NYU Abu Dhabi

Comparative Politics of South Asia, Undergraduate Seminar, Fall 2014 & Fall 2015

How were South Asia’s states built, and how does state building continue today? What explains governments’ varied projects to transform society across the region? Why are there vastly different patterns of development, growth, and conflict across this geographic region? Why do so many of the region’s conflicts last so long, and under which conditions should we expect them to end? How do dynamic patterns of migration and identity shape opportunities for peace, conflict, and development within and across these states? These are some of the questions that this course addresses, with a primary focus on India and a secondary focus on Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal.

Justice: Political Theory and Practice, Undergraduate Seminar, Spring 2015 & Fall 2015

In this course, we explore three fundamental questions about the ideal of a just society and what place the values of liberty and equality occupy in such a society:

  1. Which liberties must a just society protect? Liberty of expression? Liberty of religion? Sexual liberty? Economic liberty? Political liberty?
  1. What sorts of equality should a just society ensure? Equality of opportunity? Of economic outcome? Political equality? Equality for different religious and cultural groups?
  1. Can a society ensure both liberty and equality? Or are these warring political values?

We will approach these questions by examining answers to them provided by three contemporary theories of justice: utilitarianism, libertarianism, and egalitarian liberalism. To understand the theories, and to assess their strengths and weaknesses, we will discuss their implications for some topics of ongoing moral-political controversy—including the enforcement of sexual morality, protecting religious liberty, regulating child labor, inheritance taxation, problems of extending rights to global citizens, and responses to climate change—that exemplify our three fundamental questions about liberty and equality. We conclude with some issues of global justice. Throughout the course, you will engage in participatory action research with a local organization working to improve marginalized populations’ access to justice here in Abu Dhabi.

Gender Revolutions & the State in India, J-term, Winter 2016

This January term course asks two questions: Why do states conduct top-down reforms for gender equality? What are these interventions’ impact? We study these questions in the context of India, the world’s largest and most influential developing democracy, with some of the most complex, puzzling variation in economic and social rights. Specifically, we examine reforms that equalize women’s rights to a core economic and social commodity: land. These represent the hardest and most important reforms for the state to implement. We will travel to India to interview top government officials and leaders responsible for implementing gender-equalizing land inheritance reform across India’s diverse cultural, economic, and political landscape.


Politics Senior Honors I and II, Undergraduate Honors Seminar, Fall 2013-Spring 2014

The purpose of this course is to write an original, publishable senior thesis. Attention is paid equally to the design, implementation and presentation of empirical research, with support from qualitative research as merited by the research question. In the fall semester, students will learn the principles of research design, topic selection, theory building and data collection. They will also study appropriate empirical methods. In the spring semester, students will analyze the data they have collected, write up their findings in the form of a clear and concise thesis, and present their findings to their peers and NYU’s research community.


The Political Economy of Development in Rural India, Undergraduate Seminar, Winter 2013

When and why do agriculturalists accept, manipulate, or overthrow the pre-existing distribution of political, economic and social power? This course helps students utilize political economy theories and methods of analysis to understand the institutional dynamics of change in rural India. First, it provides students with a deeper understanding of the nature of change in a particularly dynamic, varied and influential state with a mainly-rural population: India. Second, it focuses on three major topics in political economy: control over land; taxation and investment; and anti-state resistance. The course draws from political science’s examinations of how and why states succeed, fail, and conduct major reforms by examining these questions in the context of rural India’s small farmers. Indian political institutions are simultaneously lauded as extremely stable, highly-prone to decentralized rebellion, and models for voice and innovation from which the rest of the world has much to learn. Overall, this course assists student engagement with the political economy literature – historical and contemporary – in order to analyze the nature of political, economic and social change driven by and for agriculturalists in rural India.