Contemporary India

Subject POLS30031 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 29-May-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Mar-2016
Census Date 31-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 30 contact hours: 1 x 2 hour lecture and a 1 hour tutorial per week over 10 weeks. The lecture and tutorial programs are staggered and cover the 12 weeks of semester.
Total Time Commitment:

Total of 170 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Politics and International Studies at 1st and 2nd year.

Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Prof Anthony D'Costa


Subject Overview:

The new subject will seek to introduce undergraduate students to contemporary India. It will primarily focus on developments since 1947, the year of India's independence from British rule. The subject will cover three main areas: India's constitution and democratic structure; Indian society and social movements; and Indian foreign policy. Students will be introduced to the Indian constitution, the process of its drafting and its working since 1950, including the main amendments and the principal debates over its functioning. The main contemporary issues in Indian politics including those related to caste, secularism and development will be covered. The structure of Indian society and the nature of social movements will also be studied. The continuity and changes in India's foreign policy, starting with the era of Non-Alignment, will also be introduced in this subject. In summary, the subject will not just explore the critical dimensions of contemporary Indian politics and society but also introduce students to the intellectual debates on key issues.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this subject students should:

  • Have an understanding of India's democratic system and its internal politics;
  • Understand the forces at play in contemporary Indian social and political life;
  • Have an appreciation of the political history of India;
  • Be attuned to the political nuances of various standard accounts of Indian politics;
  • Develop an understanding of India's role in world affairs and the underlying foreign policy principles and priorities;
  • Gain an insight into how the empirical can shed light on the theoretical;
  • Demonstrate an ability to research through the competent use of the library and other information sources, and be able to define areas of inquiry and methods of research in the preparation of essays;
  • Be able to conceptualise theoretical problems, form judgements and arguments and communicate critically, creatively and theoretically through essay writing, tutorial discussion and presentations;
  • Be able to manage and organise workloads for recommended reading, the completion of essays and assignments and examination revision;

  • An essay of 2000 words (50%) due in Week 7.
  • A final essay of 2000 words (50%) due during the examination period.

Hurdle requirement: Students must attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials in order to pass this subject. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject. Regular participation in tutorials is required.

Note: Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per working day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked.

Prescribed Texts:

Subrata K. Mitra, Politics in India - Structure, Process and Policy, Routledge, 2010

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This subject is available as Breadth to non-Bachelor of Arts students.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Graduate Certificate in Arts - Politics and International Studies
Graduate Diploma in Arts - Politics and International Studies
Political Science Major
Politics and International Studies

Download PDF version.