Navajbai Ratan Tata Trust Project (NRTT)

The Centre has proposed a programme for building teaching capacity in women’s studies for the period 2008-11 built around the following themes

  • Curriculum Development in Women’s Studies

  • Materials Production in Marathi and English

  • Building Research Capacity in Women’s Studies

This programme has recently been approved and a major grant has been received for the same from the Navajbai Ratan Tata Trust for a period of three years. The thrust of this programme is to ‘Build Teaching Capacity in Women’s Studies’.

Women’s Studies programmes today are in peculiar position where women are no longer ‘invisible’ as subjects of inquiry but their ‘inclusion’ in existing syllabi threatens to trivialize women’s studies to descriptions of victimhood of women or celebrations of their contributions. At the undergraduate level there is an ‘inclusion of women’ within syllabi of most disciplines. But this inclusion is often untouched by developments in women’s studies. Three decades of trend setting research in women’s studies has not translated into relevant undergraduate and postgraduate teaching programmes in women’s studies. This poses difficulties for the institutional reproduction and consolidation of women’s studies as an independent field. The centre therefore proposed these programmes to address the urgent need to intervene within the university system in order to:

  • Develop a base for women’s studies at undergraduate level

  • Conduct full time courses in women’s studies at the postgraduate levels

  • Promote innovative dialogues with teaching and research community across disciplines.

Through the three years of its implementation, the project seeks to focus on the following:

Curriculum Development in Women’s Studies

The proposed programme seeks to develop

  • Curricula in women’s studies and initiate new teaching programmes at the postgraduate and undergraduate level

  • Capacity of teachers and potential students

With this view the centre in addition to new Teaching Programmes in Women’s Studies is

  • Building a Consortium of Colleges at the Undergraduate level

  • Developing Library Fellowship Programmes for College Teachers

  • Developing visiting faculty/scholar in residence schemes

Materials Production in Marathi and English

The Centre believes that the success of teaching programmes in women’s studies and gender perspectives within the disciplines hinges upon production of teaching materials and manuals. As a part of the project, the centre plans to produce learning-teaching material in Marathi and English including discipline specific lists of courses taught and course materials used, thematic annotated bibliographies of materials in women’s studies, course materials for the proposed teaching programmes, translations project for creating new teaching materials, Teaching Manuals that will introduce teachers to the creative tensions between women’s studies and their own disciplines, Occasional Papers Series through the visiting scholars/ activists in residence programme (focus would be on developing a series on Women’s Studies in South Asia). It will also include building Library Resources.

Building Research Capacity

The Centre to build research capacity in women’s studies by developing networks at the regional and national levels through

  • Annual Research Scholars Workshops

  • Annual Research Scholars workshop at the regional level

  • Library Fellowships

  • Building on-line forum.

There would be an attempt to consolidate the research capacity of the Centre on themes like gender perspectives on social history of ‘region’, caste and community, Dalit feminisms, sexualities and popular culture and modernity.

Research capacity of college teachers would be built through annual library fellowships, which would be integrated into workshops for developing teaching materials and research proposals, which they can pursue further through Quality Improvement Schemes of the University. The Centre will also initiate an on-line forum for researchers, which could provide a base for designing on-line courses in the next phase.

As part of this process, the centre has already undertaken a project ‘to map Women’s Studies Curriculum and Practices in Maharashtra.’ It documents Courses and Resource Materials, teaching practices in Women’s Studies/gender/women in colleges, Post Graduate centres and organizations in different parts of Maharashtra.

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