|Stress on survival of women’s studies as discipline in varsities|
GUWAHATI, Sept 29 - The Assam Chapter of the North East India Association for Women’s Studies (NEIAWS) convened a meeting recently with the authorities of Gauhati University, Dibrugarh University, Tezpur University and Cotton University to discuss various issues pertaining to the survival of the discipline of women’s studies in the universities of Assam.
The meeting, hosted online by the Centre for Women’s Studies, Dibrugarh University, was presided over by NEIAWS, Assam Chapter president Professor Shiela Bora, and was attended by Dibrugarh University Vice-Chancellor Professor Ranjit Tamuli, Gauhati University Registrar Dr Hemanta Kumar Nath and Cotton University Registrar Professor Diganta Kumar Das.
Dr Madhurima Goswami, Director, Chandraprabha Saikiani Centre for Women’s Studies, Tezpur University represented Tezpur University. The faculties and researchers from the Centres for Women’s Studies of Cotton, Tezpur and Dibrugarh Universities and those from the Department of Women’s Studies, Gauhati University were also present in the meeting hosted on Google Meet.
Professor Bora expressed concern over the fact that the discipline has been given a back seat, except Gauhati University which has a Department of Women’s Studies.
Professor Bora also drew the attention of the delegates to the fact that the University Grants Commission (UGC) has been silent on its plan of action on the release of funds for the women’s studies centres. She urged upon the authorities of all the four universities to take appropriate and speedy measures to ensure the sustainability of the centres and the strengthening of the department concerned.
Dibrugarh University Vice-Chancellor Professor Tamuli, while apprising the participants about the programmes offered by the Centre for Women’s Studies, Dibrugarh University, highlighted the issues relating to the creation of posts and a full-fledged post-graduate teaching department. However, Professor Tamuli assured that steps would be taken immediately after correspondence with the state government to establish a Women’s Studies Department at Dibrugarh University.
The Gauhati University Registrar focused on the policies based on which the Department of Women’s Studies was established in Gauhati University and also stressed the importance of a combined effort by all the stakeholders to ensure the sustainability of women’s studies as a discipline.
The Cotton University Registrar, while highlighting the various activities conducted under the aegis of its newly established Centre for Women’s Studies, also assured continued support to the Centre towards ensuring permanency.
NEIAWS, Assam Chapter general secretary Professor Manorama Sharma, in her speech, put stress on the urgency of moving beyond the confines of UGC funded centres and establishing permanent post-graduate teaching departments of women’s studies and place the discipline at par with other disciplines of humanities and social sciences.
After the summing up of the key ideas proposed in the meeting by Dr Rakhee Kalita Moral, Head, Centre for Women’s Studies, Cotton University and member of the executive committee of NEIAWS, Assam Chapter, its president Professor Bora assured the universities of all possible support from the organisation towards establishing post-graduate departments of women’s studies in their respective institutions.