The Diasporic Construction of Home and Belonging – Indian Diaspora Centre (CoHaB IDC)
The CoHaB IDC is the second phase of the Diasporic Construction of Home and Belonging (CoHaB) programme at the University of Mumbai.
CoHaB was initiated in 2012 as a Multidisciplinary International research programme under the auspices of the European Union’s Marie Curie Innovative Training Networks. Professor Nilufer E.Bharucha, was the CoHaB Coordinator and Scientist-in-Charge at Mumbai University and Professor Klaus Stierstorfer, University of Muenster, Germany was the overall Coordinator of the programme. In addition to Mumbai and Muenster Universities the other members of CoHaB were the Stockholm University, Sweden and the School of Oriental and African Studies University of London, Oxford and Northampton Universities in the U.K. The CoHaB project also has three associate partners the Centre for Advanced Studies in India (CASII), India, The Migration Policy Group, Belgium and the Cabinet d’Avocats, France.
The CoHaB project at Mumbai University has trained three Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) from the USA, Romania and Canada for their Ph.D. degrees in areas of Diasporic literature and cinema from 2012-2015. During this time CoHaB Mumbai has organized a Summer School in 2014 at which ESRs from the other partner universities and their coordinators also participated. Additionally an international conference was organized at Mumbai University in 2015 with CoHaB’s Associate Partner CASII on the theme of going beyond boundaries and borders. CoHaB Mumbai also oraganised technical secondments for its own ESRs and for those of other partner universities at CASII where they studied migration, ecology and partition diasporas. The Mumbai ESRs went for academic secondments to partner universities and Mumbai received ESRs from partner universities too for cooperation and training within the network. The ESRs also had the opportunity to participate and present papers at workshops and conferences on diaspora studies around the world. The three ESRs at Mumbai have successfully completed their research work.
The CoHaB Centre at Mumbai University has gained an excellent status by guiding and producing scholars in the field of Global Diaspora Studies, Ethnicity, Migration, and Identity issues. So when the CoHaB ITN programme reached its conclusion in October 2015, it was felt that the resources of CoHaB and the expertise it had generated should not be allowed to dissipate. So from November 2015 onwards the CoHaB centre at Mumbai University has entered its second phase and is now known as CoHaB Indian Diaspora Centre (CoHaB IDC). It is supported by the Mumbai University and continues to draw upon the expertise and goodwill of its CoHaB partners and associate partners.
Professor Nilufer E. Bharucha is the Director and Scientist-in-Charge of CoHaB IDC and Professor Shoba Ghosh is the Jt. Director of the Centre. The Centre has appointed Mr. Akshay Chavan as research associate and he assists the Director and Jt. Director in administration and academic activities of the Centre.
CoHaB IDC functions as a Resource Centre and also regularly invites research scholars from across the nation and the globe for workshops, talks and seminars. Its objective is to promote studies on the Indian Diaspora. It makes available its resources of books, critical materials and DVDs to students and research scholars. Research scholars from around the world are welcomed to the centre and their projects are facilitated through contacts with scholars, writers and activists in diverse fields of Diaspora Studies. CoHaB IDC has a student-friendly policy and its computers and internet facilities are available to students who wish to carry on their research/academic reading in a quiet space with internet connectivity. CoHaB IDC also holds regular film viewing sessions, talks, workshops and lectures for students.
To achieve greater visibility and scholastic impact CoHaB IDC has a publication programme and organizes national and international conferences on Diaspora Studies.
At Mumbai University
The CoHaB project at Mumbai University entails an exploration of Literary Theories related to Diaspora and its cultural practices in the area of Indian Diasporic Literatures and Cinemas. In the context of Literature the focus should be on the manner in which diasporics negotiate multiple, hybrid identities in their hostland and homeland and how this in turn impacts upon their concept of Home and Belonging. Indian Diasporics also imaged not just their hybrid identities and notions of home and belonging in cinematic texts but also imaged India itself to the world. Such films have in the last couple of decades made for considerable global visibility for film makers such as Gurinder Chadha, Meera Nair and Deepa Mehta. However, such imaging is now no longer one-sided because Indian cinema too has begun to image its diaspora both to itself and to the world in cross-over films such as Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham and My Name is Khan.
The three wide areas of study at Mumbai University are:
1. Hybrid Selves Hyphenated Identities: Diasporic Indian English Fiction
2. Representations of Diaspora in Popular Indian Cinema
3. Representations of Women in Diasporic Indian Literature and Cinema
Three Fellowships are available for Ph.D. studies in these areas to international applicants. However, Indian applicants who have not resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in India for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to their recruitment are eligible for application to these fellowships at Mumbai University.
Other Indian aspirants to these fellowships can apply to the partner universities. Similar fellowships are available at CoHaB partner universities, for which Indian students are encouraged to apply. For details look at the fellowship section and at www.itn-cohab.eu
Professor Dr. Nilufer E. Bharucha
Former Senior Professor and Head of the Department of English, University of Mumbai.