India in Global Perspective – sast1559-001 Faculty: Richard J. Cohen 136 New Cabell Hall Phone: 434-284-2168 (cell) Class Meeting Venue: 130 Monroe Hall Class Meeting Hours: tr 3: 30 – 4: 45

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India in Global Perspective – SAST1559-001
Faculty: Richard J. Cohen
136 New Cabell Hall
Phone: 434-284-2168 (cell)
Class Meeting Venue: 130 Monroe Hall
Class Meeting Hours: TR 3:30 – 4:45

The course will not be a conventional “introduction” to India which customarily emphasizes cultural history. Though there will be a short section at the beginning of the course that provides an overview of India’s history, we will quickly move, after just 4 class meetings, to the post-independence era, and focus in on the period since 1990, when India took dramatic steps to reform its economic policies and re-set its relationships with other world powers. India is the fourth largest economy, according to PPP index, currently the largest purchaser of military hardware, an established leader in information technology, off-shore business services, implementing aggressive domestic infrastructure projects, and much more. Students will be introduced to a wide range of initiatives taking place in a variety of public and privates sectors, and be encouraged through focused case studies to learn about opportunities for them to discover their own interests, such as studying in India with the UVa semester program (beginning Spring, 2016). Some of the lectures will be delivered by UVa faculty (A&S, Comm, Darden, Medical, Engineering, Darden) who have on-going engagement with India through their research. Through this course, students can begin to imagine in what ways they can take full advantage of a learning experience in India.
This course has a broad-based agenda. Firstly, as a "gateway" course to understanding India holistically, we will survey (quickly) the history of the "Indian" subcontinental region, also called "South Asia." Second on the agenda is to update the current situation(s) regarding the nation-state of India, particularly since the early 1990s, which begins the period of so-called "liberalization" of the Indian economy and related governmental controls and programs impacting the pace of overall development. To this end, a portion of the readings, plus special lectures from outside speakers will help us to understand the data. Third, two of our texts will explore the theory of modernity and globalization (Appadurai and Mazlish).
The conditions through which India's culture(s) are articulated and find expression more often than not challenge our understanding of what it is that constitutes modernity. Can we say at what point India, understood as the nation state of India, qualifies as a “super power” member of the evolving globalized world? India is basically a cultural composite of traditions. By definition, tradition and modernity are diametric opposites. Due to the fact that India, an ancient civilization, experienced a pernicious, destructive form of colonialism by the British, and is now changing exponentially and showing signs of regaining its earlier status as a "go to" global culture, India provides us an opportunity to test certain ideas, answers and solutions to current and future global crises. We will explore the extent to which the nation state remains a viable construct through which to produce laws that protect its citizens, to provide opportunities for the acquisition of education, jobs, build careers, prosper economically, maintain good health, live in a safe and secure environment. We will use what we learn about the Indian situation to engage a set of questions that have to do with the future not only of India, but indeed, humanity itself.

Requirements for the Class:

Attendance will be taken. Your presence in class is required.

Please do not use a laptop or other communication devices in class.

Bring a pad and pen/pencil to take notes.

Evaluation will be based on the following:

Attendance and Participation in Class (30% of final grade)
Participation in Forums on Collab (15% of final grade)
Four Quizzes (total of 40% of final grade)
Final Exam (15% of final grade)

Sample questions we will tackle along the way:
Can India Become a Super Power?
Why Is India the Most Interesting Country in the World?
Is India actually rich or poor?
Who constitutes the Indian Middle Class?
What will be the “reform” agenda of the newly elected BJP government?
What does Globalization mean to India, economically, politically and culturally?
Will India become a natural ally of the West, a geo-strategic counterweight to China and Russia?
Why do so many children of Indians who have succeeded in the West want to return
home, despite never having lived in India?
Why has India's Muslim population, the second largest on earth, resisted radicalization?

Texts to be acquired, available in the UVa Bookstore or elsewhere:
Trautmann, Thomas R., India: Brief History of a Civilization, Oxford University Press, 2011.

ISBN: 978-0199736324

Appadurai, Arjun, The Future as Cultural fact: Essays on the Global Condition, Verso, 2013. ISBN: 978-1-84467-982-9

Mazlish, Bruce, Reflections on the Modern and the Global, Transaction Publishers, 2014. 

ISBN: 978-1-4128-5184-8
Additional readings will be available on Collab.
Please note, there is no Practicum in this course. The SIS had been reporting a Practicum.
Partial List of UVa faculty and outside speakers to deliver a special lecture in class on the impact of globalization in India:
Geeta Patel, film, gender and society in India (UVa Middle Eastern & South Asian Languages & Cultures)

John Echeverri-Gent, rise of Hindu nationalism (UVa Politics)

Amar Cheema, Indian consumer economy UVa (McIntire)

Saras Sarasvathy,  entrepreneurship in India (UVa Darden)

Bellave Shivaram, science in India since 1980's (UVa Physics)
Anil Menon, Indian creative writing (novelist)

Phoebe Crisman, urban architecture and sustainability (UVa Architecture)

Peter Waldman, "India: Re-Centering Delhi- Urban Design Speculations for the river Yamuna," (UVa Architecture)


Jeff Legro, Indo-US relations, Vice-Provost, International Affairs (UVa Politics)

Sheetal Sekhri, Indian economic development and gender equality (UVa Economics)

Gargi Sen, documentary film maker (Magic Lantern Movies, Calcutta)

Govind Mohan, Minister for Economic Affairs, Embassy of India (Washington DC)

Videos to be discussed in class (more to be added):

Vinay Lal on “Academic Imperialism”

In this short 15 minute talk by Professor Vinay Lal (Historian, Director, South Asia Center, UCLA), at a conference at Al-Zahra University, Tehran, Iran in May, 2010, he makes us think about how writing of history and the nation-state are related, and how they are related to notions of “development,” ultimately how knowledge itself is a functional tool of politics.

Vinay Lal: The West Is No Longer “The Motor Of History”:

Part I:

Part II:

India’s Future” on Al Jazeera TV (May 31, 2014), a discussion of contemporary Indian politics and economics:

0 -- 14:48 minutes (stop at this point in the video)

Globalization and India’s Economic Development (2:38 minutes):

A short statement by Pankaj Mishra at the International Development Research Centre, Canada,

Noam Chomsky on definition of “What is Globalization?” Chomsky is the most influential linguist of the last half of the 20th century. However, he further developed into a commentator on world affairs, often taking the path of resistance against the norm.

Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, his speech at the Council on Foreign Relations (Sept 29, 2014), upon his first visit to the USA as the Indian Prime Minister:
“India’s Economy and US-India Relations”

Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley Discusses the Current Indian Budget

India's Policy Priorities Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a discussion held at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, DC, June 23, 2014:

Arjun Appadurai on Culture and Its Possible Impact (Feb 27, 2012), 6:39 minutes Forum d’Avignon
Forum d’Avignon 2010 Nov 16, 2010, 2:54 minutes

Session 1 Open Part 1 of 2: Arjun Appadurai (World Bank ?), Oct 27, 2011 on the “Public Sphere”: Part 1 Part 2

Arjun Appadurai – The Cosmopolitanism of the Urban Poor: An Example from Mumbai, India, Jan 14,2013, Universita degli Studi di Milano – Bicocca, 55:40 minutes “Cosmopolitanism from Below” Meeting

Arjun Appadurai on the PUKAR Foundation, a foundation he helped start in Mumbai, India to help the conditions of slum dwellers:

Oct 16, 2010, 6:31 minutes

Arjun Appadurai at Univ. of Hyderabad, speaking about the “nation state.”, 5:10 minutes.

Ashish Nandy, Resisting Hegemony:

The genetically modified food debate in India and the future of Indian agriculture:

Interview of Pankaj Mishra concerning his book, From the Ruins of Empire: The Revolt Against the West and the Remaking of Asia:

Impact of Globalization on Developing Countries and India” by Chandrasekharan Balakrishnan:
For January 20th, 22nd, 27th and 29th, we will discuss the content of Thomas Trautmann’s Brief History of a Civilization, in order to set up a firm ground upon which to base our understanding of contemporary India, that is, how did India get from 3000 BC to 2015 as a mostly “unified” diversity of cultures. What is it that is “Indian” in Indian culture? The answer to this question will help identify problems and possibilities for change in Indian society and the economy, even predict how the future may develop as India opens itself up to the world of competing economic and social trends.

We will discuss the following article on February 3rd:

Rahul Mukherji,”Ideas, Interests, and the Tipping Point: Economic Change in India,” in Review of International Political Economy, Vol. 20, No.2 (April 2013), pp 363 – 389.

This paper makes the case for a 'tipping point' model for understanding economic change in India. This gradual and largely endogenously driven path calls for the simultaneous consideration of ideas and politics. Exogenous shocks affected economic policy, but did not determine the course of economic history in India. India's developmental model evolved out of new ideas Indian technocrats developed based on events they observed in India and other parts of the world. A historical case for the 'tipping point' model is made by comparing two severe balance of payments crises India faced in 1966 and 1991. In 1966, when the weight of ideas and politics in India favored state-led import substitution, Washington could not coerce New Delhi to accept deregulation and globalization. In 1991, on the other hand, when Indian technocrats' ideas favoured deregulation and globalization, the executive-technocratic team engineered a silent revolution in the policy paradigm. New Delhi engaged constructively with Washington, making a virtue of the necessity of IMF conditions, and implemented a home-grown reform program that laid the foundations for rapid economic growth in world's most populous and tumultuous democracy.

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