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India: Field Study of Development Issues
This faculty-assisted field course enables participants to experience the vitality of contemporary India, its rapid economic development, its social pluralism and inequalities, and elements of its heritage and cultural traditions. Emphasis will be placed on debating current social and urban development issues, on the sensory dimensions of environments, on ceremonies and historic sites, and on documenting experiences through travel writing and photography.
It is assumed that most participants will have done some pertinent coursework on India or on international development issues, but others with good academic records may be accepted if they can show evidence of interest in social and environmental justice issues, intercultural awareness, prior travel, or a background in South Asian studies.
Students will earn 3 credits for three weeks of full-time study, with possibilities of doing additional credits through an Independent Study project after returning to the United States. At UAlbany, the course is equivalent to Globalization Studies 366.
Faculty Lead: Professor Ray Bromley (University at Albany, SUNY), a specialist in Urban and Regional Planning and International Development Studies.
• Delhi: December 29th - 31st
• Agra: Jan. 1st - 2nd
• Gauribidnur: Jan 3rd-6th
• Bangalore: Jan 7th-10th
• Mysore: Jan 11th
• Ooty: Jan 12th - 13th
• Bangalore: Jan 14th - 16th
• Return to US: Jan 17th
Visiting India is a very powerful experience, filled with extraordinary sights, sounds, tastes and variety. Tremendous economic dynamism is combined with great social inequalities, religious and cultural pluralism, and mass poverty. Course participants will visit two of India's principal cities, several world famous historical sites, major religious sites of at least six world religions, a great variety of urban neighborhoods, and a couple of rural communities. Emphasis will be placed on the sensory experiences of visiting, observing and walking, and on documenting experiences through travel writing and photography.
The primary issues to be discussed during the course are:
- Economic Development: Factors underlying India's recent rapid development, and its social and environmental consequences;
- Social Diversity: The dynamics of India's religious, ethnic, linguistic and cultural pluralism, including gender, caste and social class relations.
- Governance: The success and limitations of Indian democracy and federalism. The causes and consequences of partition, and challenges to the current system.
- Urban Development: The rapid growth of India's cities, their architecture, streetlife and urban design, and the challenge of generating infrastructure, jobs, housing and community services for a rapidly expanding population.
- Heritage: The significance of India's ancient cultures and civilizations, British colonial legacies, and the impact of India's long history on contemporary society and culture.
In consultation with the Instructor, students will undertake some small and highly informal group projects, for example:
• Visiting a city park, historic site or temple complex and observing the variety of activities there.
• Walking the same street at different times of the day and night, and observing the variety of vendors that sell on the street and how the composition of the vendor population changes.
These projects are intended to help students develop their powers of observation, and to begin to ask more questions about why things are the way they are, what changes are taking place, and whether more changes are desirable.
Students will prepare course e-portfolios and submit them a few days after their return to the United States. These portfolios will include diary entries, photographs, reference to pertinent websites and information sources, and the results of group work projects on topics selected by agreement between the students and the instructor.
Students will also be evaluated on the basis of their overall course participation: attendance, interest, enthusiasm, and increase in knowledge during the period in India. The credits and grades for your program will be assigned in accordance with University at Albany policies.
General Education Information for UAlbany students: credits earned on this program will automatically satisfy the International Perspectives requirement. No additional approval is required for you to earn these General Education credits. You may file a request to have additional courses approved.
UAlbany hosts a general orientation session on campus during the semester prior to participation on the program.
UAlbany staff are available throughout the year to assist students and their parents. The UAlbany faculty member accompanying students will serve as an experienced resource for solving problems for students while overseas.
All housing will be pre-arranged by UAlbany's Office of International Education.
CIA Factbook India
State Department's site on India
Indian Government's site
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