Students and Classes


FALL 2017 
ETHN 141 GANDHI IN THE MODERN WORLD: Martin Luther King was inspired by Gandhi, but in his own time, Gandhi was as controversial as he was revered. Non-violence was not widely accepted as a form of political protest. This course explores Gandhi’s complex legacy of non-violence for peoples and places embroiled in conflict. (syllabus) K. Visweswaran
WINTER 2018 
ECON 164 THE INDIAN ECONOMY: India is home to over 1.3 billion people and over a sixth of the world’s population. It is also a nation of contradictions – being one of the fastest growing large economies in the world and home to the largest number of poor people in the world at the same time. It is also increasingly a country that matters for the rest of the world – both as a producer and as a consumer of private goods and services as well as global public goods (including security, disease control, and mitigating climate change).

Thus, India matters both intrinsically and for the world, and there is growing interest in understanding it better.This (new) course aims to provide an introduction to the Indian Economy and some of the key policy challenges and choices for the country. This is an upper division economics course, and so each topic will feature theoretical and empirical economic research to better understand the relevant issues and evidence. Ten weeks is a short time and so the course will be broad rather than deep, but I will be happy to suggest additional readings on specific topics of interest to students.
K. Muralidharan


ANSC 165  CONTEMPORARY SOUTH ASIA: As an advanced introduction to South Asia, this course will trace the central concepts that have come to define South Asia in anthropological literature. Everyday rhythms of life in contemporary South Asia will be explored through public culture and peoples’ struggle to access resources. The course, through an engagement with literature and film, will foreground the history of construction of South Asia as an object of study and as a geographical region with a shared past, present, and future. The goal of this course is to give students a better understanding of the socio-cultural milieu of a region that is home to a quarter of the world’s population. A. Kurian
Global Seminar Session II MEDICINE AND HEALING IN SOUTH ASIA: This course introduces students to the field of medical anthropology as it pertains to South Asia. This course will be divided into two parts. First, we will analyze how religious, cultural, political and economic structures impact health and wellbeing. Second, we will look at ethnomedicine, that is, how local systems of healing provide alternative ideas of illness and health, such as medical pluralism and Ayurveda. Since this is a global seminar, we are in the unique position to combine our in-class learning with field experiences and visits with experts in the field; this will include people who are working in the fields of global health, public health, and/or with alternative medical systems, such as Ayurveda. S. Varma
Global Seminar Session II DEVELOPMENT, HUMAN RIGHTS, AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IN INDIA: Professor Nancy Postero will teach two courses connected to themes that are relevant to the Dalai Lama’s teachings and her own interest in human rights and environmental justice. The program will be divided into three parts, an orientation in New Delhi, a service learning project coordinated by Amrita University in Kerala Province in southern India, and a final week of lectures and excursions to understand Tibetan culture in Dharamsala. This program is appropriate for anthropology majors and minors who would like to learn about the roots of inequality in rural India and consider the effectiveness of past and current development strategies. N. Postero
Global Seminar Session II CLIMATE CHANGE AND GLOBAL HEALTH IN INDIA: Professor Tarik Benmarhnia will teach two courses connected to themes that are relevant to the Dalai Lama’s teachings and his own research in climate change and public health. The program will be divided into three parts, an orientation in New Delhi, a service learning project coordinated by Amrita University in Kerala Province in southern India, and a final week of lectures and excursions to understand Tibetan culture in Dharamsala. This program is appropriate for all students interested in environmental studies, as well as public health majors and minors who would like to learn about the connections between health policy and climate change. T. Benmarhnia
INTL 190 THE PARTITION OF BRITISH INDIA: This course will attempt to provide an understanding of the partition of British India in August 1947 from the perspective of economics, demography, history, literature and film. Through these different perspectives, the course will provide a broad understanding of some of the facts about this momentous event in world and South Asian history and also address how these facts are remembered and interpreted in popular culture through literature and film. P. Bharadwaj
COMM 106i INTERNET INDUSTRIESApple, Google, and Amazon are all businesses emblematic of the internet industries and the forms of social life, media circulation, and data work they make possible. This class examines the claims made about these industries, the realities of the industries’ workings, and what the differences between the claims and the reality mean for us. How do the internet industries rewire our everyday lives: the way we socialize, the way work, the ways we resist these circumstances? Students will learn how to analyze how industry structures shape social experiences by paying attention to economics, interface, and representations. L. Irani
HDP 133 SOCIO-CULTURAL FOUNDATIONS OF DEVELOPMENTWelcome! Being a child anywhere involves living in a cultural world; becoming an adult and growing old anywhere involves the challenges of living in a cultural world.The capacity to integrate social and cultural factors in human development is a large part of what makes us human..This course provides an expansive overview of the social and cultural foundations of human development.It is a complement to HDP courses that focus on development of the brain and cognition. It explores the ways human development is a bio-social-cultural process—a process that always occurs in a cultural context, shaped by the social life and cultural history of the social group into which the child is born.The course will focus on sociocultural aspects of the life course and developmental change from conception through adulthood and late life. S. Parish
ETHN 106 LIFE, DEATH, AND THE HUMAN: This course provides a comparative and relational survey of some of the global and historical contexts in which life and death become sites of political significance, ranging from ways they may reveal dehumanizing circumstances to the expression of revolutionary social politics. We examine these contexts, including life under colonization, the commodification of the human body, and the legal and cultural invisibility of some lives, with an interdisciplinary approach which pairs readings in western philosophy, medical anthropology, history, postcolonial theory, and anthropology with film and fiction. The goal of this course is to trouble the idea of a universally understood category of ‘humanity,’ specifically the idea that humanity and its protections are evenly accessible across differing historical and material contexts. Instead, we can approach the conditions of life and death as revealing important aspects of the politics and economics involved in who gets to live a fully ‘human’ life. Students are encouraged to approach the films and novels on the syllabus with the same rigor as scholarly texts, and to identify conversations between the topics assigned each week, as well as within one given week’s readings. K. Vora
ETHN 142 RACE, MEDICINE, AND GLOBAL INEQUALITY: This course examines how race has functioned as an organizing principle in the social life of health and disease in the 19th and 20th centuries in the US and transnationally. Beginning with a critical look at scientific and medical “objectivity,” we will trace the ways in which the intersections of race, disease and health have shaped and been shaped by larger social and historical processes, including colonization, settlement, immigration, labor exploitation, imperialism and globalization. In doing so, we will explore how race has served as an organizing principle in the formation of medical knowledge, and how race informs the practice of medicine and medical technologies. As we explore how race in its intersection with categories of gender, sexuality, class, nation, and ability, affects both the unequal distribution of disease and unequal access to medical treatment, we will also consider the human rights and social justice consequences of these phenomena. K. Vora