1) Rethinking Indian intellectual traditions with particular interest in: anubhava in Bhakti tradition, conceptualizations of ethics, theorizing Indian democracy, orientalism and Indian social sciences, critique of post-colonial political and social theories, Gandhi’s swaraj and cognitive enslavement.
Problems: What is Bhakti? Is it a different kind of knowledge or something different from knowledge?
What problematizations characterize ethics in Indian intellectual traditions? How to account for the diversity of ethical traditions? What is the relationship between reflexivity, truth and ethics in these traditions?
2) Reconceptualizing the Human Sciences: Philosophy as it relates to the enterprise of understanding culture, ethics and politics, with special interest in Marx, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Wittgenstein and Foucault.
Problems: what are norms? How to characterize normativity? What is the relationship between normativity, secularization and the human sciences in the West?
The problem of truth and self and of experience and norms in Western philosophy and in the human sciences.
2. Modernity in Portuguese Colonialism
Coordinator: Dr. Rochelle Pinto
The study of Portuguese colonialism in Goa often suffers the same fate as that of its colonial empire from the eighteenth century on – a reliance on terms set by British colonial rule in India. While the enumeration and regulation of cultural difference in colonial India (British) has now acquired a rich history, the most fundamental categories through which colonial culture was viewed by the Portuguese have scarcely been theorized in the case of Goa. This project traces the interpretive structures through which questions of caste, religion, and cultural practices, took shape under the distinctive pattern of Iberian colonialism.
This involves examining the negotiation of cultural difference through categories generated by the Catholic Church, by the Portuguese colonial state, and its associated institutions. Portugal’s particular situation vis-à-vis the enlightenment and its forms of knowledge, did not make for any direct transition between these early imperatives for knowledge production about colonial society, and those prompting orientalist and colonial enterprises of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. This study traces texts and practices when the production of categories and ethnographies had not entirely become a science that informed colonial governance.
3. Defining Indian Liberalism
Coordinator: Dr. Prasanta Chakravarty
Contemporary Indian liberalism is as much shaped by certain Western, modern and colonial experience as it has been a reaction to the instrumental, teleological and ultimately oppressive aspects of that same tradition—sometimes based on an indigenous bank of liberal ideas and often by a radical innovation of political initiatives that challenged the moderate mainstream varieties of Western liberal thought at various levels.
This project considers the relationship of Indian liberal thought in the past century with the thought and activities of the western liberal tradition. Clearly, the early Indian liberals were deeply affected, not only by the logic of political autonomy latent in the works of John Locke, John Stuart Mill or Benjamin Constant but also by the communitarian ideals of neo-Hegelians like T.H. Green and Bernard Bosanquet. This study would like to consider, however, whether the germs of a certain kind of liberal thinking in India, in Gandhi for example, can be traced back to early modern radical anti-monarchists and anti-parliamentarians—to John Lilburne and Gerrard Winstanley, to the heretical antinomians and socinians.