Modern South Asian History
South Asia and its Seas and Oceans have long been locked together in an historical system that stretches back centuries. The modern nation states being of recent vintage, they do not provide an accurate unit of analysis for such key historical and social processes as colonialism, nationalism, partition, state formation, democracy development, religious identities, and relations between Asia and the West. This course will focus on these key processes.
History of Science
The course aims to give a critical view of the Scientific Revolution of the 17th century to the students, through understanding of the institutions, the psychology of the scientific intellectuals, the contributions of common innovators forgotten down the history, and the ways in which external socio-economic factors influenced not just technical instruments and choices of topic of scientific enquiry but even the internal process of theory building in science.
Inequality & Society
All societies have had to deal with some or more forms of inequality, whether of class, gender, race, ethnicity or otherwise. At the same time, rising inequality is a feature of our world today, even as technologies become more modern and globalization proceeds apace. Students need to engage with different structures of inequality in India and globally — cultural, economic, historical — in order to hone better social and policy-based solutions to inequality.
Contemporary society is heavily driven by digital technology. The internet, and devices to access the net are a ubiquitous part of daily lives. In fact a significant portion of our lives are “digital”. Notably. automation, and, now, artificial intelligence have changed the way work is organized and employment is generated. The functioning of the society and the economy heavily depend upon data, especially that which is extracted from consumers and users. Communication technologies such as messaging apps and social media platforms affect lived experiences and most significantly impact the way democracy functions. This course attempts to explore these facets of our personal and professional lives.
Analytical Reading & Writing
The course will centre on the idea of acquiring good writing skills through the cultivation of attentive reading habits. A large part of why good writing (whether creative or technical) doesn’t happen is because students, when reading, do not attend closely to writing that has been executed well, its mechanics, its respect for grammar and composition, its logical construction and coherence. Here we will delve into how to develop one’s own writing skills through close observation of stories, essays, articles and passages that can be held up as examples of good writing, and through detection and analysis of the attributes that make them so. This will be followed up with writing assignments / exercises in which students will need to deploy the attributes in question. In-class exercises will form a sizeable chunk of the course. Additionally, we will invite established authors to present their views on how they go about the process of writing that appeals.