Around the middle of the twentieth century, the chemist and novelist C P Snow suggested the existence of ‘two cultures’ in academia that effectively widen the divide between the sciences and the humanities, especially in terms of their cultural significance and knowledge production.
The Humanities and Social Sciences Program at IISER Pune is engaged in challenging precisely this deep-seated prejudice. Our aim is to uncover what the two approaches share in terms of the nature and manner of their enquiries, without glossing over the fact that the forms of the answers (and the methodologies employed) vary across the board. It is the sense of similarity, difference - and most importantly, the complementariness - that endorses the presence of this program at IISER Pune.
While the institute’s thrust is on science education and research, the presence of humanities and social sciences serves profoundly to inculcate a much-needed augmentation of vision. Alongside research in any scientific discipline, it is crucial simultaneously to examine accepted beliefs regarding the processes and implications of this research through the lens of historical, philosophical, sociological, anthropological, psychological, economic, socio-cultural, political, literary, and artistic contexts. Such an approach is particularly beneficial for facilitating science students to understand issues from multiple perspectives. Further, the advantages of such an exercise are vital to more than just the practice of science; conversations across fields are enriching for all involved. Indeed, while allowing space for rigorous research within disciplinary boundaries, the program aims to foster interesting intersections and questions.
It is with these objectives in mind that we invite scholars who can bring their unique worldviews to this tapestry. Our current faculty is well versed in such areas of study as anthropology, ethnomusicology, linguistics, philosophy, literature, and the history of science. We wish to expand our perspectives in many more directions so that the scholars and students at IISER - and indeed the disciplines themselves - may reach beyond their circumscribed horizons.
Potential Faculty and PhD applicants may contact John Mathew (john.mathew at iiserpune.ac.in)