Course on ‘Researching the Contemporary’ 2016

The Centre for the Study of Developing Societies 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:

Islamic Thought and Debates on Peace and Violence

The course will explore dimensions of Islamic Political Thought ranging from the Sufic to the Salafiyya. The readings will comprise original texts and some critical commentators. The Sufic corpus will cover Kashf-al-Mahjub authored by Hujwiri, better known as Data Ganj Baksh Lahori (approx 1000 AD) and Ma’arif al awarif, authored by Banda Nawaz Gesu Daraz (1321-1422), which is a commentary upon a foundational text of the Suhrawardi Sufi order. We will also read sections of famous Sufic romances, Lorik Canda, Padmavat and Madhumalti. Students will be introduced to variants of Salafiyya thought through speeches of Osama bin Laden and interpreters such as Faisal Devji. Finally, we will discuss contemporary Muslim thinkers from the subcontinent such as Maulana Maududi, Iqbal, Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, Sayyed Abul Hasan `Ali Nadwi better known as Ali Miyan and Asghar Ali Engineer.

Course Instructor: Shail Mayaram

Nation, Religion and Democracy in Modern South Asia

This course explores the peculiar career of nationalism as a political ideology in India over the past century. We consider how "religion" and "nation", which did not define communities or create group identity until the late 19th century, gradually became the principal categories for people in South Asia to see themselves as Hindus, Muslims, Indians, Pakistanis etc. We examine why the founding figures of the Indian nation had a deeply conflicted and ambiguous relationship with modern nationalism. We pay attention to the varieties of religious nationalism resurgent in the 21st century. We read primary texts by Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Ambedkar, Rabindranath Tagore, Allama Iqbal, Vinayak Savarkar, Jawaharlal Nehru, Maulana Azad, Sheikh Abdullah and others, as well as secondary literature, partially historical and partially theoretical.

Course Instructor: Ananya Vajpeyi

Politics of Political Representation

The sharp decline in the number of Muslims in legislative bodies in recent years has given a new direction to the debate on Muslim political representation. Although the debate is still dominated by the legal-constitutionalists, who focus on the proportional correlation between the total Muslim population and the number of Muslim MPs and MLAs as the only possible technique to assess Muslim political participation, the recent political developments have expanded the scope of this discussion in a significant way. This under-representation, or what is also called Muslim political deprivation, re-introduces us to two fundamental questions: (a) Do Indian Muslims constitute a political community? (b) Is the notion of political representation linked to the Muslim politics of social justice in cotemporary India? Exploring these broad questions, this course touches upon a few unexplored issues: the nature of Muslim representation, reservation as a form of representation, Shariat and the limits of representation and finally, the relationship between communal violence and representation.

Course Instructor: Hilal Ahmed

This is an intensive Course with compulsory readings and class discussions.  Course materials will be made available. Participants are expected to make presentations and participate in a workshop at the end of the course period.  A participation certificate will be awarded upon successful completion of the course.

The Course will be conducted over 8 weeks between 1 July - 31 August 2016.  Classes will be held at CSDS on week-day afternoons, three days a week, from 2.30-5.30 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. The candidate must indicate the category (SC, ST, OBC, GENERAL), to which she/he belongs, in the application. Selected out-station participants shall be provided with roundtrip travel expenses (3-tier AC) and a stipend of INR 25,000.

Total number of seats: 40* (Seats are reserved for SC and ST categories).

* The number of seats is indicative and may increase or decrease depending upon the quality of applications.

Please send your applications by email to teaching(at)

The last date for receiving the applications closed on 8 May 2016.