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Jan Lundius

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Lundius, Jan (1954–), writer, Sweden.

Jan Lundius was born in Hässleholm, Sweden 1954. He holds a Ph.D. in History of Religions from Lund University. He is presently based in Rome, where he works as an independent consultant.

Lundius worked several years as a teacher (Swedish and History of Religions) in Lund, Malmö and Hässleholm, and as an English and History teacher at the International School in Hanoi. From 1999 to 2004 he worked as senior research officer at the Division for Thematic Programmes at the Department for Research Cooperation (SAREC), a division of Sida (the Swedish Development Cooperation). He has also been lecturer in art and religion at the Catholic University of Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic and lecturer in Sociology of Religions at Universitá degli Studi `G. D'Annunzio', Chieti, Italy. He has given occasional lectures on History of Religions at the New York University and the Institute of Foreign Affairs in Hanoi.

Lundius has carried out several consultancies for UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) in New York and IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development), FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) and WFP (United Nations World Food Programme) in Rome, specialising in studies of the impact of development programmes on rural societies in developing countries, particularly in Latin America.

He is married to Rosemary Vargas-Lundius and they have two daughters, Janna and Esmeralda.


Works of fiction

Alfio Scandurra, Bo Cavefors Bokförlag, Lund, Sweden, 1975.
A novel about the nightmarish experiences of a young man in a crumbling Europe.
Förförelsen (The Seduction). Bakhåll, Lund, Sweden, 1999.
A novel dealing with the adventures of a young violinist, who suffers a tragic love story, flees to Latin America and gets involved in a ruthless massacre on innocent peasants. The story takes place in the 1920s in Sweden, the Caribbean and Guatemala.
Ensamma Män (Lonely Men). Bakhåll, Lund, Sweden, 2000.
A corpse found in a wooden shed in Göinge is connected with the covering up of dirty deeds done by drug Mafiosi in the Caribbean and Malmö, Latin American guerrilla movements, small businessmen in Hässleholm, the Swedish Foreign Ministry and various bewildered, or unscrupulous, individuals around the globe. A novel about the responsibilities and guilt all humans share.
Kommer strax in på spår fyra (Arriving at Track 4), Bakhåll, Lund, Sweden, 2009.
Autobiographical sketches dealing with experiences from research and devleopment work, mainly in Latin America. The book also provides insights gained from encounters with holocaust survivors, participants in Latin American revolutionary struggles and religious practitioners engaged in Voodoo and Catholicism.

Literary essays:

Händer (Hands), in Artes: Quarterly Review of the Swedish Academy and the Academies of Music and Fine Arts. No.3, Vol. 23, 1997.
An essay describing concepts related to the 'power of hands' in classical Syrian and Roman religions. The important role of hands in popular Catholicism, Voodoo, Islam and Buddhism is also dealt with and finally the author tells a story of personal experiences involving zombies and black magic in Haiti.
El simbolismo - Un mundo de ensueños olvidado y revivido, in Isla Abierta, suplemento de Hoy. Nos. 97 and 98, June and July 1983.
An essay about European fin-de-siecle culture and the international vogue it experienced by the beginning of the 1980s.
Reality made abstract: the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre as an aesthetic phenomenon in Lundmark, Fredrik (ed.) Culture, Security and Sustainable Social Development after September 11. Gidlunds: Stockholm, 2003
An essay of how violence has been aesthetized in Occidental culture and how this has been mirrored by various reactions in connection with the destruction of the Twin Towers.

Together with Leif Magnusson, Lundius has written the following movie scripts:

Sacre de Printemps, bought by the Swedish Filminstitute in 1986.
Stagnelius, bought by the Swedish Television in 1988.
En gammal kärlek (An Old Love). Based on a novel by P.C. Jersild, bought by 'Pictures in Motion' (a Swedish Production Company) in 1996.

Scholarly works

The Great Power of God in San Juan Valley: Syncretism and Messianism in the Dominican Republic. Almquist and Wiksell International. Stockholm, 1994.
Based on extensive fieldwork, a local messianic peasant religion is related to its immediate environment, as well as the geographic, historical and socio-economic factors that have been crucial for its development. Comparisons are made between similar phenomena in other regions of the world. A variety of socio-religious concepts is explained and a historical analysis is presented, tracing their roots in different cultures.
PROZACHI: La historia de un proyecto para el desarollo de pequeños productores en Zacapa y Chiquimula. IFAD, Rome, 1998.
A description of an agricultural project, including the history, geography and socio-economic issues of the area. The book is written in Spanish, illustrated with photos by the author and supplemented with separately published summaries in English, French and Arabic.
Peasants and Religion: A socio-economic study of Dios Olivorio and the Palma Sola Movement in the Dominican Republic (written together with Mats Lundahl). Routledge, London and New York, 1999.
A study of the impact of modernisation processes on a rural area. The book is written together with a professor of economics and presents in-depth descriptions of a local religion. Emphasis is put on the historical development of certain economic and religious patterns. By analysing how religious concepts and rituals develop and change over time a description is offered of how particular groups of peasants react to thorough socio-economic changes.
Mishqui-yacu, Sweet Water: The story of a development project carried out with the indigenous peoples of Ecuador. IFAD, Rome, 2001.
The story about a development project in the Ecuadorian highlands, focusing on the struggle to control water sources for irrigation. The book is illustrated with photos by the author and also published in French, Spanish and Arabic.

Lundius has furthermore written several scholarly articles about popular religion and published them in various international books and journals.

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