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Lecture on "Five Ideas Of The University In The 21st Century : Towards A 'Stem And Leaf' Model Of Interdisciplinary Research Cooperation"

Event Name (Full/Detailed): 
Institute Lecture


The Indian Institute of Technology Bombay is organising an Institute Lecture on Monday, December 2, 2019. The details of the lecture are given below:

Title : "Five Ideas of The University In The 21st Century: Towards a 'Stem and Leaf' Model of Interdisciplinary Research Cooperation"

Speaker : Prof. Rukmini Bhaya Nair, Professor Emerita, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Delhi

Abstract: This talk returns to a blunt question posed in 2012 by the Cambridge academic, Stefan Collini: What are universities for? Based on the undeniable premise that the current evolution in digital communication has led to a radical reconsideration of how knowledge is disseminated, my talk presents five different models of university education, including ‘the institute’ and the ‘rights-based university’. It asks, a) Can there in fact be only a single template for knowledge construction today or b) do we need to articulate a more dynamic theory of diversity in education? c) For whom do we seek to imagine the universities of the future? d) What new battles would such universities choose to fight on critical issues such as social inclusion and equality?

An approach to inequality is the ‘capabilities approach’ mooted by Nussbaum and Sen (1997), which suggests that intangible parameters such as the ‘senses’ and ‘imagination’ encourage necessary and inalienable freedoms of thought. Our own research at IIT Delhi has extended this theory to the sphere of education, operationalizing the insights that Sen and Nussbaum have to offer, as well as drawing a line from aspirations in school through to college education. This talk signs off with the proposal that collaborations between STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) and what I call LEAF (Liberal Education in the Arts Fields) research could enable the mental flourishing key to all university education.

About the speaker: Prof. Rukmini Bhaya Nair is Professor of Linguistics and English at the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge and has since taught at universities ranging from Singapore to Stanford. Prof. Nair's research interests are in the fields of cognitive linguistics, pragmatics, narrative, English studies, philosophy of language, techno-cultures, literary and postcolonial theory, gender and creative writing. In 2006, Prof. Nair was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Antwerp for her contributions to the fields of linguistics and narrative theory and was a chosen a Fellow of the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), University of Cambridge in the same year.

Event Date: 
2 December 2019 - 5:15pm
Seminar Hall No.1, Ground Floor, Victor Menezes Convention Centre (VMCC)
IIT Bombay, Powai