Centre for the Study of Developing Societies CSDS

Linked with Slums as self-confrontation.

The Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, also called the CSDS or informally, just the Centre, is a premier institute of India in the social sciences and humanities. The Centre provides a unique institutional space which seeks to nurture intellectual interests outside the entrenched boundaries of academic disciplines. This simultaneously gives the Centre a sense of intimacy with and distance from universities … (about 1/2).

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Location, Map: close to Delhi University; Contacts.

About 2/2: … Therefore, the Centre has deliberately chosen not to duplicate the structure of university department. 

This also allows the Centre to support and nurture interdisciplinary modes of enquiry. Over the years, the Centre has also managed to generate and utilize a productive tension between rigorous scholarly work and social movements, between academic commitment and political practices. It has been frequently engaged with contentious contemporary issues which have shaped its academic programme and contributed to struggles for dignity, livelihood and creative self expression. At the same time the CSDS zealously and meticulously guards its own space of reflective distance, theoretical work and research which has no obvious visibility in the public domain.

The Centre’s faculty is comprised of scholars who come from diverse disciplinary backgrounds, pursue different research agendas and follow multiple methodologies. This is done around several projects and programmes initiated by the Faculty. Its programmes and projects generates a much larger CSDS network of scholars, intellectuals and institutions that enables the Centre to sustain a range of research activities and pursue divergent intellectual concerns.

While independent faculty members have the fullest possible freedom to pursue their particular research interests, they also collaborate and work together in common activities and projects of the Centre.

Since its inception in 1963 the Centre has been a space for new intellectual ideas generated not only by interaction among the faculty but much wider exchange with activists and scholars from India and abroad. This has been facilitated by frequent visits by writers and scholars from Afro-Asian, Latin American and South East Asian countries. Indeed the Centre has particularly always welcomed scholars from South Asia. It has housed South Asia’s dissenting voices with great care and political sensibility. In its effort to pluralise the global, the Centre has also been helped by its own institutional positions of Scholar in Residence, visiting activist scholars, the Rajni Kothari Chair in Democracy and several visiting fellowships. The Centre also organizes annual lectures in memory of the first Chairman of the Centre, the economist B.N. Ganguli and Giri Deshingkar, a prominent Chinese scholar and member of the Faculty.

Since its inception, the Centre has been known for its skepticism towards any one conception of modernity and received models of development and progress and has sought ways to make creative use of local traditions in the making of multiple and alternative modernities, much before these ideas become fashionable in intellectual discourse. The CSDS has always promoted conversations between and within cultures. It has tried to delink cultural resources from violent expressions of political identities and promoted the idea that dissent is crucial for creative conversation between cultures and societies. The CSDS has carved out a space for itself in the field of democratic politics and its futures, politics of culture and knowledge, contextually relevant political theory, media and urban experiences, critical discourse on science and technology and violence, ethnic diversity. The Centre is also involved in two significant journals, Alternatives & China Report.

The CSDS is largely funded by the Indian Council of Social Science Research Institute (ICSSR).

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