Examining Rural and Urban

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSDe2SD3114

Semester and Year Offered: Semester 3 (Monsoon)

Course Coordinator and Team: Divya Chopra

Email of course coordinator:

Pre-requisites: BA / BDes

Course Objectives/Description:

The basic premise of this course is to understand the complex socio-spatial dialectic embedded within the production of urban and rural as one intervenes in varied geographic settings. The course locates itself within the contemporary urban-rural debates while fundamentally trying to comprehend urban-rural as sociological, numeric and spatial concepts. Going beyond a dichotomous understanding of the two entities, the course will try to bring forth issues of interdependence, exchange, migration etc. that blur these distinctions. The course involves mapping of urban and rural spaces/settlements through multiple perspectives towards creating a holistic understanding of unique ecologies that characterize their complex dynamics. The study will also involve differentiating the nuances of rural-urban life from the perspectives of social hierarchy, its inter-relationships, communities and conflicts, decision making processes and governance, public interfaces, mobility, services, commons and collective spaces.

Course Outcomes:

On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. Define Urban – Rural as complex multi-layered socio-spatial concepts
  2. Equipped with spatial mapping as a technique
  3. Map urban – rural flows be it material, human, financial, technological etc.
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of emerging concepts such as Rurban / Urbanizing Rural
  5. Critically engage Contemporary Urban-Rural issues

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

The course is imagined along the following modules to understand the rural and the urban.

  • Module 1 will focus on theoretical understanding of rural and urban using various schools of thought while referring to classical, modern and contemporary readings relevant within the Indian sub-continent.
  • Module 2 will expect students to do a multi-layered mapping of a rural and an urban setting using various tools, methods and mediums. The mapping will primarily focus on urban – rural flows be it material, human, financial, technological etc. that significantly characterize the dynamic conditions of interchange and interdependence. The spatial manifestations of a selected set of such flows will be unearthed and re-mapped to explore the relationship between the built fabric and socio-cultural processes of the place.
  • Module 3 will allow them to critically look at the interface between the rural and urban beyond the obvious dichotomies in terms of interdependence, issues, conflicts and contestations as part of the contemporary rural-urban debate. This module will focus on writings on and from the Indian subcontinent.

Assessment Details with weights:

The course comprises three assignments:

  • Mapping of urban areas 30%
  • Mapping out a rural setting 30%
  • Final Paper Presentation 40%

Reading List:

  • Crane Robert, Urbanism in India, The American Journal of Sociology
  • Guha Ranajit (1983), A Rule of Property for Bengal. Durham: Duke University Press
  • Jodhka, Surinder S. (ed.) (2012), Village Society, Orient Blackswan, Hyderabad, and Economic and Political Weekly
  • Setha M. Low, The Anthropology of the Cities: Imagining and Theorizing the City
  • Aloysius G (2013), Conceptualising the Region, Critical Quest
  • Mehta Kaiwan (2008), Alice in Bhuleshwar: Navigating A Mumbai Neighbourhood, Yoda Press
  • Angelo Hillary (2016), From the city lens toward urbanization as a way of seeing: Country/city binaries on an urbanizing planet, University of California Santa Cruz, USA,
  • Escobar Arturo, The problematization of poverty: The tale of three worldsand development, Encountering Development: the making and unmaking of the third world
  • Kennedy Loraine, Sood Ashima (2016) Rescaling, Speculation and Governance on India’s Urban Frontier: Greenfield Development as Tabula Rasa, EPW Review of Urban Affairs Vol. 51, Issue No. 17
  • Menon AGK (2007), The complexity of Indian urbanism (
  • Mosse David (1997),The symbolic making of a common property resource: history, ecology and locality in a tank‐irrigated landscape in south India”, Development and change 28 (3), 467-504
  • Simone AbdouMaliq (2011), The Urbanity of Movement: Dynamic Frontiers in Contemporary Africa, Journal of Planning Education and Research XX(X) 1 –1

Additional Reference:

  • Kumar Mukul (2015) ‘Erstwhile Villages in Urban India’, Development in Practice
  • Krause, Monika, The Ruralization of the World, Goldsmiths College
  • Mosse David (2003), The rule of water: statecraft, ecology and collective action in South India, Oxford University Press
  • Menon AGK (1995), Imagining the Indian City, Conference proceedings ‘The Theaters of Decolonization’
  • Mumford Lewis (1937), What is a city?, Architectural Record
  • Simmel George(1971), The Metropolis and Mental life, In Individuality and social forms, University of Chicago press
  • Srinivas M.N. (1976), The Remembered Village, University of California Press
  • Srinivas M.N. (1956), The industrialization and urbanization of rural areas
  • Wirth Louis (1938), Urbanism as a ‘ way of life ‘, American Journal of Sociology
  • 73rd and 74th Amendment