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The Idea of Belonging: 1, 2, 3 August, Calcutta

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Updated: 4 days ago


Belonging is a multifaceted concept. It goes beyond mere physical presence or legal status —it involves emotional attachment and a sense of acceptance and validation within a particular community or nation. In the context of India’s diverse landscape, belonging takes on added complexity. What exactly does it mean to feel like one belongs? Is the sense of belonging tied to language, ethnicity, religion, caste, socioeconomic class, or perhaps food habits? And why are we increasingly questioning who truly belongs in India? Has the rise of majoritarianism made it more challenging to define who belongs and who doesn’t?

Furthermore, as societies evolve and undergo demographic shifts—through globalization, urbanization, internal displacements and forced migrations—how does the notion of belonging evolve? What roles do historical narratives, familial ties and personal experiences play? Besides, while we look at history to understand this complex idea, what about those whose overlooked stories do not even belong to our ‘official’ class histories—people who are Adivasi, Dalit, queer and/or differently abled, among others?


As educators shaping young minds, these are some of the urgent and diverse questions that we will explore in the 8th Annual History for Peace Conference in Calcutta in August 2024.

 

 

1,2,3 August 2024

Calcutta

The Tollygunge Club

 

 

Speakers: Aloka Parasher-Sen, Romila Thapar, Amir Theilhaber, Angana Chatterji, Apoorvanand, Bhanwar Meghwanshi, Kannan Gopinathan, Shamara Wettimuny, Dr Kham Khan Suan Hausing, Zoya Hasan, Kanato Chophy, Karen Donoghue, Monideepa Banerjie


Workshop Facilitators: Sudhanva Deshpande, Sumona Chakravarty, Shreeja Sen, Angana Das, Joyeeta Dey






 


CONFERENCE PROGRAMME

 

Day 1

1 August

 

8.15 a.m.

Registration

 

9 – 9:15 a.m.

Opening Address

Naveen Kishore


Naveen Kishore is founder-publisher, Seagull Books and Managing Trustee of The Seagull Foundation for the Arts, India.

 

9.15 – 11:00 a.m.

Belonging and the ‘Other’ in Early India followed by a conversation with Romila Thapar

Aloka Parasher-Sen

 

It would be appropriate to begin with defining what is meant by ‘India’ during early phases of her history to first and foremost interrogate if a particular territorial entity was the basis for identifying a sense of belonging. Concomitantly, the basis of understanding multiple identities—ethnic, linguistic, religious and those around ‘caste’—must be the focii of our discussion. If there are flexible territorial or fixed notions of belonging over historical time then the question to be raised is: how was the ‘other’ defined in a society horizontally dynamic and open to migrations while being structured hierarchically giving us definitive sense of belonging at a local micro level.


This straddling between a meaningful sense of the ‘self’ belonging to a civilizational ethos and the multiple ‘others’ constantly impinging on its inner core gives us a changing sense of belonging in time and space across the Indian subcontinent raising the fundamental question of why and how the making of identities was so central to defining our sense of belonging within a larger notion of being ’Indian’.

 

Aloka Parasher-Sen was Professor Emerita, Department of Sanskrit Studies, University of Hyderabad between 2018 and 2023, where she had earlier served in the Department of History (1979-2018).

She was DAAD Fellow at the Südasien Institut, Universität Heidelberg, Germany (1986-1987). She has been Visiting Professor and Fulbright Scholar [1992] at the University of California, Berkeley, USA and the first occupant of the Rotating Chair in Indian Studies [2007] at the Südasien Institut, Universität Heidelberg, Germany and was also the first occupant of the Saroj and Prem Singhmar Chair in Classical Indian Polity and Society [2008-2011] at the Department of History and Classics, University of Alberta, Canada. More recently (2022), she was Visiting Professor at Krea University, Siri City, Andhra Pradesh.

Her major publications are in the main area of her interest in social history, namely, early Indian attitudes towards foreigners, tribes and excluded castes and different aspects of the social, economic, cultural and religious history and archaeology of the Deccan. Some of her major publications include Mlecchas in Early India, (Munishram Manoharlal,1991, Rpt. 2023), Social and Economic History of the Deccan, Some Interpretations (Manohar, 1993, Rpt. 2019), Subordinate and Marginal Groups in Early India up to 1500 AD (OUP, 2004, 2nd Paperback edition 2007), Religion and Modernity in India, (with Sekhar Bandhyopadhyaya) (OUP 2016), Settlement and Local Histories of the Deccan (Manohar 2020), Seeking History through her Source, South of the Vindhyas (Orient Blackswan 2022), Gender Religion and Local History – The Early Deccan (Primus 2023) [This was awarded Professor Annapurna Chattopadhyaya Award for the best book on Ancient India with a Regional perspective in 2023], Conversations with the Animate ‘Other’ Historical Representations of Human non-Human Interaction in India (Bloomsbury 2023) among others.


Romila Thapar is a pre-eminent Indian historian specialising in the field of ancient India. She is Professor Emerita of ancient history at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. Thapar’s research into early Indian history has heralded the groundbreaking shift from the scholarly treatment of ancient history as Indology towards establishing it as a social science. Her work has reimagined the questions that were typically asked of textual and archaeological data in the study of ancient Indian history. Consequently, her scholarship has transformed historiography as a field and embedded modern perspectives of writing history into the study of ancient India. Thapar holds honorary doctorates from Brown University, the University of Oxford, the University of Chicago, Edinburgh University and the University of Calcutta among others. She is also a recipient of the prestigious Kluge Prize (American Nobel), is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is an honorary fellow at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and St Margaret’s Hall, University of Oxford. Thapar’s works include seminal books such as Interpreting Early India, Narratives and the Making of History, Cultural Pasts, Essays in Early Indian History, Early India, and Which of Us Are Aryans? Rethinking the Concept of Our Origins. Her most recent book, published by Seagull Books in 2023, is Our History, Their History, Whose History?

 

11:00 – 11.30 a.m.

Coffee break

 

11.30 a.m. – 1.00 p.m.

Indian Culture in the Age of Empire and its Remnants: A German Take and Contested Belongings

Amir Theilhaber 


The Indar Sabha by Agha Hassan Amanat from Lucknow was a genre setting theatre play of the 19th century, spreading after the repression of the 1857 rebellion to Calcutta and from there all across South Asia. Combining Persian, Urdu, Hindi and Arabic languages, poetic styles, and literary elements from the Hindu and Islamic canons, it was an emblematic theatre piece of India’s composite culture. Some saw in it a piece of anti-British resistance, others a decadent escape into a fairytale world. The German Orientalist Friedrich Rosen, house teacher at the British viceroy Lord Dufferin’s court in the 1880s, thought that he found in the Indar Sabha a theatre piece representative of the multi layered modern Indian national spirit—a spirit from which India should muster its own organic development, rather than harking back to ancient Sanskrit drama or importing Shakespearean plays. This talk digs into these entanglements of British Imperialism, German Orientalism and Indian culture. How was belonging and the significance of what and who belongs framed in the age of empire, and how did this sow the seeds for a nationalist age? What remains from this age and where? And is any of it worth recovering from oblivion?


Amir Theilhaber is a post doc researcher at Bielefeld University’s Department of History, where he works on the history of the ethnological collection at the Lippisches Landesmuseum in nearby peripheral Detmold. Theilhaber completed his BA in International Affairs at Vesalius College – Vrije Universiteit Brussel (2006), his MA in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the Hebrew University Jerusalem (2009), and his PhD in History at the Technical University Berlin (2018). He’s the author of the book Friedrich Rosen. Orientalist Scholarship and International Politics (De Gruyter, 2020). During a fellowship at the German Historical Institute in Washington DC he has researched Orientalist knowledge circulation between the US and Germany, and he taught seminars on the Aryan myth in different global contexts at the Center for Antisemitism Research at the TU Berlin and at the European Jewish Summer University in Hohenems.

 

1.00 – 2.00 p.m.

Lunch

 

2.00 – 3.30 p.m.

जो हमसे अलहदा है 

(Jo humse alahda hai -Who is different from us)

Bhanwar Meghwanshi

 

‘I want to speak about those people, whom we call others, who are not like us, who do not dress like us, who do not eat like us? How can we connect with people whose beliefs and ways of worship are different from ours, even those who do not live or think like us, people with whom we have no connection, no affinity? How can we establish affinity and brotherhood with them? I would like to talk about such efforts and my ground experiences.’


Bhanwar Meghwanshi is an award-winning writer, journalist and social activist. Born in a weaver’s family in Sidiyas village in Rajasthan, as a teenager, Bhanwar Meghwanshi became a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, which he later quit and became associated with grassroots organisations working for social and economic justice. This led him to play an active role in student politics and then into full-time work at the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan for 13 years.

Meghwanshi was once a school teacher. He was also formerly the founder and editor of Diamond India, a monthly journal that covered issues from grassroots perspectives. He is the founder of the Dalit Adivasi and Nomadic Adhikar Abhiyan, Rajasthan (Dagar). 

His recent book, I Could Not be Hindu: The Story of a Dalit in the RSS has caught the attention of people from all over the world. He runs the award-winning news website, Shunyakal. These days, he has an active association with the People’s Union for Civil Liberties. He is recipient of the Bhauruka Charitable Trust Award, Sarojini Naidu Award, and Ambedkar International Award.


3.30 - 4.00 p.m.

Coffee break

 

4.00 - 5:30 p.m.

Politics in Action: Civil Society Mobilisation in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections

Zoya Hasan 


This paper explores the engagements of political parties and people with India's Constitution during the 2024 General Elections, and also during the equal citizenship protests in 2019-20 against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019. It seeks to throw light on the significance of people's interactions with the Constitution and its effect on democratic renewal during these two moments. Campaigns such as these highlight a popular engagement with the Constitution and an assertion of inclusive citizenship which goes to the heart of the unique quality of Indian democracy. Our identity as citizens and our sense of belonging to the nation is enshrined in the Constitution. Save the Constitution campaign played a pivotal role in creating this sense of belonging. It reasserted the primacy of the Constitution in the public imagination as people expressed a strong sense of ownership of the Constitution and their willingness to protect it as a charter of equal rights. This campaign and the response it evoked played an important role in fuelling the electoral decline of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) in the election. For the first time ‘democracy as an ideology’ and ‘defence of the Constitution’ prevailed to a great extent over strong-man leadership and majoritarian politics. This has halted or at least significantly slowed down India’s democratic backsliding.


Zoya Hasan is a political scientist, academic and commentator. She is Professor Emerita, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Distinguished Professor, Council for Social Development, New Delhi. She has been Professor, Centre for Political Studies and Dean of the School of Social Sciences, JNU. She was Chairperson of the Centre for Political Studies and founding Director of the Centre for Women’s Studies and Centre for the Study of Discrimination and Exclusion, JNU. Hasan has taught at the Lady Shri Ram College, University of Delhi. She has held visiting appointments at National University of Singapore, University of Zurich, and fellowships at, among others, University of Sussex, Rockefeller Centre, Bellagio, Maison des Sciences Del’ Homme, Paris, and the Centre for Modern Oriental Studies, Berlin. She was a member of the National Commission for Minorities, National Integration Council, Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) and the National Book Trust. She is currently a member of The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy (Chennai) and Centre for Multilevel Federalism (New Delhi). She is also a member of the Editorial Board of several journals and was elected President of the Contemporary History Section of the Indian History Congress in 2019. Zoya Hasan has published widely on Indian politics, state-society relations, democracy, social movements and public protests, and more broadly on issues of equality, social justice and the status of minorities.


Day 2

2 August

 

9 – 10.30 a.m.

Memory-Mourning: Belonging at the Margins of Contemporary India

Angana P. Chatterji

 

The proposal for a law of historical memory in Punjab, in 2017, sought to revision the history of its people. In Assam, in 2019, the Citizenship Amendment Act ruptured the sanctity of Bangla Muslims and their inhabitance. In India-administered Kashmir, in 2020, impunity laws sought to delimit the imprint of a people on their land and erase historical consciousness. In Ayodhya, in 2024, the insertion of a temple interposed an alien piety, to hold hostage local ways of being. Ongoing states of exception in contemporary India effect a new social order of the “nowhere people,” myriadly-displaced, stateless on their own land. Post/colonial colonialism, evinced through the physical and epistemic exclusion of targeted communities from legitimate/majoritarian society. Practices of ostracization and racialism, forced labour, erasure and criminalization, function as modalities of governance. The assemblage of the “Other”/“outsider” has become fundamental to reinforcing dominant, manifest destiny. Everyday conditions of unbelonging reveal the web of violence that subsume vulnerable worlds in non-recognition and inhumanity. This talk elaborates the politics of memory that shape subaltern local knowledge, identity, and habitus. This talk is witness to the organization of counter-memory by political agents as a means of resistance to re-member and nurture lifeworlds.

 

Angana P. Chatterji is Founding Chair, Initiative on Political Conflict, Gender and People’s Rights at the Center for Race and Gender, University of California, Berkeley. A cultural anthropologist and interdisciplinary scholar of South Asia, Dr. Chatterji’s work since 1989 has been rooted in local knowledge, witness to post/colonial, decolonial conditions of grief, dispossession, agency, and affective solidarity. Her foundational investigations with colleagues in Indian-administered Kashmir includes inquiry into unknown, unmarked and mass graves. Chatterji’s recent scholarship focuses on political conflict and coloniality in Kashmir; prejudicial citizenship in India; and violence (as a category of analysis) as agentized by Hindu nationalism, addressing religion in the public sphere, state power, gender and caste, Islamomisia, racialization, and cultural survival and accountability. Her research also engages questions of memory and belonging, and legacies of conflict across South Asia. Chatterji has served on human rights commissions and offered expert testimony to Indian Commissions of Inquiry, United Nations, European Parliament, United Kingdom Parliament, and United States Congress, and has been variously awarded for her work. She leads the creation of the Archive on Legacies of Conflict in South Asia. Her sole and co-authored publications include: Breaking Worlds: Religion, Law, and Nationalism in Majoritarian India; Majoritarian State: How Hindu Nationalism is Changing India; Conflicted Democracies and Gendered Violence: The Right to Heal ; Contesting Nation: Gendered Violence in South Asia; Notes on the Postcolonial Present; Kashmir: The Case for Freedom; Violent Gods: Hindu Nationalism in India’s Present; Narratives from Orissa; and reports: Access to Justice for Women: India’s Response to Sexual Violence in Conflict and Social Upheaval; BURIED EVIDENCE: Unknown, Unmarked and Mass Graves in Kashmir; and Without Land or Livelihood: The Indira Sagar Dam.

 

10.30 – 11.00 a.m.

Coffee break


11.00 a.m. – 12.45 p.m.

State vs Citizen and The Idea of Belonging

Apoorvanand, KK Suan Hausing and Kannan Gopinathan in Conversation

 

Belonging, citizenship and the politics of inclusion and exclusion in contemporary India

In this presentation, I intend to lay bare how and why belonging is imbricated in a mutually reinforcing relationship with the notion of citizenship and the politics of inclusion and exclusion in contemporary India. Belonging in this sense need not be seen only as a legal status of determining who is entitled to a territorially delimited citizenship, but also a state of mind that transcends territorial borders in ways that leverage the politics of inclusion and exclusion. Determining the legal status of one’s belonging to a nation-state/state-nation is also predicated on the question of juxtaposing who is a ‘native’ (indigenous, Adivasi, aboriginals, etc.) and ‘settler’ (migrant, outsider, alien, etc.), determining the timeline of which is often fraught with subjective interpretation of the law, history and migration. Such a binary also leverages a two-tier citizenship regime where unlike the native/indigenous/Adivasi, the settlers are perpetually denied permanent ownership of land and equal citizenship rights based on a conveniently drawn timeline, for example, to coincide with a historical event like the onset of colonial rule. To put it in other words, belonging is simultaneously couched in the language and politics of ‘inclusion’ and ‘exclusion’. The tension in this language is apparent in what human geographers call ‘cultural areas’ which straddle across the borders of nation-states. This was brought into sharp focus recently by the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 by invoking faith as a determining factor in excluding from Indian citizenship certain group of migrants from India’s neighbouring states. In my presentation, I shall discuss the changing terms of discourse on belonging and how these implicate on the nature of citizenship on the one hand, and on the politics of inclusion and exclusion in contemporary India on the other hand.

 

Kham Khan Suan Hausing is Professor and former Head, Department of Political Science, University of Hyderabad.  He was a Fulbright-Nehru Postdoctoral Research Fellow at UPenn, Philadelphia during 2012-13. Hausing taught previously at Banaras Hindu University, Varanas for over eight years. He is an honorary Senior Fellow, Centre for Multilevel Federalism, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi. Hausing won the Territory, Politics, Governance Best Paper Award, 2023 for his article, "Autonomy and the territorial management of ethnic conflicts in Northeast India". The Award was conferred to Hausing by the Regional Studies Association, UK. Hausing’s research interest includes, among others, federalism, ethnic conflicts, nationalism and Indian politics with a particular focus on Northeast India.


Apoorvanand is a professor of Hindi at the University of Delhi where he has been instrumental in redesigning the department’s academic program. He has worked on the development of Marxist Aesthetics in Hindi Literature. He was part of the core group that designed the National Curriculum Framework for School Education in 2005 and was a member of the national Focus Group on Teaching of Indian Languages formed by the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT). He has worked with the advisory committee on the Renovation and Rejuvenation of Higher Education in India under the chairmanship of Yash Pal. Created by the government of India in 2008, the committee crafted a new vision plan for the higher education sector in India.

Apoorvanand has also published two books of essays in literary criticism: Sundar ka Swapna and Sahitya ka Ekant. His critical essays have appeared in all major Hindi journals. Apart from his academic and literary writings, he also contributes columns in Indian newspapers and magazines on the issues of education, culture, communalism, violence and human rights.


Kannan Gopinathan is a former Indian Administrative Service officer and an activist from Kerala. Gopinathan started his career with Freescale Semiconductor as a VLSI design engineer in Noida and worked for four years before resigning to prepare for the Indian Administrative Services. During the period he was actively involved in teaching kids in a slum as a volunteer with Association for India's Development Noida chapter. He was also an active participant in the India Against Corruption movement in its initial phases. He has been vocal on the importance of raising questions in a democracy, the threat of perceived victimhood among the majority and on the violation of fundamental rights in Jammu and Kashmir.

 

12.45 – 1.45 p.m.

Lunch

 

1.45 – 3:15 p.m.

Who Belongs and Who Decides?: Countering Majoritarian Narratives in Sri Lankan History

Shamara Wettimuny

 

'My talk will explore how notions of identity and belonging are shaped in Sri Lanka, especially through the state’s public school history syllabus that propagates a Sinhalese nationalist narrative. I will also discuss the two levels at which the ‘othering’ of minority groups takes place in terms of popular perceptions and state policies. First, I will refer to the role of the media, both historically and in the present, in creating alienation. Second, I will highlight how legislation and representative bodies reinforce these exclusionary narratives, perpetuating societal divisions. Finally, I will discuss the role of non-state initiatives, including Itihas in addressing gaps in history education to foster a more inclusive understanding of Sri Lanka’s diverse past, promoting a sense of belonging among all ethnic groups.'

 

Shamara Wettimuny is a Junior Research Fellow in History at The Queen's College, University of Oxford. Her research focuses on ethno-religious violence and identity in Sri Lanka, both historically and in the present day. Shamara was a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Colombo, and is the founder of Itihas, an organisation that works on history education reform.

 

3:15 – 3.45 p.m.

Coffee break

 

3.45 – 5:30 p.m.

[Title to be announced]

In Conversation

Kanato Chophy, Karen Donoghue and Monideepa Banerjie

 

Karen Lalrindiki Donoghue presently teaches in the Dept. of Journalism and Mass Communication, NEHU Shillong. Her PhD is focused on media representations of Northeast India on mainstream Indian media and her research interests include Media Representation, Media and Gender and Oral History. She has just completed an Oral History project titled “Stories from the Valley” in collaboration with Ms. D. Junisha Khongwir of the NEIAV Archive, funded by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, Japan that looks at the community history of the diasporic Mizo community of Happy Valley, a locality in Shillong. A book by the same name was also produced.

Karen enjoys reading, playing the guitar and listening to music, loves long walks with her dogs and writes poetry occasionally.

 

G. Kanato Chophy is a native of Nagaland who writes extensively on the history, politics, and cultures of North-East India. His research mostly focuses on ethnicity, religious change, political anthropology, and borderland studies. He currently teaches Social Anthropology at the  Dibrugarh University, Dibrugarh, Assam. His most recent work is Christianity and Politics in Tribal India: Baptist Missionaries and Naga Nationalism (State University of New York Press, 2021). 


Monideepa Banerjie is a Kolkata-based journalist reporting on contemporary politics in West Bengal, in fact, the most familiar face of Kolkata on national TV, having covered everything east for India’s premier news channel NDTV for the last twenty-eight years. In those twenty-eight years, she has seen the dramatic fall of the Communists and the meteoric rise of Mamata Banerjee. Monideepa began her career with The Telegraph, was one of the earliest journalists in the country to transition to television and is a Chevening Scholar (1997) and a Fulbright Fellow (2001).

 

 

Day 3

3 August

 

9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Parallel Workshops

(with one hour lunch break and half hour coffee breaks mid-morning and afternoon)

 

Workshop 1: The Many Belongings That Make Us

A workshop using theatre games

Sudhanva Deshpande

 

There is no single belonging. We all have multiple allegiances, our identity is woven from myriad yarns. Our being is a tapestry of diverse wefts and warps. At its best, the diversity contained in our identity is a source of joy, wonder, curiosity, learning, and growth. But identities are also sometimes centrifugal. They pull apart; they cause strain and rupture; they shred and tear to pieces relations between humans.

This workshop will examine the nature of our multifarious identities using theatre techniques, games, and play acting. Participants will share stories, enact them, and explore what it means to feel empathy or its opposite, hatred. Through a process of collective creation, participants will gain insights that can then be shared with others, in or outside the classroom.

 

No previous experience of theatre making or acting is required. All we ask for is a curious and open mind, and the willingness to do things that might seem, well, a little bit silly. In other words, all we need is for you to be childlike, receptive to suggestions, and willing to have fun.

 

Sudhanva Deshpande is a theatre director, film and theatre actor, and the author of Halla Bol: The Death and Life of Safdar Hashmi (LeftWord 2020). He joined Jana Natya Manch in 1987, and has acted in over 4,000 performances of over 80 plays. He has co-directed two films on the theatre legend Habib Tanvir and his company Naya Theatre. He is the editor of Theatre of the Streets: The Jana Natya Manch Experience (Janam 2007), and co-editor of Our Stage: Pleasures and Perils of Theatre Practice in India (Tulika 2008). He has held teaching positions at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, and AJK Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. Since 1998, he has been Managing Editor, LeftWord Books, New Delhi.

 

 

Workshop 2: Education and The Idea of Belonging

Joyeeta Dey, Angana Das

This session explores the concept of belonging in classrooms, delving into what it means for students and teachers to feel a sense of belonging in their educational environment/contexts. 

We will explore the evolving nature of belonging in Indian classrooms, particularly in light of shifts towards social, emotional, and ethical learning. Angana will present preliminary findings from her PhD research, which focuses on the socio-cultural and contextual processes integral to children’s lived experiences of the Happiness Curriculum in Delhi government schools.

Joyeeta will elaborate on alienation and un-belonging among teachers, students, administrators, parents and others within the school system, in the regime of the digital. Both the presentations will make an additional attempt to understand the empirical evidence using the perspectives of the Indian thinkers on education—Gandhi, Phule, Ambedkar, Tagore—on inclusion and the purpose of education.

Participants will participate in interactive and reflective discussions and activities to explore questions such as:

In what ways can educators create and sustain spaces where every student feels they belong?

What role do social, emotional and ethical learning play in fostering a sense of belonging among students in classrooms?

What are some contradictions that arise in the pursuit of creating a sense of belonging within the constraints of the academic system?


Joyeeta Dey is currently a final year PhD student at the National Institute of Advanced Studies researching in the area of sociology of education. Her PhD is on the history of digital governance of education in India. She has eight years of research experience preceding the PhD which includes working as an independent researcher for the University of Melbourne on RtE 12 (1) (C), on a DFID-ESRC funded project titled Researching Accountability in School Education (RAISE), with Deakin University on information systems for education governance and with the Pratichi Institute in Kolkata. Her fieldwork has taken her across India to Bihar, UP, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Tripura, Karnataka and Kerala. She has a Masters degrees in Sociology of Education (University College London) and Education Policies for Global Development (Erasmus Mundus Joint Master’s Degree). She was also on the team of the social media initiative Aaina.


Angana Das is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. Her research explores children’s voices on the Happiness Curriculum in Delhi government schools and the social, cultural and contextual factors that influence their happiness and well-being. Prior to her PhD, Angana worked as a researcher on projects related to the Happiness Curriculum, Section 12(1)(c) of the Right to Education Act, remedial teaching and school leadership in India. Her research interests include education for happiness and peace, social and emotional learning in non-western contexts, and arts-based peace-building approaches. She holds an MPhil in Education, Globalization and International Development from the University of Cambridge and an MA in Conflict Analysis and Peace Building from Jamia Millia Islamia. Angana is a recipient of the Commonwealth Shared Scholarship and the Cambridge International Scholarship.



Workshop 3: Cultural Heritage and The Idea of Belonging

Whose history is it that gets told through textbooks? Whose are the stories we learn about? And who is missing from these narratives? Can learning about history give students a sense of ownership over the past? 

Panel discussion with educators Amita Prasad and Tina Servaia moderated by Sumona Chakravarty followed by a workshop by Sumona Chakravarty and Shreeja Sen.

Finding your place in history through art

This workshop aims to translate theory into practice, drawing from the ideas discussed in the preceding panel discussion. Exploring artworks in history textbooks from CBSE and ICSE curricula, the workshop will introduce tools and strategies for teachers that will enable them to navigate these questions with their students. The tools, developed as a way to encourage inquiry-based learning, will focus on nurturing engagement with art: reading artworks, delving into them and drawing from them to tell stories that students identify as worth telling for them. The workshop will provide strategies for using art-making as a tool for engaging with history and historical narratives in the classroom, engendering creative projects led by students.


Sumona Chakravarty heads DAG’s Museums Programme. Her work is participatory in nature, engaging diverse communities through art and collaboratively intervening in public spaces. Sumona is a graduate of the Srishti School of Art Design and Technology, Bangalore, with a Masters degree from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. She has been a Fellow in the ArtThink South Asia Program at Khoj, Delhi and at the Global Cultural Leaders Program, hosted by the European Union.

 

Shreeja Sen heads the Education initiative at DAG’s Museums Programme. Her research interests include urban visual culture in modern and contemporary South Asia, art history and aesthetics, and cultural geographies of urban India. She was a Felix Scholar (2020-21) and has an MA in History of Art from SOAS.


Amita Prasad is a passionate teacher of History for over 30 years. She has been helping students to inculcate a love of learning and mentoring students in all aspects of school life––scholastic and co-scholastic. She has been involved in various aspects of school administration, planning and implementation of school programmes and enrichment activities. Currently, she is Director, Indus Valley World School, Kolkata. Amita is strongly committed to community service. She is a member of the Governing Body of Manovikas Kendra, The Teachers' Centre and The Calcutta School of Music and on the Advisory Committee of Ektara and History for Peace. 


Tina Servaia has been involved with international education for over 20 years. She is a Lead Trainer and Curriculum Developer for Cambridge and serves as the Senior Principal at Calcutta International School. She is passionate about education and has co-authored History textbooks for Grades 6, 7 and 8, published by OUP. She is committed to raising teaching standards by training and empowering teachers and firmly believes that an education encompassing critical thinking will solve many of the world’s problems.


4 – 4.30 p.m.

Coffee break

 

4.30 – 5 p.m.

Reflections


Supported by the Goethe-Institut




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