Welcome to the Department of Liberal Arts

The liberal arts trace their geneology to the emergence of studia humanitatis towards the closure of the mediaeval epoch in European history, when secular rather than ecclesiastical scholarship began to be foregrounded as the pivot of humanity’s quest for knowledge, wisdom, and truth. The pervasive spread of scientific temper and scientific method, rooted in the Enlightenment which followed the Renaissance, facilitated a flowering and branching of various streams of enquiry, the birth of the social and the natural sciences. The institutionalisation of disciplinary praxis over the long nineteenth century contributed to the growth of academic rigour, just as the industrialisation and geopolitics of the twentieth century engendered further compartmentalisation and professionalisation of scholarly work into the humanities and social sciences.

Understood in this sense, the distinction between the arts and the sciences as conceived today is only a tenuous one: a matter of locationality and perspective, and not underlying principles and aims. The challenge and promise of what gets constituted as liberal arts today is to bridge this divide, while staying true to the gravitas of the onerous legacy which it carries within itself. The imperative to decolonise the sites and sources of scholarship, to localise and regionalise planetary aspirations of knowledge without losing sight of multisectoral perspectives, to create a shared, consensual, contextual template for the understanding of human consciousness and endeavour, these are amongst the primary tasks which the liberal arts in the twenty-first century have been addressing. Inventiveness in scholarly work and responsiveness in pedagogical praxis have naturally been the hallmarks of this ongoing recalibration of the manner in which knowledge is understood, generated, and disseminated.

Contrary to received wisdom, the Indian Institutes of Technology are specially suited to the pursuit of excellence in the liberal arts. The commitment to scientific temper and societal relevance which constitutes the bedrock of the IIT ecosystem is conducive to furthering our understanding of societal processes and systems. The prestige and respect which IITs command at not just the national but also the international scale enable scholarship to transcend the barriers of academia to reach the realms of policy and governance, thereby synergising the relationship between scholarship and society. The Department of Liberal Arts at IIT Bhilai was established keeping these in mind, with three core disciplines of Economics, Literature, and Psychology. Our faculty and scholars are working on varied areas within these disciplines, ranging from developmental economics to memory studies to positive psychology. We offer elective courses to undergraduate students in these disciplines, while our doctoral programme acts as the core degree anchoring our collective endeavours. We take pride in having built a scholarly culture of active debate and interaction, manifesting in regular external lectures, workshops, and conferences. This has allowed us to be in sync with the world at large, even as we reflect on and strengthen our praxis as scholars and educators.

Vision :

  • Inculcate a lasting appreciation of social processes at individual and collective scales amidst our students through our day-to-day pedagogy
  • Build a cohort of scholarly practitioners attuned to the challenges of their positionalities, working towards more granular understanding of their sites of praxis
  • Foster interventions and investigations into the provocations towards sustainability, inclusivity, and resilience thrown up by our local and regional contexts

Message From Director

I am pleased to extend my greetings to students and their parents as well as colleagues near and far. IIT Bhilai was established on 7 August 2016. We are located in Chhattisgarh, the rice bowl of India, in a state rich in natural resources as well as cultural memory and heritage. Read More


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