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India: An Introduction to Contemporary Indian Politics

This seminar will introduce students to the politics of India: What does it mean to be democratic in a poor country with diverse identities of language, gender, caste, class and religion and how has India balanced economic growth with equity?

GLS 339/SAS 339

An Introduction to Contemporary Indian Politics

A Swani Family Global Seminar

Ashoka University, Sonipat, India
July 4 - August 12, 2022

Vinay Sitapati, associate professor of political science and legal studies, Ashoka University

Robert Phillips, lecturer in Hindu/Urdu, Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies

This course fulfills the Social Analysis (SA) general education requirement, as well as a course for the certificate in South Asian studies

This seminar will introduce students to the politics of India: What does it mean to be democratic in a poor country with diverse identities of language, gender, caste, class, and religion, and how has India balanced economic growth with equity?

In order to familiarise students with facts and details, the first half of the course is structured as chronological history, beginning with the colonial period (1757 to 1947), before studying the eras of Jawaharlal Nehru (1947 to 64), Indira Gandhi (1965 to 1984) and the contemporary period (1985 to 2014). The second half of the course are organised around concepts: the state, democracy and parties, identity and ethnicity, regional politics, and social movements. The final sessions will focus on the Narendra Modi era (2014 to present), applying what has been learned in the course to the present day. 

This course will also feature weekly excursions to sites such as government offices and courts. In addition to the seminar meetings, students will be required to attend a Hindi language course that will complement the content of the seminar with conversational tools, and an introduction to Indian culture.

PIIRS Global Seminars are made possible in part by the generous contributions of alumni and friends and ongoing efforts by University Advancement.

The Global Seminars will take place in-person and in-country in summer 2022, however, in-country seminars will be contingent on a number of factors including University travel guidelines, government travel restrictions and public health advice. Please direct questions to Sam Evans, program manager.