Teaching Fellows & Assistants
Meet a few of our Teaching Fellows and Teaching Assistants (past and present, in alphabetical order) and hear what they have to say about their experience of working at the Philosophy Department and with our philosophy students.
Aadya Singh, Teaching Assistant and Fellow both: “I’ve had the good fortune of being a TA for Professor Juliana’s Philosophy of Mind (CTS) and Professor Raja’s Philosophy of Love course. I have also had the opportunity to TF for Professor Raja’s course on Love and Friendship – a YIF course offered by the Philosophy Department.
My experience with the subject matter of Philosophy is inseparable from how my Professors have taught Philosophy to me at Ashoka. The instruction of Philosophy here has encouraged me to embark upon a lifelong path of challenging my intellectual horizons, of learning to think with more confidence and direction, and of ensuring I apply my skills beyond academia to moments in my everyday life. It is true that Philosophy seeps into everything, and I have found that the phenomenal faculty and the talented Philosophy students of our Department embody that ethos.
As a student, and as someone who has engaged in Philosophical instruction to some extent at Ashoka, not one day has been dull. The stimulating and sparkling class discussions and the carefully curated coursework, coupled with the brilliant philosophical rigour of our Professors, birth actively curious, open, and hard-working individuals, who tread the path of success. Indeed, this unmatched learning environment has introduced me to a family of brilliant thinkers – whose zest I carry within me everywhere I go. Doing Philosophy at Ashoka has and will continue to make me a better thinker, writer, and human being.
The highlight of studying Philosophy at Ashoka, according to me, is that one learns that the great ideas of past Philosophers are just the beginning.”
Abbas Bagwala, Teaching Fellow: “The Philosophy Department at Ashoka is exceptional, and working with them has been very warm and welcoming – it has been a privilege. Philosophers at the Department work on a range of subjects, and the many talks and seminars organized here are among the best in the country. Subjects taught and researched at the Department range from core analytic philosophy to Greek philosophy to contemporary political theory and Indian philosophy. Students at Ashoka are also an excited bunch, and teaching them has been quite enriching. In my personal experience, owing to the very-well designed courses taught at the Department, the students have also been consistently excited throughout their semesters – a feat rarely achieved in the serious study of philosophy! This makes my job as a Teaching Fellow all the more enjoyable.”
Abhiraj Singh, Teaching Fellow: “As a TF for Prof. Saran’s Mind and Behaviour FC, it has been fun and rewarding to discuss the varied, thought-provoking, and often demanding set of readings with students both virtually (as the pandemic swelled and slumped cyclically through the year) and later in person, and to see the students progress and mature in the course of the semester. It is the kind of undergraduate education that one wishes is emulated, adapted, and imparted far more across the country.
What I have found most attractive regarding the department, however, is a burgeoning spirit of interdisciplinary intellectual boundlessness that philosophy as a modern academic discipline, prescribing hyper-specialization, has sadly ceased to value. I pray that it endures and waxes.
I say unequivocally, and with much pleasure, that being a Teaching Fellow in Ashoka’s Philosophy Department has been a milestone in my intellectual and professional journey, one that I remain thankful to be given the opportunity for.”
Arya Amritansu, Teaching Assistant: “I had the wonderful opportunity to be a Teaching Assistant for two courses with Professor Raja: the foundation course: “Principles of Science” and the AshokaX Horizon’s course: “Philosophy 101: No Bakvâs”. Principles of Science was unique in that it explored the philosophical grounds on which modern science is based rather than merely recapping highschool science curricula. On the other hand, Philosophy 101 was a great way to see how highschoolers react to philosophical methods and concepts.
My interactions with the students were rewarding because of the positive feedback I received on my work and the learning experience that working in a teaching environment provided me with. I believe that the most important aspect of working as a TA is the opportunity to have a “behind the scenes” look at what goes into making a course and providing a good learning environment. I gained a newfound respect for the professors and teaching staff and was able to appreciate the work that they put into the courses that I take. I am grateful to Ashoka for providing me with the chance to be involved in this uniquely rewarding experience!”
Deepti Jayakrishnan, Teaching Assistant: “I was a Teaching Assistant for Prof. Saran’s Topics in the Philosophy of Mind (Spring ’22) and Prof. Shevchenko’s Classical Indian Epistemology (Monsoon ’21). Being a TA has taught me so much and I’m immensely grateful for this valuable opportunity. I better understand the organized and consistent work that goes into conducting a course, as well as the joy of feeling like I’ve actually learnt something hands-on. It’s been a rewarding experience, one that has enabled me to engage with philosophy in a richer, multifaceted way. I can’t wait to further develop and apply these skills in the years to come.”
Dewansh Matharoo, Teaching Assistant: “Ever since my first year, I have wanted to work as a TA for a philosophy course at Ashoka, and my experience has been everything I could have asked for (and more). Seeing some of the work that goes into making a course exciting, informative, and accommodating has been incredibly insightful, and it has increased my appreciation for my professors! I cannot wait to TA for more courses at Ashoka and continue learning from my peers and faculty.”
Jishnu Ghose, Teaching Fellow: “Being a Teaching Fellow for the Philosophy Department has been an enriching experience of continuous learning. I’ve worked with Prof. Kranti Saran on two of his courses, Mind and Behaviour and Indian Civilisations; and the mentorship provided by Prof. Saran has taught me how to be an effective instructor and create a classroom climate that fosters learning. Facilitating discussion sections helped me understand how to provide a structured setting for students—and me—to work through the core concepts or problems raised by readings and lectures. One of the many highlights of the job came from the joy of watching my students become better writers and thinkers through feedback on assignments and office hours. As much as I’ve learned from Prof. Saran and the students, the interactions with members of the Philosophy Department (through weekly talks) have exposed me to different kinds of research, instructional design and pedagogies.”
MaryAnne Rodrigues, Teaching Assistant: “I am immensely grateful to have served as a Teaching Assistant for Professor Weltman for his Political Philosophy course and for Professor Rosenhagen for his Ashoka X Horizons course Philosophy 101: No Bakvas. The opportunity to serve as a Teaching Assistant has greatly enriched my philosophical education, inviting me to engage more meaningfully and rigorously with the subject and to hone my skills in reading closely and critically. Most crucially, I have gained a greater appreciation for our faculty and the careful consideration with which they design their courses. Learning Philosophy at Ashoka, both as a student and as a teaching assistant, has been intellectually challenging, personally rewarding and an absolute joy.”
Mukund Maithani, Teaching Assistant: “I remember looking up Ashoka’s Philosophy department during my first year. I wasn’t sure if I’d major in philosophy. Nonetheless, I’d thought that these philosophers, with Ph.D.s from cool places I’d heard about, seem to do cool kind of stuff (fast-forward to now: I think they do very cool kind of stuff)!
One of the reasons I ended up choosing philosophy was the faculty and the fun and learning they facilitated in my first couple of courses.
So TAing for the department and the professors was, as I’d expected, also a fun and learning experience. I was a TA for Prof. Martin’s Existentialism and Ethics in Spring ’21 and am currently TAing for Prof. Watson’s Introduction in Philosophy (Spring ’22). Working closely with professors and interacting with students as a TA taught me what sort of work goes on behind developing and running an undergrad-level course.
The experiences also helped me, among other things, in becoming better at handling logistical work and communicating effectively (in emails and various other instructions regarding the course and students’ queries) and being an empathetic listener. Being a TA, I had to make sure I engage deeply and regularly with the readings — a bit more than usual — so that I’m well-prepared for discussions with students. So, a good learning experience! Highly recommended.”
Nayancee Shrivastava, Teaching Assistant and Fellow both: “Teaching at the Department of Philosophy, Ashoka University, is a joyous experience. The role is one in which one is meant to assist, and learn from, instructors and students alike. I have had the good fortune of working closely with Professor Berry for her course Philosophy and Literature, and with Professor Raja for his course Symbolic Logic. Under their guidance and unfaltering support, I have learned to encourage discussions among students on the fundamentals of the subject matter as well as the front-running problems and puzzles of the fields. It has been my pleasure to interact with students who are so receptive to new concepts and complex ideas and who do justice to the excellent curriculum built by the faculty.”
Poorna Rathi, Teaching Assistant: “I got the opportunity to be a TA for Introduction to Philosophy with Professor Alex Watson. It’s been a wonderful experience. I got the chance to interact with students that were just being introduced to the beauties of doing Philosophy. It reminded me of my own experience as a first year student, and of why I was so fascinated by Philosophy.
Understanding the work that goes into designing a course has been very rewarding as well. Watching the effort and genuine interest Professor Watson invests in the course is really inspiring. As a first-year I looked up to my TAs and TFs, so getting the chance to actually be a TA was a very happy experience for me. I’m really grateful for all that I’ve learned while working as a TA. It’s been very enjoyable and engaging.”
Reetika Kalita, Teaching Assistant and Fellow both: “I’ve had the good fortune of being associated with the Philosophy Department at Ashoka University as a student as well as a teacher and my experience on both sides has been only exceptional. As a student I had the opportunity to study under what is undoubtedly the best faculty in Philosophy in the country and their consistent, unfailing support at each step. As a TA (for Metaphysics) and a Teaching Fellow (for Environmental Ethics, Indian Civilisations, and Philosophy of Love, also for Morality and the Good Life (YIF) and Love and Friendship (YIF)), I had the complete guidance of all my professors, and a wonderfully curious and excited bunch of students. The department is extremely active—there are always events to attend or classes to sit in on—and has been ever so welcoming to someone like me who has only just entered the world of Philosophy! I could not possibly have asked for a more stimulating environment to nurture my academic interests.”
Rohit Bhisikar, Teaching Assistant: “There have been numerous occasions where I have had to explain to people why I chose to study Philosophy. I always respond by saying that it was one of the most valuable decisions I have ever made. I owe a great deal of my accomplishments since my time at Ashoka University directly to the wonderful experiences and thorough training I had studying Philosophy at Ashoka. I also had the good fortune of being a TA for Professor Raja’s Philosophy of Love Course. The friendly environment gave me the confidence to experiment with my critical thinking skills and explore a variety of topics, which allowed me to discover my passion for various fields in philosophy.”
Saujanya Bharadwaj, Teaching Assistant: “The Philosophy department at Ashoka is home to some of the most serious thinkers. The opportunity to learn from and work with such Professors has been truly transformative. The academic rigor and clarity that one gains from engaging with the faculty is absolutely unmatched. But, undoubtedly, the most remarkable characteristic of the department is its culture of respect towards the ideas, interests and views of students. I’ve had the privilege of working as a Teaching Assistant with Professor Kostochka, as well as the opportunity to work on an independent study module with Professor Dixon, and their continued support and involvement have played a great role in my own academic journey. I am truly grateful for the chance to interact with such brilliant professors, as well as with some of the warmest, most enthusiastic students at Ashoka.”
Tarun Thapar, Teaching Fellow: “It has been an absolute privilege and pleasure to work at the Department of Philosophy at Ashoka. I have been a Teaching Fellow for two courses (Mind & Behaviour and Logic) with Prof. Snyder at the department. Prof. Snyder has exposed me to inventive, unique and stimulating ways of teaching that helps one create an open, trusting and inclusive classroom environment for students. One is given an optimum mix of freedom, opportunity and guidance in order to arrive at one’s own style of pedagogy that is unique to one’s skills and talents in planning and most effective and inclusive in its execution. The department here offers all the support one needs to fulfill the collective aim of delivering nothing less than the best. The students here are for sure the most inquisitive and clear & sharp thinkers among those I have taught before. Here, at the department, I have first hand experienced a real and genuine sense of collaboration among professors, TFs, TAs and students. All in all, a deeply satisfying and invigorating atmosphere for both teachers and learners alike.”