Fall 2017

Theory and Practice of Citizenship in India

Listed in: Political Science, as POSC-328

Moodle site: Course



[SC] India’s short democratic history is characterized by lofty ideals, several unmet promises, and significant achievements, too. Even though it was a young nation-state in 1950, its Republican Constitution embraced the principles of citizenship and fraternity and, at one stroke, sought to transport India from “tradition” to “modernity.” Yet, cultural and economic forces do not allow matters to be so easily and neatly resolved. At the empirical level, caste and ethnic assertions, as well as rural activism and anti-poverty schemes, together, describe much of India’s polity today. Consequently, an empirical appreciation of these aspects will merit most attention in this course

At the same time, we must remember that India’s democracy has repeatedly been tested, in theory and practice. On a number of occasions, circumstances have compelled it to confront deep issues of justice, representation, and public welfare. While India, with its many criss-crossing cultures and stark poverty, tempts one to lean towards “exceptionalism,” here we shall plot an alternate route. This course will scrutinise India’s tumultuous, often raucous, politics to refine and strengthen our conceptual understanding of democracy and citizenship. If you are a theoretically inclined social scientist, the study of India has much to offer.

Requisite: Prior coursework on comparative politics or political theory is preferred but not essential. Not open to first-year students. Limited to 20 students. Fall semester. Karl Loewenstein Fellow and Visiting Professor Gupta.

If Overenrolled: Priority will be given to Political Science majors and to students who have demonstrated an interest in doing research on India.


Attention to Speaking, Attention to Writing


2020-21: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2017