Course Overview & Objectives

Contemporary India is a country of contradictions, with some of the world’s richest and poorest sharing the same space and the most vibrant democratic practices co-existing with feudal, casteist and religious ones. In this context, the objective of this course is to look at some of the key emerging and ongoing developments that shape lives, livelihoods, and possibilities for change in India.

Using an interdisciplinary approach this course will help students gain a deeper understanding of the interacting dynamics of culture, gender, race and class; biophysical factors, such as climate, population and natural resources; and economic and political processes – all of which have led to the present day changing social inequalities in India. This course will also examine the powerful but problematic ways in which India is represented, and the values which underpin these conceptions and images; explore how India is shaping, and being shaped by global economic, political, and cultural processes; look at the impact these have on people’s lives and identities, from consumption and home-making, to work and local politics; assess the possibilities and limitations of development strategies, whether directed by the state, the market or non-governmental institutions and finally challenge existing ways of thinking about globalization.