Wednesday, May 21, 2014

IIT-Gandhinagar to offer Master of Arts in Society and Culture

The state's engineering Mecca is gradually giving the humanities their due. IIT-Gandhinagar (IIT-Gn) is geared up to add a comprehensive, stand-alone, two-year Master of Arts in Society and Culture to its repertoire. The degree will be the first to deal with South Asian culture and society at any IIT.

The first batch will begin in July this year and 15 students have been selected for it. According to Dr Sudhir Jain, Director, IIT-Gn, the MA program reflects the strength and eclectic nature of faculty expertise across the social sciences and humanities department, making the programme one-of-its-kind in the country.

"Some of themes we will study are identity and difference, development and exclusion, local and transnational mobility, population and health, among others," said Dr Srinivas Reddy, Assistant Professor, South Asian Studies, IIT-Gn.

The course will cover subjects like Archaeology of Ideas, South Asia: History, Culture and Society, qualitative and quantitative research methods, musical traditions of India and even cinematic history. "The focus will be South Asia with India and Bangladesh forming most of the curriculum," said Dr Rita Kothari, Associate Professor, Translation Studies. A thesis at the end of two years will be compulsory.

IIT-Gn has frequently held talks by academicians and experts on its campus since its inception in 2008. For instance, political scientist Christophe Jaffrelot came during the election to hold discussions here. "This is a natural extension of the institute's innovative academic agenda which has integrated a high degree of non-technical, humanities and social sciences coursework into both UG and PG curricula," explained Reddy.

While a minimum criteria for students who can apply will be a bachelors degree in any discipline, the masters degree will help students take up careers in journalism, advertising, media, communications, writing, teaching, human resources, NGOs, policy think-tanks and higher studies.

Among other IITs, IIT-Madras launched its Master of Arts in Development Studies and English Studies in 2006; IIT-Guwahati has its Master of Arts in Development Studies since 2009; IIT-Hyderabad has a Master in Philosophy under Liberal Arts; IIT-Kharagpur had its unique Master of Human Resource and Management degree since 1982 but restructured it in 2010 to meet contemporary demand.

Source: The Times of India, May 21, 2014

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