Image: Courtesy of Dev N. Pathak, Sociology, SAU.
About The Department - Vision and Beyond

Over the last half century or so, a vast body of knowledge(s) on the region has evolved within South Asia that mostly remain within the countries of their origin due to a number of reasons. In this specific context, there is a crucial need to share some of this knowledge in contemporary times when, despite assertions of localisations and mini-narratives, the universal does retain its emphasis through a constant dialectics of the two. The debate between the local and universal or mini-narratives and meta-narratives continue to rage, and is more clearly visible in the context of South Asian context. Even so, we are acutely aware of the non-existence of regular and serious forums for South Asian scholarship in social sciences to showcase our own research and thinking. We are also quite conscious of the fact that the process of establishing sociology in the region has created its own peculiarities which has established close inter-relationships between sociology and social anthropology, history, cultural studies, archeology and other related disciplines. We consider the porousness of South Asian sociology one of its most enduring strengths. On the other hand, we are not unaware of the unfortunate regressions sociology has experienced in different South Asian contexts over the last 30 years or so marked by numerous institutional failures.

It is within the context(s) outlined above that the Department of Sociology at South Asian university, initiated in 2011 witihn the Faculty of Social Sciences contributes to teaching, training and knowledge production. It is not intended to be a mere forum for the production of cutting-edge intellectual knowledge and exchange of that knowledge traversing across national borders in South Asia and beyond. Our expectation is that this knowledge would dislocate the persistence of an imposed framework emanating from the colonisation process and postcolonial politics of knowledge. Despite the passage of over fifty years since the process of official decolonization began in the region, much of the analyses of our problems, situations, histories and dynamics emanate from Euro American academia; this is certainly the case when it comes to conceptual formulations and theoretical approaches that are being employed in exploring the region’s social and cultural complexities often without much self-reflection.

The Department of Sociology strongly believes in the need to reformulate this situation by effectively centering South Asia without naively shunning thought from these established centers of knowledge be they in Europe or North America. We believe in an active and robust engagement with these issues within South Asia. In this context, through the work of its faculty and the research of graduate students, the Department would bring forward the newer forms of knowledge that comprehends and represents the South Asian context with a more authoritative and nuanced voice. We strongly believe in the need to actively intervene in the process of knowledge formation through a constant sharing of knowledge that the region produces as well as through interaction with the world beyond the region.

The courses taught in the Department as well as the research carried out by its faculty members reflect this overall vision and our collective commitment towards innovation, move beyond untenable stereotypes, and explore a new world of knowledge within the discipline of Sociology.

Class of 2011, Department of Sociology, South Asian University; Image: Courtesy of Dev N. Pathak, Sociology, SAU.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Re-imagining Visuality: Exploring Possibilities in Photography, Theory and Practice

The workshop on ‘Re-imagining Visuality: Exploring Possibilities in Photography, Theory and Practice’ organized by the Department of Sociology, South Asian University was held on 28th February, 2015 at South Asian University. The following papers were presented at the conference:

Photography: Histories, Theories, Anxieties

Prof. Sasanka Perera, South Asian University: Fear of the Visual?: The Presence and Absence of Photography in Sociology and Social Anthropology

Dr. Dev Pathak, South Asian University: Seeing is Thinking and Thinking is Seeing: Marriage of Visual Anthropology and Sociological Theories

Photographs and Specificity of Locations

Srimal Fernando, M.Phil/PhD Candidate in Sociology, South Asian University: Colonial Photography and  Susan Sontag’s and Roland Barthes’  Idea of  Photography in the Context of Sri Lanka

Ratan K Roy, M.Phil/PhD Candiate n Sociology, South Asian University: Photo-story of Shahbag Movement, Narrative Analysis and Challenges of Anthropological Research in Bangladesh

Identity and Photography/Film

Krishna.P. Pandey, PhD Candidate in Sociology, South Asian University: Insurgents to Peace Actors: Reflections on Nepal’s Maoist Insurgency and its Aftermath through Images

Dr. Mahuya Bandyopadhyaya, Associate Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences: Being Male, Being ‘Koti’: Reflections on Using Visual Technology with the Ethnographic Method

Images of the workshop in progress are courtesy of Ratan Kumar Roy Mphil/PhD Candidate in sociology, SAU):

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