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Summer Semester 2023 - Courses

Foundation Course: Environmental Studies
Course Code: FC-0102
Faculty: Meghna Agarwala, Assistant Professor, Ashoka University
Course Description: This course attempts to provide a holistic understanding of the environment around us, including its biophysical and narrative elements. This class will provide students with the understanding and tools to be able to critically examine environmental problems and their policy solutions in the world today, and understand their impacts on environmental justice. The course is not a highly technical environmental course, but an introductory course.
The topics that will be covered include earth systems, climate systems, hydrological systems, biological systems, food production systems, urban systems, environmental conservation, sustainable development, political ecology, hazards studies and environmental ethics. We will progress from examining more predictable systems (e.g. Earth Systems) to more unpredictable systems (e.g. Human interactions).
Pre-requisites: NA
Grading Policy: Action Items Proportion of grade Quiz 1 12.5% Quiz 2 12.5% Participation in class and DS 15% (7.5% attendance; 7.5% participation) Assignments 35% Class project 25% TOTAL 100%


Foundation Course: Environmental Studies
Course Code: FC-0102-1
Faculty: Mitul Baruah, Assistant Professor, Ashoka University
Course Description: This course is meant to introduce students to nature-society dialectics. We will examine the historical, social, and political processes that shape societal relations with the natural environment. The course has three overarching goals. First, it will help students gain an in-depth understanding of some of the pressing environmental issues of our times, such as the agrarian crisis, climate change, disaster and vulnerability, waste, the industrial food system, struggles over water, and neoliberalization of nature, among others. Second, drawing on a variety of theoretical frameworks, including Marxist, feminist, and post-structuralist perspectives, the course will expose students to a breadth of approaches to environmental questions. Finally, through this course, I hope to be able to cultivate a sense of environmental citizenship in students. The course will be taught using a combination of lectures, discussions, films, and group projects.
Pre-requisites: None
Grading Policy: Attendance and Participation: 20%; Quizzes: 20%; Essays: 40%; Group Project: 20%


Foundation Course: Great Books
Course Code: FC-0601-5
Faculty: Arunava Sinha, Associate Professor, Ashoka University
Course Description: A close-reading journey through a selection of great writing represented by parts or all of entire books with a view to identifying themes from the human condition.
Pre-requisites: None
Grading Policy: 10%: quizzes 20%: Class participation, 30%: Mid-term assignment, 40%: End-term assignment


Foundation Course: Indian Civilizations 
Course Code: FC-0201
Faculty: Gopalkrishna Gandhi, Professor, Ashoka University
Course Description: The course will contrast the philosophical and the political thought with the priest-ordained commandments in India, examining the non-religious imaginations of Sarmad and the Sufis as also the Asokan Edicts, Buddhist-Brahmana contestations, Nyaya, Vaiseshika, Sankhya, Sangam age secular instructions in Tamil. It will also compare the Yatric India with the India of Visitors through the ages, studying the journeys of ancient travelers such as Fahein to the current Dalai Lama. A study of imprisoning from early times including that of a serving emperor jailed- Shah Jehan, to our own Tihar times would reflect the way we are evolving or not evolving as a people that believe in the rule of law and civilitas.
Pre-requisites: None
Grading Policy: Students will be required to write one assignment paper, due at the end of the term, for which students will be given an adequate number of prompts from the subjects discussed in class.


Foundation Course: Emotions, Expressions and the Ego (Mind and Behaviour)
Course Code: FC-0503
Faculty: Arindam Chakrabarti, Visiting Faculty, Ashoka University
Course Description: What is an emotion? What, if any, are the distinctions between passions, feelings, affects and emotions (called “bhAva”-s in Indian psychology and theater theory)? Focusing on nine basic emotions/feelings: anger, laughter, disgust, fear, wonder, envy, sadness, joy and boredom, this course will explore the following four questions about emotions, their bodily expressions and their relationship to the ego (which need not be equated with) the self. First: are emotions primarily a matter of the body, the brain, the nervous system, first person subjective consciousness, or socially constructed out of facial expressions and interpersonal interactions and moral evaluations thereof? Second: how do we learn, fallibly but reliably, to detect (directly perceive? indirectly infer?) others’ feelings from their arguably universal facial expressions? Third: How central are our emotions to our ego-s, could an egoless person still have some ‘good’ emotions? Fourth, can emotions be ethically evaluated as ‘good’ or ‘bad’? Alternative answers to these questions will be explored through selected readings (and short written reactions with prompts) from Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud, William James, Jesse Prinz, Aaron Be’eZev, and Sanskrit Theater theory (Nāṭya Śāstra), and by open class discussions of films we shall watch.
Pre-requisites: None
Grading Policy: Three 300 words RRRP (reading reports in response to a prompt) (10×3=30%) starting from the second week and one final project report of 600 words (50%) and class/ discussion section oral participation (20%).


Biology: Python for Research in Life Sciences
Course code: BIO-3636
Faculty: Sudipta Tung, Faculty Fellow, Ashoka University
Course Description: This is an introductory course to Python for the researchers to use this versatile programming language for aiding their research in Life sciences. This course does not assume any prior knowledge in programming, starts with the basic coding lessons, and builds up upon them.
The course will nudge you to think intuitively in terms writing an algorithm. This skill, once mastered, is transferable to any programming language in future. In addition, after first reviewing the basics of Python 3, we shall learn how to use Python scripts to import, organize, analyze and visualize experimental data, and run own simulations to generate new in silico research data.
Using a combination of a lectures, and guided hands-on sessions, students will be exposed to a variety of different Python features across various topics in Life sciences. We shall explore examples and case studies with data, inter alia, behavioural experiments, flow cytometry, DNA sequencing, epidemiology and biostatistics. Students will also be introduced to the rapidly developing field of image processing and machine learning. Students will get a chance to hone their new Python skills by solving take-home assignments on their own.
Pre-requisites: None.
Grading Policy: 50% Assignments + 20% Exam + DIY project – 20 % + Classroom participation – 10 %


Biology: Pandemic millennia: Through the lens of evolution, environment & civilization.
Course Code: BIO-2003/ES-2191

Faculty: Imroze Khan, Assistant Professor, Ashoka University
Course Description: Human civilisations have been frequently punctuated by the rise of disease and epidemics caused by pathogens, leaving indelible impressions on our history, culture and society since the time of antiquity. Arguably, diseases such as plague and smallpox have been associated with the rise and fall of empires, the spread of colonial powers or even paving the way for the renaissance in Europe and forming the preventive public healthcare system in the Ottoman empire. The 21st century has been no exception either. Besides, bringing the entire human race to its knees and brutally truncating almost every walk of life in 2020-21, the rapid surge of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to drastic changes in how we view our health, ecosystem and global affairs. As scientists are warning us against more such human diseases and pandemics, it is possibly time to review our past, present and future with disease and pathogens, and analyse the critical patterns and processes of how infections are spread in populations on their way to becoming a global pandemic. The faculty will use the classical examples of plague, malaria and smallpox, including the recent emergence of HIV, Ebola and COVID-19, to uncover the mechanisms underlying their origin and evolution as human pathogens and how the environment and human ecology and history played a role. This course will cover the principles of evolutionary biology, straddling between the domains of science and humanities, to give perspectives on issues like the rise and fall of societies and empires, cultural evolution, gene-culture co-evolution, the evolution of sociality, nepotism, despotism vs. egalitarian animal societies (socio-ecological theory) which might have influenced the key processes of infection and disease spread.
Pre-requisites: None
Cross-listing: Biology/ Environmental Studies
Grading Policy: 1. Open book written exam (40%) 2. Classroom Presentation (20%) 3. Book review (20%) 4. Take-home assignments (20%)


Creative Writing: Reading to Write
Course code: CW 1005-2
Faculty: Arunava Sinha, Associate Professor, Ashoka University
Course Description: This course is an intensive immersion in reading as preparation to be a writer. It involves reading 10 novellas and novels (tentative reading list below), participating in discussions, writing short papers, and making a presentation. The objective is to read in a way that will inform your writing subsequently.
Pre-requisites: None
Grading Policy: 20%: Class participation (including attendance) 60%: Four pieces of 500 words each on one selected work from the readings, to be submitted at the end of weeks 3, 6, 9, 12 20%: A presentation on a chosen book-length text from outside the readings


Economics: Economics of Global Health
Course Code: ECO 3651
Faculty: Santosh Kumar, Visiting Faculty, Ashoka University,
Course Description: India GDP has grown almost 9 times since 1991 yet only 21% of mothers had full antenatal care in 2015-16, 78% of the mothers delivered babies in hospital; 62% of 12-23 months old children are fully immunized; 38% of under-five children are stunted and 21% are wasted; 58% of school-going children in Bihar are anemic (lack iron), infant mortality rate is 41 and under-five mortality is 50. Very gloomy picture!
Are there economic reasons for such a poor health scenario in developing countries? The answer is YES. This course examines current health policy issues and debates in developing countries from an economics perspective. Topics may vary but are likely to include the relationship between health and economic development, the need for financial risk protection against health shocks, the control of malaria, relationship between fetal and early-child conditions on human capital, and other related topics. There will be a strong focus on interpreting the relevant empirical literature. The course will approach these issues from microeconomics perspective and will analyze economic behavior at micro level i.e. individual and household. The course will also discuss program evaluation techniques to understand which health policy works in the field. The course will make a case that early-life health and children well-being are critical to human capital and economic development.
Pre-requisites: ECO 2101 (Microeconomic Theory I) and ECO 2400 (Econometrics)
Grading Policy: Your final grade will be composed of the following components: – 4 in-class Pop quizzes, every Thursday (20%) – Mid-term exam (30%) – Class participation and attendance (10%) – Term paper (group project, 2 students per group) (40% of your final grade)


Economics: Game Theory and Applications
Course Code: ECO-3100
Faculty: Ratul Lahkar, Professor, Ashoka University,
Course Description: The course will cover application of game theory to problems of economic development. There will be a revision of basic game theory concepts as well.
Pre-requisites: ECO 2102
Grading Policy: Three class tests, each having equal weight. The standard grading rubric in Ashoka will be followed.


Economics: Machine Learning for Economics
Course Code: ECO 3404
Faculty: Amit Kumar Goyal, Visiting Faculty, Ashoka University,
Course Description: In this course, we’ll start with Introduction to Python Programming – Variables, Lists, Tuples, Dictionaries, Functions, and Loops. Then we’ll look at the relevant Python libraries such as Numpy, Matplotlib, Pandas, Scikit-learn and Scipy and explore these for data analysis, manipulation and data visualization. After this we’ll do a refresher on mathematics needed for Machine Learning and cover key concepts of linear algebra, and multivariable calculus using Python and then use it to perform optimization tasks in Python. We’ll then review some probability concepts and see how to use simulation in learning economics. Finally, we’ll use all of the above to perform machine learning tasks such as: (i) Supervised learning (linear regression, logistic regression, neural networks). (ii) Unsupervised learning (clustering).
Pre-requisites: Mathematics for Economics and Statistics for Economics
Grading Policy: Homework (40%): There are 5 homework in this course; Attendance and Class Participation (10%); Final (50%)


Economics: Topics in Macroeconomics.
Course Code: ECO-3204
Faculty: Juraj Zeman; Martin Suster; Maria Siranova & Boris Fisera (All Visiting Faculty), Ashoka University
Course Description: This is an intermediate course on macroeconomics, focusing on new insights from the recent policy issues. The course will be divided into four distinct modules which will cover the following topics: Money and banks; Conventional monetary policy; Non-standard /new standard policies; and Exchange rate policy. The focus of the module on non-standard monetary policies will be: Emergence of non-standard policy; Non-standard interest rate policies; Balance sheet policies; The new normal for monetary policy: which of the unconventional MP tools are here to stay; and Hot topics in central banks.
Pre-requisites: Introductory macro- and micro-economics and basic calculus.
Grading Policy: There will be an in-class exam after the completion of each module. The aggregate grade will be the sum of the grades in the four in-class exams.


Economics: Topics in Microeconomic Theory
Course Code: ECO-3106
Faculty: Amit Kumar Goyal, Visiting Faculty, Ashoka University
Course Description: Course will discuss the graphical approach to General equilibrium models. In each of these environments, questions like how to determine the equilibrium, existence of the equilibrium, conditions for efficiency of the equilibrium will be discussed (along with the remedies to fix the inefficiencies):
– Pure Exchange Economy (without externalities)
– General Equilibrium Model with Production (without externalities):
– Robinson Crusoe Economy
– Model of 2 Consumers, 2 Goods, 2 Firms and 2 Inputs
– Exchange economies with a indivisible good and money
– Monopoly in Edgeworth Box
– Pure Exchange Economy (with externalities)
– General Equilibrium Model with Production (with externalities)
– General Equilibrium Model with Production (Public Goods)
– Two country GE model of International Trade
– General Equilibrium under Uncertainty
– Dynamic General Equilibrium Models in Macroeconomics
Students will also learn how to solve for efficient and equilibrium outcomes in environments where utility functions and production functions are not necessarily differentiable and quasiconcave.
Pre-requisites: Mathematics, Statistics, Microeconomics 1 and 2
Grading Policy: 5 Homeworks – 10% each, Final – 50%


English: From the Fairy Tale to the Uncanny
Course Code: ENG-2310
Faculty: Alexander Phillips, Assistant Professor, Ashoka University,
Course Description: Fairy tales have had a remarkable career, having been told and re-told, invented and re-invented by peasants, aristocrats, literary authors, and film studios. We will explore ways in which the conventions of the fairy tale have been appropriated and re-appropriated across media, and what has happened to those conventions along the way. In this course we will read and write about fairy tales from a variety of historical and cultural contexts. In so doing, we will practice key elements of writing in academic and non-academic contexts: developing and supporting a point, dialoguing with others, structuring a piece of written work, etc. We will further consider how the fairy tale and its conventions of magic, the supernatural, and the fantastic are appropriated into realist and so-called high literature, giving rise to a new aesthetic category: the uncanny.
Pre-requisites: NA
Grading Policy: Grades will be based on a submitted portfolio of written work as well as a series of short in-class writing assignments.


English: Introduction to Ecocriticism: Climate Fiction
Course Code: ENG-3038/ ENG-5038/ ES-3701
Faculty: Alexander Phillips, Assistant Professor, Ashoka University,
Course Description: As if being a serious political and geophysical problem were not enough, the climate crisis is also a cultural problem. Climate fiction, or “cli-fi,” has emerged in recent decades as a corpus of literature marked by its engagement with global warming. Because “climate fiction” is a thematic label, it is not reducible to any single genre, and examples range from the “high-” to the “lowbrow.” If we understand “cli-fi” as being a literary response to the scientific consensus that human activity is warming the planet, then it is a phenomenon of the late 20th and 21st centuries. In this course, however, the climate crisis is understood as a challenge not just to literary production, but to criticism too, one that demands that we not only engage with global warming as refracted in contemporary texts, but that we also re-read historical works with attention to how they think about the relation between human and more-than-human planetary systems. Through both literary and theoretical readings ranging from the onset of the industrial era to the 21st century we will consider such problems as the atmosphere as an aesthetic object, the problem of deep time, the limits of realism and the possibilities of speculative fiction, and questions of environmental ethics.
Pre-requisites: NA
Grading Policy: Grades will be based on a portfolio of written work plus short in-class writing assignments.


English: Introduction to Phenomenology for Literature
Course Code: ENG-3765
Faculty: Huzaifa Omair Siddiqi, Visiting Faculty, Ashoka University
Course Description: This will be an introductory course for phenomenology for students of literature. In this course, we will cover the major phenomenological breakthroughs, from Franz Brentano’s revival of the concept of intentionality to Edmund Husserl’s development of the phenomenological reduction, Martin Heidegger’s move towards the question of Being and later post-war developments, including Jean-Paul Sartre, Emmanuel Levinas, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Jacques Derrida. We will explore how phenomenology gradually moves away from its origins as part of the movement seeking the foundations of scientific research and becomes integral to literary research.
Pre-requisites: None
Cross-Listings: None
Grading Policy: One end term paper and two in class presentations.


Environmental Studies: Wildlife Survey Techniques (Field Course)
Course Code: ES-3303
Faculty: Divya Vasudev, Visiting faculty, Ashoka University
Course Description: Students will learn field sampling methods to address questions in animal ecology and conservation. These will include a range of taxa¬ such as birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and vegetation (wildlife habitat). The course will also speak to methods aimed at assessing species richness, population estimation, animal behaviour and habitat quality. This will be accompanied by concepts of research and sampling design, and students will be introduced to basic analytical approaches.

This course will be a mix of conceptual learning and hands-on practical exercises. Students will collect data in the field, and use these within an analytical framework to address questions of relevance to ecology and conservation. Students will also pick up natural history skills, and learn to use equipment (GPS units, camera traps) commonly used for wildlife surveys.

Some of the topics covered in class will include:
1. Research Design
2. Point counts and line transects
3. Sign surveys
4. Camera trapping
5. Purposeful sampling

This course is a twin course and should be taken along with ES-3304.
Cross-Listings: None
Grading Policy :Field observational project: 20% Group project: 50% Essay project: 30%


Environmental Studies: Understanding Coupled Human–Nature Systems (Field Course)
Course Code: ES-3304
Faculty: Divya Vasudev, Visiting faculty, Ashoka University
Course Description: This course will take students to different sites in Northeast India that exemplify coupled human–nature systems, and complex relationships that different communities share with nature. We will explore how we can work towards achieving dual goals of nature conservation and securing people’s wellbeing. We will see first-hand how people interact with nature, and specifically with certain wild animals such as elephants which may come into conflict with humans.
This course is founded on experiential learning, critical thinking, building empathy and problem-solving. The course will be taught as a combination of lectures, discussions and field trips. During field trips you will make systematic observations, which will feed into discussions and final projects.
Some of the topics covered in class will include:
1. Conservation approaches: Protected Areas, Corridors, Community-based Conservation
2. Human–Wildlife and Human–Nature Interactions: Intrinsic and Utilitarian perspectives; human–elephant interactions; forest dependency; culture and forest conservation
3. Ecosystem services
4. Stakeholder interactions and engagement for conservation
5. Landscape-scale perspectives to conservation
This is a coupled course and should be take along with ES 3303.
Cross-Listings: None
Grading Policy :Discussions: 20% Group projects: 30% Final essay project: 50%


History: War: History, Politics, Society
Course code: HIS-2501/SOA-2506/POL-2057-1
Faculty: Pratyay Nath, Assistant Professor, Ashoka University
Course Description: How has war shaped gender identities and political ideologies in our societies? In what ways do race, class, and religion figure in the experience of war? How have computer games, movies, and museums made war an object of popular consumption? These are some of the questions that the present course addresses. It offers a global history of the inter-relationship between war, politics, and society. The present course will study this rich history through a close reading of recent scholarly literature on the subject as well as a hands-on experience of analysing modern cultural artefacts (movies, graphic novels, and games) of war.
Pre-requisites: None.
Cross-listing: Political Science and Sociology
Grading Policy: Class Participation 25%, Mid-Term Presentation 35%, Term Paper 40%


International Relations: International Conflict Analysis
Course Code: IR-2028/ POL-2004
Faculty: Bann Seng Tan, Assistant Professor, Ashoka University
Course Description: This course introduces basic concepts and theories in the field of international security. The field is organized around the study of war, its causes, its characteristics, and its mitigation. War is costly and yet both states and leaders resort to the use of force. Our task is to understand the rationale for this phenomenon.
Pre-requisites: As a level 2000 course, students are expected to have taken one of the following Level 1000 courses: ‘Introduction to International Relations (IR)’ ‘Conflict and Cooperation in International Politics (IR)’ ” Theories and Issues of International Relations” (IR), ‘Introduction to comparative Politics’ (PS)
Cross Listings: POL-2004-1
Grading Policy: 2 exams (30% each), 2 quiz (15% each), attendance (10%)


International Relations: The Rise of Populism in International Politics
Course code: IR-2013/ POL-2038-1
Faculty: Ananya Sharma, Assistant Professor, Ashoka University
Course Description: Populism is one of the main political buzzwords of the early 21st century. The rise of populist forces in recent years has generated new challenges in many long-established democracies, such as the US, UK, Germany, Italy, Greece, and France, as well as destabilizing states worldwide, such as in Venezuela, Brazil, Hungary, Turkey, the Philippines, Thailand, and India. What explains the rise of these forces? What are the consequences? And what can be done to mitigate the risks? The course aims at bringing together the conceptual analysis of populism with comparative case studies in different regions of the world. Given the highly contested nature of populism, the first weeks will look in depth to different theories of populism, including institutional, ideological, discursive and socio-cultural understandings of populism. It will then move to explore the conditions of emergence of populism and the relations between populism and key political concepts, such as democracy and political participation. The second half of the course will seek to apply the conceptual tools presented in the first half of the course to regional case studies. Through our explorations of a large number of empirical cases, we will draw from several disciplines besides political science (including history, sociology and cognitive psychology), methodological approaches, continents, and individual countries.
The course covers:
(i) The core concept of populism and the classification of varieties of populist parties and leaders in different world regions;
(ii) Explanations focused on ‘demand-side’ cultural value change, economic grievances, and patterns of immigration, and also ‘supply-side’ electoral rules and party competition;
(iii) The consequences for the civic culture and the policy agenda; and alternative strategic policy responses.
Pre-requisites: 100 Level Introductory IR course
Cross-listing: Political Science
Grading Policy: Continuous assessment


Mathematics: Mathematical foundations of data sciences
Course Code: MAT-4020 / CS-2380
Faculty: Kumarjit Saha, Assistant Professor, Ashoka University
Course Description: In the first part of this course we will discuss various applications of linear algebra in data science specifically in data compression. We will also discuss respective algorithms and their implementations using Python/ R.
In the second part of the course we will discuss theory of Markov chains and use it to analyze random movement of particles over a graph network. This is extremely important for studying social network. We will end this section by discussing two major results:
a) Polya’s result regarding recurrence and transience of random walks and
b) Google’s page rank algorithm
In the third part (only if time permits) of the course we will discuss some advanced topics of predictive analytics
Regression: Multiple Linear Regression, Variable Selection, Logistic Regression,
Classification: Review of Linear Classifiers (LDA and QDA), CART, CHAID
(We may change the order if required. We may drop or add some topics depending on our progress)
Pre-requisites: Probability and Statisitcs (MAT-2020), Linear algebra MAT – 1001
Cross-Listings: CS 2380
Grading Policy: It will be based on assignments, projects and exams


Media Studies: Multimedia Visual Storytelling with Data
Course code: MS-3591
Faculty: Nithya Subramanian, Visiting Faculty, Ashoka University
Course Description: Data is a powerful lens through which to look at the world, but it conceals as much as it reveals. It requires rigorous and creative storytelling to bring out the complexities of data, with all its gaps, ambiguities and insights. And in a multimedia world, the tools of storytellers have evolved to include images, sound, touch and texture, code and movement, in addition to words.
The course will encourage students to create stories using all these tools, by breaking down the process of creation and guiding them through it.
Students will take a practical, data-intensive approach, beginning with an introduction to data sourcing with a focus on data on India, from a variety of places including the UN, World Bank, Parliament answers and government datasets. They will learn design thinking processes for data representation and visualisation, as well as practical tools like Flourish and Canva for making static and interactive graphics, and TwoTone for sound. There will also be exercises in physical data visualisation and brainstorming for creative representations.
Pre-requisites: None
Grading Policy: Grades will be given for attendance & class participation (20%), assignments (40%) and final project (40%). Assignments will be evaluated on the basis of academic rigour, depth of research, and the usability and creativity of the design.


Media Studies: Watershed moments of Hindi Cinema
Course Code: MS-2492
Faculty: Aakshi Magazine, Visiting Faculty, Ashoka University
Course Description: Cinema history can be recounted in multiple ways. In this course, we will engage with selected watershed moments of Hindi cinema – starting from 1950s post-Independence cinema to contemporary times. A watershed moment could be an event, a film (Sholay), a change in technology (introduction of playback singing), a loss (decline of the single screen theatre) or the rise of a new music composer (A R Rahman in the 1990s). Each week will focus on select moments that are central to understanding Hindi cinema.
In doing so, the course will provide a foundational introduction to both Hindi cinema and through that, to the field of film studies. Students will be expected to watch films before or in some cases, during class. These will be made available a month ahead of the summer course as well on a drive link
Pre-requisites: None
Grading Policy: Attendance and participation: 20% Class Presentation: 20% In-class writing exercises/quiz, classwork, discussion: 20% Final assignment: 40% 3 unexcused absences allowed Attendance and participation: 20% Class Presentation: 20% In-class writing exercises/quiz, classwork, discussion: 20% Final assignment: 40% 3 unexcused absences allowed.


Media Studies: Introduction to Newswriting and Reporting
Course code: MS-1101
Faculty: Neha Dixit, Visiting Faculty, Ashoka University
Course Description: With so much white noise in the millennial digital space, opinion and content writing are often confused with journalism. This course is a primer on how to identify, report and write news pieces. It includes an introduction to journalism fundamentals and ethics, the concept of news- what is noteworthy and why, techniques to find news stories, building news sources, and practising various news writing formats.
Pre-requisites: None
Grading Policy: Three class tests, each having equal weight. The standard grading rubric in Ashoka will be followed.


Psychology: Violence as a Human Behavior
Course Code: PSY-3045
Faculty: Simantini Ghosh, Assistant Professor, Ashoka University
Course Description: Violence is a widespread and complex issue that has been part of human behavior through time. In this class, we will tease violence apart in multiple axes, but usually in a data driven fashion. In the first half of the course we will break violence down to its elemental blocks using concepts from neurobiology, biochemistry, genetics, psychology, evolution and epigenetics. The second half of this course will reassemble fundamental types of violence based on religion, politics, gender and socioeconomic structures using the concepts discussed. Prospective students are encouraged to approach the material as part of a journey to understand violence. Each member of the class might arrive at a different conclusion about violence at the end of the course, but the goal of the class is to provide them with different frameworks to interpret and analyze data about violence to reach at their conclusion. This class is MOSTLY taught as an advanced seminar with a flipped classroom style. The instructor will play the role of a faculty moderator of student led discussion. Each week few research articles, reviews, book chapters or articles from the media will be discussed by students, with the entire class being an active participant in discussion. All students will be expected to participate in class discussion as come to class having done the readings for the day.
Pre-requisites: Introduction to Neuroscience (PSY2011); Clinical Psychology (PSY2041); SRM2 (PSY2002)
Grading Policy: Continuous assessments, peer reviews, class presentations, discussion boards.


Psychology: Psychological Understanding of Trauma
Course Code: PSY-3049
Faculty: Simantini Ghosh, Assistant Professor, Ashoka University
Course Description: The course will cover neurobiology of trauma and the psychological mechanisms and dysfunctions that underlie traumatic response. Beyond the neuroscience, we will also explore the roles of the gut-brain axis and the link between the brain and the immune system which forms a major link between the trauma response. The second section of the course will cover the link between trauma and psychopathology- we will cover the genetics, epigenetics and behavioral perspectives underlying this link and discuss how trauma affects behavior at an individual and collective level. We will further explore collective and intergenerational trauma perspectives. The third and final section of the course will focus on interventions and trauma informed care, strengths and weakness, pitfalls and planning of future interventions. The instructor will used a flipped classroom in half the classes, where students will present papers, and the instructor will serve as a mediator. We will assume an intersectional lens when we analyze specific examples. The instructor will pick case studies from South Asian and Indian contexts in particular for students to appreciate how cross-cultural differences in norms and attitudes can have long-lasting effects on how trauma is experiences, addressed and processed.
Pre-requisites: SRM2 (PSY2002); Introduction to Neuroscience (PSY2011); Clinical Psychology(PSY2041)
Grading Policy: Students will maintain a reflexivity journal and make entries every week (20%) , Engage in class presentations (20%), Summarize at least one research article from the readings allocated every week (20%) and Write one essay either individually or in a group assignment (which will depend on the class size) on a relevant topic that will involve some secondary research of primary data sources (30%). 10% of the grade will be reserved for course participation and academic integrity.

 

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