This course will deploy five recent controversies in India to delve in some detail into Indian society and polity. Using these controversies as launch-pads, we will discuss in some detail issues of gender, social and class based inequality in India; the question of environment versus development; and the rise the Indian middle-classes and new religious sensibilities. Overall, this course will open up a unique perspective on contemporary India—one where India’s recently adopted neo-liberal path of progress will be critically examined through specific examples and case studies. The course will deploy an interdisciplinary methodology, drawing upon scholarship from a variety of disciplines such as History, Anthropology, Sociology, and Cultural Studies, to inculcate a nuanced understanding of contemporary burning issues in Indian society. It will also encourage students to familiarize themselves with current forms of cultural, literary, and political expression in India, including newspapers, journals, fiction-writing, cinema, television, popular art, the concert space, and quasi-academic blogs.
While there are no enforced prerequisites, some kind of an academic familiarity with Indian history and politics will be desirable. Please note that this is a discussion-based course that requires you to engage with the readings, and write analytical essays.
Evaluation will be based upon quizzes, essays, group presentations, and a demonstrated interest in and familiarity with weekly reading assignments. For more information, please contact the instructor at email@example.com.
This course will appeal to students who wish to familiarize themselves with rapid transformations in social, political, and cultural spheres in India. It is a case-by-case study of how a traditional society responds to the forces of modernity.
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