Prof. Peter Ronald deSouza

  • Romila ThaparProf. Peter Ronald deSouza held the following leadership positions: Director, Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), Rashtrapati Nivas, Shimla, for two terms (2007- 2013) during which he setup the Tagore Centre and the International Centre for Human Development. Prior to this he was Co-Director of the Lokniti Programme of Comparative Democracy at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Delhi (2003-2007) and before this he was Professor and Head, Department of Political Science at Goa University (1996-2003). After serving as Director, IIAS he returned to CSDS as Professor.

    Research Interests:

    Prof. deSouza’s current research interests include (a) exploring Conundrums in Democracy particularly Indian Democracy through the recognition of ‘ambivalence’ and the acknowledgement of ‘inconvenient facts’ (b) the ‘colonization of the mind’, by the knowledge and governmental practices of the West seen both in its colonial history and its after life by engaging with the ideas of KC. Bhattacharya, Frantz Fanon, Nguugi Wa Thiong’o, Aime Cesaire, Chinua Achebe, Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Walter Mignolo, and TB Cunha and (c) a continuing interest, in science and its impact on society which began with an interest in the scientific temper movement in India, but more substantially with respect to the larger set of issues concerning science, technology, society and ethics, such as the issues concerns arising out of AI and the Bio-sciences.

    Research Projects & Consultancies

    Some of Prof. deSouza’s research projects include: At Lokniti-CSDS he was one of the PIs of a large project on the State of Democracy in South Asia (SDSA) supported by the EU-India Cross Cultural Programme, International IDEA and the Ford Foundation. This involved assessing the state of democracy in five countries Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India. The report has since been published by Oxford University Press, 2007. He was also one of the PIs of a project on Youth Attitudes in India funded by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation which has been published as ‘Indian Youth in a Transforming World: Attitudes and Perceptions’, Sage, 2009. He has recently completed a project in 2017 for the Bertelsmann Stiftung on Minorities in contemporary India. He is working on freedom of expression issues with a special interest on the case of MF Husain.

    Prof. deSouza has served as a consultant to: UNESCO (2013-2020), International IDEA, Stockholm on various assignments (1999, 2004, 2005, 2009 and 2012-2017), the UNDP (2005,

    2007-08), The World Bank (2003, 2005), Inter Parliamentary Union, Geneva (2005-2006), Ford Foundation (2003) and Social Science Research Council (SSRC), New York (2001). Apart from this her has served on numerous committees and boards.


    Prof. deSouza publications include: In the Hall of Mirrors: Reflections on Indian Democracy by Orient Blackswan (2018), Democratic Accommodations: Minorities in Contemporary India, (with Hilal Ahmed and Sanjeer Alam), Bloomsbury, New Delhi, August 2019, His edited books include: (with Rukmini Bhaya Nair) Keywords for India, Bloomsbury, London, February 2020, At Home with Democracy: A Political Theory of India, Essays of D.L.Sheth, edited and wrote the Introduction, Palgrave Macmillan, New Delhi, 2017, (with Tridip Suhrud) Speaking of Gandhi’s Death, Orient Blackswan, New Delhi, 2010, (with Sanjay Kumar and Sandeep Shastri) Indian Youth in a Transforming World: Attitudes and Perceptions, Sage, New Delhi, 2009. (with E. Sridharan) India’s Political Parties, Sage, New Delhi (2006) in the Readings in Indian Government and Politics series, and Contemporary India: Transitions, Sage, New Delhi, September 2000. Apart from the above he has published a number of journal articles and book chapters.