Est. 1949-50

A Journey in Time and Legacy


The Department of Sociology and Anthropology was established at St. Xavier’s College (then, Bombay) as a personal initiative by distinguished priests in an effort to systematically study various aspects of Indian society. Along with the sesquicentennial celebration of the College, the Department celebrated its seventieth anniversary in the College. This essay chronicles the journey of the Department through its eminent faculty members while also acknowledging their contributions to the College and society at large.


In June 1949, Rev. Fr. Pascual Gisbert (S.J.) introduced lectures in sociology. He was assisted by Rev. Fr. Stephen Fuchs (S.V.D.) who began taking lectures in anthropology in 1950. Subsequently, the first batch of Sociology and Anthropology students appeared for the Bachelor of Arts examination in 1953.

Rev. Fr. Pascual Gisbert (S.J.) was thus instrumental in introducing Sociology as a distinctive discipline at the graduate level in 1949. For two decades, he enthusiastically steered the Sociology Department towards growth and success. He returned to Spain in 1970. Fr. Gisbert was of the opinion that knowledge should be practical. In an attempt to apply Sociology to the organizational needs of society he started The St. Xavier’s Social Institute of Industry in 1963. The aim was to train personnel managers to function in the nascent industries of our country. This institute is now known as the St. Xavier’s Institute of Management and Research. Fr. Gisbert also established the Sociology Academy as an association attached to the department to promote co-curricular and extra-curricular activities for the students of Sociology, Anthropology and other allied disciplines.

Rev. Fr. Stephen Fuchs (S.V.D.) was the pioneer of anthropological studies in our college. After completing his Ph.D. from the Anthropos Institute (Vienna), he came to India and began his career at St. Xavier’s College in 1950. His extensive interactions and research with various autochthon groups in Madhya Pradesh were the driving force behind his life-long engagement with Anthropology. He started a branch of the Anthropos Institute in Bombay which has now been renamed as Institute of Indian Culture (IIC, Mumbai). The IIC has been recognized by the University of Mumbai as a postgraduate research centre. Although Fr. Fuchs’ association with the Department was a short-lived one, he was instrumental in laying the foundation of undergraduate training in Cultural Anthropology in our college.