United Kingdom, London

South Asia: Diversity, Democracy and Discord

when 20 July 2020 - 7 August 2020
language English
duration 3 weeks
credits 15 EC
fee GBP 1750

This summer school at SOAS is the only one of its kind in the United Kingdom. It is directed and taught by leading scholars who take pride in innovative and enthusiastic teaching. We encourage students to engage in difficult questions, questions that we at SOAS think worth asking:

How should we go about studying the political aspirations and agency of almost two billion people in South Asia, governed by contradictory and unstable regimes, where religion, ethnicity, caste, class, language, gender, and other identities unite and divide such vast populations? What does it mean when the world’s fastest growing regional economy, also has the largest number of people living in abject poverty? How will the world respond to the growing tensions between longstanding regional rivals, India and Pakistan, threatening global security? This course, focused on South Asian politics and society will provide students, professionals and members of the public an opportunity to explore these questions.

This is an opportunity to understand the changing relationship of South Asia with the world and to explore new theories about society. The approach is firmly inter-disciplinary, drawing on the best of political science, history, security studies, anthropology, economics, art and film studies. The course will include visits to museums, film-viewings and historic walks through the South Asian nationalist landscapes of London, tracing connections between material discussed in seminar rooms and the city that surrounds us.

Course leader

Dr Yasser Kureshi, Dr Simona Vittorini

Target group

You will have completed one year of undergraduate study at the time of joining the Academic Summer School. Professional experience can be acknowledged as equivalent to a university qualification.

Course aim

On successful completion of the course, a student should be able to demonstrate the ability to:
- Demonstrate familiarity with the diverse political systems in South Asia, and the complex histories of these states that have brought them to where they are today.
- Develop an understanding of the questions of identity and nationalism that drive South Asian politics and define the relationship between state and society in this region.
- Understand how South Asia shapes and is shaped by actors beyond the region, including foreign powers and diasporic populations.
- Critically engage with the theories of politics, international relations and anthropology, relevant to themes in South Asian studies.
- Consider the impact of the 2019 Indian elections on the key themes studied during this course
- Understand the distinct challenges that South Asian states must face collectively.
- Finally, the module will inspire students to continue with further study or interest in South Asia – provision will be made over the three weeks for students to develop a particular interest within the general structure of course progression.

Credits info

15 EC
Courses are worth 15 SOAS credits, which is equivalent to 4 credits in the US system and 7.5 ECTS in the European system. If you intend to transfer credit to your home institution, please check the requirements with them before you apply. We will be happy to assist you in any way we can, however please be aware that the decision to transfer credit rests with your home institution.

Fee info

GBP 1750: Credit assessed - if you have opted to study for credit, you will be required to complete all course assessments. Should you complete the assessments with success, you will receive a transcript confirming your marks and credits.
GBP 1600: Non-assessed - if you have not chosen to study for credit, you will be exempt from any course assignments and not receive a mark.

There is a 10% early bird discount for applications received by 31st March 2020.


The SOAS Academic Summer School is delighted to offer four tuition-fee waiver scholarships to passionate students with a desire to make a difference in the world.

The scholarships will cover the tuition fee for one Academic Summer School course in 2020

Register for this course
on course website