Bangalore, India

Course Information

Bangalore, India | 2017 Spring

Studying abroad can be a more meaningful and invigorating learning experience than at home—both inside and outside of the classroom. You may be more curious and alert than you usually are so use this heightened energy to enhance your studies as well as your cultural and geographical explorations. You may also encounter different teaching styles and course processes; be prepared to adapt and to learn.


Taught in English
You must enroll in at least 12 and up to 18 credits. While you may enroll in up to 18 credits, we recommend you enroll in 12-15 credits in order to have time to fully experience the local area's culture and people. Course availability may be subject to change for reasons beyond our control, such as student interest. The following courses are designed to help familiarize you with the region and provide a multi-disciplinary approach to your studies. You are required to take Service Learning during your first semester in India.

Fall Semester

Spring Semester

To request a course syllabus:

Service Learning

Service Learning is a particular type of course offering that combines the classroom with the community and academics with action. Prepare to make yourself a part of the city where you study in a way that most visitors cannot experience. It will call for some initiative and a willingness to become involved. Service Learning is a course and counts as part of your credit load. It cannot be taken for audit. Note that non-credit volunteer opportunities may also be available but are different from a Service Learning opportunity.

The Bangalore program offers a unique opportunity to experience Indian culture and society through places like the Centre for Social Action (CSA), a student-run organization that provides opportunities in a variety of settings. Opportunities include rural exposure programs, overnight camps in local villages to educate disadvantaged children, a medical program for pregnant women, advocacy and awareness programs, and a child rearing self-help group for women. CSA also helps local villages address a variety of agricultural needs such as harvesting rain water and building dams. In local villages, CSA street plays have been an effective tool for introducing topics such as child labor, global warming, and female infanticide.

US Professors

Local faculty teach most USAC courses; however, the following US professors are also teaching as Visiting Professors.

Spring Semester:

Dr. Thaddeus Jelen | University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Courses offered:

Dr. Jelen teaches and has written extensively on religious politics in the United States and other countries, and has recently published an edited volume on the subject, including a coauthored chapter comparing the role of religion in regime transformation in Poland and Iran. He is the former editor of the Journal for Scientific Study of Religion and Religion and Politics.

Course Descriptions

Bollywood Dance

Fall (Dance; 100-level; 1 credit)
Spring (Dance; 100-level; 1 credit)

The film industry in India, and Mumbai - based Hindi language is what gives us the name Bollywood. Bollywood is the commercial name for modern Indian dancing and combines classical Indian dance, folk dance and even has Arabic and Latino influence. The dance style is very expressive and has a great deal of meaning in the music of films. You will learn to express what the music means in the films of Bollywood. This non-credit class will teach you the very basic, graceful moves. With regular and dedicated practice you would be able to dance in perfect harmony and style in tune with Indian music in the backdrop.

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Buddhism and Hinduism in Contemporary Society

Fall (Religious Studies, Sociology; 400-level; 3 credits)
Spring (Religious Studies, Sociology; 400-level; 3 credits)

This course involves a historical and thematic survey of the Buddhist tradition from the time of Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, until the present. We explore some of the ways in which Buddhist teachings and practices have interacted with and been changed by various cultures in the world. This course does not aim to be comprehensive, but instead to introduce the student to some of the important and enduring themes of Buddhism.

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Caste, Class, and Gender in India

Fall (Sociology, Women's Studies / Gender Studies; 400-level; 3 credits)
Spring (Sociology, Women's Studies / Gender Studies; 400-level; 3 credits)

This course on Caste, Class and Gender focuses on India and the structural aspects of inequality that operate. The course addresses the concept of caste and its operation in contemporary India. It looks at the class structure of a country which houses one of the largest middle classes in the world. The course also looks at gender and the operation of patriarchy as well as the areas of intersection of all three.

It gives the students the theoretical base which would enable them to critically examine and analyse these concepts and understand their significance in Indian society.

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Contemporary Political and Economic Issues in South Asia

Fall (Economics, Political Science; 400-level; 3 credits)
Spring (Economics, Political Science; 400-level; 3 credits)

India is the dominant power in South Asia; it has intervened in the civil war in Sri Lanka, controlled fuel imports into landlocked Nepal, and negotiated a nuclear stand-off with Pakistan. As India now transforms itself into a global economic powerhouse, its regional economic prowess will match or even surpass its political influence. In this course we will focus primarily on India, but we’ll also take into account contemporary political and economic events and issues in neighboring countries. Texts will include classics such as Rudolph's "In Pursuit of Lakshmi" and more recent articles in India’s Economic & Political Weekly.

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Gandhi and Non-Violent Protest

Fall (History; 300-level; 3 credits)
Spring (History; 300-level; 3 credits)

The course focuses on M. K. Gandhi’s life history, ideology, work, philosophy, techniques and his Contribution to society and politics with special reference to India and world in general. The Course intends to introspect the Gandhian Mission towards society, politics and freedom movement in India. Further, the course proposes to critically analyze the concept, content and context of Gandhian thought in all aspects and fields of social and political life and its relevance in the emerging contemporary society. As a result, the learner gets the opportunity to critically analyze, articulate and manifest his perspectives in the contemporary context.

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Health Care Services

Spring (Community Health Sciences, Sociology; 400-level; 3 credits)

India is rich and diverse in her medical tradition since ages. The medical pluralism exists today in this country encompasses embracing of world culture as we have multiple medical systems such as biomedicine, ayurveda, unani, siddha, homeopathy, naturopathy, yoga, Chinese and Tibetan medicine and a variety of folk traditions. “The emergence and arrival of different medical systems, their acculturation into various communities, as well as the way they synchronized and contested with the indigenous are quite unique to Indian medical and cultural history” (Sujatha, V and Leena Abraham, 2012). This course, therefore, is distinctive in its approach in addressing the health care services in India today and its various issues. Students will also experience some healing practices through field visits and observation which will be thought provoking and inquisitive.

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Human Rights in India

Fall (Sociology; 400-level; 3 credits)

This course aims at enabling the student to study both the structure of society and individual lives at the same time. This course will help the students to understand the social problems of life in the Indian society in the context of wider social forces. This course will also attempt to sensitize the students regarding the issues relating to subjugation and oppression from a human rights' perspective.

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Indian Culture and Traditions

Fall (Anthropology; 300-level; 3 credits)
Spring (Anthropology; 300-level; 3 credits)

The course examines the main areas of Indian culture including historical writings, Indian traditions, formulation of ideologies through intellectual debates, and the variety of jewelery, textiles and performing arts in traditional to Indian culture. Students will read the epics Mahabharata and Ramayana and other classical texts, like Panchatantra and discuss the concepts of state, ethics, and polity raised in these texts. Students will be familiarized with visual representations of Indian culture like jewelery and dance forms.

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Introduction to Hindi Language

Fall (Hindi; 100-level; 1 credit)
Spring (Hindi; 100-level; 1 credit)

This course will introduce students to Hindi and its literary heritage. After completing this course students will be able to communicate in basic Hindi.

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Introduction to Kannada Language

Fall (Kannada; 100-level; 1 credit)
Spring (Kannada; 100-level; 1 credit)

This course will introduce students to the Kannada language spoken in India and its literary heritage. This course will help the students manage in daily situations while studying in India. The development of communication strategies will allow the students to cope with problems that arise in everyday interaction and to relate linguistic learning with the development of a cultural competence. When a student wants to travel throughout India this will help them to negotiate with the local population, as Kannada is the local language in Bangalore.

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Introduction to Sanskrit Language

Fall (Sanskrit; 100-level; 1 credit)
Spring (Sanskrit; 100-level; 1 credit)

Sanskrit is an Indo-European classical language of India and a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. It has a position in India and Southeast Asia similar to that of Latin and Greek in Europe, and is a central part of Hindu tradition. It is one of the oldest Indo-European languages in the world with a documented history of 4,000 years and boasts a rich tradition of poetry, literature; as well as scientific, technical, philosophical and religious texts. Sanskrit is one of the 22 official languages of India.

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Islam and Sufism in India

Fall (Religious Studies, Sociology; 400-level; 3 credits)
Spring (Religious Studies, Sociology; 400-level; 3 credits)

Description not available at this time.

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Meaning of Rituals in Indian Society

Fall (Anthropology, Religious Studies; 400-level; 3 credits)
Spring (Anthropology, Religious Studies; 400-level; 3 credits)

The “Ritual” is the prescribed order for performing religious services and “Rite” is a religious ceremony. By these two performances, customs and traditions are developed and practiced defining particular social groups and communities. These rituals and rites therefore are religious beliefs rendered into action and given meanings.

It is in the tribal and the folk societies that the early signs and origins of ritualistic religion occurred. The beliefs and ideals of classical cultures are formulated in their rituals more explicitly. The rites of the simplest level of life were transformed later into the esoteric art of the ruling or privileged class surviving as a part of religion in their changed or distorted forms. It also led to sustenance of myths.

It is through chants, gestures and symbols that the rituals spread and got accepted in mainstream Hinduism. A ritual has a personal and social aspect. The sacraments are the rites that bring about refinement in a person. This brings in a transformation in one’s life. The sacraments help in rationalization of the meaning of life and the world around his community. In addition there are the vows that usually women undertake for material benefits and the family’s welfare. For the last two hundred years or so some of the festivals have become community celebration where in the entire community participates as seen in the celebration of Ganesha and Dusshera festivals.

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Pollution Control and Environmental Challenges Facing India

Fall (Environmental Science, Geography; 400-level; 3 credits)

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need but not everyman’s greed

- Mahatma Gandhi

This statement delineates the course on pollution control and environmental challenges in India. It illustrates various anthropological factors which have led to the pollution of the environment, a serious ecological crisis today around the globe. The course encompasses numerous issues of pollution and challenges of environmental conservation in India with a social perspective. Important and relevant global environmental issues would also be analyzed within the local context and sustainable solutions would be discussed.

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Population and Poverty

Fall (Sociology; 400-level; 3 credits)
Spring (Sociology; 400-level; 3 credits)

This course covers two concepts - poverty and population. Discussions on the ramifications of poverty and population in India will be a significant part of this course, focusing on the cultural, social and economic factors which play a role in the relationship of these two concepts.

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Population and Poverty Field Study

Fall (Sociology; 400-level; 1 credit)
Spring (Sociology; 400-level; 1 credit)

Field-based learning in conjunction with the Social Problems: Population & Poverty course. Course objectives include: understanding the theoretical approaches for examining social problems and issues; acquisition of informed knowledge about selected problems and issues; explanation for the subjugation of women and the gender dimensions of each social problem, and a generalization of reasoning abilities from specific problems to a general perspective.

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Religious Politics in Comparative Perspective

Spring (Political Science, Religious Studies; 400-level; 3 credits)

Description not available at this time.

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Service Learning

Fall (Service Learning, Social Work, Sociology; 400-level; 1 credit)
Spring (Service Learning, Social Work, Sociology; 400-level; 1 credit)

Service learning combines community service with academic instruction, focusing on critical, reflective thinking and personal and civic responsibility. Service learning programs involve students in activities that address community-identified needs, while developing their academic skills and commitment to their community.

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The Politics of Sexuality in Comparative Perspective

Spring (Political Science; 400-level; 3 credits)

Description not available at this time.

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Urban and Rural Development

Fall (Sociology; 400-level; 3 credits)
Spring (Sociology; 400-level; 3 credits)

This course on Urban Development focuses on the main trends of urbanisation in India. The course looks at urban environment from a development perspective. It provides an ethnographically informed understanding of several important facets of the lives of urban poor and reviews competing models for the provision of urban services.

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Fall (Recreation / Physical Education; 100-level; 1 credit)
Spring (Recreation / Physical Education; 100-level; 1 credit)

Instruction in the practice of Yoga. General philosophy, history, and wellness benefits will be included. Emphasis is placed on the performance of ananas (postures), pranayamas (breathing exercises), dharanas (concentration exercises), and dhyanas (meditation and relaxation techniques) in order to improve wellness.

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