South Asian Studies Programme, National University of Singapore (Winter 2019/2020)
SN3232 South Asian Development: Ideas, Issues, Debates (Undergraduate seminar)
South Asia is a region of anomalies – it houses the world’s largest democracy and some of the world’s intractable hotspots; populations range from 1.3 billion to less than a million; economies that feature in the G-20 and among the most underdeveloped. Of late, South Asia’s importance to global affairs has risen with India’s ascent and the region’s strategic location, between Africa and East Asia, drawing interest from major powers alike. Yet, in terms of economic development, the region holds some of the world’s poorest countries and citizens. Why has development been so uneven and inconsistent in South Asia? This course will introduce students to South Asia with an emphasis on economic development, unpacking and analyzing the processes that affect and shape the economic well-being of nations in the region. The course will begin by situating the region’s development within a longer historical context marked by the end of colonial rule and the onset of the cold war. Then we will tackle ways through which states have tried to improve economic conditions with a focus on the state and the market. The module will then cover issues like climate change, gender, violence, migration and technology that have traditionally been relegated to the margins in the study of development in South Asia but now have special, perhaps unique, relevance and importance to South Asia’s future(s).