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DU sociology dept faculty members split over European study centre

As Delhi University’s Department of Sociology celebrates the clearance it recently received for European Study Centre Programme,the faculty members and Academic and Executive Councils of the University seem to be irked at being kept in the dark about the move.

Written by Deepu Sebastian Edmond | New Delhi |
September 29, 2009 11:03:29 pm

As Delhi University’s Department of Sociology celebrates the clearance it recently received for European Study Centre Programme,the faculty members and Academic and Executive Councils of the University seem to be irked at being kept in the dark about the move.

According to reports,the 3,00,000-euro programme may result in restructuring of the department’s current courses,and that is the bone of contention between the authorities and the faculty members.

In a letter to the Vice-Chancellor on September 22,Academic Council member Vijay Singh said,“By making European Studies the main activity of the department,the proposal requires the Department of Sociology to entirely shift their current focus of study in their MA and MPhil programmes from January 2010.”

Defending the university’s move,Sociology department head Rajni Palriwala said the proposal was for a programme and not for a centre,as was alleged. “There will be no restructuring of the present syllabus; we will only add a few electives or a paper on Area Studies,” she said.

However,the application form for the programme under “Main Activities” states that the course would involve,among others,“framing new syllabi and redesigning existing syllabi for MA and MPhil programmes”.

According to the proposal concept note,the university is looking to expand the scope of the department with this programme. “Sociology in India,both at the level of teaching and research,has often been viewed as being India-centric,” it says. “There has been a pronounced Anglo-centric perspective that has prevailed in the social sciences in India. We hope setting up programmes of study where the focus is Europe and the European Union will encourage a more global understanding of the continent and its special role in contemporary society.”

But Academic Council member Singh said,“The idea is to merely replace a British perspective with a European perspective because it is Europe that has the money now. Why not a centre on Africa if they are really interested?”

A faculty member also said there is fear among the members that recruitment of staff,too,will be affected in future.

“The university could also have considered making the centre truly inter-disciplinary without awarding it to a single department. Now,all students will have to study a postgraduate course with a European tilt,” said Rajib Ray,member of the Executive Council.

Members point to the concept note,which states,“We will include other university departments such as the Department of Germanic Studies and Romance Studies and the Department of Slavonic and Finno-Ugarian Studies.”

Confirming the acceptance of the application by the India-EU Study Centres Programme,HoD Palriwala said other department had been approached for collaboration.

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