Course Catalog

SOC101
Society and Relatedness
4.00
Undergraduate
How can we understand ourselves as persons and our relationships with family, community and nation? This course will examine some of the basic categories of sociology and anthropology that are crucial in this understanding: person/body, kinship/family/love, inequality/difference, nation and nationalism. We will consider approaches that examine small or micro processes first, and building on this basic understanding consider larger or macro processes that encompass the micro. At the heart of this course will be an elaboration and interrogation of the concept of relatedness.
SOC102
Understanding Modernity
4.00
Undergraduate
Course description not available.
SOC103
Culture(s) In Context
4.00
Undergraduate
What is culture? Is it a set of attributes that people have? Do non-humans have culture, and do things have culture? Do cultures exist in the plural? What do we mean when we talk of the culture of Mumbai or Delhi? An exploration of such questions opens a window to how this term culture extends to a range of social activities and practices. Culture may be both a value to be achieved and an attribute that is embodied. It may be both internal to the self and external to it. It may be a way of talking of the past, but also a mode of living in the present. And of course it is part of our technical and moral world. In investigating how the category of culture is studied in sociology and anthropology, the course will provide a history of the concept of culture, its embedding within practices of work and labour and its centrality in the formation of selfhood. A second theme will focus on how the term culture itself is linked to the discipline of anthropology. In this sense we shall also be enquiring into a history of culture in socio-cultural anthropology.
SOC111
Ecology: Competition, Negotiations and Ethics
4.00
Undergraduate
Course description not available.
SOC112
Media and Politics II: Society, State and Industry
4.00
Undergraduate
Course description not available.
SOC113
Commodity Connections: Culture, Politics & Economic Life
4.00
Undergraduate
What connections can we discover between carbon and democracy, sweetness and power, fabric and freedom, or french beans and food scares? This course sets out on the trail of a range of global commodities  – oil, sugar, salt, cotton, bread, water, fruits, vegetables, meat, human organs, electronic waste, information, genetic materials and more – and investigates the complex and often invisible connections at work as processes of commodification unfold at different times and places around the globe. We will explore intrepid and insightful research by anthropologists, cultural geographers, social historians, political economists and documentary filmmakers to push our understanding about the production, exchange and circulation of commodities, the techniques and technologies of transformation, and the questions that they raise for social, cultural, political and economic life in the contemporary world.
SOC114
Political Thought: An introduction
4.00
Undergraduate
Politics is one of the ways of negotiating conflicts we face living together. It is the practice of establishing and thinking about government. The course will focus on some of the central issues and debates that have emerged in the discipline of political theory. Part 1 - State: Utility, Welfare and its limits Should our public institutions maximize utility or should they protect the rights of the citizens, irrespective of consequences on utility? Should each citizen be provided with extensive welfare benefits or should we instead argue for a minimal state which only plays a regulatory role in society? These are the questions we will attempt to answer in this part of the course.  Part 2 - Citizenship: Universal or differentiated What does equal citizenship rights demand: Uniform laws or laws differentiated along the axis of culture, religion or gender? This part of the course will reflect on these contemporary debates on citizenship. Part 3 - Democracy: Going beyond electoral democracy Is democracy only about voting in elections held once in five years? Should we instead have a more participatory democracy? If yes, then how? Here we will reflect on the some of the most recent critiques of contemporary democracies and critically analyse the alternatives.
SOC115
The Anthropology of Water
4.00
Undergraduate
Course description not available.
SOC201
Gift, Commodity, Debt
4.00
Undergraduate
How do we value goods and commodities? Is the value of the gift any different? Are gifts commodified and are commodities gifts? What are the forms of indebtedness created by gifts and commodities? This course explores gifts, commodities and debts as different types of exchange. Commodities and debts are thought to rationalise the world of exhange and erase the gift. As we shall discover, not only has the gift persisted in modern life (for instance, philanthrophy, development aid) it also revitalises our understanding of the world of commodities and the notion of debt.
SOC202
Visuality, Materiality, Information
4.00
Undergraduate
Imagine all your pictures, your computer and your built environment are not there. What would happen to your memories? Your sense of belonging? How would you know where you are? Indeed, who you are? We live in a world populated by images, objects and information. Who produces and controls them? Do they have social and political lives? How are these lives entwined with human life? Instead of looking at art, artifacts, symbols, virtual representations and the built environment as mere backdrops, this course will think through them. It is especially concerned with how visuality, materiality and information frame our day-to-day experiences, paving the way for our future actions.
SOC203
Religion, Science, Society
4.00
Undergraduate
Magic, science and religion are thought to be mutually opposed to each other. This course will explore the intersections between these three themes. What are the ways in which a religious view of the world is influenced by magical and scientific elements? Are scientific practices coloured by magical procedures? Do religious ideologies orient scientific practices? What is the importance of such ideologies in our understanding of contemporary politics?
SOC204
State, Citizenship, Bureaucracy
4.00
Undergraduate
The understanding of any contemporary society cannot proceed without considering the centrality of state, citizenship and bureaucracy as providing its foundation. This course explores the place of social order (state), the processes through which membership to the nation-state is achieved (citizenship), and the procedures that arrange order and membership (bureaucracy). What are the differences between state and stateless societies? How does colonialism rationalise the use of power? What is the relationship of legitimacy to power in the making of the modern state? And what are the forms of belonging  and resistance to the authority of the state?
SOC211
Sociology Of Pain And Grief
4.00
Undergraduate
Course description not available.
SOC212
War and Media
4.00
Undergraduate
Course description not available.
SOC213
Agrarian Worlds: Readings in the Anthropology of Agriculture
4.00
Undergraduate
Course description not available.
SOC214
Issues in Contemporary Political Theory
4.00
Undergraduate
Politics is one of the ways of negotiating conflicts we face living together. It is the practice of establishing and thinking about government. The course will focus on some of the central issues and debates that have emerged in the discipline of political theory. Part 1 - State: Utility, Welfare and its limits Should our public institutions maximize utility or should they protect the rights of the citizens, irrespective of consequences on utility? Should each citizen be provided with extensive welfare benefits or should we instead argue for a minimal state which only plays a regulatory role in society? These are the questions we will attempt to answer in this part of the course. Part 2 - Citizenship: Universal or differentiated What does equal citizenship rights demand: Uniform laws or laws differentiated along the axis of culture, religion or gender? This part of the course will reflect on these contemporary debates on citizenship. Part 3 - Democracy: Going beyond electoral democracy Is democracy only about voting in elections held once in five years? Should we instead have a more participatory democracy? If yes, then how? Here we will reflect on the some of the most recent critiques of contemporary democracies and critically analyse the alternatives.
SOC215
Agrarian Change: Field, Market, and Industrial Corridor
4.00
Undergraduate
This course explores changing agrarian worlds, across different times and places, as a way to arrive at an understanding of the rapidly changing agrarian landscape within which we, at SNU, are located. We will read seminal texts – by social anthropologists, historians, political economists, and literary theorists – that interrogate the complex and changing relationships between the rural, urban, and agrarian, paying particular attention to the meanings and materiality of the land, its ownership, transfer, and use, from cultivated field to industrial corridor, a process of conversion that is currently underway in the villages and urban settlements in and around Dadri. This course is designed as an intensive seminar-based reading and writing course, and will give students an opportunity to conduct fieldwork in the local area, as part of an ongoing effort to document and analyse the everyday life, seasonal dynamics, and diverse experiences of agarian change around us.  
SOC216
Studying Culture, Caste and Gender
4.00
Undergraduate
Course description not available.
SOC217
Place, space, border in the Northern Bay of Bengal
4.00
Undergraduate
Course description not available.
SOC220
Crowds and Publics
4.00
Undergraduate
Course description not available.
SOC221
Spirituality, Cosmopolitanism, and Consumption
4.00
Undergraduate
Course description not available.
SOC222
Data, Social Media and Free Speech
4.00
Undergraduate
Course description not available.
SOC301
Work, Labour, Industry
4.00
Undergraduate
As terms that describe physical and mental activity, work and labour are kinds of practices that are essential to the survival of the species. And yet these terms need to be carefully distinguished and their implications for industrial activity explicitly stated. This course will provide an analysis of work and labour within what is known as industrial society. Industry is the conscious, mechanical and mass-based organisation of production, and labour, both formal and informal, is the backbone of such a system. How is work different from labour? What is the importance of distinguishing physical labour from mental activity? Can a work of art be considered an act of labour or an industrial product? How are social relationships in-built in the production of industrial objects? Are such relationships necessarily exploitative or is their room for freedom and self-expression?
SOC302
Land, Ecology and Society
4.00
Undergraduate
Course description not available.
SOC303
Kinship, Relatedness, Networks
4.00
Undergraduate
This course looks at kin, friends and enemies. What are the ties that bind and the ties that tear? How do we make families? Do friendships and contacts offer alternative possibilies of relatedness? Indeed, how do ways of relating constitute ourselves and organise the world? Rather than study kinship through unchanging ties that have characterised our understanding of kin relationships, this course looks at the changing dynamics and strategies of family-making, gender practices, marriage partners and child rearing. Further, the course will explore the modification and extension of kinship into arenas of diverse social life such as political lineages, social movements, corporate houses and the professions. What are the networks that form the webs of relatedness? How do such networks offer us models of sociality?
SOC304
Research Workshop: Field, Archive, Ethnography
4.00
Undergraduate
Designed specifically for advanced undergraduate students and offered in the sixth semester, the Research Workshop is both a stock-taking of the discipline as it is taught in the Department, and a rigorous study of qualitative methods. The course will emphasise the significance of field-based research, explore the challenges and possibilities of fieldwork across diverse sites and subjects, and pay close attention to the practices of reading and writing ethnographies. During the course, students will also have an opportunity to engage with field research conducted by departmental faculty and by our Ph.D scholars who have recently returned from the field.
SOC311
Readings In Space And Time: Marx And Heidegger
4.00
Undergraduate
Course description not available.
SOC312
THE ANTHROPOLOGY AND HISTORY OF EXPERTS AND EXPERTISE
4.00
Undergraduate
We live today in a world where we are increasingly understanding ourselves through what we do. That is, by the kind of knowledge we produce and expertise we possess. Indeed, it would not be too much of a stretch to suggest that the most important question we ask today of people immediately after introducing ourselves is “what do you do?” While this question can be seen as an innocuous form of conversation making, it also is a form of self-identification and valuation through which we make sense of ourselves, others as well as the world around us. This class attempts to unpack how the disciplines of History and Anthropology have studied who is an expert? What is expertise? What kinds of value/signification is placed on expertise and experts within larger questions of nationhood, economy, colonial and postcolonial statecraft?? We shall also look at what kinds of images of social reality do experts and expertise provide. And how does this, in turn, fashion /forge both expertise and expert communitarian formations.
SOC313
Introduction to Studying Culture, Caste and Gender
4.00
Undergraduate
Course description not available.
SOC315
Nature, Knowledge and Network in the Indian Ocean
4.00
Undergraduate
Did the sea(s) and the Indian Ocean shaped South Asian History and how or did the human trade of goods, knowledge… and other human created varying perceptions of the sea? From landscape to seascape, maritime history has attempted to bring different paradigms and shift from a Eurocentric and nation centric history to a regional and multicentered one where the Indian Ocean proved a pivotal space of exchanges. The course looks at South Asia in the context of the trade in the Indian Ocean as a space where connectivity and interactions gave rise to networks which in turn shaped a system. The notion and variations of world systems will be briefly discussed. Knowledge is both the prerequisite and the result of circulation and connectivity through various networks. It involves processes of diffusion, emulation retention and interpretation/distortion. The Indian Ocean and South Asia are discussed here as a construct with variable parameters with the sea being granted various and sometime contradictory significations and moral values translated in different imaginations. These constructs themselves may be the result of different epistemologies. The course will make use of a variety of sources and archival material (traveling accounts, maps, fiction), academic articles and films.
SOC317
The Life of Law
4.00
Undergraduate
Course description not available.
SOC321
Violence and the City
4.00
Undergraduate
Course description not available.
SOC399
Independent Study in Sociology
4.00
Undergraduate
Course description not available.
SOC401
Undergraduate Thesis- part I
8.00
Undergraduate
Course description not available.
SOC402
Undergraduate Thesis - part 2
8.00
Undergraduate
Course description not available.
SOC411
Writing Anthropology: Codes and Procedures
4.00
Undergraduate
Course description not available.
SOC412
Concept and Evidence in Anthropology
4.00
Undergraduate
Course description not available.
SOC413
Anthropology of Violence
4.00
Undergraduate
Course description not available.
SOC625
Exchanging Meta-for(m)s: Films and the Indian Imaginary
4.00
Graduate
Course description not available.
SOC626
Land, Ecology, Society
4.00
Graduate
Course description not available.
SOC799
Independent Studies in Sociology
4.00
Graduate
Course description not available.
SOC601
Objects , Codes, Techniques
4.00
Graduate
Course description not available.
SOC602
Field, Archive, Ethnography
4.00
Graduate
Course description not available.
SOC610
Extended Research Proposal
4.00
Graduate
The thesis is planned in conjunction with the Research Workshop and is an opportunity for our students to design, develop and complete an original, independent research study as a unique part of their undergraduate education at SNU.  At the end of the semester-length Workshop, each student will identify an area of research interest and begin work on providing her own sociological / anthropological analysis around a central question. Students will be encouraged to undertake short-term fieldwork during the summer break between their third and fourth years. They will then dedicate a significant part of their final year towards supervised reading and research, field analysis, and writing up their theses. Each student will work closely with designated faculty members throughout this process.
SOC611
Field Work :Pilot Study
4.00
Graduate
The thesis is planned in conjunction with the Research Workshop and is an opportunity for our students to design, develop and complete an original, independent research study as a unique part of their undergraduate education at SNU.  At the end of the semester-length Workshop, each student will identify an area of research interest and begin work on providing her own sociological / anthropological analysis around a central question. Students will be encouraged to undertake short-term fieldwork during the summer break between their third and fourth years. They will then dedicate a significant part of their final year towards supervised reading and research, field analysis, and writing up their theses. Each student will work closely with designated faculty members throughout this process.