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A Brief History of the Department


The discipline of Philosophy has the distinction of being one of the earliest disciplines when the University of Jaffna was established in Jaffna. In fact, the Department of Philosophy started functioning in August 1975 with two temporary Assistant Lecturers, namely Mr.V.Kulasena and the late Mr.S.Krishnarajah, Dr.A.D.Kalansuriya, the late Dr.V.Ramakrishnan and Mr.S.V.Kashyananthan helped the Department as Visiting Lecturers. In the early period, the Department offered the opportunity to read Philosophy as a subject for the General Degree. Since then the Department continued to provide courses for the General Degree and foundation lectures in Logic and Scientific Method for the first year students.
The Special Degree course in Philosophy was started in October 1980. The late Dr.V.Ramakrishnan was then the head of the Department of Philosophy. While imparting knowledge in other areas of philosophy, the Department has attempted to establish itself as a center for the study of Indian thoughts in general and SaivaSiddhanta in particular. The late Dr.V.Ramakrishnan resigned from his post in 1984. During the latter part of 1983, the late Dr.S.Krishnarajah took over the headship after completing his Ph. D Degree in Moscow with his Ph. D Thesis “Karl Popper’s methodology of social knowledge – A critical analysis”. Mr. M.S.Anes and Mr. N.Gnanakumaran completed their Master of Arts degrees in 1983. Their titles of dissertation respectively were “Islam and Marxist Ethics” and “Concept of Maya and theory of perception in Vedanta” respectively. Mr.M.S.Anes , Lecturer, resigned his post in 1986. Dr.N.Gnanakumaran resumed duties in 1987 after successfully completing his PhD Degree on “Maya: fact or fiction”. The Programmes of study for the special and general degrees of the Department of Philosophy were revised by the late Dr.S.Krishnarajah and Dr.N.Gnanakumaran in 1990. Mr.K.Sivanathamoorthy was inducted as Senior Lecturer for Philosophy in 1991. Following this, the Department provided facilities to students reading Philosophy to specialize either in SaivaSiddhanta or in general Philosophy. Establishment of the Philosophical Society was also a notable event in that year. Dr.N.Gnanakumaran went to Uppsala University, Sweden, on a fellowship for six months on sabbatical leave in December 1993.
However all the activities including teaching came to a halt  in October 1995 owing to mass displacement and exodus. The assets of the Department and some valuable research material of the staff members such as notes and books were missing and hence teaching and research were greatly affected. The lateDr.S.Krishnarajah got his Associate Professorship in 1995 and went to the Eastern University on sabbatical leave for two years. Dr.N.Gnanakumaran also received associate professorship in 1996 and assumed the headship of the Department of Philosophy and later resigned in October 1997 from the headship of Department of Fine Arts that he previously held. The Department of Philosophy conducted an Undergraduate course leading to General and Special Arts degrees and provided guidance and supervision for post-graduate studies in M.A., M. Phil and Ph. D Degrees.
The Department of philosophy also introduced Psychology as a subject for the first year students from 1998 onwards. The U.G.C. has decided to allow students to follow Hindu philosophy as a new discipline for general and special degrees. Consequently, the existing “B” Syllabus of the Department of Philosophy was withdrawn with a view to remodeling it to accommodate the course in Hindu philosophy. The said syllabus for general and special degrees was drafted jointly by Prof. N.Gnanakumaran and Prof. P. Gopalakrishna Iyar of the Department of Hindu Civilization. Resource persons for teaching courses in Hindu philosophy were made available from the Department of Philosophy and the Department of Hindu Civilization.
In addition, the Department of Philosophy also offered Special and General Degree programmes for Psychology. A comprehensive syllabus was drafted and implemented in 1997. The Department of Philosophy revised its own syllabus too. Mr.Anton Dias was appointed as a Lecturer in Philosophy in 1996. The late Prof. S.Krishnarajah was on sabbatical leave from 1997 to 1999. The first batch of Psychology special students (eleven in number) completed their course in 2002. Mr.K.Kajavinthan was appointed as a Lecturer in Psychology in 2004. He went to the Bharathiyar University in India to pursue a Ph. D programme on ‘Getting adolescents undepressed : An efficacy study of group cbt intervention in Jaffna –Sri Lanka and Coimbatore’ during 2007-2010.
There were two Associate Professors and one Senior Lecturer (Gr. 1) and a Lecturer (Probation) in the Department Staff in 1996. Prof.N.Gnanakumaran was awarded a Fulbright fellowship to Arizona University in the United States of America from 2007-2008. Thereafter, he worked as a researcher in the University of Greenwich, United Kingdom. Miss ApiramiSrivigneswara joined the Psychology discipline in 2006. The late Prof. S Krishnarajah served as the Dean of the Arts Faculty from Sept. 2007 until his demise in May 2009. Prof.N.Gnanakumaran was elected as the Dean of the Arts Faculty from July 2009 to June 2012. Mr. Anton Dias gave his resignation from the post of Senior Lecturer in 2012 when he left the country. Mr. N.Sivakaran was inducted to the discipline of Philosophy in 2010 and Miss. V.Menaka too joined the discipline of Psychology in 2011. Later, Prof. N.Gnanakumaran was promoted to the post of Senior Professor in Philosophy in 2012.
The Department of Philosophy has a student union which is called the Philosophical Association. It publishes a student journal called ‘Dharshana’. The ‘Psychological welfare center’ of the students of the Department organized several functions in the University recently. They organized a number of exhibitions and seminars of an academic nature. They released a magazine called ‘mental Health’ a short film in 2014.

Head

Dr.K.Kajavinthan

B.A. (Hons), M.A, M.Phil., Ph.D.(India)
Senior Lecturer-Gr. II

email: kajavinthan@gmail.com

Former Heads

Prof.Dr.N.Gnanakumaran
Dr. K. Kajavinthan
Prof. K. Sivanandamoorthy
Prof. N. Gnanakumaran
Mr. K. Anton Dias

 

Contacts:

Head,

Dept. of Philosophy,

Faculty of Arts,

University of Jaffna,

Thirunelvely,

Jaffna, Sri Lanka.

 

TP: (+94) 021 222 7422

Email:  philosophy at jfn.ac.lk

© 2017 Faculty of Arts, University of Jaffna.

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