Skip to main content



Rationale and Scope

The M.Phil in Comparative Politics and Political Theory would encourage research scholars to interrogate mainstream disciplinary practices and contribute towards making the corpus of political thought and practice truly global.

The rationale of the programme is to put theories of the 'political' in comparison within hitherto unfamiliar frames of reference, both from the global South, as well as from 'Western' philosophy and theory. We expect 'theory' to be grounded, and to be produced from within the location being studied, and hence, much work might involve the use of research methods across disciplines – ethnography, archival research, visual culture. Critique for us would imply also development of alternative arguments.

The study of political systems has for long relied on three broad types of analytical tools - structural functionalism of systems theory; political-economic interpretations of state and society; and the theory of the third world system and its dependency on first world developmental model. But as the Western hegemony in intellectual tools gets questioned, the presumed universality of its theories too has been facing the challenge of 'diversality' – Walter Mignolo's term expressing the universality of diversity. The critique of the foundational significance of western theory has drawn its sustenance from the ontological engagement with the diversity of knowledge worlds and the distinctive political thinking evident in its divergent manifestations, especially in the global South.  Our scope of 'comparison' therefore would be wide enough to include theories emerging from disparate experiences across the globe and not from Euro-American traditions alone.

The programme will aim at engaging with the world of political concepts and practices in comparative perspectives. Courses would focus on thought from the Global South as well as Indian thinking in particular, comparative understanding of nationalism as theory and practice; and thinking beyond the rational in politics. The Research Methods course would strive to offer students tools of critical comparison, and practical training in doing research. The Seminar Course would train students in writing skills, and help them to finalize their research topic by the end of the second semester.


Structure of M.Phil programme

Total number of credits – 24

Dissertation – 9 credits + Course work 15 credits

Course Work – 15 Credits for 5 courses - 3 credits per course.

2 compulsory courses + 3 optional courses


Compulsory courses

CP 601 Research Methods

CP 602 Seminar Course


Optional Courses

CP 651N Comparing the Political: Concepts and Practices – Dr Mollica Dastider

CP 652 Counter-hegemonic Thought in the Global South – Prof Nivedita Menon/Prof PK Datta

CP 653 Theorizing Politics beyond the Rational – Dr Mohinder Singh

CP 654N New Perspectives in Nationalism – Dr. Ravi Rameshchandra Shukla

CP 655N Political Economy of the Modern Prison – Dr. Jyoti Bhosale


A warm welcome to the modified and updated website of the Centre for East Asian Studies. The East Asian region has been at the forefront of several path-breaking changes since 1970s beginning with the redefining the development architecture with its State-led development model besides emerging as a major region in the global politics and a key hub of the sophisticated technologies. The Centre is one of the thirteen Centres of the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi that provides a holistic understanding of the region.

Initially, established as a Centre for Chinese and Japanese Studies, it subsequently grew to include Korean Studies as well. At present there are eight faculty members in the Centre. Several distinguished faculty who have now retired include the late Prof. Gargi Dutt, Prof. P.A.N. Murthy, Prof. G.P. Deshpande, Dr. Nranarayan Das, Prof. R.R. Krishnan and Prof. K.V. Kesavan. Besides, Dr. Madhu Bhalla served at the Centre in Chinese Studies Programme during 1994-2006. In addition, Ms. Kamlesh Jain and Dr. M. M. Kunju served the Centre as the Documentation Officers in Chinese and Japanese Studies respectively.

The academic curriculum covers both modern and contemporary facets of East Asia as each scholar specializes in an area of his/her interest in the region. The integrated course involves two semesters of classes at the M. Phil programme and a dissertation for the M. Phil and a thesis for Ph. D programme respectively. The central objective is to impart an interdisciplinary knowledge and understanding of history, foreign policy, government and politics, society and culture and political economy of the respective areas. Students can explore new and emerging themes such as East Asian regionalism, the evolving East Asian Community, the rise of China, resurgence of Japan and the prospects for reunification of the Korean peninsula. Additionally, the Centre lays great emphasis on the building of language skills. The background of scholars includes mostly from the social science disciplines; History, Political Science, Economics, Sociology, International Relations and language.

Several students of the centre have been recipients of prestigious research fellowships awarded by Japan Foundation, Mombusho (Ministry of Education, Government of Japan), Saburo Okita Memorial Fellowship, Nippon Foundation, Korea Foundation, Nehru Memorial Fellowship, and Fellowship from the Chinese and Taiwanese Governments. Besides, students from Japan receive fellowship from the Indian Council of Cultural Relations.