CIRHS Courses in 2017 (Syllabus)

CIRHS will offer two elective courses in 2017 (the academic year 2016-17 and 2017-18) in the SDM PG College, in collaboration with two of its departments: Department of Social Work and Department of Mass Communication and Journalism.

Course 1: Skills and Methods of Research in Social Sciences: An Introduction             

(No. of hours:  40; 1 unit x 10 hrs)


  • To orient PG students to issues related to interdisciplinary research in social sciences.
  • To teach basic research skills and methods to students, to prepare them for a research career in their life.

Structure of the Course

  • The course will give equal importance to lecture based teaching, structured readings and group tasks. Students are expected to write a paper by the end of the course, under the guidance of the course faculty.

UNIT – I: Basics of Research Skills and Methods                                                

Lectures: Why research? The goal of research. Quality control in research. Basic research skills. ‘Research methods’. Research in natural sciences versus research in social sciences. Role of question formulation, evidence collection, definitions in research. Difference between words and concepts.

Tasks: Selection of themes for semester-end paper.

UNIT-II: Cognitive Mistakes and Cognitive Skills                                               

Lectures: Right thinking as the basic skill of research. Learning to read texts for better research. Developing arguments is not research. Distinguishing between a question and research problem. Formulating a research problem. Research as reflection of experience.

Tasks: Exercises to understand difficulties in thinking and comprehending. Exercises in writing what one comprehends.

UNIT –III: Research as a Problem-Solving Process                                                  

Lectures: The attitudes of a researcher. What should a good research achieve? Research as theory building. Reflection on experience as theory building. The Natural and the Human Sciences. Theory vs. hypothesis.

Tasks: Exercises in writing research articles and popularizing articles.

UNIT-IV: The Special Case of Studying India                                                        

Lectures: Have social sciences failed to understand Indian culture? Colonial consciousness and its impact on India studies. Influence of Christian theology on social sciences. What did Indians learn from the west? How not to understand colonialism? The road ahead.

Tasks: Rewriting your essays under guidance.


  • N. Balagangadhara, “Notes on Research Skills and Methods” (Unpublished notes).
  • Karl Popper, “Knowledge: Subjective versus Objective.” (1967, In: D. Miller, ed.,Popper Selections, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 58–77).
  • Herbert Simon, “Scientific Discovery and the Psychology of Problem Solving”. (1977, Vol. 54, Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, 286-303).
  • N. Balagangadhara, “An Indian View on Derrida and Post-modernists”.
  • S.N. Balagangadhara and Jakob De Roover, “Beef Bans, Beef Parties, and Sacred Cows”. (Forthcoming).




Course 2: Re-Conceptualising India Studies

(No. of hours:  40; 1 unit x 10 hrs)


  • To introduce students of Science and Social Science to issues that have impeded the development of a sound understanding of India
  • To acquire reading skills required to comprehend social science texts
  • To formulate clear and coherent questions about texts and build systematic arguments
  • To critically examine the currently dominant accounts on India and the West


UNIT – I: Introduction: Contemporary descriptions of India                                   

  • Examining the representation of India in Indian and Western media
  • Identifying some recurring dimensions in the descriptions of India
  • Critically examining some hidden assumptions that underlie these representations

UNIT – II: Orientalism                                                                                                  

  • What is Orientalism?
  • Key descriptions of the East in Orientalist accounts
  • Comparing these descriptions with contemporary descriptions of India
  • The limitations of Said’s understanding of Orientalism

UNIT – III: Orientalism and the Social Sciences                                                   

  • Studying how Orientalism acts as a constraint on the Social Sciences
  • Cross-cultural asymmetry

UNIT – IV: Resilience of Orientalism in contemporary descriptions            

  • Students will be encouraged to take up one area for research and write a paper of about 1500 words on the theme examined


  • Edward Said, “Introduction”, Orientalism (New York, Pantheon Books 1978).
  • S.N. Balagangadhara, “Comparing India and the West“, Asia Network Exchange, Vol. XVI, No. 1, 2008 (pp. 57–63).
  • S.N. Balagangadhara, “Introduction” and “Chapter 2: The Future of the Present: Rethinking the Post-Colonial Project.” in Reconceptualizing India Studies (New Delhi, OUP 2012).
  • Jakob De Roover, “Rape of a Country.”