“To the best of our knowledge, this initiative pioneered Human-Animal Studies as a field of scholarship in India, being the first such program to be delivered in the country.” Dr. Krithika Srinivasan.

In 2017, the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in Mumbai, India, was awarded that year’s International Development Project Award from the Animals & Society Institute (ASI) and The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). This award included financial and consultative support leading to the creation of a Human-Animal Studies (HAS) program titled ‘Animal Ethics & Social Justice’ at TISS under the guidance of Dr. Manish K. Jha and ASI Summer Institute fellow and Senior Lecturer at the University Edinburgh, Dr. Krithika Srinivasan. Together, Dr. Jha and Dr. Srinivasan have formed the TISS-University of Edinburgh Human-Animal Studies Initiative.

This course has experienced a sustained level of interest from students and, to date, approximately 130 students have undertaken the course with many choosing to complete Master’s and PhD dissertations on HAS-related themes. According to Dr Jha, “This course has taken on a great deal of significance, not only in the university as an optional course, but by creating a foundation from which people from development, social work, or advocacy more broadly engage with these issues in a more considered way.”

Dr. Jha and Dr. Srinivasan have many plans for the expansion of this course as they witness the field growing across India, and require a dedicated person to take the field beyond just the teaching of this course and into an established program of research. As Dr. Srinivasan explains, “We are looking to deepen and consolidate the program by securing the resources for a dedicated faculty position in Human-Animal Studies (HAS) at TISS. Such a position will allow for sustained research, teaching, fieldwork and networking that are essential to embedding the program, and HAS as a field, within the university, and the Indian academy more broadly.”

If you are a HAS scholar and are interested in a faculty position at TISS, or an organization who is interested in financially supporting this position and the expansion of HAS in India, please contact Dr. Jha at manishj@tiss.edu. 

“The Animal & Society institute’s support was crucial for us to give momentum to the programme. I would like to apprise you that the programme has been running all these years without any interruption and it has gained lots of interest and attention among students and colleagues. Influenced by the programme, another school in the institute started a similar programme two years back. Students in the institute are having formal and informal ways to take this forward.” – Dr. Manish K. Jha, Professor, TISS

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