South Asian Studies Programme, National University of Singapore

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).

SN2233 – Globalizing India: The Politics of Economic Change

This module will discuss how India ‘globalized’ over the last thirty years (1980-2010) by unpacking the politics that drove economic liberalization in the mid-1980s and the consequences of these policy changes on specific issues like finance, trade, information technology, health, ideas and culture, energy, environment and development assistance. Before exploring these issues, the module will begin by unpacking the concept of Globalization, it’s different meanings and manifestations and how it is measured. Then the module will cover India’s economic history before liberalization in the 1980s to better grasp the conditions necessitating reforms. The core of the module involves exploring the effects produced by India’s embrace of globalization on specific issues that will allow us to sketch the economic and political transformations India has made since 1980. Globalization has brought record growth rates to India but has also produced uneven development in areas like health, education, environment and industrialization. Insecurity and violence has gone up. Gender discrimination is high. Inequality is at record levels. How does one make sense of how India ‘globalized’? Students are encouraged to think about the linkages between politics and economics in shaping India’s economic policies and its concomitant effects.

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