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Program Locations

Overseas Seminars - New Delhi/Bombay/Mumbai, India


Minority as Cultural Form in South Asia
Study in India with Thomas Hansen and Sangeeta Mediratta

Arrival Date in New Delhi: August 26, 2013
Departure Date from Bombay/Mumbai: September 16, 2013

Information Session: Thursday, October 11, 12:15 - 1:30pm

@Philippines Conference Room, Encina Hall


India’s enormous diversity of languages, religions and caste communities makes it a subcontinent of minorities – overlapping, crosscutting, some locked in conflicts others coexisting indifferently. With modern literacy, administration, and political representation the question of what constituted a minority and how it should be known to itself and represented in the wider public culture became a key concern across the subcontinent, troubling the colonial government, dividing the nationalist movement and generating multiple conflicts and political energies in the independent nations states in the subcontinent. This seminar will focus on the importance of minority South Asia, both historically and in the present. The seminar will focus on minority in its wider sense as configured along lines of gender, sexuality, class, race, religion, and caste.


This seminar will take students to two distinct locations within India: Delhi and Bombay/ Mumbai. While New Delhi has long been the administrative capital of India, Mumbai is unanimously regarded as its financial hub. Saying this, however, is to merely begin to scratch the surface of two teeming megalopolises that offer critical vantage points from which to negotiate and analyze minority cultural and political formations in India. Of special interest will be colonialism, nationalism, partition, the Emergency, the anti-Sikh riots of 1984, the rise of Hindu nationalism, the status of Muslim minorities, gender reform, anti-caste radicalism, labor movements, and LGBT agitations.

The seminar will start in Delhi and end in Bombay/Mumbai. The seminar students will have the opportunity to explore these two distinct cities within India.


Living and Traveling Conditions
Students will live and study in shared rooms at a hostel-type of housing or equivalent. Students should expect that there may be no Internet in their rooms and there may be less privacy and personal space that they may be used to on the home campus. We will have a full schedule of lectures and site visits. The month of August is characterized as the monsoons season in both New Delhi and Mumbai.  The average maximum temperature for the month of August is 85-92 °F with the average minimum at 76-78 °F with high level of humidity. Students should understand that the weather and other conditions in India can present difficulties and discomforts not encountered here at Stanford. Dietary selections may be limited so students with severe restrictions should carefully evaluate their ability to participate comfortably.


Thomas Blom Hansen ( is the Reliance-Dhirubhani Ambani Professor in South Asian Studies and Professor in Anthropology. He is also the Director of Stanford’s Center for South Asia where he is charged with building a substantial new program. He has many and broad interests spanning South Asia and Southern Africa, several cities and multiple theoretical and disciplinary interests from political theory and continental philosophy to psychoanalysis, comparative religion and contemporary urbanism.

Sangeeta Mediratta is Associate Director of Stanford’s Center for South Asia. She is originally from New Delhi, India, and her research focuses on transnational colonial cultures and literatures.


Enrollment Capacity
15 undergraduate students.


Prerequisites and Expectations
There is no prerequisite for this seminar. A final paper is to be submitted at the end of September. We will have three orientation meetings and will expect students to have done a good portion of their reading over summer before the beginning of the quarter. If we, together with the students, decide that a pre-seminar may be appropriate, we will consider this also.


Grading Basis
Satisfactory/No Credit. However, please expect to take this seminar as it is intended - as a rigorous academic seminar located in the region under study.


Passport and Visa
Students are solely responsible for obtaining their passport and visa. Every BOSP participant MUST have a signed passport that is valid for at least 6 months after the scheduled RETURN date from the overseas program. Students who do not have a valid passport must apply for a new or renewed passport immediately. For information on obtaining or renewing a U.S. passport see To expedite your passport processing, click on the following link and go to the appropriate tab:
For visa information for this specific seminar, please click on the link below and go to the appropriate tab:


Health and Safety
Students on international programs should be aware that attitudes toward medical conditions, disabilities, and psychological conditions vary by culture and under the laws of the host countries. These differences impact the level of treatment and accommodation available abroad. Students should give serious consideration to their health and personal circumstances when accepting a place in a program and should consult with their physicians.

Students must be aware that certain immunizations are required to protect their health in India. Students must review the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website for complete information on health conditions and vaccinations in India at Students must also consult the on-campus Vaden Health Center Travel Clinic ( Students are expected to make an appointment with the on-campus Vaden Health Center Travel Clinic as soon as they are accepted to the program at (650) 498-2336 ext. 1 to discuss any health concerns, pre-departure immunizations and any personal prescriptions before going abroad.


Students must review the U.S. State Department’s consular information website for complete information on safety and security in India at


While overseas, students are advised to be alert to their surroundings, and be particularly aware of any health and safety advisories for the areas in which they will be visiting. As with any foreign travel, emphasis will be placed on staying away from questionable situations, avoiding injury, and preventing infectious disease. Students will be expected to travel in groups, avoid travel at night, and stay with the group unless prior approval is obtained. Additional issues of personal health and safety and precautions will be discussed in detail during the mandatory pre-seminar preparation and upon arriving in country.


Other Considerations

Students should be aware that Malaria is present in India, including metropolitan areas. They should discuss with the on-campus Vaden Health Center Travel Clinic or their private doctor the best ways to prevent malaria.

Many first-time travelers to India experience stomach upset, vomiting, and diarrhea. Students should take proper precautions about eating and drinking while in the country.

Petty crime, especially theft of personal property, is common, particularly on trains or buses. Pickpockets can be very adept and women have reported having their bags snatched, purse-straps cut, or the bottom of their purses slit without their knowledge. Theft of U.S. passports is common, particularly in major tourist areas, on overnight trains, and at airports and train stations. Be careful with your bags in the arrival and departure areas outside airports. Be cautious about displaying cash or expensive items to reduce the chance of being a target for robbery or other crime, and be aware of your surroundings when you use ATMs.

If you are uncomfortable traveling under such conditions, you should not apply to this seminar.