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Alternative approaches to behavioralism

During the past five decades, the centre has contributed to advancements in its field both locally and internationally through excellence in research and teaching, and with collaboration in various projects. In the initial stages, the centre emphasized  the study of the working of political institutions and political processes in the Indian context. Moving away from the behavioural tradition in the study of Political Science, it soon began to focus on the complexity of state-society interactions from the perspective of political economy. The level of political scrutiny of political institutions increased to include a more flexible, dynamic and open way of studying governance and its limitations. The centre stressed, and provided to its students, a theoretical foundation necessary to analyze modes of domination and subordination, and overt and covert forms of expressions of power. It also distinguished itself as being a leading institution for the study of political philosophy and political ideas in India.

Drawing on a variety of philosophical, historical and interdisciplinary approaches, the academic programme of the centre is distinguished by certain characteristic emphases which set it apart from other departments specialising in Political Science in the country. Since its inception, it has gathered a group of faculty internationally recognized for their seminal contributions in the field of politics. Our faculty explain, interpret and evaluate those assumptions that undergird political life. The assessment is done by several methods such as performance in classrooms, home assignments, tutorials, seminars, term papers and mid-semester tests, besides the end-semester examination. In this way the centre is uniquely positioned to offer students and researchers precious insights for the study of politics in India. The courses and research equip students to become high-performing creative leaders who are ready to make a meaningful difference to their institutions, communities and themselves.

Blended learning of politics

One of the notable achievements of the centre has been in blending the diverse subfields of the discipline of Politics both in its teaching and research. The outcome of such an endeavour has been a constant redefinition of the idea of the political, enabling the discipline to capture the dynamics of a changing reality. It aims at contributing to the discipline of politics through empirically sensitive theorizations rooted in social and political processes.

The faculty has subsequently made a substantial contribution to research on the following issues: 

State and Development

Democratic Theory

Political Ideas in Modern India

Social and Legal Justice

Civil Society and Human Rights

Dalit and Radical Movements

Equality and non-discrimination

Gender Issues


Federalism and Centre-State Relations

Language Politics and Policies


Public Institutions and Public Policy

Political Parties and State Politics

Bureaucracy and Public Administration

Although the perspective which informed the teaching and research of the centre in the early years, has continued to inform its work even today, over the years its syllabi have been updated and revised significantly. New courses have also been introduced to reflect the changes in the discipline of Political Science as well as the new social and political concerns that emerged in society. While periodic reviews, perhaps inevitably, reflect a certain shift in defining of priority areas of research, the Centre has throughout retained its inter-disciplinary perspective. Thus in the study of Political Theory and Philosophy, the interaction between political ideas and social history is highlighted.

Understanding Indian Politics: Building Blocks

Similarly, the study of Indian political processes is substantially focused on the relationship between the polity, economy, society and culture. Courses have been made methodologically sensitive and responsive to the dramatic and structural changes underway in the world with the demise of the Soviet bloc, shift to market economy and unipolarity, emergence of new regional blocs, rise of China, growing democratization of closed societies and the piecing together of a new global order. The interdisciplinary approach is also reflected in the significance that the centre attaches to developing in the future the study of the cognate areas of Political Ideas of Asia, Ethics and Politics, Law and Public Affairs, Urban Studies, Informalities and Settlements and Environment and Politics.

A warm welcome to the modified and updated website of the Centre for East Asian Studies. The East Asian region has been at the forefront of several path-breaking changes since 1970s beginning with the redefining the development architecture with its State-led development model besides emerging as a major region in the global politics and a key hub of the sophisticated technologies. The Centre is one of the thirteen Centres of the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi that provides a holistic understanding of the region.

Initially, established as a Centre for Chinese and Japanese Studies, it subsequently grew to include Korean Studies as well. At present there are eight faculty members in the Centre. Several distinguished faculty who have now retired include the late Prof. Gargi Dutt, Prof. P.A.N. Murthy, Prof. G.P. Deshpande, Dr. Nranarayan Das, Prof. R.R. Krishnan and Prof. K.V. Kesavan. Besides, Dr. Madhu Bhalla served at the Centre in Chinese Studies Programme during 1994-2006. In addition, Ms. Kamlesh Jain and Dr. M. M. Kunju served the Centre as the Documentation Officers in Chinese and Japanese Studies respectively.

The academic curriculum covers both modern and contemporary facets of East Asia as each scholar specializes in an area of his/her interest in the region. The integrated course involves two semesters of classes at the M. Phil programme and a dissertation for the M. Phil and a thesis for Ph. D programme respectively. The central objective is to impart an interdisciplinary knowledge and understanding of history, foreign policy, government and politics, society and culture and political economy of the respective areas. Students can explore new and emerging themes such as East Asian regionalism, the evolving East Asian Community, the rise of China, resurgence of Japan and the prospects for reunification of the Korean peninsula. Additionally, the Centre lays great emphasis on the building of language skills. The background of scholars includes mostly from the social science disciplines; History, Political Science, Economics, Sociology, International Relations and language.

Several students of the centre have been recipients of prestigious research fellowships awarded by Japan Foundation, Mombusho (Ministry of Education, Government of Japan), Saburo Okita Memorial Fellowship, Nippon Foundation, Korea Foundation, Nehru Memorial Fellowship, and Fellowship from the Chinese and Taiwanese Governments. Besides, students from Japan receive fellowship from the Indian Council of Cultural Relations.