Indian Elections and the Media

Indian elections are among the most logistically challenging state-led exercises in the contemporary world. Hinging on their outcomes are the aspirations of over one billion people. In a country characterized by deep, pervasive inequalities, elections represent one of the only opportunities for every citizen to be treated as an equal. This course will introduce students to the dynamics of Indian elections, including the foundations of democratic politics, the troubling role of political elites, the sources of political differences and the role of the media to inform and influence outcomes. Some of the questions addressed include: How do voters make decisions? What incentives influence political elites and how do they influence politics accordingly? What are the sources of news that different audiences might receive? I have included literature from across several disciplines to weigh in on these issues. A syllabus can be downloaded from the bottom of this page.


Ethnic Politics in Comparative Perspective

What is ethnic identity? How do identities develop and change over time? What are our expectations for societies characterized by high level of ethnic heterogeneity? How is identity manipulated in the pursuit of political goals? How do political institutions mitigate or exacerbate the impact of ethnic heterogeneity? These are the key questions addressed by this course. While introducing students to some of the most influential readings in political science on ethnic identity and key substantive areas of research, the course will highlight the diversity of methodological approaches employed in investigating these questions. It will also provide a broad comparative perspective by drawing on literature focusing on Africa, South Asia and Latin America. In some readings, we will zoom in to focus on a particular country while other articles will emphasize a cross-national perspective and the causal processes common to many countries. At the end of the course, students will be able to understand sources of commonality, difference and change in ethnicity's many manifestations in world politics.

Madhavi Devasher,
Sep 27, 2014, 8:28 PM