Rudolf Heredia, S. J.
Office: Center for Global Citizenship, Room 1241
Fall 2013 Office Hours:
Fr. Rudolf Heredia, Society of Jesus, is an independent writer and researcher in Mumbai. During the Fall 2013 semester, he will be Visiting International Jesuit Professor of Social Justice at Saint Louis University. He will teach a seminar on Affirmative Action and Minority Rights in India and conduct research on collective violence based on exclusive identities that precipitate it and the pluralism demanded for real tolerance.
Education and Background. Fr. Heredia earned his M.A. in Sociology from Gonzaga University and his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago; he taught sociology at St. Xavier's College in Mumbai for more than twenty years. He was the founding director of the Social Science Centre at St. Xavier's College. In 1992-1994, he was director, department of research, at the Indian Social Institute. He edited the institute's journal, Social Action, between 1993 and 1995 and again from 2005 to 2008. He has been visiting fellow at Boston College and rector of St. Xavier's College. From 2004-2011, he was a research fellow at the Indian Social Institute in New Delhi.
Teaching. During Fall 2013, Fr. Heredia will teach a class on Affirmative Action and Minority Rights in India (POLS 493 03/ POLS 593 03).This course will examine inconsistencies between the goals and accomplishments of affirmative action policies in India. The constitutional purpose of affirmative action in India - and the preferential treatment for the deprived and the vulnerable that it implied - was to address contradictions in Indian society, specifically focusing on caste, religion, and patriarchy. This was integral to an agenda of transformative social reform with the goal of establishing a just society by just means. However, in practice, the pursuit of sectarian interests turns justice into a pawn in a power game played by those both promoting and opposing affirmative action policies and their implementation. Caste quotas have become a means for upward mobility of a few; the protection of minority rights serves to consolidate traditional elites and religious leaders.
Research Interests. Fr. Heredia's interests include issues related to religion, education, and globalization. He has written on religious conversion in India, strategies to improve life for marginalized peoples, and the social constraints suffered by minority groups in India. He is the author or editor of twelve books and numerous articles. His most recent book, Taking Sides: Reservation Quotas and Minority Rights (Penguin India, 2012), deals with the affirmative action program in India, the oldest and most extensive program of its kind [publisher's website]. Fr. Heredia notes that the program is becoming increasingly politicized and problematic, subverting the original intent to address caste divisions and class inequalities, linguistic diversities and religious freedom, within the commitment to justice articulated in the Indian constitution. As a Jesuit, his priority concern is justice to empower the vulnerable, to give voice and choice to the socially backward and excluded, and the religiously and culturally marginalized.