Cheryl Jacob

I’m in education and academia by choice and design. My time at school and undergraduate levels left me rather dissatisfied with the emphasis on the rote learning and unimaginative armchair teaching. I grew curious about – what made certain pedagogical approaches more interesting than others -what could have been done to connect the book/lectures with the world as I was experiencing.  

After Masters in History, I wanted to gain an inter-disciplinary understanding of what I had been reading in History and literature. I joined Sociology for MPhil and explored ‘witchcraft practices/beliefs’ with a focus on a few African communities in continuation with my interest in both, the place and practice; and in its non-exotic everydayness. Ethnomethodology altered the basis on which I used to construct my world-view, the various assumptions about our everyday relations and perhaps existence. It pushed me to continuously ask questions. But after this, I once again diversified and got training in teaching English as a foreign language. I’ve authored a few English Textbooks for school students. In my choosing of texts and exercises, I’ve tried to and continue to bring in a more humanistic and creative tint to the curriculum.

My background has helped me in fine-tuning my approach to education and teaching. I’ve worked through undergraduate teaching to school teaching to curriculum development of school textbooks for English. I finally returned to academia in 2011 to join the PhD programme at Ambedkar University Delhi in History. In my thesis titled "The Abor Expeditions of 1893-94 and 1911-12: Explorations in Identity, Mapping, and Politics in the North-East Frontier of British India", I re-looked at colonial relations with one of the tribes, Adis (formerly known as Abors), in North-East India through two military expeditions. I was interested in exploring how even the primary resources could be used to go beyond the meta-narrative history. I looked at the everydayness of the lives of people (British officials, ‘Indian’ labours, inhabitants of the villages, pets, food, loneliness etc). In addition, I explored the how the British ‘constructed’ the landscape while laying down railway and telegraph lines, creating conclaves vis-à-vis Inner Line Permits, photographs and through generation of public enthusiasm in England.  

In 2017, I was involved in setting up a new school, School of Vocational Studies, at the University after completing PhD, a learning experience in understanding curriculum design and the necessity of developing the 21st century skills. I like exploring, expanding and engaging with ideas, people, the many worlds and opportunities. My favourite way of choosing research is to pick up anything that might catch my eye while sitting in an archive or engaging with people and listening to them.

I’ve joined HaB-IIAS as Coordinator (content & curriculum design). I will be overseeing the HaB webpage and helping in co-creating the digital platform as well as curriculum outcomes. I look forward to engaging with the different projects and the researchers.  

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