Anhalt to finally ensure stable and task-oriented basic funding for the universities of the state. We appeal to the senators of the Martin Luther University to clearly stand up for the unity of research and teaching, the preservation of "small subjects" and for the diversity of our university.



Several faculties will be closed, institutes will be cut, courses of study will be cancelled: this is the proposal for the future of the MLU, which will be decided on in the senate on Wednesday (June 2). While we are already suffering from massive cuts, the future is to become even bleaker. Without any scientific or professional justification, the courses of study in Greek Studies, Latin Studies, Indology, Japanese Studies, Language and Culture of South Asia, Middle and Neo-Latin Philology, Near Eastern Archaeology, Agricultural and Environmental Engineering, and Regional Cultures and Cultural Techniques, as well as the Institute of Ancient Studies and the Institute of Sports Science are to be closed forever. This is obviously not a matter of setting priorities in terms of content, but rather a barrage of cuts that will hit those areas where professors will be retiring in the near future. And it often hits the "small subjects", which are so valuable precisely because they are only taught at a few universities. But it is not only the students enrolled there who will be affected: we will all feel a significant deterioration in quality of learning, because according to the plans of the rectorate, 100 full-time positions will be eliminated, examination offices will be merged and faculties will be united: for example, Phil. Fak 1 will be dissolved and what remains of it will be assigned to the new faculties from Phil. Fak. 2 & 3 and in Political Science the chairs for Political Theory and Government are to be merged. (Philologische Fakultaeten: about the same as schools (UK)/colleges (US) of a university)


Fewer researchers and fewer administrative staff, that is how the new concept can be summarized. And it will not stop there: subjects such as computer science are already named in the concept as needing reform, i.e. cuts, and the three natural science faculties are to be reduced to two anyway. Participation of the employees and students is apparently not desired, because the draft is to be decided without further discussion on Wednesday. The implementation is to begin in August and be completed by October 2022.


We will not participate in this! It is clear to us that the financial situation of the MLU is bad. We know that the state government is failing to fund universities, and we demand that theMLU's base funding finally be stabilized and expanded. But we see above all that nothing justifies these massive cuts and the death of entire faculties.


We appeal to the senators not to agree to this concept. We demand from the rectorate to immediately withdraw this concept and to seek a real dialogue with the faculties. We demand that the state government and the democratic parliamentary groups face up to this problem for the entire educational landscape in Saxony-Anhalt and fund the MLU. The loss for our higher education landscape will be much greater than the 15 million euros that will thus be taken out of the budget.


On Mon, 31 May 2021 at 15:27, Walter Slaje via INDOLOGY <> wrote:
Dear Jonathan,

thank you for your willingness to help!

This is the German text of the actual petition:

Wir fordern das Rektorat der Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg dazu auf, die massiven Kürzungspläne einzustellen und nicht wie geplant, 10 Professuren zu schließen. Wir fordern die Landesregierung und die demokratischen Fraktionen im Landtag von Sachsen-Anhalt dazu auf, endlich eine stabile und aufgabengerechte Grundfinanzierung für die Hochschulen des Landes sicherzustellen. Wir appellieren an die Senator*innen der Martin-Luther-Universität sich klar für die Einheit von Forschung und Lehre, den Erhalt „kleiner Fächer“ und für die Vielfalt unserer Universität einzusetzen.


Mehrere Fakultäten werden geschlossen, Institute werden weggekürzt, Studiengänge werden gestrichen: So sieht die Vorlage zur Zukunft der MLU aus, die am Mittwoch (2.6.) im Senat beschlossen werden soll. Während wir jetzt schon unter massiven Einschnitten leiden, soll die Zukunft noch düsterer werden. Ohne jede wissenschaftliche oder fachliche Begründung sollen die Studiengänge Gräzistik, Latinistik, Indologie, Japanologie, Sprache und Kultur Südasiens, Mittel- und Neulateinische Philologie, Archäologie des Vorderorients, Land- und Umwelttechnik und Landeskulturen und Kulturtechniken sowie das Institut für Altertumswissenschaft und das für Sportwissenschaft für immer geschlossen werden. Dabei geht es offensichtlich nicht um eine inhaltliche Schwerpunktsetzung, sondern um einen Kürzungshammer, der dort einschlägt, wo Lehrstuhlinhaber*innen in der nächsten Zeit in Rente gehen. Und es trifft vielfach die “kleinen Fächer”, die gerade deshalb so wertvoll sind, weil sie nur an wenigen Universitäten überhaupt gelehrt werden. Aber nicht nur die dort eingeschriebenen Studierenden sind betroffen: Wir alle werden eine deutliche Verschlechterung der Studierbarkeit spüren, denn nach den Plänen des Rektorates fallen 100 Vollzeitstellen weg, Prüfungsämter werden fusioniert und Fakultäten vereinigt: so sollen beispielsweise die Phil. Fak 1 aufgelöst und was von ihr übrig bleibt den neuen Fakultäten aus der Phil. Fak. 2 & 3 zugeschlagen werden und in der Politikwissenschaft die Lehrstühle für Politische Theorie und Regierungslehre zusammengelegt werden.

Weniger Forscher:innen und weniger Verwaltungsangestellte, so lässt sich das neue Konzept zusammenfassen. Und dabei wird es nicht bleiben: Fächer wie die Informatik sind im Konzept schon als reformbedürftig, d.h. praktisch zu kürzen, benannt und die drei naturwissenschaftlichen Fakultäten sollen ohnehin auf zwei reduziert werden. Eine Beteiligung der Beschäftigten und Studierenden ist scheinbar nicht erwünscht, denn der Entwurf soll ohne weitere Diskussion am Mittwoch beschlossen werden. Die Umsetzung soll im August beginnen und bis WS 2022 abgeschlossen sein.

Wir werden dabei nicht mitmachen! Uns ist klar, dass die Finanzlage der MLU schlecht ist. Wir wissen, dass die Landesregierung bei der Finanzierung der Hochschulen versagt und wir fordern, dass die Grundfinanzierung der MLU endlich stabilisiert und ausgebaut wird. Aber wir sehen vor allem, dass nichts diese massiven Einschnitte und das Absterben ganzer Fakultäten rechtfertigt.

Wir appellieren an die Senator*innen, diesem Konzept nicht zuzustimmen. Wir fordern vom Rektorat, dieses Kahlschlagskonzept sofort zurückzuziehen und einen echten Dialog mit den Fakultäten zu suchen. Wir fordern von der Landesregierung und den demokratischen Fraktionen, sich diesem Problem für die gesamte Bildungslandschaft in Sachsen-Anhalt zu stellen und die MLU auszufinanzieren. Der Verlust für unsere Hochschullandschaft wird viel größer sein als die 15 Millionen Euro, die dem Etat damit entzogen werden sollen.

Hope it works!

Warm wishes,


Am Mo., 31. Mai 2021 um 15:00 Uhr schrieb Jonathan Silk <>:
Dear Walter

Probably I am just missing it, but before signing I wanted to read the actual petition, but following the link while I found a page to sign, I could not find the actual petition --what am i missing? every button I push gets me back to the same page, with the signature submission but no petition (that I can see anyway)

I send this to the list since it is possible that I am not the only one with this experience.


On Mon, May 31, 2021 at 11:06 AM Walter Slaje via INDOLOGY <> wrote:
Dear Colleagues,

I would like to bring the following news to the attention of those of you, who have a stake in the continued existence of Indian Studies in Germany:

A few days ago, the rectorate of the University of Halle adopted - completely unexpectedly - a cutback plan to eliminate a whole number of departments. Among them is the study of India in both its historical and contemporary aspects.  Two professorships for these areas had already been released for re-filling. The announcement for the two positions was expected this summer semester.

There is a massive protest inside and outside the university against the planned permanent closure of, among others, the programs in Greek, Latin, Indology, Japanese Studies, South Asian Languages and Cultures, Near Eastern Archaeology, Political Sciences as well as the Department of Classics and the Department of Sports Science.

If you would like to join the protest and support the process of filling the vacancies, please sign the petition below of the Student Council of the Faculty of Humanities. Already on Wednesday this week the Academic Senate will discuss this decision of the Rectorate. There is therefore a certain urgency in this matter.

Yours sincerely,
Walter Slaje

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J. Silk
Leiden University
Leiden University Institute for Area Studies, LIAS
Matthias de Vrieshof 3, Room 0.05b
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The Netherlands

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