The Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Kolkata, functions under the control of the Indian Council for Social Science Research and is financed primarily by the council and matching grants from the Government of West Bengal.

The Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Kolkata, which was founded in 1973, has on its faculty an eminent panel of academics well versed in the disciplines of Economics, History, Political Science, Sociology, Social Anthropology, Geography and Cultural Studies.

The centre, located at R-1, Baishnabghata, Kolkata – 700 094 (www.cssscal.org), sees substantial collaboration among its different disciplines, at notable variance with the traditional style of department-based academic approach. The centre has a special focus on problems of the eastern region and West Bengal.

It functions under the control of the Indian Council for Social Science Research (ICSSR). It is financed primarily by the council and matching grants from the Government of West Bengal.

The centre carries out the following responsibilities.

Promoting and coordinating research in social sciences.

Providing academic and professional guidance to agencies, institutions and personnel engaged in research in social sciences.

Offering consultancy services to the Union and the State governments, universities, educational institutions and industry, whenever required.

Acting as a clearing house of ideas and information or research in social sciences, with special emphasis on the problems of the eastern region in general and West Bengal in particular.

Collaborating with other agencies, institutions and organisations, including universities, colleges, management institutes and other institutes in India and abroad, for achieving the objectives of the centre.

Offering fellowships and scholarships for research in social sciences.

Providing advanced training to teachers in universities and colleges for improving the quality of teaching and research in social sciences.

Publishing papers, periodicals and books for the promotion of social science research.

The institute admits candidates to its Research Training Programme, if they are about to begin, or have begun, full-time research leading to a Ph.D. They should possess a Master's degree with at least 50 per cent marks in any branch of Social Sciences or Humanities. Further, they should have scored an average of more than 50 per cent marks in the higher secondary and the degree examinations. They should be below 30 years.

Students can apply to do a Ph.D. under a supervisor at the centre. Admission is on the basis of the academic record and aptitude for research. The degrees will be awarded by the universities in West Bengal. The scholars may have a co-supervisor from the affiliating university.

Fellowships

The ICSSR offers several doctoral fellowships to those who have cleared the National Eligibility Test of the University Grants Commission. There are a few doctoral fellowships and internships provided by the Ford Foundation.

The M.Phil. course in Social Sciences of the centre is an interdisciplinary programme, affiliated to Jadavpur University, Kolkata. This programme is meant for research students in India who wish to pursue doctoral research but have not enrolled in any doctoral programme or any other full-time taught course. Research scholars at the centre will benefit greatly from the large number of well-planned and organised academic conferences with the participation of a wide cross-section of national and international scholars. These are occasions that facilitate international exchange of ideas on the latest trends in social research.

Conferences on diverse themes enhance the competence of the research scholars at the centre. Some of the themes taken up are “Issues in growth and poverty;” “Politics, reform and prosperity: Quantitative and qualitative perspectives on contemporary India;” “Frontiers of development economics;” “Cultural consequences of globalisation: The Case of Music;” “Indian Industrialisation;” “Agricultural and Agrarian Structure in Contemporary West Bengal;” and “Tribal Politics and State Systems.” These themes have been mentioned as a sample that reveals the diversity of the subjects for serious discussion and study.

Culture studies

Another feature of work at the centre is the conduct of international cultural studies workshops funded under the ENRECA, Sephis and Ford Foundation schemes. These workshops involving young researchers from India and abroad have turned out to be innovative and stimulating. Some of the themes taken up are “The sacred in contemporary culture;” “Culture and economic life;” “Postcolonial cultures;” “Culture and the disciplines;” and “Culture and modernity.” The conferences and workshops are usually interdisciplinary in temper and multi-focussed in approach.

Works on Bengal

The centre has carried out remarkable research and documentation in the field of Bengali history.

The work covers textual documents in microfilm, private papers and special collections, documentation and dissemination, and exhibition of visual materials. The rich archives at the centre have attracted several grants and other financial support from several organisations. Exposure to such rich treasures is a valuable experience for research scholars.

The composite collection of texts and images at archives seek to create a new repository of sources on the cultural history of modern Bengal.

The centre recovers the visual material not merely as works of art but also as ingredients of the social and cultural history.