Identity Discrimination and Development

Home/ Identity Discrimination and Development
Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation ElectiveNA4

Course Coordinator and Team: Dr Nandini Nayak (coordinator); Prof. Sumangala Damodaran; Dr. Moggallan Bharti.

Email of course coordinator:

Pre-requisites: None

Learning outcomes for the course:

1. By the end of the course, students should be able to critically engage with the concept of ‘development’.

2. By the end of the course, students should be able to discuss social discrimination, and ‘multi-discrimination’ by looking at literature on ‘identity’ and specifically Caste, Gender and Race as markers of identity, for a critical understanding of development.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

Unit 1: Conceptualising Discrimination (Week 1) (Sumangala Damodaran)

This unit introduces students to basic ideas around social identity and the bases of discrimination. It will serve as the basic framework within which the discussion in the next unit on race and racial discrimination is organized.

Unit 2: Race and Racial Discrimination (Weeks 2 and 3) (Sumangala Damodaran)

The idea of race as a modern concept that underpins fundamental notions of the ‘other’ and hence as going beyond commonly understood notions of race will be introduced. Examples of racial discrimination that encompass various notions of racial identity will be examined as cases to draw out the nuances of an expanded notion of race.

Unit 3: Gender: Reflections on some critical concepts (Weeks 4-6) (Nandini Nayak)

The course will by now have introduced the idea that development is a complex and far from linear and uniformly experienced phenomenon, and moreover that identity can impact one’s experience of ‘development’. In this unit, we move on to discussing some key concepts in relation to ‘gender’. We will look at how ‘gendered identity’ can impact and shape our relationship with development. The key concepts are ‘gender’, ‘masculinity’, ‘patriarchy’ and ‘feminism’.

Unit 4: Caste(Weeks 7-10) (Moggallan Bharti)

Among the various forms of discrimination found across the world, untouchability is a unique and a distinct social institution –this leads to the question of how & why in modern India, caste discrimination and untouchability are still experienced. This module will discuss perspectives, theories and concepts used to construct the idea of caste, learning and knowing about caste, the connection/ difference between caste and race. Terms, definitions and features of the caste system will be covered in addition to a discussion on relevance of concepts of hierarchy and difference in understanding caste.

S.NoAssessmentDate/period in which Assessment will take placeWeightage
1Essay – RaceEnd of Race section20
2Book review – GenderEnd of Gender section20
3Essay – CasteEnd of Caste section20
4ExamEnd of term40


Reading List:


  • Conceptualising discrimination –
  • Jenkin, R. (1996) Social identities: key ideas. London and New York: Routledge.
  • Ruwanpura, Kanchana N (2005): Exploring the links of multidiscrimination: Considering Britain and India , International Institute of Labor Studies, Discussion paper DP/157/2005
  • Akerlof, George A. and Rachel E. Kranton (2000) “Economics and Identity.” Quarterly Journal of Economics. CXV(3):715-53.
  • Race and Racial discrimination -
  • Winant, H (2000): Race and Race Theory, Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 26 (2000), pp. 169-185
  • Fanon, Frantz (1952): Black Skin, White Masks, Pluto Press
  • Darrity, William (1975) “Economic Theory and Racial Inequality.” Review of Black Political Economy. 5(3):225-48. [Re-published in William Darrity, Jr (ed.). 1995. Economics and Discrimination: Volume I. Aldershot: U.K. Edward Elgar Publishing Limited].
  • Arthur, J (2007): Race, Equality and the Burdens of History, Cambridge University Press, Chapters 1 and 2
  • Deshpande, Ashwini (2000) “Recasting Economic Inequality.” Review of Social Economy. 58(3):381.
  • Gender –
  • Connell, R. W. &Masserschmidt, J. W. (2005), Hegemonic Masculinity: Rethinking the Concept, Gender and Society, 19(6), 829-859.
  • Kandiyoti, Deniz (1988), Bargaining with Patriarchy, Gender and Society.
  • Donaldson, M., (1993) What Is Hegemonic Masculinity?, Theory and Society, Special Issue: Masculinities, October, 22(5), 643-657.
  • Kumar, Radha (1999), From Chipko to Sati: The Contemporary Indian Women’s Movement from Nivedita Menon (ed.) Gender and Politics in India, New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
  • Moore, Henrietta (1994), 'The divisions within: sex, gender and sexual difference’ Chapter 1 in A Passion for Difference.
  • Menon, Nivedita ( 2012) Seeing Like a Feminist. Chapter titled ‘Body’.
  • Sen, Amartya, 10 October 2013, India’s Women: The Mixed Truth, The New York Review of Books.
  • Sen, Ilina (1999) Feminists, Women’s Movement and the Working Class, from Nivedita Menon (ed.), Gender and Politics in India, New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
  • Documentary film – ‘Many People, Many Desires’ (2007). Directed by T. Jayashree.

Caste –

  • Bayly, Susan (1999) Caste, Society and Politics in India from the Eighteenth Century to the Modern Age, The New Cambridge History of India series, CUP India, Chapter 3
  • Guru, Gopal. "Dalits in pursuit of modernity." India: Another Millennium (2000): 123-137.
  • Guru, Gopal. "Humiliation: Claims and context." (2011).
  • Cox, Oliver (1945) Race and Caste: A Distinction in The American Journal of Sociology, Vol 50, No 5, pp 360-368
  • Ambedkar, B.R. and Rege, S., 2013. Against the Madness of Manu: BR Ambedkar's Writings on Brahmanical Patriarchy (p. 266). Navayana
  • Joothan by Omprakash Valmiki (1997) Translated in english by ArunPrabha Mukherjee (2003), Columbia University Press
  • B. R. Ambedkar (1916) Castes in India: Their Mechanism, Genesis and Development , paper presented at an Anthropology Seminar, Columbia University on 9th May 1916; Text first printed in: Indian Antiquary Vol. XLI (May 1917)
  • Gail Omvedt, (2006) Ambedkar and After: The Dalit Movement in India in Shah,
  • Ghanshyam et al. Untouchability in Rural India, Sage, New Delhi
  • KalpanaKannabiran, (2009) Sociology of Caste and the Crooked Mirror: Recovering B R Ambedkar's Legacy, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 44, No. 4, pp. 35-39
  • Harish S. Wankhede, (2008) The Political and the Social in the Dalit Movement Today, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 43, No. 6, pp. 50-57
  • Still, Clarinda, ed. Dalits in Neoliberal India: Mobility Or Marginalisation?. Routledge, 2015.
  • Thorat, Sukhadeo, and Katherine S. Neuman. Blocked by caste: economic discrimination in modern India. Oxford University Press, 2012.
  • Thorat, Sukhadeo, and Paul Attewell. "The legacy of social exclusion: A correspondence study of job discrimination in India." Economic and Political Weekly (2007): 4141-4145.