Social Sciences and Humanities Conference 2019

Raiders of the ‘Lost’ Arts: Reimagining the Humanities and Social Sciences in Schools

Social Sciences and Humanities Conference

Concept Note:

In India, the Social Sciences and Humanities are widely taught in schools across examination boards and systems.  Large numbers of students take subjects like History, Economics, Political Science, Sociology and Geography. The Social Sciences (at their best) deal with the deepest and most pressing questions of human society and ought to inform virtually every question confronting us as a species.

In a best case classroom scenario, these disciplines will attempt to make sense of human society in all its complexity and messiness. This would require classrooms to be liberal spaces of questioning, considering multiple perspectives and relating theory to real context. What do such classrooms look like in the daily life of schools? What pedagogies best serve the teaching of these subjects in ways that make them exciting and meaningful? Do we need to reimagine the way that we, as teachers, learn, unlearn and teach the Social Sciences and Humanities? Must curricula be designed more imaginatively? Has something that is at the heart of these disciplines been lost in translation? Must we become bold adventurers and mavericks to recapture the humanism, passion, urgency, contestation and edginess that these vital disciplines entail? We would do well, as teachers, to heed the words of Danah Boyd: “…if we want to matter, we need to think critically about the questions we ask, and the questions we don’t ask, and what influences that distinction.” These, and a plethora of related issues, animate the vision of this conference.

Aims and Objectives:

  • To focus on and celebrate the Social Sciences, Humanities and their teachers
  • To reiterate through philosophical discussions, the vital importance of the Social Sciences in the context of school education
  • To share innovative teaching methods through interactive workshops, and best practices that can be implemented in a diverse range of classrooms across regions, examination boards and schools
  • To facilitate the setting up of collaborative networks of teachers to promote best teaching practices
  • To create opportunities for advocacy of policy issues related to the Social Sciences in schools


6-7 December, 2019


Mallya Aditi International School

For whom?

The Humanities and Social Sciences famously believe ‘there are no borders’. Teachers of any subject and Heads of School can attend this conference. In addition, section heads, teachers from other disciplines, and students training to be teachers will also find this conference challenging and stimulating. We would like this group to be as diverse as possible across boards, regions of the country and different sections of a school.


This event will provide a forum where activities based on open dialogue and positive critique will be offered by way of two streams:

Philosophical Ideas: Presented through plenary sessions 

 Leading practitioners will focus on the following foundational and philosophical questions:

  • The significance of studying the Social Sciences and Humanities in schools.
  • The importance of dialogue.
  • The adoption of an inter-disciplinary approach encompassing social sciences, humanities, pure/natural sciences and technology
  • The recognizing of the fact that much of the social sciences are contested spaces in need of interrogation
  • Addressing contemporary controversies which relate to the Social Sciences: textbooks, renaming policies, shrinking spaces for liberal discourse, the quantitative turn in economic and other such issues

Pedagogical Practices in the Social Sciences: from theory to classroom application

Workshops conducted by experienced practitioners focusing on strategies that can be implemented in the following ways:

  • Teaching beyond the texts and tests
  • Employing research methodology in school teaching
  • Using theatre, literature, films and music to teach
  • Adopting innovative approaches in specific subjects
  • Deploying relevant technology

 Exhibitions of books and other relevant resources will also be available at the Conference venue.

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