Teaching

 

Why do I teach? Because I love it! It is my calling. I believe that teaching really matters — it is the profession that engenders every other profession. At Georgetown, I have taught more than 40 classes, at the graduate and undergraduate level. These are listed on my official Georgetown teaching page.  I have also been a Doyle Fellow and participated in some innovations in pedagogy.

The course I love teaching more than any other is called The Development of India: Economics, Fiction and Film. This class tries to make sense of modern India — a rather fascinating area of inquiry. We look back into its history to find the threads of economic, political, cultural and social explanations for India’s rather unique story.  We read academic texts from many disciplines, and also make some forays into fictional texts, and journalistic writings. We also watch films. These help us see that India’s economic story is intricately woven along with its geography, history, politics society and culture.  Though the class does emphasize economic variables, complete with data and numbers, there is a lot of discussion about the human side of India’s development story as seen in film, fiction, art and narratives of people’s actual lives.   Given my own story of growing up and working in India, this class means the world to me!

Another course I love to teach is my Sophomore research seminar called Researching Sex, Power and Markets in International Development. This class begins with the observation that all across the world, the first question asked upon the birth of a child is generally the same: “Is it a boy or a girl?” Gender, one of the most fundamental aspects of human identity, forms the foundation of our economic, political, and social systems.  Yet, it is far from a dichotomous variable! We will employ three analytical lenses to make sense of gender identity in different parts of the world: biology, economics, and power. Using these lenses the course will examine some fundamental questions about how men and women have interacted over the ages. A long time ago, were men hunters and women gatherers? When we settled down and started farming, how did the division of labor between men and women change? Under what conditions do patriarchy and matriarchy emerge? When did modern forms of marriage emerge? Under what conditions do monogamy, polygamy, and polyandry emerge? Who is more powerful in monogamous, polygamous, and polyandrous systems? How do these systems affect the course of economic development of a country or a people? The course will not only focus on where these systems came from but the many ways in which systems of marriage and family structure affect economies, labor markets, religious beliefs, and cultures, of societies we see today.   Students in this class design, carry out, and report on a small original social science research project. Their tasks involve the following: (1) Formulate a clear research question; (2) Identify and evaluate primary sources, and use them directly or through analysis, as evidence; (3) Design a research plan and revise it based on feedback from both your professor and peers; (4) Write an original research paper; (5)  Present your research to others in a short oral presentation.

I am also on RateMyProfessor.com (gulp).