Inauguration of “Open Space Academics – When Academia meets the Streets” – Univ of Hyderabad

August 3, 2016

PRESS RELEASE from SC/ST Teachers’ Forum (University of Hyderabad) and Concerned Teachers (University of Hyderabad)

Inauguration of “Open Space Academics – When Academia meets the Streets” at University of Hyderabad.
Inaugural lecture “Dalit Studies: A New Research Agenda for the Study of India”, delivered by Prof. K. Satyanarayana, EFLU heavily attended by students and teachers!

29 July 2016

Velivada, University of Hyderabad

Today the SC/ST Teachers’ Forum and the Concerned Teachers of University of Hyderabad started a series of meetings called “Open Space Academics – When Academia meets the Streets”, in protest of the recent circulars from the University administration banning public meetings and protests in the campus. The main goal of this series of meetings is to organise interactions amidst the campus community, and discuss the meaning of academics from the perspective of those who are structurally excluded from University spaces through repressive measures from brahminical University administrations.

The inaugural lecture today, titled “Dalit Studies: A New Research Agenda for the Study of India”, was delivered at the Velivada in the Shopping Complex area of the University, by Prof. K. Satyanarayana, who teaches in the Cultural Studies department of EFLU. He also happens to be an alumnus of the University of Hyderabad, and was the first academician to introduce Dalit Studies as a subject in his department and the whole country. He is also the author of many books, including the newly published volume called Dalit Studies that he co-edited with Ramnarayan Rawat. Prof. Satyanarayana spoke of the way in which Dalit studies has been understudied and subsumed under other hegemonic discourses in University spaces.

We opine that it is of the utmost importance to build and protect an informal open environment which encourages free and courageous collective thinking, discussions, debates – particularly in the context of a University, we need debates about the need to expand idea of academics itself, and the relevance of our specific academic disciplines in understanding our multiple social realities. This has become a greater need today, considering the recent attacks on dalits, minorities, on the idea of democracy and democratic spaces across the country, including university spaces and, in particular, the University of Hyderabad.

We would like to mention that the purpose of these meetings goes beyond just “protecting democratic spaces”. These meetings are also aimed at questioning, discussing and debating the mechanisms and ideas behind the existing so-called “democratic spaces” themselves, and aim to locate these ideas in the context of a hierarchical society. This is an attempt to re-investigate the imagination of democracy, with the hope that the current and future struggles of people on the streets would carry forward these debates collectively to extend this democratic imagination of academia beyond the confines of a University.

The meeting was attended by around 200 students, and around 30 teachers from across various schools and departments in the University. We intend to take this series of meetings forward, including people working in a diverse array of disciplines, and thus keep voicing our questions and comments, in complete defiance and rejection of the draconian measures that are being regularly taken by the UoH administration to clamp down upon all voices and spaces of peaceful democratic dissent.

SC/ST Teachers’ Forum (University of Hyderabad)

Concerned Teachers (University of Hyderabad)