Researching the Contemporary is the Centre's uniquely designed summer teaching programme targeted at research students and independent scholars. Started in 2010, this programme allows students to critically engage with the formation of the contemporary and its multiple histories, ideologies, forms, and affects. The critical thematics offered as a part of this programme are often unavailable in a university setting; this deliberate departure grew out of the Centre's earlier experience of organizing biannual research workshops for ICSSR-CSDS PhD fellows. These PhD fellows, who were drawn from different social science and humanities disciplines, expressed a desire for an intensive cross-disciplinary engagement with some key themes to further hone their research interests.
Researching the Contemporary focuses on three thematic areas designed to enable participants to familiarize themselves with concepts and theories, and engage in a critical engagement with methodologies that help analyse the contemporary. These themes are determined annually by faculty members who develop and teach the three courses offered each year. This shared, though flexible, design allows this programme to serve as an evolving platform in which CSDS faculty members share their research with young scholars. Students from across the country apply through a competitive process, and specific efforts are directed at ensuring that students from outside Delhi are also included in the programme. Increasingly, CSDS faculty members have come to view Researching the Contemporary as an opportunity to strengthen linkages with the university system as well as to influence the future of social science and humanities research in the Centre’s distinctive style. Future plans for the programme include developing a parallel course in Hindi. In addition to Researching the Contemporary, the Centre's Lokniti programme also runs a special summer course on research methodology.