Residential Summer School on Epistemes for Conceptualising the Contemporary
Dates: 5-12 June, 2018 (Tentative)
Venue of the School: Outside Delhi (Venue to be finalised)
Organized by Department of Sociology, South Asian University, New Delhi
Call for Applications
Is 'the present' apriori, pregiven or predefined? One would think not. The present is constituted through a process, which determines how we arrive at it. The past, the way we evolve and the way social relations get formed makes the present what it is. However, our quotodian experience tells a very different tale. We are constantly faced with this belief that history, the constitutive processes or the idea of arriving at the present are irrelevant and a subsequent belief is forwarded that the present in which we exist is an all conclusive inevitablity, unavoidable and given as our immutable fate. This, in turn, has prompted a tendency of forsaking of the very fundamnetal principles of social sciences while establishing and even celebrating disciplines that live in the moments, non reflexive, non critical in nature. These new disciplines are constantly prodding us to agree to and abide by what is at offer without any questioning. Take for example how technology and its corollary are proferred without a moment of reflection on the ideology on which it bases itself or the historical context out of which it emerges. The idea of process and evolution as inevitable components of human existence are then intentionally ignored.
Whatever words/concepts we put in use, therefore, do not necessarily carry the same significance today as it did in the past as their very signification has undergone a change and evolved. These changes and evolutions have been effected by diverse factors, many variables, the politico-economic, cultural or even geographical imperatives. For instance, could we say the term 'revolution' as used by Karl Marx carries the same signification as when the Birla Ambani Report (arguing for privatising education) used the term? Or that the notions of 'time' during the feudal order and during the neoliberal order denote the same signification of 'time'? The phrase 'time is money' could not have rendered a meaning of import to human lives in a pre-capitalist society but today this phrase is understood most easily across the globe. The very 'time' itself tells us stories of different 'times' – the economy, politics and culture – and how those times inferred and understood certain concepts and ideas and for what reason.
The present has redefined the ideas and concepts, many a times, completely subverting the signification in many instances than what the concepts and words originally had. Ironically this subversion is not always towards challenging the hegemonic discourse but rather is the other way round – destroying the possibilitiy of an alternative to be imagined, a ploy of the hegemonic forces to usurp and coopt the transcending potential of these words and ideas for their own benefit and further their rule. The way discourses are framed and new meanings communicated to the vast mass of people and eventually as they appear to us/are presented to us, they are assumed to be the only possible meaning of the term. It is, therefore, of vast importance to understand the socio-economic and cultural processes that went/ goes into making of the processes that give us meanings. The summer school, 2018, takes on this challenge and will make an effort in this direction to unravel the history and politics of why and how epistemes are engendered.
The summer school will discuss the contested categories of time, space, wage, work, rebellion as a starting point to make sense of how our understanding transforms, how cognition is a construct that travels across time and space.
Participants: There would be twenty-six (26) participants in total for the Summer school. The participants would be selected on the basis of following rigorous selection criteria:
- The participants must apply by 20th February, 2018 with (1) one page note on their interests and (2) how the course is relevant to their ongoing work.
- All applications to be electronically sent at saurlssummerschool[@]gmail.com
- Shortlisted participants will be informed by 28th February, 2018. The shortlisted candidates will have to submit a write up of around 2500-3000 words, which also make use of/reflect on/engage with the categories and concepts of the course. While writing their piece they must follow the stylistic details provided by the organisers by 25th March, 2018. The final list of shortlisted candidates will be released by 1st week of April. The candidates will work on the same write up informed by the discussions during the course and submit the final version at the end of the course at the venue.
- The organisers will bear the cost of the accommodation and fooding while the participants fulfilling the above process will also be provided partial travel support.
- Participation is open to people from all walks of life.
Please contact Mr Atul Chandra at saurlssummerschool[@]gmail.com. Tel No: +91-9555434486 for further information.