Indian Democracy in Motion

Housed in Ashoka University, an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research university with a focus on liberal arts, this seminar will cover how the Indian democratic experience is unsettling identities, unleashing new forms of mobilization and transforming the meaning of citizenship as Indians experience it.

Indian Democracy in Motion
The Swani Family Global Seminar

July 1 August 9, 2019
Ashoka University, Sonipat

Pratap Bhanu Mehta, vice chancellor, Ashoka University

Many political scientists have described India as an “unlikely democracy.” As Tocqueville argued, democracy, in principle, transforms all the other social forms it touches, from religion to intermediate associations.

This seminar will examine the ways in which the workings of Indian democracy have shaped and transformed the meaning of five institutional formations: constitutionalism, religion, the economy, caste and the city. The aim is not to provide a conventional or comprehensive overview of Indian democracy. It is rather to provide snapshots into the ways in which the Indian democratic experience is unsettling identities, unleashing new forms of mobilization and, in the process, transforming the meaning of citizenship as Indians experience it.

Weekly excursions within and around Delhi include sites that are the focus of new forms of religious mobilization, a gram sabha (to experience the workings of village democracy) and, possibly, the Supreme Court of India, as well as an immersive field visit to explore democracy and the politics of slum redevelopment. Two weekend trips — one to Agra and the Taj Mahal, and another to the Himalayan foothills in the north — will complement the academic program.

This seminar fulfills the social analysis (SA) requirement.

Course Fee: $6,150

Includes all housing, required course excursions, related academic expenses, visas, estimated personal meals and estimated airfare ($1,900). World Travel, the University travel agency, will book all participants’ flights. Details on the required booking process will be provided by seminar administrators.

All participants should budget an additional $500 for personal expenses and be prepared to cover costs of required and routine immunizations (estimated $250) as recommended by University Health Services. The immunization costs are covered in full for students enrolled in the University’s Student Health Plan. For students covered by families’ health insurance or other insurance plans, the associated costs will vary. International phone plans are highly recommended for all students.

Financial Aid

Students accepted into a Global Seminar and receive term financial aid automatically receive funding toward the course fee and personal meals based on the level of term aid. Possibilities for additional financial support may be available through the Student Activities Funding Engine (SAFE). Princeton subsidized Student Loans, available from the Office of Financial Aid, are also highly recommended. Contact the Office of Financial Aid for more information.

Students who accept a place in a Global Seminar and then, before the seminar begins, withdraw or cannot participate because they are no longer enrolled at Princeton will lose the nonrefundable deposit and any unrecoverable costs. There are no refunds after the start of the program.

This seminar is generously supported by the Swani Family Global Seminar Fund. PIIRS Global Seminars are also made possible in part by the generous contributions of alumni and friends and ongoing efforts of the Office of Development.

Questions? Contact Karen Koller, Institute and Finance Manager.