Santhosh R


Assistant Professor
Room No.: HSB 339B
Phone : +91 (44) 2257 4517
Email :,



Academic Background:

  • Ph.D. (Sociology) from Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC), Bangalore (2010).
  • M.A. in Sociology from Bangalore University (1998)
  • National Eligibility Test (NET) 1999

 Academic Positions:

  • 2011-Assistant Professor, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Madras.
  • 2008-2011, Assistant Director, Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, Mangalore University, Mangalore.
  • 2003-3008, Lecturer, Post Graduate Department of Sociology, Christ University, Bangalore.
  • 1998-2003, Lecturer, Department of Sociology, St. Joseph’s College, Bangalore.
  • 1998-1999, Research Associate, ICSSR Journal of Abstracts and Reviews: Sociology and Social Anthropology.

 Areas of Research Interest:

  • Religion as a social phenomenon fascinates me. My primary research interests revolve around questions of religious articulations in the contemporary times, especially in the context of modernity and late-modernity. In particular, I work on broader areas related to Islam in the postcolonial Indian context, focusing on questions of Islamic activism, womens question, sectarian identities and emerging Muslim politics. I also have keen research interest in the emerging forms of new spirituality, identity questions and political mobilization within Hinduism.

 Courses Taught:

  • Contemporary Indian Society: A Sociological View, Globalization and Change, Introduction to Sociology, Development Perspectives and Religion and Modernity

 Area of Doctoral Research:

  • In my doctoral research, I tried to understand the ideological as well as organizational contestations among Muslims of a coastal village in Kerala. In particular, I examined the claims of Islamic reformism and traditionalism in these contestations within the context of Kerala’s socio-cultural context shaped by modernity.

 Awards and Fellowships:

  • Visiting Fellowship by Leibniz Zentrum Moderner, Berlin. 1st  June to 30th July 2017.
  • Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute award for Faculty training and Internationalization with the Department of Religious Studies, University of Ottawa, Canada. 1st May to 30th May 2017.
  • Prof. MN Srinivas award for the best PhD thesis in sociology, constituted by Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore.
  • 2015 Summer School Fellowship at Institute for Critical Social Inquiry, New School for Social Research, New York, USA.

Sponsored Research Projects involved:

  • ‘From Cell to Society: A Study on the Social Reintegration of Released Prisoners in Kerala and Tamil Nadu’ funded by National Human Rights Commission, New Delhi, 2018.
  • ‘Religion in the Cyberspace: A Study on the Emerging Religious Cyber Sphere among the Muslim Religious Organizations in Kerala,’ Exploratory Research project sponsored by IIT Madras, 2017.
  • ‘Democracy and Minority Citizenship: A Study on the Emerging Forms of Muslim Political Mobilization in South India’ Research project sponsored by ICSSR, 2017.
  • ‘Changing Contours of State Welfarism and Emerging Citizenship: A Comparative Study of Kerala and Tamil Nadu’ Sponsored research programme funded by ICSSR, 2014. Programme awarded to a team of researchers including Drs. Binitha Thampi, Suresh Babu, Kalpana K and Vijayabhaskar.
  • ‘Displacement and livelihood: A Study of MRPL rehabilitation colony with special reference to Dalit families’ sponsored by ICSSR, 2009.
  • ‘Discrimination and social exclusion; a study on the development experience of Dalits in Karnataka’ sponsored by ICSSR, 2009.


  • Forthcoming: M.S. Visakh and R.Santhosh. ‘Islam, Development and Neoliberal Globalisation: Transformation of a Traditionalist Muslim Organisation in Kerala’ in Muslim Marginalities and Development Promises in Fazal Tanweer, Divya Vaid and Surinder S. Jodkha (ed). New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
  • Forthcoming: R.Santhosh. ‘Religious Activism and Secular Ethos: A Study on Islamic Activism in Kerala” in Multiple Secularities; Anthropological Perspectives on Religion in India in Sudha Sitharaman and Anindita Chakrabarti (eds). New Delhi: Routledge Publications.
  • R.Santhosh and MS Visakh (2020). Muslim League in Kerala: Exploring the question of ‘being secular’. Economic and Political Weekly. Vol.LV.No.7. Pp 50-57.
  • Nandan, Aniket and R.Santhosh (2019). ‘Exploring the Changing Forms of Caste-violence: A study of Bhumihars in Bihar, India’. European Journal of Social and Cultural Sociology 6:4, Pp 421-447.
  • Ashni, A L and R. Santhosh (2019). ‘Catholic Church, Fishers and Negotiating Development: A Study on the Vizhinjam Port Project’. Review of Development and Change24(2) Pp 187–204.
  • R.Santhosh (2018). ‘Beyond the Binaries of the Secular and the Islamic: Muslim womens voices in Contemporary India’ in ‘Postsecular Feminisms: Religion and Gender in Transnational Context’ in Nandini Deo (ed). London: Bloomsbury Publications.
  • R.Santhosh (2016). “Voluntarism and Civil Society in the Neoliberal Era: A Study on the Palliative Care Movement in Kerala”. Journal of Social Change and Development, Vol.18 Issues 1&2, Pp1-18.
  • R.Santhosh (2015). “Muslims in Contemporary India: Socio-religious diversity and the questions of Citizenship” in Knut Robinson (ed) Routledge Handbook on Contemporary India, London: Routledge Publication.
  • R.Santhosh (2015). “Islamic Activism and Palliative Care: An Analysis from Kerala” in Philip Fountain, Robin Bush and R. Michael Feener (ed) Religion and Politics of Development. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • R. Santhosh (2013). “Contextualizing Islamic Contestations; Reformism, Traditionalism and Modernity among Muslims of Kerala” Indian Anthropologist. Vol.43, No.2. July-December Pp25-42.
  • R. Santhosh and Shaji Varghese (2010). ‘New Locations and New Articulations: Practice of Sociology in an Autonomous Institution’ in Maitrayee Chaudhuri, (ed) Practices in Sociology- a Handbook, New Delhi: Rawat Publications.
  • R.Santhosh (2009). ‘The State and Religious Contestations over Human Body: A Study on Hook-Swinging and Production of New Human Subjects’ in Bryan S Turner and Zheng Yangwen (eds), The Body in Asia, Oxford: Berghahn books.

 Invited Lectures and Conferences/Seminars:

  • Presented a paper titled ‘Religion, Politics and Substantive Secularism: The Case of the Muslim League in Kerala’ in a research workshop organised on ‘Indian conceptions of multiculturalism’ at IIT Tirupati on 8th and 9th January 2020.
  • Presented a paper titled ‘Ethnic Democracy in Practice? Hindutva and Citizenship Discourse in Coastal Karnataka, South India’ in Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship Twentieth Anniversary Conference organised by University of Bristol on 8-10, November 2019.
  • Presented a paper titled ‘Boundary demarcation and coalescence between the religious and the secular: The case of a ‘secular’ Muslim organization in India’ on 5th October 2018 in a conference by the research group ‘Multiple Secularities: Beyond the West, Beyond Modernities’, Leipzig University, Germany.
  • Presented a paper titled ‘Traditionalism and Development: The Case of Sunni Muslims in Kerala’ in a conference organised by the Centre for Study of Social System, JNU on 7th and 8th December 2017.
  • Participated in a panel discussion on ‘Civil Society and Conflict Resolution in the Context of increasing Intolerance and Fundamentalism’ organised by the Department of Sociology, Loyola College on 28th November 2017.
  • Presented a paper titled ‘Engaging with the Secular: Some reflections on the Contemporary Muslim scenario in Kerala, India’ at the Centre for Advanced Studies, Leipzig University Germany on 19th July 2017.
  • Presented a paper titled ‘Secularism, Secularization and the Contemporary Muslim Situation in India’ at the Humboldt India Workshop organised by Humboldt University, Berlin on 23rd June 2017.
  • Presented a paper titled ‘Contesting Modernities and Compelling Theologies: A Study on the Idea of Progress among Muslims of Kerala, South India’ on 20th June 2017 at Leibniz Centre for Modern Orient, Berlin, Germany.
  • Presented a paper titled “Communitarian Secularism in Kerala; An Appraisal” in a conference titled ‘Really Existing Secularism’ organized by CSDS, New Delhi on 22-23 September 2016.
  • Presented a paper titled ‘Islamic Feminism in India; Some Reflections’ in a conference on ‘Feminisms Beyond the Secular: Emerging Epistemologies and Politics in 21st Century’ organised by Lehigh University, Pennsylvania, USA. March 21-23,2015.
  • Delivered a lecture on ‘Globalization and Religion’ in a one day seminar organised by Thunchathu Ezhuthachan Malayalam University in 12th November 2015.
  • Presented a paper on ‘Understanding multiple secularism: A perspective from Kerala’ in a conference organised by Centre for Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), New Delhi on 20-21st January 2015.
  • Presented a paper on ‘Religious activism and Secular Ethos: A study on the role of Islamic activism in the Palliative Care Movement in Kerala’ in a conference organized by Department of Humanities and Social Sciences in IIT Kanpur on14-15 October 2014.
  • Delivered lecture on ‘Globalization and Youth culture’ in two-day national workshop organized by the department of Sociology, Mar Athanasius College, Kothamangalam, Kerala on 21-22 August 2014.
  • Participated as a resource person in a two-day workshop organized by Department of Sociology, Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kalady on ‘Exploring best practices in and for undergraduate sociology programmes’ from 3-4th March 2014.
  • Presented a paper in a conference titled ‘Religion and the Politics of Development: Priests, Potentates and “Progress””, organized by Asia Research Institute of Singapore National University, Singapore on 28 – 29 August 2013.
  • Presented a paper titled ‘Islamic Activism and Health Care: A Case Study on Religion and Politics of Development from Kerala, India’ in a conference organized by St. Michael’s college, University of Toronto on 27-29th November 2013.
  • Presented a paper titled ‘Islam and the question of caste in Kerala; Some reflections in a conference organized by Patna Collective in New Delhi on 1st and 2nd December 2012.
  • Presented a paper titled ‘Radical Muslim Politics in Kerala: An Ethnographic Account” in a conference organized by Jamia Millia Central University, New Delhi on March 13-14, 2012.
  • ‘Religious violence and Islam; Interrogating Hindu-Muslim conflicts in Kerala, South India’, was presented at the conference ‘Organised by Curtin University of Technology, Australia in Miri, Malaysia on 8-9 July 2010.
  • ‘Contested Meanings and Compelling Contexts; Articulations of Immanent Critique among Muslims of Kerala, South India’ in a conference organized by ISIM, Leiden University, Netherlands on 27-28, November, 2008.
  • ‘Local Religious Tradition of Living Together as an Alternative to Secularism: Towards an Understanding of the Politics of Hindu Communalism and Communal Harmony in Kerala, South India.’ in the annual conference of International Society for the Sociology of Religion held in University of Leipzig, Germany on July 23-27th 2007.
  • ‘From Ethnic Mappila to Global Islam: Changing Articulation of Islamic Identity and the State in Kerala, South India’ in a conference organized by the department of Cultural and Social Anthropology of Free University, Amsterdam, Netherlands on 7-8th June 2007.
  • ‘The State and Religious Contestations over Human Body: A Study on Hook-Swinging and Production of New Human Subjects’ in the conference organized by Asia Research Institute of Singapore National University, Singapore on 15-17 March, 2007.

MA Research Project Guidance:

  • 2018-19: Akhila Buhari. When Women Go Online: A Study on Cyber Engagement of Malayali Muslim Women
  • 2018-19: Rakesh Prasad: Identity and Conversion: A Study on Neo-Buddhists in Uttar Pradesh
  • 2018-19: Prashant Shekhar. Through the Eyes of Chamar: An Intergenerational Study on Social and Political Mobility
  • 2017-18: Ashni AL. Catholic Church, Fishers and Negotiating Development: A Study on the Vizhinjam Port Project
  • 2016-17: Anand Sreekumar. A Sociological-Historical Framework of Buddhist Extremism: Insights from Religious Violence in Sri Lanka
  • 2016-17: Beegum Raziya Sulthana. ‘Religious Identity and Youth; A Study on religious articulation of Muslim students at IIT Madras, Chennai
  • 2015-16: Chandana B.R. ‘Religious Environmentalism in Kerala’
  • 2015-16: Pushkal Sivam (with Solomon Benjamin). ‘Sacred Occupancies, Space, Practices: The Politics of Public Land’
  • 2014-15: Binny Alexander. ‘Faith Based Organizations and Development: A Case Study of the Mar Thoma Church in Kerala

 PhD Guidance:

  • Muhammadali P Kasim (Thesis submitted)
    Muhammadli worked on interconnections between masculinity, Islamic piety and modernity in Kerala.
  • Aniket Nandan (ongoing)
    Aniket is studying the role of caste associations in shaping the contemporary political identity of Bhumihar caste in Bihar.
  • Muhammad Roshan (ongoing)
    Roshan is working on the tradition of seeking intersession with the companions of Prophet Muhammad (swahabees) among the traditional Sunnis of Kerala.
  • Naseef MK (ongoing)
    Naseef is working on the institution of Waqf in Kerala, looking at its historical and contemporary transformations, especially its negotiation with the secular state.
  • Dayal Paleri
    Dayal is studying the articulation of discourses as well as practices of communal harmony in Kerala.
  • Fathima R.F. (ongoing, co-guidance with Solomon Benjamin)
    Fathima is exploring questions related to identity and spatiality of Muslim neighbourhoods in Bangalore city
  • Kiran Kumar (ongoing)
    Kiran is working on the relationship between caste mobilisation of Gowda Sarawata Brahmins and social development
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