The Bombay Institute for Critical Analysis and Research (BICAR) is a non-profit, pedagogical and research para-academy. Founded in 2019, we promote critical thinking, teaching, research methods, reading, and writing in the humanities and social sciences, overlooked or beyond the scope of existing ‘university discourse’. 

BICAR tunes its curriculum to critical philosophy, visual culture, architecture, sound, the performing arts, and design, producing a relationship between intellectual inquiry and social, political, and aesthetic transformation. In light of its location in Bombay and India, we create an environment for collective analysis and response to the contradictions of modernity and contemporaneity under conditions of global capital.

Our alumni have received admissions to universities in India and abroad for BAs (e.g. Columbia University in New York), MPhils (e.g. Goldsmith’s), MAs (e.g. Oxford), MFAs (e.g. Bard), and PhDs (e.g. IIT Mumbai), as well as grants (e.g. destination university grants), fellowships (e.g. Inlaks Shivdasani Scholarship), and residencies (e.g. Kochi Biennial) to fund their academic and  creative work. 

People

Sonali Bhagchandani holds an MA in History from Goldsmiths, University of London. Her research explores the intersections of narrative strategy, emotion, and memory through the material history that consolidates ‘postcolonial’ India. Sonali obtained a BA in English Literature from St. Xavier’s College in 2016 and a diploma in Modern & Contemporary Indian Art and Curatorial Studies from the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai, in 2017.

Kunal Desai is an Assistant Director and a Teaching Assistant for the WRITE program at the Bombay Institute for Critical Analysis and Research (BICAR). He has obtained a B.A. in English Literature from Kishinchand Chellaram College, India.

Rico Franses was for many years Founding Director of the University Art Galleries at the American University of Beirut. He has also held teaching positions at The Australian National University (Canberra), Pratt Institute (New York), and a fellowship at Harvard University. He has a BA in Philosophy (McGill University, Montreal), an MA in Art History (McGill) and a PhD in Art History (Courtauld Institute of Art, London). Among his publications are a book, Donor Portraits in Byzantine Art. On the Vicissitudes of Contact between Human and Divine (Cambridge University Press, 2018), and several articles including 'Lacan and Byzantium. In the Beginning was the Image', 'The Deleuzian Spatiality of Byzantine Art', and 'Untime in the Unconscious.  On the Dislocations of Time in Freud, Lacan, Laurie Anderson and Walid Sadek'.

Rohit Goel is the co-editor of Lacan contra Foucault: Subjectivity, Sex, Politics (Bloomsbury) and has taught courses in philosophy, critical theory, historiography, and politics at the University of Chicago, Sciences Po Paris, the American University of Beirut, and Jnanapravaha Mumbai. He received the Fulbright IIE and Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) fellowships to pursue years of Arabic language study in Syria and was awarded the Fulbright DDRA and Andrew C. Mellon Fellowship for PhD Dissertation Research in primary sources in Lebanon. He completed his BA from Harvard College and, as Harvard University’s Paul Williams Fellow to Emmanuel College, was awarded an MPhil in Social and Political Sciences from the University of Cambridge.

Pahul Singh is a Creative Director at the Bombay Institute for Critical Analysis and Research (BICAR). She received a BFA in Painting from Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan in 2019, and an MVA in Painting from MS University of Baroda in 2021, where she was awarded the Narendra Gajanan Bhatt Gold Medal and the Late Milind Madhukar Bhade Gold Medal.

BICAR in Lebanon

International Consortium of Critical Theory Program

Project88, Bombay

Warehouse421, Abu Dhabi

Collaboration

BICAR is committed to collaborating with para-academic institutes in India and abroad. We share knowledge, methods, experiences, and experiment with new pedagogical approaches to delivering and exhibiting challenging material to students who lack foundational knowledge of a topic but must traverse an establishment world of academe. Currently, we work with four forums:

 

History

BICAR in India grows out of the Beirut Institute for Critical Analysis and Research, which was founded in Lebanon in 2014 by Professors Nadia Bou Ali, Raymond Brassier, Octavian Esanu, Rohit Goel, Angela Harutyunyan, Sami Khatib, and Ghalya Saadawi, a group of philosophers, historians, sociologists, and artists committed to critical analysis and research outside the strictures of an increasingly corporatized, global academe.