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IDSEMUG 1555 - Imagining India: From The Colonial to the Global

India is a crucial site for discussions about globalization within the US and beyond. While some discourses fearfully worry about the loss of American jobs to outsourcing within India, other discourses herald “India Rising” to take its place among powerful global players. Drawing on an interdisciplinary set of readings about India, this course explores how the liberalization of the Indian economy and the forces of globalization are transforming the fraught and difficult emergence, out of colonial domination, of the nation-state of India. First, we explore a variety of pre-colonial and colonial imaginings of South Asia and examine politicized assertions of a unified Indian identity during the anti-colonial nationalist movement. Here, nation is not only a political entity, but also a cultural project that re-shapes ideas of self, religion, community, region, family, gender and kinship. The post-independence period is explored through writings on the Partition that created India and Pakistan, “development” as a key concept that has been central to nation-building, and struggles around caste, gender, sexuality, tribal identity, environment, region and religion. How the state contends with majority and minority identities and claims, the complexities of secularism, notions of equality and difference, all in the context of vibrant social movements and a large NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) sector will enable an in-depth exploration of how democracy, as idea and practice, happens in India. Having explored the cultural and political project of modern nation-state formation within India, we will then explore how globalization is transforming politics, economy and culture. Readings include: Ronald Inden’s Imagining India, Amitav Ghosh on the Indian Ocean World, Modern South Asia: History, Culture, Political Economy by Sugata Bose and Ayesha Jalal, the writings of Gandhi, Nehru, and Amdedkar, subaltern studies collective writings on nationalism in India, The Nation and its Fragments by Partha Chatterjee, Manu Joseph’s Serious Men, Menon and Bhasin’s Borders and Boundaries: Women in India’s Partition and India’s New Middle Class: Democratic Politics in an Era of Economic Reform by Leela Fernandes. Add Consent: Department Consent Required.
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