SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

Contemporary India: Issues, Methods and Approaches

Module Code:
Taught in:
Full Year

Students studying on the MSc Contemporary India, MSc Development Studies (India Pathway) as well as other Master's students on other programmes, will take this course as a foundation in the  study of India  from a social science perspective. The syllabus will cover a breadth and depth of contemporary cutting-edge issues which will be covered through both conceptually rigorous means but also through applied and methodological ways. 

The course will introduce students to current topics, methods and debates specifically related to the study of contemporary India. Students will be exposed to key themes and debates and will be expected to acquire a good understanding of research methods and strategies relevant to the study of contemporary India. The emphasis of the course is for students to acquire conceptual and theoretical tools as well as methodological training in order to equip them with skills to go on to work or do research in India.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of the course, a student will be able to:

  • comprehend key themes and debates related to societies in contemporary India
  • apply critical analysis of arguments and findings of research in relation to how theory and methods are applied
  • have developed an understanding of interdisciplinary, social science approaches to contemporary issues pertaining to contemporary India       

Scope and syllabus

Some themes to be covered in the course will be:

  • India in Global Policy Context
  • Demography and the Biopolitics of the Census
  • Political economy of India
  • Rethinking Gender: Economy, patriarchy and ‘culture’
  • NGOs, the state and institutions of development 
  • Reflections on Post-Partition India
  • The everyday state, nationalism and 'anti-nationalism'
  • The Indian Economy: From Liberalisation to Neoliberalism’s Ascent
  • Hindutva and the Rise of the BJP
  • Social movements across Digital India

Method of assessment

Reaction paper portfolio (800 words each x 3)  - 40%
Essay - 50%

Oral presentation - 10%


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules