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Sunday, April 03, 2011

Short Course on Researching the Contemporary @ CSDS Delhi

July-August, 2011

The Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) invites applications for its two-month Course on 'Researching the Contemporary'. This cross-disciplinary Course will critically examine the formation of the contemporary and its multiple histories, ideologies, forms and affects. The three courses offered will enable participants to familiarize themselves with concepts, theories and methods that help analyse the contemporary. These include:

  • Reassembling Contemporary Social Thought

The course attempts to approach contemporary social thought in its broadest sense - without the baggage of what is generally understood as 'theory'. The purpose is to open new lines of inquiry by including within the fold of theory - experiences, reflections, conceptualisations from different intellectual traditions. The attempt here will be to treat concepts and categories - such as state, modernity, secularism, subject, time etc - as dynamic and indeed, destabilised by the longer,  divergent and repressed histories of the 'object' they were once supposed to refer to, particularly at the moment of their 'originary' enunciation in the West. In a sense, then, the course will look at theorizations of modernity, the political and the social; and notions of time and subjectivity other than those that have come to us from the specific experience of the West, although the latter necessarily remains an extremely important reference point.

Course Instructors: Rakesh Pandey, Prathama Banerjee, Aditya Nigam.

  • Capital, Consumption, Markets

The idea behind the course is to begin thinking about the history of capital beyond its conventional Western trajectory and its very provincial debates on 'transition'. It will keep the larger global history of markets and trade as the continuous backdrop of the rise of capitalism in the West. The course will be divided into two parts comprising four lectures each. Part I will cover the history of capital and the idea of private property, going beyond the conventional histories of the 'transition' and will also explore the relationship of capital with the modern state-form and governmentality. It will also discuss the reification of markets and the emergence of economics as a discipline. Part II will revolve around contemporary capitalism – exploring notions of post-fordism, the thesis of postmodernity as the cultural logic of late capitalism, questions of consumerism and 'consumer-society'.

Course Instructors: Prathama Banerjee, Aditya Nigam.

  • Disciplines, Methods And The Research 'Object'

Unlike a traditional course on research methodology, this course will approach 'methods' by analyzing the shifts in how disciplines have engaged their 'object' of research and the ways in which these link to significant transformations within each discipline. Anthropology, history, literary studies and political science will provide the main disciplinary frames of reference with each standing in for a different method. By exploring each method through a history of the discipline, this course hopes to move away from the idea of methods as a fixed set of techniques, to understanding this as more contingent, open-ended and continuously grappling with challenges thrown up by the research 'object' as well as by theorizations in other disciplines. In addition, this course will engage in a close reading of a text produced within each discipline around a common thematic (violence, caste etc.), and through this open-up the intrinsic relationship between research questions, methods and most crucially exposition.

Course Instructors: Sarada Balagopalan, Uday Kumar, Rochelle Pinto, Awadhendra Sharan, Yogendra Yadav.

This is an intensive Course with compulsory readings and class discussions. Course materials will be made available. Participants are expected to write research papers upon completion which will be presented in a workshop subsequent to the Course. A participation certificate will be awarded upon successful completion.

The course will be conducted over 8 weeks between July 1 - August 31, 2010. Classes will be held at CSDS on week-day afternoons, Tuesday to Thursday, from 3-6 pm.

Applications are invited from M.Phil/Ph.D students as well as independent researchers. As part of your application please submit your C.V. and a 1000-word description of your research question/topic.

Out-station participants shall be provided with roundtrip travel expenses (3-tier AC) and a stipend of Rs.20,000/.

Out-station participants will have to take care of their own accommodation.

Deadline: April 3, 2011.

Applications may be sent to: teaching AT

For further details check:


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