Constructions of Home and Belonging Indian Diaspora Centre (CoHaB IDC)

Constructions 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. The Centre has appointed Ms. Kirti Risbud as Research Associate and she assists the 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.

The CoHaB IDC has initiated an interdisciplinary Diaspora Studies Series with the help of an international Board of Advisors. The first volume in this series entitled Beyond Borders and Boundaries: Diasporic Images and Re-presentations in Literature and Cinema has been published and the second volume is in the press.

To achieve greater visibility and scholastic impact, CoHaB IDC organizes national and international conferences on Diaspora Studies independently and jointly with universities and research centres.

  1. University of Muenster – The University of Muenster is a partner university. The University of Mumbai has an MoU with them. CoHaB IDC conducts conferences, lectures and review meetings with its Advisory Committee members. The Centre works closely with the University of Muenster’s Professor Dr. Klaus Stierstorfer, one of our core Advisory Committee members. The CoHaB IDC collaborates with Professor Dr. Stierstorfer in his interdisciplinary project on Law, Literature and Diaspora.
  1. CoHaB IDC has worked closely with Professor Frank Schulze-Engler, Professor, Goethe University, Frankfurt, and Coordinator of the AFRASO (Africa-Asia Programme). An international joint symposium on ‘Afrasian Interactions: Current Dynamics Future Perspectives’ was organized in June 2018 by CoHaB IDC and AFRASO. The resultant publications are being published in Matatu Journal for African Culture.
  1. The Centre is currently working on a project to be implemented in 2020 with Professor Dr. Florian Klaeger, University of Bayreuth. Concrete details will be announced soon.

CoHaB IDC has from 2019-2020 initiated a Fellowship Programme in the area of Indian Diaspora Studies under which scholars and academics are attached to the Centre for periods ranging from 6 months to 1 year. The Centre provides office space and administrative help to the Fellows for conducting their research. The Fellows are encouraged to conduct lectures and workshops to share their research findings.

The first Fellowship from 1st May 2019 to 30th April 2020 has been awarded to Dr. Meera Vencatachalam who is the Head of the Gandhi-Mandela Centre at the Observer Research Foundation, Mumbai. She has a PhD in Social Anthropology with reference to West Africa from SOAS University of London in 2007. She has published widely in academic journals and edited volumes on slavery, post-slavery, and religion in West Africa. Her research interests include Indian Ocean connectivities, Africans in the Indian subcontinent and migration.

The Lecture Series and Workshops for the Academic Year 2019-2020 have been planned from December 2019 onwards.

  1. National Symposium on Indian Diaspora Studies on 17 February 2020
  2. International Symposium on the Indian Diaspora on 6 February 2020
  3. Lecture Series by Dr. Meera Venkatachalam on 14th, 21st and 28th January 2020
  4. Round Table on Law, Literature and Diaspora on 17th December 2019
  5. Talk by Derek Mascarenhas on Coconut Dreams
  6. Armin Wandrewala, Advocate, Bombay High Court, and published novelist and poet will deliver a lecture on Law and Diaspora in December 2019/January 2020.
  7. Professor Dr. Renu Modi, Professor, Centre for African Studies, University of Mumbai, will deliver a lecture in December 2019. Dates for the same will be announced soon.
  8. Professor Dr. Mala Pandurang, Principal, Dr. B.M.N. College, Mumbai, plans to deliver a lecture in December 2019/January 2020.
  9. Professor Dr. Sridhar Rajeswaran, CoHaB IDC Advisory Committee Member, will deliver a talk on ‘Gandhi: The Lawyer and the Writer’ in December 2019/January 2020.
  10. Meera Vencatachalam, Fellow, CoHaB IDC, University of Mumbai, has planned two lectures followed by a workshop in the month of January 2020. CoHaB IDC is in the process of finalizing the dates.
  11. Professor Dr. Rebecca Haque, Professor, Dhaka University, will deliver a lecture in February 2020. Dates for the same will be announced shortly.
  12. Paromita Chakrabarti, Asst. Professor, HR College, Mumbai, shall be delivering two lectures in February 2020.

Academic Staff

Professor Dr. Nilufer E. Bharucha
Director and Scientist-in-Charge, CoHaB IDC,  University of Mumbai.

List of Publications

Kirti Risbud, Research Associate




Room 102, Ranade Bhavan, Kalina Campus, University of Mumbai,

Santacruz (East), Mumbai 400032, India