Dr Zaid Al Baset, MA, Mphil, PhD
Head of the Department
Dr Zaid Al Baset, MA, Mphil, PhD
Head of the Department
The Department of Sociology at St. Xavier’s College (Autonomous) Kolkata has established itself as one of the most sought-after Undergraduate programmes in Sociology, especially in West Bengal. A group of competent faculty members and an alumni worth brandishing motivated us to extend an opportunity for students to enrol in our research-oriented Postgraduate course in Sociology. In 2019, we preceded the launch of our PG programme with a three-day unique international conference on “Contemporary Caste, Gender and Minority Questions in West Bengal and Bangladesh: Some Explorations” in collaboration with Ambedkar University Delhi, Observer Research Foundation, Kolkata, Victoria University of Wellington, Nagorik Uddyog, Dhaka. Speakers and participants were from India, Bangladesh, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Singapore, Germany, UK and USA. The success of this conference actuated our aspiration to start our Postgraduate programme in Sociology.
The substantial presence of our alumni in esteemed institutions around the world as academic scholars is a testament to the success of our efforts to provoke critical abilities and scholastic skills in our students at the undergraduate level. Some of our graduates have successfully completed their PG and doctoral studies from universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, SOAS, LSE, Syracuse, Miami and have established themselves in research and other fields; some of them are also teaching in colleges and universities such as Miranda House (DU), Loreto College (CU), Pune University and in international colleges/universities such as University College London, UK, Canterbury, UK, Western Sydney University, Australia. This, along with the current profile of the faculty, yielded a robust interest amongst the student population with regard to the introduction of our Postgraduate course in Sociology and we engaged our resources to offer a dynamic, research-oriented programme suited to our reputation.
Our Undergraduate and Postgraduate programmes offer one of the most advanced syllabi to prepare students for a smooth career in premier institutions of the world, both academic and corporate. We are one of the few institutions in the country where students are trained to write a 100-mark research dissertation at the undergraduate level. Our Masters syllabus includes courses with contemporary relevance, and we adopt an inter-disciplinary and inter-sectional approach.
The MA syllabus has 16 papers, consisting of core and elective courses. The elective courses are offered in Semesters 3 and 4.
Some of the distinctive papers are: Imagining India, Sexuality Studies, Public Policy and Governance, Labour Migration and Livelihoods in India, Urban Studies, Contextualising Modernities, Science Technology and Society. We are proud to join the ranks with institutes such as National Law School of India University Bengaluru, IIM Bengaluru, St. Xavier’s Mumbai, Central University of Kerala, Mahatma Jyoti Rao Phule University, TERI School of Advanced Studies, TISS Mumbai, University of Madras, and Symbiosis School of Liberal Arts in offering a full-fledged course on Public Policy and Governance at the post-graduate level. We are confident that our Public Policy and Governance course will open up several new opportunities for students post their Masters degree.
Each course is designed with clearly stated objectives in order to inculcate specific skills which make students competitive not only in the academic arena but adequately equipped for competitive examinations and jobs in other fields such as the development, labour and policy sectors, civil services, media, communications etc.
The primary intent of the M.A. programme is to give the students a foundation in the theoretical as well as analytical areas of the subject and provide rigorous training in how to critically interpret the current social changes in the world to not only develop an investigative approach to think autonomously, but also to be able to implement or attempt policy measures for them. It is also hoped that the students would be suited to pursue the quest of sociological understanding not only academically but also in practical application, in particular, through research.
Through this programme, we hope to develop within the student the ability to think and act critically in terms of the varied web of current social phenomena and to articulate, execute and establish research as well as policy derivatives on the same. The student will also be required to carry out a full-fledged research dissertation whereby they critically question and analyse any topic of sociological relevance of their own choice. Research is an integral part of sociological understanding and training, which is why the department emphasises strongly on the importance of research and analysis and nurtures students in that manner from the very beginning. By the end of the course the student should be confident of carrying out social research both at the doctoral and organisational levels.
Our emphasis on a research-based degree along with papers of topical significance will not only allow students to get a firm foothold in carrying out independent research but will also improve job prospects of students in a variety of fields. Our faculty’s research orientation, inter-disciplinary approach and credentials act as a strong impetus behind our PG programme. The PG department also intends to undertake collaborative research project and consultancy work in the near future.
Our first batch of postgraduate students have graduated from well-known colleges under Delhi, Calcutta and Burdwan universities, Loyola College, Chennai and St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata and we are enthralled with the extensive response to our call for admissions from the very first year.