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Areas of Work:

2 Day Course on ‘Unpacking Reservations’

2 Day Course on ‘Unpacking Reservations’

This course offers an outline of the basic concepts underlying within the caste-based quota system. Students will be exposed to the major debates concerning reservations as well as a the role caste has on students. The modules have been designed with college students in mind, but this experience is open to anyone interested in issues related to higher education and reservation.

 The modules will

1: Introduce some concepts in Sociology and basic concepts of reservations, quotas, and affirmative action.

2: Outline the history of the quota system in India with positions and debates that shaped the current system and how notions of social justice, dignity and equality  are played out in those debates

3: Go over the ways caste affects opportunity and discuss the role reservations play in the life of people from different caste positions

The course fee is Rs. 3,000 per student. Scholarships available on a need basis. Those from disadvantaged backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.

There is a upper limit of 30 students.

Kindly apply via email with


Course facilitators

Kishor Govinda is an Assistant Professor at the St. Johns Research Institute. He completed his doctorate in Mathematics at the National Institute of Advanced Studies and is currently involved with research in health.

Manish Gautham is a Research Assistant with the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. He has worked in the area of urban studies and water management.

Course Over View


Day I


·         What is the sociological approach 10:00-12:00

This section will be a broad overview of sociological methods. We will use the readings to explore the following issues in doing a sociological study: What kind of explanation do we want? Do we want it to be self-contained as a system of social facts? What are the relationships between social theory and livelihood? What should the classification system we use be like? How do we relate concepts?  How do we make use of categories people themselves use? What information do we use?


·         Reservations: 12:00-1:00

In this section, we will introduce the concept of reservations, quotas, and affirmative action, and discuss different types of reservations, ans relate that to ability/privilege in physical, social and economic spheres. How ability and privilege relates safety, security, and the social life.  We will go over following types of reservations: Caste. Tribe. Class. (SC/ST/OBC) Women in Parliament, Transgender and OBC, Minority Institutions.


Lunch 1:00-2:00 (Provided)


·         History: 2:00-3:00

We will discuss the history and rationale of reservations today as well as some of the earlier debates.


·         Discussion: 3:00-5:00




·         Debates on reservations: 10:00-11:00

We will discuss different rationales of the quota system, and introduce the notion of equality both as a right, principle and as a concept. What does equal treatment mean in an unequal society? What is the relationship of equality with fairness. Equality with Justice? Equality with dignity?

·         College life 11:00-12:30:

We will introduce the multiple levels of caste discrimination (personal, group and societal levels), and discuss how this affects the experience of life in college.

·         Life-cycle 12:30-1:00


Lunch  (provided)


·         Life-cycle cont. 2:00-2:30

The readings and discussions from the previous discussions will be used to  motivate conversations of the role of caste over different phases of one’s life time. Through this we will show how caste is related to, but cannot be reduced to many intersecting forms of injustice.


·         Review of discussion 2:30 – 3:30


·         Reflections 3:30 – 5:00

Areas of Work: