Centre for Women’s Studies
About the Centre
The UGC during the XIth Plan took a major initiative to create departments of Women’s Studies in educational institutions all-over India to generate awareness and facilitate empowerment of women through education, research and targeted interventions. The Centre for Women’s Studies, a product of this initiative, at Visva-Bharati was established in July 2009.
The Centre for Women’s Studies at Visva-Bharati focusses on interdisciplinary work on women and gender questions: women’s status in developing countries and development issues related to women, the gender dimension of development, divisions of labour, self-presentation, public and private spheres, access to institutions and the organisation of family life. Gender questions are global. We believe that understanding of gender relations is essential to comprehend the contemporary world which in turn is contingent upon the intricate interplay of social, cultural, political and economic factors determined in the past. Gender relations cut across multiple categories such as class, caste, religion, ethnicity. Without an interdisciplinary approach, thus, this analysis is not possible. As the Centre is interdisciplinary in nature, it draws its membership from across the university.
The primary aim of the Centre is to explore the gendered nature of social processes focusing on development questions. The research and teaching at the Centre combine theory and practice with an interdisciplinary and transnational scope. The Centre aims at contributing to theoretical, methodological and pedagogical debates within the study of power dynamics embedded in gender relations in the context of development. In particular, the objectives of the Centre can be broadly classified under two major themes: academic and applied. The Centre offers a regular integrated MPhil/PhD programme on Gender and Development. The M.Phil course is structured in a way that will not only enable a student to do good research for her/his PhD but also make them equipped to take up jobs in the development sector the world over. In future the Centre has plans to start campus interviews.
The Centre organises public lectures, research seminars and workshops. These often engage the community, not only the students and the faculty, but also the people around from different walks of life in a conversation to sensitize the questions of gender inequality including violence against women. Since its inception, the Centre is also involved in different kinds of extension programmes in the rural and also in the urban areas for women in collaboration with other organizations.