Course code EDS272

EDS272 Development Challenges in Rural India

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Showing course contents for the educational year 2022 - 2023 .

Course responsible: Shai André Divon
Teachers: Elisabeth Molteberg
ECTS credits: 10
Faculty: Faculty of Landscape and Society
Teaching language: EN
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Limits of class size:
Teaching exam periods:
This course starts in the January block. This course has teaching/evaluation in the January block.
Course frequency: Biennial (even years)
First time: Study year 2014-2015
Preferential right:
Students in the B-IEDS and M-GLA program.
Course contents:

This is a four-week field course developed by Noragric in partnership with the grassroots NGO Seva Mandir, and a local academic institution in Udaipur India. Due to the Coronasituation, the course will be taught in January 2022 as an innovative remote field course. The course will take place at NMBU, with live connection and field transmissions with India.

The objectives of the courses are twofold: To help students understand the complexity of practice in the development process at the landscape level; And to help students acquire skills to identify the multiplicity and contradictions in developmental practice.

Through the course, the students will learn about complexity, challenges, and opportunities found in local realities and across cultures. The students will have the opportunity to experience the relationship between theory, method, and the practice of work and research through a combination of classroom theory, case studies, design and remote application of fieldwork methods for data collection. We will explore and experience different ideas, adaptations, and solutions to environment and development challenges and opportunities.

The academic content of the course builds on central and overarching topics and perspectives presented in the various courses on global environment, development, and landscape. The course will be a hybrid one where the students will remain based on campus in Norway. The course is developed around analyzing case studies using Seva Mandir’s expertise in development interventions.

For the purpose of the hybrid course, we developed detailed case study booklets for six themes.

Course activities will include:introduction to India and Rajasthan with online classes by subject experts on specific theme, and group discussions linked with each theme; group sessions and work with case studies and themes for in depth focus, including development of a research agenda based on case studies and online interactions with experts from India; training in the application of field methods, including live online interviews with people in the field via audio-visual transmissions; development of group reports based on reading, discussions and interactions with supervision from course leaders.

Learning outcome:

Upon successful completion of the course the students will be able to:

Identify the relationship between global environment, development and landscape processes, contextual histories, culture, and local realities.

Understand local environment and development opportunities and challenges, link those to global environment and development discourses, and identify strategies applied in local contexts to address those.

Formulate a research topic linking global and local environment, development and landscape issues, design and apply field methods for data collection.

Conduct an analysis, formulate, and present results combining theory, local realities, and field data to explain the relationship between global environment, development, landscape challenges, and the on-the-ground strategies to address those.

Learning activities:

The course approach is to develop theoretical understanding through remote experience-based learning and reflection on practical issues. Through orientations, online access to experts and people in the field, and discussions, students gain a basic understanding of sociocultural and material conditions, as well as knowledge on varying environment and development challenges and opportunities in rural areas around Udaipur. The students will then explore a chosen topic through a small study based on detailed case studies linked to field location.

Students are encouraged to reflect continually on how the course contents relate to subjects of other courses in their study program and to other relevant backgrounds the students might have. The combination of theory and practice is designed to provide a deeper understanding of development and landscape modification processes, as well as concepts and theories addressing them. Students are encouraged to exercise an interdisciplinary approach in exploring concrete topics and issues, thereby deepening their understanding of theoretical and thematic interconnections and complexities. They are also given the chance to explore basic field research methods.

Teaching support:
The contact formats will be class interactions on a daily basis throughout the January block.

Background literature:

Sainath, P. (2000): Everybody Loves a Good Drought: Stories from India's Poorest Districts. Penguin Books India.Jaideep Hardikar (2013). A village awaits doomsday. Penguin Books India.

Additional readings and materials will be provided during the course.

EDS101, GLA301 or similar
Recommended prerequisites:
Basic theoretical background in coursework related to environment and development studies or global sustainability is strongly recommended. Normally, third-year students in B-IEDS and M-GLA students take the course, but second-year B-IEDS students and others with relevant backgrounds may also be admitted.
Mandatory activity:

It is recommended that students read the two required background readings listed in this course description before the information meetings and be able to discuss the content of these readings.

Mandatory activities during the course: Participation in all classroom activities, excursions, related lectures, and remote fieldwork.

Course examination consists of a group paper based on remote fieldwork, an oral presentation of the paper contents, and an evaluation of individual performance throughout the course. Grading: pass/fail. 
Nominal workload:
About 275 hours, comprising classes and interactions with the field, as well as independent work in groups. The latter includes reading, remote fieldwork preparation, and preparation of a paper and presentation.
Entrance requirements:
Minimum requirements for entrance to higher education in Norway (generell studiekompetanse)
Type of course:
Total appox.150 hours
An external examiner will take part in evaluation and grading.
Examination details: Group assignment: Passed / Not Passed