“Caste Today: Ideals and Realities”- A Workshop and 1 Credit Course

  • Goa University

    Visiting Research Professors Programme

    D B Bandodkar Chair in Political Economy

     SOO-17 Caste Today: Ideals and Realities

    (1 credit course under CBCS for PG Students and open for general public)


    Prof. Satish Deshpande, Professor of Sociology, Delhi University, DB Bandodkar Chair Professor in Political Economy, Goa University

    From 1st February to 19th February, 2016

     Inclusive of Public Lectures by:

     1.  Prof. Gopal Guru, Professor, Centre for Political Studies, School of Social Sciences, JNU, New Delhi.

    2.  Dr. V. Geetha , Freelance Editor & Leading Intellectual,  Chennai

    3.  Dr. Balmurli Natrajan, Associate Professor, Azim Premji Univ, Bengaluru

    4.  Dr. Ramesh Bairy, Associate Prof, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Bombay, Mumbai.

    5.  Dr. K. Satyanarayana, Associate Prof, Dept of Cultural Studies, EFLU, Hyderabad.


    Course Schedule:- February 1st, 3rd, 5th, 8th, 10th, 12th, 15th, 17th , 19th

    Time- 2.30 pm to 4.30 pm

    Venue- Conference Hall, Administrative Building, Goa University

    Session wise Schedule

    Date Professor
    01-02-2016 Prof Satish Deshpande
    03-02-2016 Prof Gopal Guru
    05-02-2016 Dr. V. Geetha
    06-02-2016 Saturday
    07-02-2016 SUNDAY
    08-02-2016 Prof Satish Deshpande
    10-02-2016 Prof. K. Satyanarayana,
    12-02-2016 Ramesh Bairy
    13-02-2016 Saturday
    14-02-2016 SUNDAY
    15-02-2016 Prof Satish Deshpande
    17-02-2016 Balmurli Natrajan(through Skype)
    19-02-2016 Prof Satish Deshpande


    Course Coordinator- Prof Ganesh Somayaji, Head, Dept of Sociology, Goa University

    Only 25 Students will be selected for Credit course.

    There is no limit on not-for-credit participation by students, faculty members and general public. Those who fulfill 75 % attendance criteria will be awarded a participation certificate.



    Course Contents:

    Caste is the only major institution that independent India chose to reject rather than reform.  However, the apparent moral consensus on abolishing caste conceals many conflicts, dilemmas and challenges.  The workshop based course seeks to take up questions like the following:

    • How can caste inequalities be addressed without recognizing caste identities and risking their resurgence?
    • How do we deal with the fundamental asymmetry between the so-called upper castes who benefit from the suppression of their caste identity and the so-called lower castes who must engage in caste politics in order to improve their life chances?
    • Are caste identities fading or are they being rejuvenated?
    • How does caste affect other identities based on class, gender, religion, or region?
    • Is the utopian agenda proposed by Dr. Ambedkar eighty years ago – the annihilation of caste – still relevant?
    • What would a contemporary version of this agenda look like, and how would it deal with the varied interest groups that caste has created all along the caste hierarchy?

    In short, what is caste today and what should we do with it?

    The  course has three components:

    a) Invited  twice-weekly lectures by renowned scholars of caste on specific themes;

    b) Bi-weekly lectures by the Coordinating Teacher that will introduce and contextualize the themes of the public lectures;

    and c) Discussion sessions appended to the bi-weekly lectures of the Coordinator where participants can ask questions, discuss issues or offer comments and suggestion.

    List of basic readings: (additions/alterations may be made later)

    1.  B.R. Ambedkar, The Annihilation of Caste  (There are many editions out there; any one will do; the 2014 Navayana edition has some annotations to the text that provide additional material, as well as a (controversial) introduction by Arundhati Roy.)

    (Readings 2-7 are from a single source: The Problem of Caste: Essays from the Economic and Political Weekly, edited by Satish Deshpande, Orient Blackswan, 2014.)

    2.  Gopal Guru, “How egalitarian are the social sciences?”, Ch.10, pp.107-16.

    3.  D.L. Sheth, “Secularisation of caste and making of new middle class”, Ch.11, pp.119-28.

    4.  A.Deshpande & K.Newman, “Where the path leads: The role of caste in post-university employment expectations”, Ch.14, pp.152-61.

    5.  S. Tharu, M. Prasad, R. Pappu & K. Satyanarayana, “Reservations and the return to politics”, Ch.26, pp.274-84.

    6.  S. Anandhi, J. Jeyaranjan & R. Krishnan, “Work, caste and competing masculinities: Notes from a Tamil village”, Ch.33, pp.344-54.

    7.   Satish Deshpande, “Caste and castelessness: Towards a biography of the ‘general category’, Ch.39, pp.402-10.

    8.  V. Geetha and S.V. Rajadurai, Towards a non-Brahmin millenium: From Iyothee Thass to Periyar, Samya, 1998.  Ch.7, “Countering Gandhi: The emergence of Self-Respect”, pp.281-302.

    9.  Balmurli Natrajan, The culturalization of caste in India: Identity and inequality in a multicultural age, Routledge (Indian edition by Manohar), 2012.  Ch.12, “Multiculturalism”, pp.149-169.

    10.  Ramesh Bairy, Being Brahmin, Being Modern: Exploring the lives of caste today, Routledge, 2010.  Ch.7, “Agency and identity in the world of brahmins”, pp.291-325.


    For any clarifications- [email protected]


    Ramrao Wagh

    VRPP Coordinator