Between the 12th and the 31st of May the Academic Internship 2014 was held for current undergraduate students at the Manipal Centre for Philosophy and Humanities.
Over the course of this internship twenty-five undergraduate students from across the country came to Manipal for three weeks, in order to spend a small part of their summer attempting to grapple with the humanities. And grapple they did, spending time in sessions with current and former master’s students, Ph.D. candidates, and members of the faculty, exploring a wide variety of subjects and areas of research.
Interns were exposed to both ongoing and completed research in the realms of literature, philosophy, and sociology, even as they were encouraged to make sense of all of these in the context of interdisciplinarity — to attempt to bring the same tools to bear on these seemingly different areas of study, in order to see where the interstices between them might lie. They engaged with ideas as varied as Tagore’s nationalism, theatre in India, textual traditions in Indian philosophy, communalism and secularism, modern Kannada poetry, the legal emancipation of hijras, metaphysics, Kafka and personhood, and kinship and debt patterns in south Canara.
Apart from this broad exposure to the humanities, and the work that is coming out of the MCPH, the interns also worked with members of the faculty to produce original research papers — or the initial examinations that could, in the future, lead to papers — of their own. Our varied interns, in what seems to have become something of a tradition at the MCPH, worked on papers to do with ideas ranging from mental health to electronic dance music, from Dalit literature to the philosophy of science, and from Kant to JD Salinger.
The internship was, by all accounts, a huge success. We at the MCPH look forward to many more such academic internships over the next few years and hope that, in our own small way, we are advancing our case for the study of the humanities in India.