Dr.Malavika Binny, M.A(JNU), MPhil(JNU), PhD(JNU), UGC JRF
Dept. of History
School of Liberal Arts and Basic Sciences
SRM University -AP
Dr.Sebastian Joseph has been both an inspiration and influence as a teacher and as a person in my academic career. Unlike other teachers who sought to finish the syllabus and taught from an examination point of view, Dr.Sebastian Joseph taught to educate and enable us to learn for ourselves and to examine history from an analytic framework. What students are most thankful for was his deep commitment to the discipline and his constant reminders on the power and relevance of history in society and in everyday life. His thrust on research and methodological analysis of historical issues defined his classes, paving a strong foundation for future research for students like me. His guidance was not limited to the classroom as he encouraged the students to use history as a thinking tool to probe societal problems. His emphasis on keeping oneself updated about recent research and reading articles from academic journals greatly helped me to transition smoothly into the academic environment of JNU during my M.Phil and PhD days. One of the things that struck me during my student days was the kind of regard that he gave to his students treating them as individuals, giving space to their voices and ideas and including everyone in most of the academic and co-curricular endeavours according to their different capabilities and talents. He is also an excellent organizer as I have personally witnessed during the National Seminar on Environmental History and the second edition of the Kerala History Congress.
On a personal note, what I found most interesting in his class was his use of diction/intonation and his strong voice (and a touch of performance) in bringing alive even the most mundane and dry topics in the syllabus like that of the ‘Introduction of the Persian Wheel’ and the nuances of ‘Indian Ocean Trade’ which I remember till date even after a decade .Always prompt to help with any academic doubt and to offer apt advice when required, Dr.Sebastian Joseph is an asset for the entire academic community both as a teacher and a historian.
Assistant professor of History
The Cochin College, Kochi 02
Indeed a great pleasure to write a few sentences about the most respectable and influential Dr. Sebastian Joseph sir. I felt completely overawed when I first attended your class. Soon, you made me very comfortable with your exceptional teaching techniques. You have taught me not only the subject but also the high qualities should be possessed in our life. More importantly, you are one of the professors who inspired me to pursue the studies on history. Your breadth of knowledge blew me away and instilled the passion for becoming a teacher. Overall, I had a fantastic learning experience that I will never forget. You are very passionate about your academics (both teaching and research) and students. In fact, you are incredibly open- minded and very humane to all of us. I sincerely thanking for your valuable service to the student community and wishing you a great success in all the future endeavours.
Department of History
Dr. Sebastian Joseph was my teacher during my post graduate days at UC College Aluva. He is a very creative and a wizard like teacher who captured the whole class to his lecture and gradually built his thesis and left us mesmerized and inspired. He taught me how to analyze, to read in between lines and to question what I read. Dr. Sebastian opened a door for me to another way of seeing and interpreting things around. He has been hugely influential in shaping my ideas regarding environmental history and film studies, the areas over which he has mastery. The theoretical and conceptual clarity which Dr. Sebastian exhibits in his lectures is worth enough to place on record. He is instrumental in redefining the academic space of history teaching in Kerala by incorporating the new vistas of the emerging branches within the discipline like Historiophoty.
Research-oriented teaching is a key element of the profile of Dr. Sebastian. His commitment towards research, theory and methods encouraged the students to develop their research potentials. His work on Cochin tramway traces the rare nuggets of unknown history of the ecological imperialism of the British in the subcontinent. An always desirable but rare combination of theory and practice in the discipline can locate in his research writings and verbal discourse; truly a master craftsman well versed in his craft.
Chinjumol K R, M.A History, UGC-JRF
PhD Fellow (UGC JRF)
Dept of History
I consider it my privilege to being your student, one of the most spectacular lecturers in Kerala. Analyzing my previous engagements with various academicians in the same field, I would like to say, there are a multitude of qualities that makes you unique. Excellent content delivery: Whether it is on Michel Foucault or Environmental history, I thoroughly enjoyed the lectures delivered by you. The core aspects of the concepts will naturally splash into the listener’s mind, and that catalyze her/him to read more on it. Also, your ‘authoritative’ voice helps the learner a lot in remembering things for a long duree without doing any revision. Mastery over the subject: of course, you are not a ‘guide bookish’ kind of teacher. Your in-depth knowledge in distinct areas of our discipline [Medieval India, Environmental History, Social Theories, World History, etc] is something needs to be appreciated. Only a devoted teacher of your kind can exceed his superficial understanding in these mutually inconsistent domains and then emerge himself as a master in all. Scrutinizer: You are the one who inspects things [examination papers, project works, etc] with exceptional care and commitment. Even though I felt a bit of difficulty getting in comprehension with the stiffness that you exerted while evaluating the academic upshot of a student, later on, I realized, that was the perfect way to bring the most out of the student. Motivator: The way you interact with the students spontaneously generates some positive vibes in her/him. Students are eagerly following your classroom as well as off-campus academic engagements, and try to place themselves in a superior position for opting history as their choice for higher education. That helps them a lot to override the inherent indifference of society towards their choice [i.e., history]. And that you finish the syllabus part before the university exams, but I felt UCC sometimes failed to fully utilize you as a resource person.
Neenu Thomas, M.A History,UGC NET
Dept of History
UC College, Aluva
I was a postgraduate student of Dr.Sebastian Joseph during the academic year 2014-16 at Union Christian College, Aluva. It was he who gave me a paradigm shift on understanding history and helped me to know ‘what is history’. The lectures of Dr.Sebastian were helpful to me to comprehend history in a critical perspective. The language skills of Dr.Sebastian both in English and Malayalam are a great matter of appreciation. His knowledge on environmental history and his theory classes, especially Annales school and postmodernist theory etc helped me to study well and now also I remember what he taught in his classes. The pedagogical skills he used to teach tough portions made the students to grasp the subject in a vivid and clear way .As my research guide on PG dissertation his critical comments and language skills made me to present a good dissertation. Actually his lectures on environmental history urged me to do research in topics related to environmental history. As a teacher, he is a role model to his students and colleagues with his boundless humility and unalloyed commitment to academics and pedagogical excellence.
Midhun S. Nair (UC College, MA History, 2017-19)
In the contemporary society, everyone, irrespective of their hold on the subject, has got an opinion on History and historical processes. As a result of which malicious trends and false understandings are being created and made use of by propagandists. It is, therefore, a period of utmost importance that History and historical understanding gets very well conveyed and guided in classrooms and research areas.
Dr Sebastian Joseph, you are one of such faculties, whose wide knowledge and understanding of History and immense experience in Historical research, benefits in these areas. You are successful in giving valuable classroom lectures on different areas of the subject, without losing any of the relevant information and interpretations. You also manage to makes students get hold of various information, regarding the topic of concern, amassed from different intellectual sources, making the task easier for students. The discussion on various credible books and other sources dealing with the topics, in every lectures also benefits the students. Personally, your classes on Social theories proves to be the most favourite and useful one. However, your strict adherence to highly academic language, has got both its advantage and drawback. This feature helps in preventing the loss of the essence and the exact meaning of the topic dealt with, but on the other hand, in a classroom atmosphere where it is necessary to be able to convey the essential ideas to the entire audience with different grasping and understanding capabilities, the same stands as a hindrance.
Personally, having experienced your Research guidance skills while dealing with my Post Graduate Research project on the topic ‘Ee Ma Yau: History of Coastal Life on Reels’, I am of the belief that you do your job well. You possess an upper hand in research areas related to Cinematic narratives and Environmental History. You very well open up the different paths and techniques in research, without having an authoritative sway upon the research endeavours. You are open to all kind of new interpretations and guides carefully through the thin line between naturalistic and theoretic explanations. As my personal experience on Research with you was very time bound, you helped to get to know the right paths to be taken in a short span of time, which can be considered to be a deviation from the guiding etiquettes. But it being the need of the hour, you successfully managed to put forth a wide range of research questions and possibilities that could be pursued further.
IVth Semester B.Ed Social Science Student
National College for Teacher Education, Vengola, Perumbavoor.
I am extremely privileged to speak about Prof. Sebastian Joseph PhD. As a passionate student during my college days, I’m greatly inspired by his lectures which made me understand history as a discipline much more universal and in a broad sense. I know him from degree time on wards; however, get more intimacy during post-graduate studies. During the PG, he took the course paper Approaches to History, Agriculture Crafts Production and Exchange in India from c.AD l000 to 1800, History and Social Theory, and Landmarks in Indian Environmental History.
A resource personality behaves appropriate discipline and appeared well organized also efficient in keeping the classroom decorum during his lecture. His lecture style is quite unique, comprehensive and rich in content. I noticed his voice modulation and its variation according to the flow of the lecture. To my point of view, considering history class in context, his lecture resemblance an international level, at least that can be expected from a triple gold medalist in History who accomplish remarkable achievements in his professional career. Especially his specialization in forest history, as well as proficiency in environmental history, oral history, film history and family history, contributes much richness while dealing with lecturing.
M.A Economics Student
Sacred Heart College
I got an opportunity to study under the guidance of Dr. Sebastian Joseph Sir, Assistant Professor, Department of History, Union Christian College, Aluva where I did my BA in Economics. Being a student of the Economics stream, studying history was a varied experience. Sir’s classes are always interesting as well as informative. Since we had history as a subject for the first as well as the second semester, we got a chance to listen to Sir’s informative classes on both Indian history and World history. Also the base of the subject en-rooted by Sir through his classes help students to crack several competitive examinations like Civil Services Examinations which requires an in depth knowledge of history subject. Sir has also provided students with good guidance regarding the vast possibilities of higher studies and diversified career options available. He has always been a very supportive mentor and guide.
Feedback on Social Science Research Course Work Coordination
Department of Economics
St. Peter’s College, Kolenchery
I joined as a part – time research scholar under the guidance of Dr. C A Antony at the Research Centre, Department of Economics, Union Christian College, Aluva in July 2013. I pursued research in the area ‘The Economic Sustainability of Public – Private Partnership Models in Kerala’. As per the guidelines, I had to undergo six months coursework, which I completed in two spells. It was indeed a great blessing for me to be a student of Dr. Sebastian Joseph, the Research coordinator and Social Science coordinator of the College. Sir handled multiple roles as a coordinator, resource person and mentor very efficiently. The coursework sessions arranged included sessions on statistics, SPSS, social science research in general and even Economics lessons in specific. The sessions, more than theory based touched upon the practical side of research, which immensely helped me in developing my research topic. All these sessions were well arranged and keenly attended to by all the participants. The effort taken by sir in arranging apt resource persons for all these sessions needs to be well appreciated. It kept alive the spirit of research in me, with the help of which I could successfully complete my coursework and submit my thesis thereafter.