Academia in the Global South: A Reading Seminar with Pratyoush Onta

- Pratyoush Onta

Discussion Type: Reading Seminar | Date: 12 Aug 2013 | Time: 07:00 AM


Academia in the Global South
A Reading Seminar offered
by Pratyoush Onta
at the Nepa School of Social Sciences and Humanities
during August-September 2013

Introduction to the Seminar

This reading seminar is dedicated to understanding academia in the global South. Our emphasis will be on trying to locate academic institutions, practices and practitioners in the global South mostly in their historical and contemporary social landscapes. We will look at some of the structural features of these landscapes and discuss how they have facilitated or challenged the performance of academia in Southern countries. Using examples mainly from South Asia and Africa, we will also look at the changing institutional dynamics of academia and examine political-economic and cultural aspects of such academic practices as teaching, mentoring, research, publications, and the like in the global South.

The readings for the seminars, of various length and depth, are drawn from a number of different sources: popular media, academic journals and books. They total about 60-100 pages of reading per week. Seminar participants will be expected to have read them before coming to class and should be ready to discuss/critique them in some detail. The seminar will meet on Mondays, 7-8:30am starting from 12th August 2013. There will be a total of seven meetings.

I. Descriptions of the Present: Crises and their Representations

  1. Hachhethu, Krishna. 2002. Social sciences research in Nepal. Economic and Political Weekly 37(35): 3631-3643.
  2. Bidushi Dhungel. 2012. Ailing academia. The Kathmandu Post, 4 October, p. 6.
  3. Dambarkrishna Shrestha. 2012. Sunyatira…Himal Khabarpatrika 22(17): 18-20 (in Nepali).
  4. Venni V. Krishna and Usha Krishna. 2010. Social sciences in South Asia. In World Social Science Report 2010, pp. 77-81. Paris: UNESCO.
  5. Ayodeji Olukoju. 2004. The crisis of research and academic publishing in Nigerian universities. In African Universities in the Twenty-First Century Volume 2: Knowledge and Society. Paul T. Zeleza and Adebayo Olukushi, eds., pp. 363-375. Dakar: Council for Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA).
  6. Pitamber Sharma, Bal Gopal Baidya and Dwarika Nath Dhungel. 2012. Situation analysis, review and assessment. In Strategic Plan for the Proposed Social Science Research Council in Nepal, pp. 6-19. A Report submitted to the Adhoc Council, Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, Government of Nepal and Social Inclusion Research Fund, December.
  7. Partha Chatterjee. 2002. Institutional context of Social science research in South Asia. Economic and Political Weekly 37(35): 3604-12.
  8. Satish Deshpande. 2002. Social science research capacity in South Asia: Some questions for discussion. Economic and Political Weekly 37(35): 3628-3630.

Further readings

  1. Singh, Shyam. 2011. World Social Science Report: Whither India and South Asia? Economic and Political Weekly 46(1): 10-12.
  2. Satish Deshpande. 2008. Declining simplistic narratives. Economic and Political Weekly 43(5): 25-28.

II. North and South: Academic Dependency and the Indigenisation Debate

  1. Syed Farid Alatas. 2006[2000]. The structure of academic dependency and the global division of labour in the social sciences. In his Alternative Discourses in Asian Social Science: Responses to Eurocentrism, pp. 57-79. New Delhi: Sage Publications.
  2. Yogesh Atal. 2004[1981]. The call for indigenisation. In Indigeneity and Universality in Social Science: A South Asian Response. Partha N. Mukherji and Chandan Sengupta, eds., pp. 99-113. New Delhi: Sage.
  3. Béteille, André.  2009[1997]. Science and tradition. In his Sociology: Essays on Approach & Method, pp. 261-272. Second edition. Delhi: Oxford University Press.
  4. Tejaswini Niranjana. 2013. Indian languages in Indian higher education. Economic and Political Weekly 48(12): 14-17, 19.
  5. Vineeta Sinha. 2003. Decentring social sciences in practice through individual acts and choices. Current Sociology 51(1): 7-26.

Further readings

  1. Immanuel Wallerstein. 1997. Eurocentrism and its avatars: The dilemmas of social science. New Left Review I/226: 93-107.
  2. Philip G. Altbach. 2003. Centers and peripheries in the academic profession: The special challenges of developing countries. In The Decline of the Guru: The Academic Profession in Developing and Middle-Income Countries. Philip G. Altbach, ed., pp. 1-23. New York: Palgrave.
  3. Alatas, Syed Hussain. 2004. The captive mind and creative development. In Indigeneity and Universality in Social Science: A South Asian Response. Partha N. Mukherji and Chandan Sengupta, eds., pp. 83-98. New Delhi: Sage.
  4. Partha N. Mukherji. 2004. Introduction: Indigeneity and universality in social science. In Indigeneity and Universality in Social Science: A South Asian Response. Partha N. Mukherji and Chandan Sengupta, eds., pp. 15-35 (only part I). New Delhi: Sage.
  5. Claude Alvares. 2011. A Critique of Eurocentric social science and the question of alternatives. Economic and Political Weekly 46(22): 72-81.
  6. Pratyoush Onta. 2013. Experiments in knowledge production in mid-20th century Nepal. Paper presented at a workshop on ‘Ruptures and Repairs in Mid-20th Century Nepali History’ held at Martin Chautari, 16-17 June.
  7. Mahesh Gavaskar. 2010. Social science writing in Marathi. Economic and Political Weekly 45(36): 22-25.
  8. Ishan Agrawal and Sushanta Kumar Sarma. 2010. Social science research in vernacular languages. Economic and Political Weekly 45(42):  36-40.

III. Academia’s Connections: Political, Economic and Cultural

  1. Mkandawire, Thandika.  1997. The social sciences in Africa: Breaking local barriers and negotiating international presence. African Studies Review 40(2): 15-36.
  2. Paul T. Zeleza. 2004. Neo-liberalism and academic freedom. In African Universities in the Twenty-First Century Volume 1: Liberalisation and Internationalisation Paul T. Zeleza and Adebayo Olukushi, eds., pp. 42-68. Dakar: Council for Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA).
  3. Jean Dreze. 2002. On research and action. Economic and Political Weekly, 2 March, pp. 817-819.
  4. Hemanta Ojha. 2012. Civic engagement through critical action research: Reflections on ten years of Forestaction Nepal Experience. New Angle 2(1): 35-62.
  5. Satish Deshpande. 2011. Revisiting the basics. Seminar 624: 14-18.
  6. Eldho Mathews, Biju A Chittuparamban, Sharvari Joshi and Payal Dey. 2013. Engaging the corporate sector: Narayana Murthy Committee recommendation on higher dducation. Economic and Political Weekly 48(29): 41-47.
  7. Shiva Rijal. 2013. Tejobadh pragyaharu. Nagarik, 23 Feb., p. 5 (in Nepali).
  8. Neeti Aryal Khanal. 2012. A Day in the life. The Kathmandu Post, 10 February, p. 7.

Further readings

  1. Philip G. Altbach. 2001. Academic freedom: International realities and challenges. Higher Education 41(1/2): 205-219.
  2. Mahmood Mamdani. 2008. Higher education, the state and the marketplace. Journal of Higher Education in Africa 6(1): 1-10.

IV. University - 1: Institutional Contexts

  1. Mana Prasad Wagle. 2012. Visvavidyalayaka pati, atmarati ra siksako durgati. Kantipur, 10 January, p. 7 (in Nepali).
  2. Bijaya Raj Poudel. 2013. Raising the bar. The Kathmandu Post, 7 July, p. 6.
  3. N. Jayaram. 2003. The fall of the guru: The decline of the academic profession in India. In The Decline of the Guru: The Academic Profession in Developing and Middle-Income Countries. Philip G. Altbach, ed., pp. 199-230. New York: Palgrave.
  4. Béteille, André. 2007. Universities at the crossroads. Current Science 92(4): 441-449.
  5. Pratap Bhanu Mehta. 2008. Obstacles to a new revolution. Seminar 590: 44-48.
  6. Andrés Bernasconi. 2011. Private and public pathways to world-class research universities: The case of chile. In The Road to Academic Excellence: The Making of World-Class Research Universities. Philip G. Altbach and Jamil Salmi, eds., pp. 229-260. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank.

Further readings

  1. Neeti Aryal Khanal. 2012. All shapes and sizes. The Kathmandu Post, 19 December, p. 6.
  2. Béteille, André. 2000[1990]. A Career in an Indian university. In his Antinomies of Society: Essays on Ideologies and Institutions, pp. 108-130. Delhi: Oxford University Press.
  3. Arun Kumar. 2013. Delhi University and the crisis in India’s higher education. Economic and Political Weekly 48(24):
  4. Shiv Visvanathan. 2000. Democracy, plurality and Indian university. Economic and Political Weekly, 30 September, pp. 3597-3606.
  5. Ibrahim Oanda Ogachi. 2011. Neo-liberalism and the subversion of academic freedom from within: Money, corporate cultures and ‘captured’ intellectuals in African public universities. Journal of Higher Education in Africa 9(1/2): 25-47.

V. University – 2: Teaching and Research

  1. Man Bahadur Khattri. 2010. Teaching anthropology and sociology in Nepal: Prospects and challenges. In Anthropology and Sociology of Nepal: Taking Stock of Teaching, Research and Practice. Ram B. Chhetri, Tulsi Ram Pandey and Laya Prasad Uprety, eds., pp. 45-59. Kathmandu: Central Department of Sociology/Anthropology, Tribhuvan University.
  2. Neeti Aryal Khanal. 2013. The sociology of a dissertation. The Kathmandu Post, 10 May, p. 7.
  3. Gaurav K.C. 2012. Rite of passage in writing and submission: An ethnographic exploration of the MA thesis experience at Tribhuvan University. Article draft submitted to Martin Chautari, 15 June.
  4. Veena Das. 1993. Sociological research in India: The state of crisis. Economic and Political Weekly 28(23): 1159-1161.
  5. Mahmood Mamdani. 2011. The importance of research in a university. Keynote speech delivered at Makerere University Research and Innovations Dissemination Conference, 11 April. [10 pages]

Further readings

  1. Chhetri, Ram. B. 2010. Anthropology in Nepal: A short history of research, teaching and practice. In Anthropology and Sociology of Nepal: Taking Stock of Teaching, Research and Practice. Ram B. Chhetri, Tulsi Ram Pandey and Laya Prasad Uprety, eds., pp. 1-27. Kathmandu: Central Department of Sociology/Anthropology, Tribhuvan University.
  2. Chaitanya Mishra. 2009. Making research sociological. Dhaulagiri Journal of Sociology and Anthropology 3: 1-18.

VI. Non-University Organizational Entities and Academia

  1. Devendra Uprety. 2013. Nepalma samajbigyaharuka sangh/sanstha. A paper presented at the 3rd Young Researchers’ Conference organized by Martin Chautari, 2 January (in Nepali). Later published in Studies in Nepali History and Society 18(1): 109-146 (2013).
  2. Supriya Roychowdhury. 2008. The scholar and the manager. Economic and Political Weekly, 16 Feb, pp. 10-12.
  3. Madhu Kishwar. 2012. Interview (with Dhirubhai Sheth, honorary senior fellow, CSDS). Seminar 639: 63-69.
  4. Rajeev Bhargava. 2012. A Centre’s vision. Seminar 639: 12-15.
  5. Anveshi Research Centre for Women’s Studies. 2003. Nurturing links between scholarship and activism: The story of Anveshi. In Narratives from the Women’s Studies Family: Recreating Knowledge. Devaki Jain and Pam Rajput, eds., pp. 287-299. New Delhi: Sage.
  6. Ravi Sundaram. 2012. Looking beyond the four walls. The Hindu, 17 December, p. 9.
  7. Pratyoush Onta. 2011. Locating academic NGOs in the knowledge production landscape. Dhaulagiri Journal of Sociology and Anthropology 5: 49-80.
  8. Cynthia Bazán, Nelson Cuellar, Ileana Gómez, Cati Illsley, Adrian López, Iliana Monterroso, Joaliné Pardo, Jose Luis Rocha, Pedro Tores and Anthony J. Bebbington. 2008. Producing knowledge, generating alternatives? Challenges to research-oriented NGOs in Central America and Mexico. In Can NGOs Make a Difference: The Challenge of Development Alternatives. Anthony J. Bebbington, Samuel Hickey and Diana C. Mitlin, eds., pp. 175-195. London: Zed Books.
  9. Manju Thapa Tuladhar. 2011. In search of institutions. The Kathmandu Post, 24 November, p. 7.

Further readings

  1. Sujata Patel. 2002. The professions and its association: Five decades of the Indian Sociological Society. International Sociology 17(2): 269-284.

VII. Publishing: Various Modes and Politics

  1. Adebowale, Sulaiman A. 2001. The scholarly journal in the production and dissemination of knowledge in Africa: Exploring some issues for the future. African Sociological Review 5(1): 1-16.
  2. Hitoshi Kamada. 2007. Kiyo journals and scholarly communication in Japan. Libraries and the Academy 7(3): 375-383.
  3. Cassandra Rachel Veney and Paul T. Zeleza. 2001. Women’s scholarly publishing in African Studies. In Women in African Studies Scholarly Publishing. Cassandra Rachel Veney and Paul T. Zeleza, eds., pp. 1-44. Trenton, NJ and Asmara, Eritrea: Africa World Press.
  4. Devraj Humagain. 2013. Media Adhyayanka aath varsa: Swamulyankan (in Nepali). Later published online at:
  5. Gina Kolata. 2013. Scientific articles accepted (Personal checks, too). The New York Times, 8 April.

Further readings

  1. Zeleza, Paul T. 1996. Manufacturing and consuming knowledge: African libraries and publishing. Development in Practice 6(4): 293-303.
  2. Pratyoush Onta. 2010. The landscape of social science and humanities journals published from Nepal: An analysis of its structural characteristics. Studies in Nepali History and Society 15(2): 331-380.
  3. T.N. Madan 2011. Contributions to Indian Sociology: Towards methodological pluralism. In his Sociological Traditions: Methods and Perspectives in the Sociology of India, pp. 217-239. New Delhi: Sage.
  4. Theresa Lillis. 2012. Economies of signs in writing for academic publication: The case of English medium “national” journals. Journal of Advanced Composition 32(3/4): 695-722.
  5. Karim Sadeghi. 2010. Metric yardstick: The status of EFL research evaluation in Iran. The Asia-Pacific Education Researcher 19(3): 475-488.



- Pratyoush Onta

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