New Directions in Gender, Education and Poverty

A Roundtable Discussion
June 24 2021, Thursday 11.30 – 12.30 (UK time)/ 16:00-17:00 (IST) 

 Organizers: Dr Srabani Maitra, Dr Sebastian Schwecke, Dr Saikat Maitra

This roundtable was organised by the School of Education at the University of Glasgow, Max Weber Stiftung India Branch Office (MWS IBO), New Delhi, and the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta to engage with research on gender, education and poverty by both senior and early career academics. 

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and adoption of the Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs), seek to incorporate and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental (UNESCO, 2017). Concomitant with this, is the emphasis on the critical role of equitable access to education (SDG4) for sustainable development and transformative change.  

Over the past decade, major progress has been made towards increasing access to education and school enrolment rates at all levels, particularly for girls. Nevertheless, some 750 million adults – two thirds of them women – remained illiterate in 2016 (United Nations, 2021) and about 260 million children were still out of school in 2018 — nearly one fifth of the global population in that age group (UNESCO, 2021). Poverty remains a significant constraint for women’s educational attainment. Moreover, how poverty impacts women’s education is complicated by multiple social and cultural contexts.  

This roundtable brought together researchers from the global South and the North to foreground new directions exploring the intersections of gender, education and poverty.  

Areas of focus

  • Historical trajectories 
  • Socio, economic and cultural dimensions 
  • Policy formulations 
  • Digitalisation 
  • Inclusion and sustainable development 

Prof Ellen Boeren, Research Director, School of Education, University of Glasgow 
Dr Barbara Read, Reader, School of Education, University of Glasgow 
Dr Srabani Maitra, Senior Lecturer, School of Education, University of Glasgow 
Dr Saikat Maitra, Assistant Professor, Public Policy and Management Group, IIMC
Prof Parimala Rao, Zakir Husain Centre for Educational Studies, JNU Delhi
Prof Nandini Manjrekar, School of Education, TISS Mumbai
Dr Manish Jain, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar University, New Delhi

This was an online event.


Legacies of Feminism in Germany and India

A Roundtable Discussion

19 March 2021

Organizers: Max Weber Stiftung India Branch Office and the International Standing Working Group on Medialisation and Empowerment at the German Historical Institute London

Helma Lutz, Goethe Universität Frankfurt
Janaki Nair, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Samita Sen, University of Cambridge
Paula-Irene Villa, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

The roundtable discussion examined the impact of feminism in contemporary Germany and India. Featuring scholars from India, Germany and the UK, the panel discussed what the historically and geographically diverse legacies of feminism mean for the shared political project of women’s rights today and how feminists have negotiated the push and pull of political change.


Virtual Conference on Archiving, Recording and Representing Feminism: The Global History of Women’s Emancipation in the 20th Century

The conference is the second meeting of the International Standing Working Group (ISWG)on Medialization and Empowerment

10-11 December 2020

Convenors: Christina von Hodenberg and Jane Freeland (German Historical Institute London)

Partners: Max Weber Stiftung India Branch Office, German Historical Institute Washington DC, German Historical Institute Rome, Orient Institute Beirut

This was an online event that took place on Zoom.

Conference Programme

For more details click here

Colloquium on Education and the Urban in India since the Nineteenth Century (online)

24-25 September 2020

The virtual colloquium was organised by the ‘Education and the Urban’ Research Group of Max Weber Stiftung India Branch Office (MWS IBO)

Convenors: Indra Sengupta (MWS IBO & German Historical Institute London), Debarati Bagchi (MWS IBO), Yamini Agarwal (MWS IBO)

Speakers: Akash Bhattacharya (Azim Premji University, Bengaluru), Nandini Manjrekar (Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai), Debarati Bagchi (MWS IBO), Geetha Nambissan (Former Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi), Yamini Agarwal (MWS IBO) and Shivali Tukdeo (National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru)

Programme in pdf

Winter School on Global History- Challenges and Opportunities

16-21 February 2020 India International Centre, New Delhi

Panel on The Languages of Global History

A lecture by Sebastian Conrad

30 January 2020 at the Goethe- Institut/ Max Mueller Bhavan, Kolkata

Fourth Max Weber Lecture

The Global Revolution of Time in the Nineteenth Century

Sebastian Conrad (Friedrich-Meinecke-Institut, FU Berlin)

27 January 2020 in New Delhi


Third Max Weber Lecture

The Politics of Humiliation: Historical Trajectories

Ute Frevert (Max Planck Institute for Human Development)

22 November 2019 in Kolkata and 25 November 2019 in Delhi

Panel Discussion on Education, Marginality and the Urban: Linkages and Intersections

An event of India Research Programme of GHIL

26 June 2019, German Historical Institute London

Participants: Isabel Ramos Lobato (ILS Research Institute for Regional and Urban Development Dortmund); Nandini Manjrekar (Tata Institute of Social Science Mumbai); Geetha B. Nambissan (JNU Delhi); Shivali Tukdeo (National Institute of Advanced Studies Bengaluru); Georgie Wemyss (University of East London) 
Concept Note (pdf file) Poster (pdf file)

Conference Series: In Global Transit

Against the background of the continuing debate on global migration and its consequences, the German Historical Institutes in Washington, D.C. and London, in cooperation with the newly established Branch Offices in Berkeley (GHI West), New Delhi (India Branch Office) and Peking (China Branch Office), have developed a series of conferences on historical flight and migration research.

This way, the Max Weber Foundation aims to contribute to the analysis of these socially relevant and currently much discussed topics. The great potential provided by the new Branch Offices results from the possibility of bringing in new research approaches and perspectives from their host countries which are situated in regions particularly relevant for migration and flight. Additionally, “In Global Transit” strengthens the network between the new Branch Offices and the long established institutes of the Max Weber Foundation in Beirut, Istanbul, London, Moscow, Paris, Rom, Tokyo, Warsaw and Washington, D.C

19 – 22 May 2019, Berkeley, USA:
In Global Transit: Forced Migration of Jews and other Refugees (1940s-1960s)”

Second Max Weber Lecture by Andy Green

22 February 2019, New Delhi & 26 February 2019, Mumbai
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Interrogating Marginality: Education and the Urban

Sudhir Patwardhan: Painting, 2006. Image courtesy the artist

Venue: National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore
Dates:  12-14 November, 2018

The enormously diverse and engaging research on cityscapes, especially in the developing world has highlighted the numerous, at times contradictory purposes, imagery and narratives that go on to make the contemporary urban. Masterplans, strategic urban reforms, mega projects of infrastructure, transport and business operations form the part of much of the state-driven as well as transnationally supported visions of urbanism. Other visions including that of “occupancy urbanism”, for instance, construct the city through everyday practices that appropriate and interrupt the master-visions and generate expansive, complex micro networks (Benjamin, 2008; Anand, 2017;  ==). Urban marginality is constituted by a range of processes and factors that are bound of urban spatial coordinates as well as those that are outside of it; thus linking to different histories, locations and movements.

As they are forever under construction, urban landscapes can also be read as pedagogical sites involved in interactions, learning and meaning-making. With their own scripts and signs, cities become legible, open, barricaded and guarded. How do we make sense of the relationship between education and the urban? The much fraught history in India points out plurality, institutional expansion and significant re-structuring that has played a key role in determining this relationship (Pink & Noblit, 2017).  Shouldering the burden of nation-building, linguistic and regional identity formation, the schools and colleges in Indian cities also began to be prominently plugged in the processes of global information-economy that identified cities to be ideal nodes in the spread of global capitalism (Nambissan, 2017; Kenway 2017; Brenner & Schmid, 2015; Goldman, 2011; Upadhya & Vasavi, 2012).  Interestingly, a number of regional towns and towns in proximity with urban centers have undergone transformation in recent years, furthering the speculative urban growth and intensifying local dynamics.

Research on education in India, especially within sociology of education has a robust engagement with marginality in terms of rural and Adivasi regions. Works on higher education have paid attention to metropolitan universities and colleges, but urban questions seem to have been inadequately theorised. Outside of the consensus that education is central to thinking of urban publics, a rigorous scholarly engagement appears to be missing.

As researchers of contemporary India with broad disciplinary interests including history, sociology, cultural studies and critical policy studies, the collaborative collective of GHIL, JNU, TISS and NIAS hopes to pay attention to the void in both, education and urban research. Towards this, we are organising a two-day interactive workshops for junior scholars, a masterclass and a panel discussion at National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore. While urban marginality is at the center of the proposed interaction, we look at a number of issues, scholarly texts and engage in peer feedback.

Programme in pdf

First Max Weber Lecture

Pauline Lipman
12 November 2018 at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS)Bangalore

16 November 2018 at the India International Centre (IIC) New Delhi

In Global Transit

A conference of the Max Weber Stiftung (GHI Washington, GHI London, MWS India Branch Office Delhi) and the American Institute of Indian Studies

Loreto College, Kolkata, 14-16 February 2018

The conference will primarily showcase recent research on the experiences of European Jews who fled Europe during the Nazi era.

Research on Jewish experiences of exile and refugee outside Europe has overwhelmingly focused on the places where European Jews finally settled: for instance, the United States, Palestine, and South America. However, many Jewish refugees only reached these destinations after months or even years spent moving from place to place in various parts of the world. These were, as it were, lives in global transit. In Global Transit promises to open up new geographic, chronological, and conceptual perspectives on the refugees’ experiences of flight and belonging as well as anti-Semitism and racism at a time of war and colonialism.

India, one of the temporary havens for Jews fleeing persecution in Europe, is a fitting location for a conference on these largely unexplored, transitory havens for European Jews in Asia and Africa.

The conference is the first in a series pf conferences through which the Max Weber Foundation aims to enrich public debate by bringing a historical perspective to the issues of migration and refugee aid.

The conference will take place at Loreto College, Middleton Row. It will be accompanied by an exhibition on European Jewish refugees in Calcutta “The City as Refuge: Jewish Calcutta and refugees from Hitler’s Europe“


Programme in pdf