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Conference: Six Decades of Indian Democracy

Friday, May 7 –
Sunday, May 9, 2010

Joukowsky Forum

May 7-9, 2010
Conference: Six Decades of Indian Democracy

“Six Decades of Indian Democracy: Achievements, Failures, Promises, Challenges” will bring together scholars from a range of disciplines to reflect on 60 years of India’s democracy. The conference will explore various dimensions of India’s democracy, including its historical success in operationalizing universal franchise before an industrial revolution had taken place and the remarkably limited degree to which it has been successful in providing for the welfare of marginal groups and tackling important social problems. In addition, the conference will look at Indian democracy from a global perspective, asking how the Indian experience of democracy can inform larger debates on democracy and development. 

Location: Joukowsky Forum, Watson Institute, 111 Thayer Street. 
Free and open to the public.


Friday, May 7

8:30-9:00 Opening remarks: Michael Kennedy, Patrick Heller, and Ashutosh Varshney, Brown University

9:00-10:00 Keynote speaker: Pranab Bardhan, University of California, Berkeley, “Democracy and Development in India”

Chair: Patrick Heller, Brown University 

10:00-10:15 Coffee Break 

10:15-12:00 Democracy and the Emerging Political Economy

Chair: Sanjay Reddy, The New School

Kanchan Chandra, New York University, “Democracy and the New Economy in South Asia”

Reetika Khera, Indian Statistical Institute, (and Jean Dreze, Delhi School of Economics and Pant Institute, Allahabad), “Battle for Employment Guarantee”

Rina Agarwala, Johns Hopkins University, "Populism, Communism, and Informal Workers: Progressive Party Politics in the Neoliberal Era"

1:30-2:45 Making Democracy Work

Chair: Sanjay Ruparelia, The New School

Pradeep Chhibber, University of California, Berkeley, and Irfan Nooruddin, Ohio State University, "Making (India's) Democracy Work? Associations, Power, and Governance"

Prerna Singh, Harvard University, "The More, the Merrier? The Creation of New States and Social Development in India" 

2:45-3:00 Coffee break 

3:00-4:45 Democracy and the Challenge of Inclusion

Chair: To be announced 

Satish Deshpande, Delhi School of Economics, “Caste Articulations and Indian Democracy: Sharing Sovereignty in Postnational Contexts”

Amit Ahuja, University of California, Santa Barbara, “Between Parties and Movements: Patterns of Dalit Politics in India”

Paromita Sanyal, Wesleyan University, (and Vijayendra Rao, The World Bank), “The Development of Deliberative Capacity: Evidence from Gram Sabhas in South India” 

4:45-5:00 Coffee Break 

5:00-6:00 Keynote speaker: Shekhar Gupta, Editor-in-Chief, The Indian Express, “India’s Democracy and the Media”

Chair: Ashutosh Varshney, Brown University

Saturday, May 8

9:00-10:00 Keynote speakers: Susanne Rudolph and Lloyd Rudolph, University of Chicago, "Looking Back and Looking Forward: Researching Indian Politics for Almost Six Decades"

Chair: Lina Fruzzetti, Brown University 

10:15-12:00 Urban Governance

Chair: Bish Sanyal, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Michael Walton, Harvard University and Centre for Policy Research, Delhi, “Political Economy of India’s Mega-Cities”

Liza Weinstein, Northeastern University, “Democracy in the Globalizing Indian City: Engagements of Political Society and the State in Globalizing Mumbai”

Partha Mukhopadhyay, Centre for Policy Research, Delhi, “The Formal and the Functional City” 

1:30-3:15 Democracy and its Institutions

Chair: John Tomasi, Brown University

Pratap B. Mehta, Centre for Policy Research, Delhi, "The Indian Supreme Court: From Law to Governance”

Rajeev Bhargav, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi, “The Success and Failure of Indian Secularism”

Lant Pritchett, Harvard University, “Is India a Flailing State?” 

3:30-5:15 Democracy and Voting

Chair: Richard Snyder, Brown University

Yogendra Yadav, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi, "Political Representation in Contemporary India"

Lakshmi Iyer, Harvard University, "Electoral Redistricting in the World's Largest Democracy: An Evaluation"

Tariq Thachil, Yale University, “The Saffron Wave Meets the Silent Revolution: Social Services, Elite Parties, and Poor Voters in India” 

5:30-6:30 Keynote speaker, The Honorable Salman Khurshid, Minister of State for Minority Affairs, Government of India, “Muslims and Emerging India”

Chair: Ashutosh Varshney, Brown University

Sunday, May 9

9:00-10:45 Democracy in a Global World

Chair: Pauline Jones Luong, Brown University

Vipin Narang, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (and Paul Staniland, University of Chicago), “Ideologies, Coalitions, and Indian Foreign Policy”

Devesh Kapur, University of Pennsylvania, "Does Spatial Mobility Lead to Social Mobility? Democracy and Migration"

Ronald Herring, Cornell University, “Epistemic Warriors: Democracy, Science and the State” 

11:00-12:30 India’s Democracy: Comparative and Theoretical Lessons

Chairs: Patrick Heller and Ashutosh Varshney, Brown University

Alfred Stepan, Columbia University, “The Concept of State Nation: India in Comparative Perspective”

Vijayendra Rao, the World Bank, “India’s Local Democracy in Comparative Perspective”

Dietrich Rueschemeyer, Brown University, theoretical commentary


Reservations for out-of-town participants have been made at the Renaissance Providence Hotel, 5 Avenue of the Arts, Providence.  If there are any changes to your travel plans please email Indian_Democracy@brown.edu as soon as possible.

The closest airport to Providence is the T.F. Green Airport (PVD).  You can take a taxi to the hotel or to the Watson Institute for approximately $30. Alternatively, there is an airport shuttle from T.F. Green to Brown University which departs every hour on the hour.  You can find more information on the shuttle here.  For those traveling from outside the U.S., the closest international airport is Logan Airport in Boston (BOS).  A bus from Logan to Providence is available through Peter Pan Lines.  More information is available here.

The conference will take place in the Joukowsky Forum at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University, 111 Thayer Street, Providence.  The conference will begin at 8:30am on May 6 and will end with lunch on the 9th.

Please email Indian_Democracy@brown.edu with any questions regarding logistics. Please send questions regarding papers or panels to Ashutosh_Varshney@brown.edu or Patrick_Heller@brown.edu.


Conference Papers

Conference presenters can log in to view papers here.