HSS-Graduate Seminar Series

HSS-Graduate Seminar Series is a student initiative to serve as a platform for students to share their latest work and receive constructive feedback from their peers. This will not be limited to completed or published work. We encourage presenting your ongoing work as well so that this could become a forum for active and productive academic discussions.

We plan to hold one talk every fortnight, but hope to increase this frequency in the future, depending on the interest and engagement by the students. The speaker will be given 30 minutes to present their work. This will be followed by a critical reflection on the work by a discussant, following which the floor will be opened for questions and comments from the audience. If you have any questions or if you would like to present your work, please contact Coordinator, HSS-GSS – R. Vysakh, PhD scholar, HSS (r_vysakh@iitgn.ac.in).


HSS-Graduate Seminar Series Seminar

About the speaker: Anupam Joya Sharma is a doctoral student of Social Epidemiology at the Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar. He is a physicist by training and a Social Epidemiologist by choice. Anupam’s recent works include the inquiry of psychosocial wellbeing and ageing of middle-aged to older queer adults in India, psychosocial effect of the COVID-19 pandemic across social groups in India, intimate partner violence in the aftermath of natural disasters in India, and effects of reservation-based discrimination in Indian institutions. His papers on these topics have been published in reputed journals such as PLoS ONE and Ageing International (Springer). Anupam also works as a Junior Research Fellow (JRF) on a project funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) on the impact of climate change on health and vulnerable communities in Gujarat. He is particularly experienced in conducting qualitative interviews, including on sensitive topics, in vulnerable populations such as sexual minorities, socially disadvantaged students, and older persons seeking reproductive interventions.

Abstract: Given the history of caste politics in India, it is not surprising that the socially marginalized students face discrimination, especially after the introduction of the reservation policy (affirmative action) in educational institutes. Our qualitative study, informed by Meyer’s Minority Stress model, analysed in-depth interviews with 30 undergraduate students, 3 faculty members, and 4 administrative officials at a premier Indian university to examine the psychological wellbeing of the reserved category students. We analysed how the discrimination processes contributed to students’ poor academic performance, low self-esteem, and weak motivation. Student group affiliations and university resources created a supportive environment for the socially marginalized, despite a small risk of stigmatization due to enrolment in a few campus support-programs. Moreover, there existed a palpable frustration among the socially privileged students, resulting in discriminatory attitudes against reserved categories but not “lower” caste. Our findings call for the attention of college administrators, policymakers, and the society at large to ensure that well-intended social justice policies are efficiently implemented, to deliver justice to the underprivileged students of India.


HSS-Graduate Seminar Series Seminar

About the speaker: Ashwin Tripathi explores social aging, time allocation, and leisure practices among older adults in her doctoral work. She specialized in Social Anthropology from Queen’s University of Belfast for her MA, where her research focused on the Indian immigrants in the UK and on developing care models within the community. She has also worked as an independent researcher with the Indian Community Centre (Belfast) and ArtsEkta. Her research interests include areas of Social Anthropology, Sociology of Ageing, and Population Studies.

Abstract: We contend that the concept of “leisure” in non-western settings offers a conflation of the productive with the “unproductive” (care and housework) throwing into sharp relief the limitations of traditional measurement indicators. As such, we set out to offer a conceptual framework to understand change and continuity in post-retirement/later life domesticities of middle-class households by focusing on time allocation among older persons. Based on a Time-Use study design that included 24-hour time diaries for a month in urban Ahmedabad (in the western state of Gujarat, India), we show how the household becomes a site of reproduction on inequality in the burden of care and domesticity from a gender and life-course perspective. We contend that the importance of feminist scholarship and family research in addressing these gendered social expectations notwithstanding, there remains a systematic overlooking of the intersection of age with family and care-work in India. Results from our study highlight gendered conceptual incongruence in the meanings of leisure (free time) where older women interpreted free time very differently than men. Specifically, older women’s understanding of leisure remained firmly lodged within the patriarchal demands of care and intimate sociality whereas men’s were reflective of self-expression, freedom and individual choice. Since leisure is known to have crucial links with empowerment, identity and resistance, our conceptual reframing of leisure through the interlocking angles of access, rights and freedom (to pursue “unproductive” pursuits) offer a rethinking of leisure as a political practice in the global south.

About the speaker: Vysakh R is a doctoral student working in the field of Linguistic Anthropology. His research looks at the question of language endangerment in Nicobar Islands. He is also interested in Sociolinguistics, Language Documentation & Description, Language Revitalization, Language Ideologies and the Linguistic construction of identities.

Abstract: This talk will look at the discourse of language loss about Lurö, an Austroasiatic language spoken in Teressa Island, Andaman & Nicobar archipelago, India. Teressa, along with other islands of the Nicobar group, was severely affected by the tsunami of 2004. This talk will propose ways to investigate how this ecological disruption and subsequent changes interact with the discourse about language loss. Speakers claim that Lurö is being replaced by Sanenyö, the language of the neighbouring island. Previous research conducted prior to the tsunami however suggests that there was stable multilingualism in Teressa. This situation does not lend itself to the more obvious explanations of language loss such as dominant language influence, prestige or economic pressures. This talk will delve into the current state of the project, vis-à-vis research questions, relevant literature and preliminary methods.

HSS-Graduate Seminar Series Seminar

HSS-Graduate Seminar Series Seminar

About the speaker: Prashant Ingole is a doctoral student working on Dalit representation and ‘lived’ experience. His research work revolves around graphic narratives, social media, Hindi cinema, and Dalit life narratives. His research interests include literary studies, comparative cultural studies, popular culture, and visual and verbal contexts. He is specifically interested in marginal identities and ground realities with a focus on modern Dalit expressions.

Abstract: This paper is an attempt to synthesis the discipline of Dalit and Cultural studies as a step towards proposing the discipline of Dalit Cultural Studies. By invoking the different claims of dominant epistemologies re-articulated by dalits intellectuals at different historic moments and locating the cultural past of Dalit humiliation, this paper examines the anti-caste discourse and the cultural resistance of Dalits from the colonial and postcolonial times which continues to take shape in different forms. Intersecting Dalit and Cultural studies the paper argues—that the distinction between the Brahmin and the non-Brahmin aesthetics leads to challenge the power and knowledge relation through the ‘politics of difference’. The non-brahmin aesthetic decenters the cultural production and circulation of the grand narratives, by de-brahmanising the established disciplinary space by bringing the discourse of the experience of caste and humiliation into the mainstream academia. When available mainstream approaches in humanities and social sciences in India would not grasp the intensity of their pain and anguish; therefore, in order to go beyond mainstream sympathetic view, intersecting Dalit and cultural studies can help in de-Brahmanizing the disciplinary space through which the sociology of dalit life could be understood.