Sociology & Anthropology

Department Report 2014 - 2015

Every year, the Department of Sociology and Anthropology makes it a point to go beyond academics and involve its students in a plethora of extra-curricular and co-curricular activities, and this year was no different. These activities under the autonomous system have been instrumental in ensuring a greater engagement with Sociology and Anthropology, on the part of the students.

• The Sociology Academy invited musicologist Dr Richard Rischar for a guest lecture on “Anthropology of Music” for TYBA students on August 5, 2014. University of Michigan-Dearborn.

• A workshop on “Writing an Assignment” by Ms. Suryanandini Narayan, was organised for FYBA students.

• A play, based on the theme “Resurrecting Draupadi & Sita”, By Metamorphosis (Omkar Bhatkar) was presented for TYBA students on August 8, 2014.

• A session was conducted by Milind Ranade on the issue of “Trade Union Conservatory Workers” for SY & TYBA students on February 12, 2015.

• Dr Sunetro Ghosal conducted a talk for SYBA students on the theme, “Tourism in Ladakh” on February 10 and 13, 2015.

• FYBA Anthropology students presented an exhibition, ‘Culture Sketches’ in February 2015. Honours Activities The year began with the registrations for our first-, second- and third-year students. Our tally for registered honours students in the beginning of the academic year was 26 students First Year students followed by 25 Second Year students and 13 Third Year students

Activities/ Workshops conducted:

1. Gender Roles and Romance: The year opened with a course conducted by Sayalee Karkare that used a popular medium of films to explore the concepts of gender roles and how romance is imagined and defined here. The outline of the course was: ‘Within the context of romantic relationships, mainstream cinema often tends to focus exclusively on the initial courtship and romance phase which culminates with the conventional ‘happily ever after’ in the form of marriage. The workshop analysed the standard romantic ‘script’ as well as looked at various films which subvert romantic conventions arriving at novel understandings of gender relations and romance. Some of the questions addressed were: What are modern dating rituals? Who is the actor? Do women have agency? To what extent? What is the perfect relationship?’

2. Forced Migration: Migration is an oft discussed concept and phenomenon. However what is important is to try and engage with them from the perspective of human rights and also law. The course conducted by Aurina Chatterji, attempted to look at some of the following questions: ‘We hear the word “refugee” being thrown about all the time but what does it really mean? Why do African migrants risk their lives on crowded boats to get to Europe? How do Bangladeshis end up in Mumbai and why? What is the Indian Supreme Court’s stance on refugees and displaced people? What about the millions who do not fit neatly into legal definitions of refugees? How do victims of human trafficking fit into this picture? What is the difference between economic migration and forced migration and can the two overlap? It also attempted to study the basic concepts of refugee determination and briefly examine the asylum systems in other countries such as Canada and Australia. It also tried to examine the system in India and discuss the lack of refugee legislation.’

3. How stories shape our lives: The 3rd course conducted was conducted in early 2015 by Fr Keith D’Souza. It explored the many dimensions of the world of stories and how this world has an impact on our personal and social lives. Some of the thinkers picked up for discussion were: Marie-Laure Ryan, Vladimir Propp, Tzvetan Todorov, Joseph Campbell, Roland Barthes, Paul Ricoeur, Jurgen Habermas. The attempt was to delve into the domain of narrative hermeneutics.

4. Understanding the Environment: The academic year ended with Dr Sunetro Ghosal urging the student community to think about the environment one more time. The course focussed on the complex relationship between society, ecology, culture, history and economics through discussions and debates. The idea was to argue and question ideas, concepts and actions related to the ‘environment’. Seminar The annual seminar of the department held in Khandala in November 2014 and was based on the theme, ‘The Drama of Electoral Politics’. Diverse student presentations interrogated key elements of this vital area within political sociology.

Staff activities

Dr Sam Taraporevala

• Appointed by Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Govt. of India to an expert committee to decide and list out modern assistive devices for all categories of PWDs under revised ADIP Scheme. ADIP is the flagship scheme of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Govt. of India to distribute aids and appliances to economically disadvantaged persons with disability across the country.

• Appointed by Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India as a member to a sub-group to identify the needs of visually impaired in the National Mission on Libraries. This was to provide inputs to the national mission on libraries to make them inclusive for print-disabled persons.

• Appointed project consultant by Directorate of Art and Culture, Government of Goa. This was to facilitate the setting up of a state of the art resource centre at the Goa Central Library at Panaji and satellite units at the district / Taluka levels.

• Appointed as member planning group by the NCERT for accessible maps. Working group was entrusted with the task of creating an accessible map book in Braille for the NCERT at New Delhi. • Actively initiated research and development on visual/audio/ tactile teaching-learning aids and other independent living aids. Researched and worked on integrating diverse technologies which could create a composite system to read through fingers, see through eyes, or hear through ears. This led to the prototype of an audio/tactile/visual map of India and the actual deployment of an audio/tactile/visual menu for the first time at the Bombay Blue chain of restaurants and at other restaurants thereafter. The research has immense potential for the teaching-learning process as it can promote paired reading and can assist a non-Braille literate person to also function effectively

. • During the year, Dr Taraporevala was part of the research and editorial team and lead author for two publications. The first, ‘I for Inclusion’, A Handbook on Mainstreaming Education for Students With Blindness and Low Vision was published by XRCVC in 2014 (ISBN978-81-929012- 1-3). The second, ‘Equip Your World – A Synoptic View of Access Technologies for the Visually Challenged’ is a manual on access technologies for the visually challenged. This book was released in Dehradun in three different formats (sighted large font print, braille and digital full text full audio format) by the Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Govt. of India and jointly published by NIVH and XRCVC (ISBN nos. 978-81-929012-2-0, 978-81- 929012-3-7, 978-81-929012-4-4).

• Panelist at the National Consultation on full and equal rights to financial services for people with special needs. The session was organised as part of the 36th Skoch Summit (Reigniting Inclusive growth) at New Delhi.

• Panelist at a discussion on "Challenges faced & Changes to be incorporated in Assistive Technology, Infrastructure, Law & Company Policies. At a national conference organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on 'Diversity - A business imperative & not a CSR initiative'.

• Keynote speaker and invited panelist at the Conference on Accessibility for Visually Impaired on the Theme of “Building An Accessible Arena”. Conference organized by Rotaract Club of Drishti and Karna Vidya Technology Centre, Chennai, on 11th October 2014 at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences C.I.T Campus, Tharamani, Chennai.

• Invited for an international consultation on promoting quality education for children with disabilities through “universal design” of all learning materials. The consultation was jointly organized by UNICEF and Saksham in New Delhi on November 23, 2014.

• Panelist at the “Inclusive finance India summit 2014”. Organized by the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion, New Delhi.

• Invited to talk as part of the Amazing Indian Series. Organised by the Vishwa Yuvak Kendra in New Delhi, 18 December 2014.

• Invited as a speaker at the inaugural TEDX event held on February 8, by TEDXStXaviersMumbai. TEDX is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas.

• Conducted a workshop for HR and Diversity professionals focusing on “Adopting a Strategic Approach to Disability in the workplace”, organised by Diversity Inclusion in Asia Network for India (DIAN India), an initiative of Community Business at the Nomura office, Powai, Mumbai on 8th April 2015.

• Delivered an invited talk on ‘Leadership for the Development of the VI People’ at a National Seminar-‘Leadership in Educational Institutions: Opportunities and Challenges – Guiding the way to 21st Century’, organised by the K J Somaiya Comprehensive College of Education, Training and Research at Somaiya Vidyavihar, Mumbai on 29th April 2015.

Prof Madhuri Raijada

• Guest lecturer for students of Berkley on the topic “Informal Sector”

• Resource person for the “Young Teachers Orientation” conducted on 6th August 2014, and 16th April 2015.

• Co-ordinator of Women’s Development Cell, Exam Committee & the Magazine Committee.

• Participant in a seminar organised by the Cama Institute on 7th February 2015.

Prof Vinita Bhatia

• Participant in a seminar organised by the Cama Institute on 7th February 2015.

• Member of the Women’s Development Cell as well as the Placement Cell.

Fr Arun de Souza

• Gave the keynote lecture on the 4th of July 2014 for the inauguration of the new academic year at St. Pius X College, Goregaon. The lecture sought to situate the Church’s role within the changing social context of globalisation.

• Attended a refresher course in Chennai titled, “Women and Society” organized by the Academic Staff College of Madras University from the 2nd – 22nd of 104 September 2014.

• Took part in an international workshop on “Higher Education at the Margins” held at Georgetown University, Washington DC from the 1 – 10th of October 2014.

• Took a course titled “The Politics of Redistribution: Issues of inclusion and exclusion,” for the Masters in Public Policy Programme of St. Xavier’s College, from the 5th of January – 10th of April 2015.

• Gave two lectures on the 6th of April 2015 on “The Sociology of Gender” to the students of St. Pius X College on the occasion of their annual 8 day workshop on Gender Sensitisation.

Prof Pranoti Chirmuley

• Faculty in-charge for the Conclave 2014, Malhar (August), and chaired the Keynote Address by Mr Shashi Tharoor.

• Faculty in-charge for Raga during Malhar 2014.

• Represented the Arts faculty in the Debate Society’s debate titled Evolution v/s Intelligent Design, on 11th September, 2014.

• Chaired a session by Ms Meera Sanyal, for the BMS fest, Zephyrus on January 22, 2015.

• Curator for the TED Talks for TedX St. Xaviers event, held on the February 8, 2015.

• Delivered a lecture on ‘Technology and Social Change’ on March 17, 2015 for the HCAP: Technology and our Generation: From Individual to the world.

• Attended an Orientation Course at the Academic Staff College at JNU, from April 6 to May 1, 2015.

Dr Fr Frazer Mascarenhas SJ, who joined us over two decades ago and has significantly contributed value to the co- and extra-curricular activities of the department not only as faculty but also as principal, retired on the 31st of May. The Department, staff, alumni and students would like to record our thanks for his significant contribution and wish him well in his new role.

Dr. Sam Taraporevala

Head, Department of Sociology and Anthropology