University officials announced plans are underway to take a group of students to India during the second half of the 2015 summer session, July 6-30, to learn more about one of the most populous countries in the world. The trip, the first of its kind offered to Missouri State-West Plains students, is being planned by the Office of International Programs at Missouri State University in Springfield with the support of Missouri State-West Plains’ academic affairs office. It will be led by Dr. Rajiv Thakur, assistant professor of geosciences at Missouri State-West Plains and a native of India.
During the trip, students will visit the nation’s capital and the second largest city in the world, New Delhi, as well as Agra, which houses the famous Taj Mahal. In addition, students will visit the cities of Jaipur, Leh, Imphal, Trivandrum and Kanya Kumari. Actual travel dates will be July 9-24.
“Using an interdisciplinary approach, this course will help students gain a deeper understanding of the interacting dynamics of culture, gender, race and class; biophysical factors such as climate, population and natural resources; and economic and political processes – all of which have led to the present day changing social inequalities in India,” Thakur said.
The course also will examine the powerful, but problematic, ways in which India is represented and the values which underpin these conceptions and images; explore how India is shaping, and being shaped by global economic, political and cultural processes; look at the impact these have on people’s lives and identities, from consumption to home-making, to work and local politics; assess the possibilities and limitations of development strategies, whether directed by the state, the market or non-governmental institutions; and finally challenge existing ways of thinking about globalization, he added.
The program is titled “India: Encountering and Contesting Development” and will require students to enroll in GRY 197 next summer. It will cost $4,500, not including tuition, meals, transportation to and from Springfield-Branson National Airport in Springfield, passport and visa. Although no university scholarships will be available to pay for the program, there are external scholarship opportunities, such as the Gilman Scholarship Program, available to interested students. The scholarship program, however, is very competitive, Thakur said.
Those interested in enrolling in the program should contact Thakur at RajivThakur@MissouriState.edu for more information. The application deadline is Feb. 1, 2015. The program is open to students at the West Plains and Springfield campuses, as well as members of the community who have relevant educational qualifications, Thakur said.