The Social Science Baha is an independent, non-profit organisation set up with the objective of promoting and enhancing the study of and research in the social sciences in Nepal. Established on 1 January 2002 with the primary focus of starting a social science library, the Social Science Baha was initially hosted at Himal Association, a non-profit organisation located at Patan Dhoka, Lalitpur. By the time of its formal registration as an independent entity on 15 January 2007, however, the Baha had diversified its activities and become involved in other areas as well, namely: i) conducting the four-month-long Immersion Course on Contemporary Social Issues; ii) hosting lectures, discussions, workshops, and conferences; iii) publishing books, occasional papers and journals; and iv) conducting research.
Social Science Baha Library
The main priority of the Baha from the very beginning has been the development of a well-stocked and efficiently managed social science library. The Baha library has so far collected more than 20,000 books and journals, either purchased or donated by individuals and institutions from Nepal and abroad. The library also provides users with access to online databases such as JSTOR, Columbia International Affairs Online, Blackwell-Synergy, Cambridge University Journals, Oxford Online Journals, etc, some of which are not available elsewhere in Nepal.
Immersion Course on Contemporary Social Issues
Until its termination in 2009, the four-month-long Immersion Course on Contemporary Social Issues was another flagship activity of the Baha. The Immersion Course was conceived as a graduate-level seminar conducted on a modular basis by some of the best scholars in Nepal. The participants in the course were students as well as professionals from fields as diverse as engineering, management, journalism and the social sciences. The Immersion Course consisted of discussions on the theories and methodologies used in the fields of sociology and anthropology followed by instruction on specific areas such as history, ethnicity, media, gender, technology, education and politics. The course focused on areas where these subjects interface with society, and towards the completion of the course, the students were provided with an opportunity to gain practical exposure in social research.
Lectures, Conferences, and Workshops
The Baha organises lectures, discussions, conferences, and workshops on various issues relevant to Nepal.
The lectures hosted by the Baha fall into two categories: a) The Mahesh Chandra Regmi Lecture, one of the major events in the Baha’s annual calendar, with the invited speakers being academic luminaries with a long-standing contribution in their own field; and b) the Baha Lecture Series, which is held more frequently and features Nepali and foreign scholars speaking on the subject of their choosing.
The Baha also hosts conferences, workshops and discussions, inviting a range of scholars to deliberate on selected subjects.
The Baha has also begun publications in the social sciences and related fields. The books and occasional papers that the Baha has published have been written by academics of note, and the works contribute to furthering the discourse on topics that have gained currency in Nepali academia as well as to introducing new subjects for discussion.
The Baha has undertaken various research projects either independently or working together with other organisations. Many of these projects are of topical nature and seek to link academia with popular discourse.