The Forum on Contemporary Theory (FCT) emerged out of a conversation among a group of teachers and students at Maharaja Sayajirao University (MSU), Baroda, spearheaded by Prof. Prafulla Kar. Anchored in humanities and social sciences disciplines and focusing on ideas, concepts and theories, the ongoing conversation led to the creation of a platform for exchanges among teachers and students. The academic exchanges soon extended beyond MSU to include scholars from other universities in India and abroad. In the nearly three decades since then, FCT has grown through several stages of development, from informal collective into an internationally recognized institution. FCT is now an established platform, located in the global south for creation and exchange of new ideas in the field of humanities and social sciences.


Chronology of Events


FCT comes into being.


With the publication of Journal of Contemporary Thought, FCT established a formal space for ongoing debates on inter-disciplinary and critical thinking among scholars in India and abroad.


The first major academic program of FCT, a national workshop on gender perspectives in the 1990s, was held in Baroda. FCT published its first Newsletter, enhancing its outreach within India and internationally. The membership (both annual and life) of FCT was opened to individual scholars for the first time.


FCT organized the first international conference focusing on Post-colonialism and the Discourses of Marginality in collaboration with Berhampur University, Odisha.


FCT acquired a legal persona, registering as a Trust and Society in Baroda, India. Registration opened new possibilities for institution building for FCT. With registration, the governance structure of FCT also became more formal, accountable and responsive.


During this period, FCT consolidated its work, strengthened its outreach and produced more vibrant scholarly exchange and collaboration across regions and continents.


FCT published a volume of its conference proceedings for the first time. FCT launched a capacity-enhancing Theory/Praxis course for young researchers and scholars in the domain of theory.


FCT began collaboration with Ford Foundation (FF). A grant from FF's South Asia office in Delhi supported FCT's interdisciplinary programs in India and South Asia, and enabled FCT to establish a physical space, the Centre for Contemporary Theory, in Baroda housing its specialized library and a reading room. FCT launched a fellowship program for scholars of South Asia, enhancing exchanges among scholars at FCT and raising the visibility of FCT's work in the region.



2009 - 2016

During this period, members of FCT increased to cover a wider expanse of India. The organization's outreach and international collaboration grew in depth, scale and impact.


Balvant Parekh Centre for General Semantics and other Human Sciences was established in Baroda as a sister organization of FCT, with generous support from Pidilite Industries, Mumbai. The two centres supplement each other's work within the larger agenda of promoting critical thinking in the humanities and social sciences in India. FCT moved out of its rented quarters in Baroda after acquiring a modest space for itself, affording a greater degree of stability for its ongoing programs and activities.


A committee of scholars discussing the programmatic future of FCT identified the need to shift its focus to the 'theories of the Global South.'


FCT joined the Consortium of Humanities Centres and Institutes (CHCI). Its membership has enhanced FCT's interaction with other institutions across the world working with similar objectives, and opened new possibilities for scholarly collaboration and exchanges.


After a journey of nearly thirty years, FCT is now recognized as a platform located in the Global South for creation and exchange of new theoretical ideas in the humanities and social sciences. FCT's broad- based membership has made it an effective network of scholars, academics and institutions across the world. FCT now has more than 800 members in different parts of the world. FCT, through its collaborative ventures, is connected to more than one hundred universities and research institutions across the world. Within India, FCT has forged special links with academics, researchers and institutions located in non-metropolitan spaces and remote areas of the country. FCT is in the process of consolidating its earlier work and charting out new pathways for the future. The Journal of Contemporary Thought, a biannual publication has issued nearly 40 volumes. Hosted a cumulative total of 17 national workshops This event is a recurring feature in FCT's annual calendar. The conference brings scholars from different academic disciplines from several parts of the world for scholarly deliberation and exchange. Many more volumes followed in subsequent years, further strengthening FCT's outreach among among academics and researchers throughout the world.