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Academic Writing Workshop 2007 WRC-ICSSR
COMMENTS ON ACADEMIC WRITING WORKSHOP - MAKARAND CHIKODIKAR The workshop on Academic writing conducted by ICSSR between 19-25 Nov.2007 is one of the best workshop which I have attended in my professional career. This workshop introduced to us not only about how to write a research paper, but also how to be a good reader. The workshop provided us excellent material for reading as well as writing. Almost on every aspect of writing a research paper, material was provided to us. During the sessions, we got important tips from S.Swaminathan and TCA Raghavan on writing. I was particularly impressed by the sessions conducted by Prof. Sunder Sarukkai, of National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore. He explained us the origin and philosophy behind social science writing along with practical exercises. Similarly, the sessions by Amar Jesani on Ethical issues of writing enlightened us on various issues related to copyrights, plagiarism, etc. The sessions by Ms.Padmaprakash (editor ess ) & Prof. Neeraj Hatekar (Dept. of Economics, Mumbai University) were also informative and interesting. Another important aspect of the workshop was that the participants were given assignments on - writing a storyline, introduction to a paper, how to review a journal, etc. which were completed by all the participants in time. I am thankful to ICSSR for giving an opportunity to prospective research scholars for attending this workshop. I also thank to Ms.Padmaprakash and Prof.Neeraj Hatekar for the efforts which they have put in organizing this workshop.
makarand madhukar chikodikar   Posted on: 27 Nov 07
2 Writing Workshop by ICSSR
The writing workshop organized by ICSSR, Mumbai Univesity was a wonderful experience to learn and deal with writing skills in the academic arena. I can write how each speaker was great and how we learnt from each one of them. But that would be stating the obvious for me at least. We have done that in the evaluation forms. What I would like to discuss is about participant interactions in such workshops. There would have been mixed responses of course. Some like me, prefer to think every learning is good and thus see good in all. This is patronizing, but thats my view. Others may have felt it was kinda low key, they could have had some more tougher sessions...maybe. You have all kinds of participants. It would be interesting to even evaluate the participants, just as we evaluate the speakers. I was specially pleased to see the enthusiasm of some participants who are an inspiration to the fact that age has nothing to do with learning. Some were so serious about their commitment that in spite of having a family member in the hospital, they managed to juggle time (keeping Mumbai distances in mind)! Kudos. It was sad to see that some of the younger ones, who had a wonderful opprtunity to really learn a lot, did not seem to take the workshop seriously, thinking they were 'know it alls'. This attitude does not take one far and for a researcher a very dangerus attitude to harbour. Sundar Sarrukai's exercises showed us how we must always keep an open mind. Participants from some disciplines were more resistant to ideas of writing differently. Maybe we need to think on those terms too as to how to deal with such resistance and creative ways of showing all of us practically, how it can be rewritten differently to make the paper more reader friendly. I think all of us would have liked to have more of such sessions. Maybe in the next workshop. There was an attempt but due to lack of time and even on the part of the participants, we were unable to do it to a satisfactory extent. Most of us came to deal with the 'inertia of writing' as one participant put it and went back enthused to go back to our writing. But back home, (not in terms of cities but our general depaprtments and work) I do believe that most have been sucked into their work, like I have, making the workshop seem like a dream. But the dream needs to be kept alive and I truly appreciate the main points really drilled into our heads by Padma, Dr. Hatekar, Prof. Sunder and the rest of the speakers: 1- Learn to read and reading well. 2- Practice, practice, practice- writing and reading. No easy way about it. 3- Look into your grammar, spellings and other technical aspects of writing. 4- Jargons are important and we cannot do away with it but we can attempt new styles of writing and making the papers more readable and interesting. Find a story in whatever you write, and if you like the story, you will always enjoy writing it! Lets keep in touch. A Big Thank you to all the organizers for a wonderful experience. I do hope this becomes an annual affair. Vaishali Zararia Dept. of Sociology The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda
Vaishali Zararia   Posted on: 13 Dec 07
3 Brief Report of Indian Social Science Congress, December 27-31, 2007
What is the context that gives rise to people’s movements? What is their significance in today’s context? Where are they headed? What is the role of the state in encouraging or suppressing people’s movement? And what directions must people’s struggles now take? These were some of the major issues that the over 600 delegates deliberated in the over 25 parallel sessions. The 31st Indian Social Science Congress was inaugurated on December 27, 2007 by the former Vice Chancellor of Mumbai University and Member of the Planning Commission, Balachandra Mungekar at the SNDT University’s Patkar Hall. The venue was appropriate for the theme of the 31st Congress: SNDT University that is co-hosting the congress is itself a symbol and outcome of such a movement for women’s education. SNDT’s Vice Chancellor Dr Chandra Krishnamurthy succinctly put the conference in perspective, “If there is a people’s movement emerging, then it is in response to a need to correct something in society”. The theme of organising to challenge existing norms and practices is of course the dominant theme of the Indian Social Science Academy (ISSA). As Professor Arun Kumar its co-chair said that it was set up in 1974 as a revolt against the current idiom of higher education. Under Dr Chaubey’s indefatigable direction the ISSA has not only survived against odds, but garnered a large support base among progressive scientists across the sciences. While the papers presented, the symposia and the deliberations touched upon a wide range of issues and research topics, the overwhelming and deep concern echoing throughout the Congress was for the systematic efforts to dismantle people’s struggles and movements and the wipe out the gains of historic struggles. Whether it was labour movements, peace movements, women’s struggles, environment related movements or child rights movements, there has been an erosion of gains of the past. As was repeatedly pointed out, the objectives of people’s struggles were not so much about equity and justice but rather about the preconditions for achieving those, that is, desperate and urgent livelihood issues. This is what globalisation and unregulated liberalisation has meant. Professor Mungekar set the tone with his inaugural address dealing with inequities and inequalities showing how there are deep structural fault lines that cause the persistence of these divides. This state of affairs is further aggravated by injustices perpetrated in civil society. The market ideology, elaborated, Dr Satish Jain in the first plenary, as it has developed, and its application to non-market institutions and systems like law, is fundamentally destructive of the values for the preservation, advancement and realization of which these institutions were designed in the first place. Aseem Srivastava, one of the discussants took serious note of the ‘crisis of cognition’ among the country’s planners: economists during the course of their professional training are hard wired to think in a certain framework that sees no alternatives to the current economic regimes and philosophies. At parallel scientific sessions attention was drawn to the nutritional imbalance, the education deficit and of course the disastrous impact of economic policies. At a following plenary, Javeed Alam gave a succinct presentation on the state of Indian democracy. He said Indian democracy has undergone sweeping and widespread changes, but in an ‘untidy’ manner in the sense that there is a rule deficit in the structuring g of the political process. What is the best way of studying the consequences of the contact of democracy with the specificities of Indian communitarian consolidation? The persistence of poverty along with “a consistency of commitment on the part of these people for democracy" is the paradox in Indian democracy. While we welcome the extension of democracy in India we have to struggle to deepen it on an expanding canvas of a democratic struggle against inegalitarian outlooks. The theme was echoed in the following plenaries. That many of the current struggles were rooted in social movements of the past was clearly brought out by T Karunakaran who dealt at length on the several social movements against caste oppression in Travancore beginning from the late 19th century. Vibhuti Patel too drew attention to the long pat of modern women’s movements and Sujato Bhadra discussed the realities of struggle in Singur and pointed out that peaceful struggles are forced to become violent because of the response of the state which led to the observation that the distinction being made between democratic struggles and armed struggles was wrong, for, indeed the latter were also democratic struggles.. G Hargopal succinctly discussed the important but often neglected socio-philosophical implications of the movement of the oppressed. That people’s movements have followed similar paths in many underdeveloped countries was borne out clearly in the session on movements in afro-Asian and Latin American countries. The rich experience in these countries could provide models for resistance of state domination and there is opportunity for a coming together of democratic movements in several countries united for a particular objective. However the danger of leading movements in some emerging situations, such as Iraq was also highlighted. Inevitably the economic policy, its multi-level impact on people, the many dimensions of struggle against anti people policies received the most attention. But interestingly, most sessions and speakers drew attention to the interconnectedness of economic policies and the social and the political ethos. SEZs for instance, were the focus of much attention and were thoroughly examined. This was also the focus of other sessions on environment and experiences of struggle. Also drawn out were issues of the impact of policy on labour situation, the marginalisation and the fragmentation of labour the destruction that was being wrought upon the labour movement, the feminisation of labour and so on. It was these deliberations that provided a good grounding for all the other sessions. Several well organised and well structured symposia running through two or three days provided an opportunity to young scholars to present their views and interact with more experienced social scientists and social activists. The symposium on women’s struggles was jointly organised by the SNDT University’s Research Centre of Women’s Studies, Women’s Research and Action Group (WRAG), Majlis and Akshara and focused on distinct themes each day. Opening the symposium the chairperson Veena Poonacha talked of the changing features of women’s struggles. In the 1970s and the 1980s their aim was to ensure that the criminal justice system was sensitized and to ensure development policies accommodated gender issues. Today the challenges before the movement are complex: because of the twin paradoxical processes of globalization and fragmentation. The current market economy is denying women their basic survival needs and has also escalated violence against women in the households. Simultaneously, the prevailing identity politics are targeting women in all their struggles, as seen in the various riots that have taken place since the demolition of the Babri Masjid. These riots have particularly targeted women as seen in the recent Gujarat carnage. Feminist the rising has explored and engaged in extending rights to the more invisible minorities, such as lesbians and bisexuals raising questions on the nature of gender identities and sexualities and inevitably, making for ideological tensions within the movement. The sub theme on engagement with institutions and campaigns explored an important area campaigns. Saumya Uma, Con
Padma - Prakash   Posted on: 07 Jan 08
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