Department Report 2012-2013

Every year, the department of Sociology & Anthropology makes it a point to go beyond academics and involve its students in a plethora of extra-curricular and co-curricular activities. This year was no different.

The Sociology Academy invited Shilpa Phadke and Shilpa Ranade, authors of the famous work ‘Why Loiter? : Women and Risk on Mumbai Streets’, to address the final year students of Gender Studies. The guest speakers talked about their well-acclaimed work, which is based on their research, collected over three years for a project entitled ‘Gender and Space’. In July 2012, the Academy also invited Janice Lazarus to address the students of Gender Studies who offered valuable insights on queer theory and gender studies.

The Department, in association with ‘India for Safe Food’, hosted a talk on the topic ‘GM Crops: Potential impacts on India’s food security, health, environment and rural incomes’ which was delivered by the eminent agricultural scientist and food and trade policy analyst, Mr. Devinder Sharma, and the former CEO, WWF-India and Member of Government Committees on Wildlife, Environment and Sustainable Agriculture, Mrs. Dilnavaz Variava.

Honours Programme:

The Honours Programme was co-ordinated by Prof. Vinita Bhatia and Prof.M.T.Joseph. The following were the courses held:

  • ‘Going Boink!’ was conducted by Mr. Sunetro Ghosal who discussed problems concerning food security, health, environment and rural health and incomes, in relation to the pros and cons of the growing emphasis on genetically modified food crops.
  • ‘People and the Environment’ an eight-session lecture series conducted by Sunetro Ghosal centred on the ‘environment’ and provided a cross-disciplinary canvas to explore ideas on the environment. An addition to the course this time was a session dedicated to the idea of ‘spaces’ and its relation to the environment.
  • ‘Islam and Society’ conducted by Dr. Zeenat Shaukat Ali introduced the students to the basic tenets of Islam and the common misconceptions about the religion. The workshop concluded with the screening and discussion of the critically acclaimed film ‘Khuda Ke Liye’.
  • ‘Winter Seminar on Environmental Justice’ conducted by Janjri Jasani and Edel Monteiro focused on the problem of global climate change and the ways in which the current and the future generations could deal with the issue. This activity was co-facilitated with other young environmental activists across the globe and it also involved a live video exchange with students from Universitat des Saarlandes, Saarbrucken, Germany.
  • ‘The Circular Ballistics of Time’ conducted by Spriha Gupta dealt with examining the exegesis of ‘Time’.
  • ‘Media Literacy’ conducted by Apoorva Gupta aimed at imparting some basic facts about media constructions, demystifying the glamour and fantasy of media. It also taught the students to learn ways to authenticate the information provided through a foray of audio, visual and text messages.

The Annual Department Seminar:

The Annual seminar held in Khandala was based on the theme -‘Spaces: Imagined, Maintained and Contested’. It was supported by the Higher Education Innovation and Research Applications (HEIRA), Centre for the study of Culture and Society and the Ford Foundation. The seminar witnessed students presenting papers that were both theoretical as well as applied in nature. The topics covered a wide range of ideas, with the main focus being on the relation of these ideas to the concept of Space.

As part of one of the internal evaluations, an exhibition on “Culture Sketches” was held on 6th February at the ‘Woods’ in the college Campus by the FY students of Anthropology course. They exhibited Cultural Profiles of various communities from across the world. 

The department was also instrumental in organizing an event in the First Quadrangle on the afternoon of 14th February to show support for the Global Campaign 'One Billion Rising' to end violence against women and girls (one billion being the estimated number of such women across the globe). This brought together students from various faculties in large numbers to show their support for the cause.

Faculty achievements:

Dr. Sam Taraporevala

  • was  invited to deliver a lecture  on the theme “Accessible ICT & Assistive Technology” at the Global Accessibility Awareness Day - a one-day conference on creating awareness about the needs of persons with disabilities in Infrastructure, Transportation, Information Technology and Assistive technology, jointly organized by Department of Information Technology, Government of Maharashtra & Barrier Break Technologies at Yashwantrao Chavan Pratishthan, Mumbai.
  • presented on University and college enabling units at the Daisy Forum of India (DFI) General Body National Conference, a conference organized by the Xavier’s Resource Centre for Visually Challenged (XRCVC) at Lonavala.
  • attended and presented at a National Seminar on the Copyright Law Amendment of 2012 organized by ILS Law College, Pune. At this seminar, Dr. Taraporevala emphasized the amendment in the law which will help future law students understand the social implications better. He was also part of the keynote address along with Peter Gartenberg (MD, SAP, Indian Subcontinent) where he spoke about how XRCVC, along with SAP, is working on building accessibility solutions for the visually challenged for their employment and self-dependence. This meet was attended by senior decision-makers from government organisations to discuss and deliberate upon how Public Services Organisations, Defence and Utilities Service Providers can adopt the latest technologies to run their operations better and in an efficient and effective manner. This forum helped to update the audience on the importance of accessibility.
  • presented a paper at the National Seminar organized by National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS), Kolkata at their NUJS-CUSAT Conference in association with the NJUS Law Review and IPTLS, titled “Copyright Amendments, 2012: A Fair Balance?” His paper focused on the role of the social advocacy program which was spearheaded by the XRCVC and which gave rise to the special inclusive exemption in the Copyright Act amendment for persons with disabilities.
  • contributed a chapter – “The Copyright Challenge: Legal and Social Imperatives” in the book “Library Services for Blind and Visually Impaired People” which was edited by Dr. Priya R. Pillai and Dr. Neela J. Deshpande and published by APH Publishing Corporation.
  • was appointed as a committee member of the Internal Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC).
  • facilitated the PwD session at the NASSCOM Diversity & Inclusivity Summit in Bengaluru at two workshops where HRD and other managers, focusing on building ‘inclusion in the workplace’ by employing persons with disability, were present.
  • invited and participated in a stakeholders’ conference to plan for India’s stand at the SCCR meeting organized by the World Intellectual Property Rights Organization (WIPO) to draft a special treaty by way of copyright exceptions for the visually-challenged. This meeting was called by the Copyright Office, Ministry of HRD, Government of India to plan India’s stand on the draft clauses as developed by the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) of the WIPO in New Delhi.
  • included by The Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) him as a Subject Expert for one of their Doctoral students by appointing him on their Doctoral Advisory Committee (DAC).
  • has been appointed as a co-guide for a student project of the Ali Yawar Jung National Institute for Hearing Handicap (NIHH), studying a post graduate diploma in Media and Disability Communication (PGDMDC) a course affiliated to the University of Mumbai.
  • was appointed as a Resource Person by the Department of Disability, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India on the subject of the Inclusion of visually-impaired children in various government programs. This was on the request of the Ministry of Woman and Child Development, Child Welfare Section to provide a resource person for inputs to the Parliamentary Forum on Children.

Dr. (Fr.) Arun de Souza

  • was the Organizer and Resource Person for a workshop on ‘Ethnographic Methods in the field’ for the ‘Society for Promoting Participative Ecosystem Management’ (SOPPECOM) on 4th May 2012.
  • conducted a two-day workshop (18-19th August,2010)on the Sociology of Religion for Catholic laity at the Goregaon Seminary, Mumbai. He was also appointed the convenor of Custodian’s Committee.
  • appointed as an Expert on the J. N. Tata Endowment panel for their higher studies loan scholarship.
  • appointed byThe Tata Institute for Social Sciences (TISS) as an External Examiner for an MPhil Student and as an Expert on the Doctoral Advisory Committee for one of their Ph.D. students


de Souza, Arun. (2012) “Encounters at our Borders: Anthropology and Human Rights.” Xplore, Xavier’s Research Journal, 3(1): 76 – 104.

-------------------- 2012 “Global Icons in Popular Culture;” review of: Ghosh, Bishnupriya, 2011, Global Icons: Apertures to the Popular. Durham & London: Duke University Press; Economic and Political Weekly, XLVII (44): 28 – 29.

------------------ 2013, review of: Saleth, R. Maria (ed.), 2012, From Individual to Community: Issues in Development Studies. Essays in Memory of Malcolm Adiseshiah, Madras: Madras Institute of Development Studies & New Delhi: Sage Publications India Pvt. Ltd. Current Science, 103 (12): 1470 – 1471.


Prof. Madhuri Raijada

  • was appointed as the coordinator for the Women’s Development Cell, St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai.
  • was also appointed as the convener for the Senior College Exam Committee.
  • was appointed as a committee member of the Council of International Programs (CIP) and also as a member of the Internal Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC).
  • presented a paper on the topic ‘A Socio-economic Analysis of Street Vending in Mumbai’ at a National seminar under UGC-SAP, co- sponsored by ICSSR -WRC, organized by the Department of Sociology, University of Mumbai on the1st and 2nd of March 2013                                                                  

Prof. Vinita Bhatia

  • attended a program at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) on ‘Interfaith Co-operation’ in September 2012
  • made a presentation on Postmodern Feminist Theory at the workshop on Contemporary Feminist Theories organized by Population First and RCWS (Research Centre for Women’s Studies), SNDT University.

Dr. (Fr.) Joseph M.T., SVD

  • presented a paper entitled “At the Confluence of Cosmopolitanism and Identity Religion: Ambedkarite Buddhists of Maharashtra” at an international seminar “Indian Cosmopolitanism and its Paradoxes”, jointly organized by Tata Institute of Social Sciences and the University of Bergen, Norway at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, on 8th September, 2012.
  • went on a faculty visit on behalf of St. Xavier's College, Mumbai, to Liverpool HOPE University, Liverpool, UK along with Dr. Vivien Amonkar and Prof. Linda Dhakul in May 2012.


M.T. Joseph (2012). Buddhists: The Political Dynamics of Conversion and Caste. In R. Robinson (ed.) Minority Studies. New Delhi: Oxford University Press: 138 – 159.

M.T. Joseph (2012). Gender Relations in the Church: Unfolding the Theme. In A. Lobo Gajiwala et al (ed.). Gender Relations in the Church: A Call to Wholeness and Equal Discipleship. New Delhi. Media House: 30 – 41.

On 1st October, 2012, Dr. Joseph M.T. bid adieu to St. Xavier's College and joined the University Department of Sociology, University of Mumbai, Kalina, Santacruz (East), Mumbai – 98, as Assistant Professor.

Shikha Kashyap was ranked second in Sociology at the University level examination followed by Ciyon John who stood third.

The department is looking forward to its academic, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities in the coming year and appreciates the enthusiastic participation of students across departments.

Dr. Sam Taraporevala

Head of Department – Sociology & Anthropology