1) Western Political Thought I
What is good? What is Justice? Is evil permitted in the service of the state? This course examines some of the canonical texts of the Western Political Tradition that were significant in shaping thinking about the normative political theory. Through the texts, it will range over a number of important questions: the nature of political obligation, the ends of life, the relationship between virtue and politics, the nature of justice, property rights, the nature of the state, the nature of the self. The emphasis will be to come to terms with important arguments in these areas, while also understanding these major texts in their own right. This course equips you with the arguments and historical background for most of the debates in contemporary political thought as well.
Introduction to Political Theory
The course is an introduction to the theories born out of an engagement with social and political practices and ideas. It addresses some of the most important and interesting concepts and questions of politics: For instance, what rights and liberties can citizens claim? Is it equality that we really care about, or is it sufficient that people simply have “enough”? What might be the limits of tolerance and free speech? To answer some of the questions of this nature, major authors to be read during this course include John Rawls, Ronald Dworkin, Amartya Sen, G. A Cohen, Thomas Scanlon among others, which open up the wide range of debates over issues like liberty, equality, justice, state, religion, democracy etc. No background in political science is required for this course.
2) Introduction to Comparative Politics
Comparative Politics is the study of political phenomena occurring predominantly within countries. The comparative method is a way of examining such phenomena. The thematic question for the course is: How does regime type affect policy outcomes? It will be explored through the selectorate theory- use its logic to understand how policy outcomes that emerge might differ between democratic and autocratic settings. Next, the economic and cultural determinants of democracy and study of how transitions to democracy can occur. There will also emphasise on the institutional variations within democracies and identification of its consequences. And the re-examination of the policy consequences of regime type. Is it merely a dichotomy; namely that “democracy is good” and while “autocracy is bad”?
3) Introduction to Indian Politics
This course serves as an introduction to the study of Indian politics. It begins from the politics of the colonial period, before studying the constitution as well as the Jawaharlal Nehru (1947-64), Indira Gandhi (1965-1984) and Narasimha Rao (1985-2014) eras. The course also looks at concepts in Indian politics such as the state, political parties, movements and identity politics, the political economy and welfare schemes. You will have a broad overview of basic concepts in Indian political science as well as a broad overview of national politics in India. It will enable you to take other, more specialised courses, in political science.
4) Quantitative Research Methods
The goal of this course is to introduce political science students to the basics of statistical analysis of data. Topics covered include descriptive statistics, hypothesis testing and study design.
Qualitative Research Methods
The purpose of this course is to introduce you to qualitative methods of enquiry in social sciences.
Starting with the rules of observation and description and ending with the techniques of interpretation of collected information, this course will cover the various steps a scholar canonically follows to ‘do research’: from the formulation of a research question to defining a problematic, from collecting secondary sources to conducting first field observations, from drawing a research design to do fieldwork and conduct interviews, to analyze the material collected to finally writing. The main outcome of this course is the writing of a full-fledged research paper.
This course also aims at introducing you to three broad streams of scholarship:
- One from the past: village studies, or questioning about rural or agrarian change in India.
- Two more contemporary: the anthropology of politics and the anthropology of the state.
The questions of power and social dominance will be transversal to those three streams.