Systematic study of specialized subject matter. Topics for each quarter vary, depending upon current interest and needs, and are announced in the preceding quarter.
Since 2009, for the first time in the known history of the human race, the global urban population has overtaken rural population, and this trend is likely to continue for at least the next four decades. Further, this growth is mainly happening in the developing world, especially in countries like India and China, which have a high growth rate both in terms of their GDP and population. Some scholars have hailed this to be the century of the Asian city. With one-fifth of the world’s population, South Asia and its cities today play a vital role in global economic processes that result in far-reaching fundamental changes within both the subcontinent and the world. Aspiring to be ‘global cities’, cities in South Asia are home to some of the richest businessmen in the world, as well as a rapidly growing middle class. At the same time, the very same cities are notorious for their vast slums or informal settlements with large numbers of people living in deplorable conditions without access to basic sanitations and services. This interdisciplinary course will examine key topics and themes, in the study of urbanization in South Asia in the context of rapid historical change and incorporate research drawn from urban studies, architecture, political science, and history. Topics will include but not be limited to, the history of urbanization and the city in South Asia; population growth, demographic shifts, changes in the built environment; informal settlements and urbanism; globalization and the new socio-economic dynamics in South Asia; the rise of the new urban middle class; urban political formations, democratic institutions, and practices; everyday life and differences in South Asia's urban environments. This is an introductory level course appropriate for students with no background in South Asia or for those seeking to better understand South Asia's urban environments in the context of recent globalization and rapid historical changes. Class sessions will involve interactive lectures based on assigned readings, with students primarily reading selected texts outside of class and writing short response papers.
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