November 19, 2012

International conference on Contesting Religion & Politics

Silika Mohapatra originally shared this post: Are We Postsecular? »
Lady Shri Ram College for Women
in association with
International Research Network on Religion and Democracy
presents an international conference
‘Are We Postsecular?’ Contesting Religion & Politics in Comparative Contexts

13–14 December 2012 Time: 9.30 am–6.00 pm 
Venue: Auditorium, Lady Shri Ram College for Women, 
Lajpat Nagar IV, New Delhi 110024 India

To REGISTER, please email at with your name, affiliation & email ID. Registration is free.

Why do social sciences in India thrive best outside the university system, asks Pratap Bhanu Mehta, (‘Rigour in the margins’, IE, November 15), lamenting that India’s most creative writers and social scientists (with the honourable exception of history) have been housed in research institutes cut off from students. Surely this self-congratulatory myth-making has to stop? This constant devaluing of teaching and the refusal to recognise the heavy odds that undergraduate and postgraduate teachers work against while still producing world-quality research, accompanied by mutual back-patting between a handful of Boys’ Club members that has become common sense across the media, because the Boys’ Club has clout in the media…
Equally importantly, Mehta discounts the hundreds of serious scholars produced by teachers who, through their lectures, have introduced cutting edge philosophy and social science to students in places in India where even Economic and Political Weekly is difficult to come by, let alone international journals. These students then reach Delhi and Hyderabad and Pune and Kolkata, go on to do doctoral research, publish, and some may even join research institutes. Research institutes are not produced in isolation.
Second, if a thriving democratic culture pervades the Indian academy, it is hard won and daily battled for by thousands of teachers across universities, in constant conversation and quarrel with their students, in classrooms and outside. Whether combating religious right-wings or economic neoliberalism, or patriarchy and sexual harassment, it is teachers and students who drag the stodgy upper echelons of the academy kicking and screaming in radically new directions of theory and practice…
For, despite everything, we know that teaching is what keeps us from becoming complacent, and it is what keeps us creative. Research institutes are critical components in the academic field, but only if they see themselves as organically connected to universities and teaching. There must be a dynamic exchange of energies between teaching and research — perhaps even exchange programmes between research institutes and universities in which teachers get time off to do research while the faculty of research institutes get to teach. But this kind of organic connection is possible only if people in research institutes have the clearsightedness and humility to see themselves as a part — and only a part — of the larger energies constituting the intellectual field. The writer is a professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi

Book Launch of Devi Prasad by Prof. Naman P. Ahuja at India International Centre Book Launch of The Making Of A Modern Indian Artist-Craftsman: Devi Prasad by Prof. Naman P. Ahuja on 16 September 2011
Home > Guidance for the seeker Sri Aurobindo Institute of Culture, Kolkata 
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