Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Oct 28: Identities, Cultures, and Education in “Economically Liberalized” India

Presented by: Dr. Nina Asher, Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Abstract: This paper draws on postcolonial and globalization theories and educational research to frame the analysis of identities, cultures, decolonization and education in a globalized India. Akash Kapur’s nuanced, insightful work, India Becoming: A Portrait of Life in Modern India, serves as an illuminating study. Findings based on qualitative data (including observations, interviews, and field notes) from my 2014-15 Fulbright-funded research project (Examining the Intersections of Globalization, Privatization, and Education after Two Decades of Economic Liberalization in India) conducted in urban India are also incorporated. I interviewed 24 students (female and male from diverse linguistic, regional, and socioeconomic backgrounds) enrolled in a master’s program in education at a top, urban research institution in India and observed the seminar where they presented their field research projects. The audio-recorded interviews were transcribed. Analyses of these data, along with my field notes and various scholarly and media reports, revealed the ways in which identities, cultures, and education are shaped by privatization and capitalist expansion in an increasingly urbanized India. Loss of indigenous languages and the resurgence of English as the language of currency as well as an emphasis on STEM fields over others are also among the key issues that emerged. Implications are discussed in terms of resisting re- colonization in contexts shaped by global corporatism through cultivating the ability (of students and teachers) to read the world in critical, self-reflexive, recursive ways. Such curricular and pedagogical work needs to occur in relation to larger efforts to dismantle structural inequities in power in transnational contexts.

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