Peter Ronald deSouza is a professor at CSDS and holds the Dr S.Radhakrishnan Chair of Rajya Sabha till April 2017. He was director of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), Shimla, where he served two terms from 2007 till 2013. He then, as Interim director, set up the International Center for Human Development (IC4HD) between 2013-14. He was co-director of the Lokniti Programme at CSDS till 2007 and was at the Goa University department of Political Science from 1987-2003.
He works on issues of democratic politics and in the comparative politics of South Asia. Favouring an eclectic approach to unpacking the problems of politics he searches for the ‘inconvenient fact’ that troubles established ways of talking about the politics of India. He has worked on a range of themes from Panchayati Raj, to trust and political institutions, to dalits and discrimination, to the uniform civil code in India. In addition to numerous articles he has edited four books, Contemporary India: Transitions (Sage, 2000), India's Political Parties (with E. Sridharan, Sage, 2006), Indian Youth in a Transforming World: Attitudes and Perceptions, (with Sanjay Kumar and Sandeep Shastri, Sage 2009) and Speaking of Gandhi’s Death (with Tridip Suhrud, Orient Blackswan 2010). He was one of the three principal investigators of a five nation study on the State of Democracy in South Asia (2006). He has served as an expert and consultant for the UNDP, World Bank, ICNRD, International IDEA, Ford Foundation and Inter Parliamentary Union. He is also a regular columnist for The Hindu, The Tribune and Outlook.
As a political theorist his abiding interest is in threats to freedom of expression in democratic polities, particularly on the issue of the threshold of offence, and on the question of righting historical wrongs.