The MA program in Environment and Society aims to critically examine the interrelationships between humans and their environment. We seek to understand how people and communities view and transform the world around them, and are in turn shaped materially and culturally by their environments. This program encompasses research areas that include
i) Development and Progress,
ii) Rights, Equity, and Justice, and
iii) Ecology and Resilience.
We use transdisciplinary methods and perspectives drawn from the natural and social sciences to approach and navigate complex contemporary nature-society issues. Ultimately, we aim towards imagining, conceiving and designing for healthy societies and ecosystems that are well-integrated, adaptable, and sustainable.
Modes of delivery may include the following:
- Studios: The Studio space provides a platform for students to integrate knowledge and skills in a collaborative and participative way to deconstruct a problem, develop a method, and build a knowledge base.
- Workshops: Workshops will encourage hands-on learning experiences by exploring a variety of methods, skills, and techniques.
- Seminars: The seminars provide an opportunity for students to interact with scholars and practitioners in the field and be in touch with research, policy, and contemporary issues in the real world.
- Self-Initiated Project/ Independent Study Project: At the beginning of the second year, students develop their own line of inquiry, research, and practice through a particular project of their own choice. Students will be mentored by faculty and/or professionals.
- Electives: General Studies and Liberal Arts classes from various disciplines and schools are mandatory and encourage intellectual freedom, critical thinking, and cross-disciplinarity.
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- Final/ Capstone Project: Students are required to work on a final project that demonstrates theoretical understanding, application of contextual and critical frameworks, and review of methods through a thesis, mentored by the program faculty.
Program learning components include:
- A philosophical approach that allows students to observe, reflect, absorb and share their explorations of the many values and concepts that permeate our society today, and to build on the relationships between self, society, and action.
- A trans-disciplinary approach to master the theoretical and conceptual knowledge of the history of institutional arrangements and management of the environment.
- Field-based immersion to complement the theoretical approaches and provide students with an in-depth understanding of the diverse, dynamic, and complex realities on the ground.
- Studio-based learning and making to explore theories, policies, and problems through shared reflections and innovative problem-solving in an open, mutually-respectful, art-and-design learning space.
- Opportunity to cross-register for electives in other related masters programs, in order to enhance learning experiences and widen professional applicability.
Key Values in the curriculum
We believe the following values form a good basis for an approach that will equip a new generation of practitioners with the capacity to rethink the contentious issues surrounding environment and society, in order to design interventions that will address the issues:
- Reflexivity -: As interventionists who seek to grapple with environment and society issues, we believe it is of utmost importance to cultivate a disposition of reflexivity, i.e., understanding that we too are part of the "problem" and we cannot take ourselves out of the equation.
- Endurance: Patience and endurance are key to resolving a problem through gradually improving understandings. Understanding complex social issues require time and persistence.
- Adaptability: To be creative and design interventions that are equitable and appropriate, we should be able to sensitively question received ideas, navigate the messiness of the world outside and within ourselves, and be prepared to change our views and positions.
- Sustainability: To develop practices, methods, approaches, and platforms that are robust and integrate the values of equity, respect, and justice. To include humans, environment, flora, and fauna.
On successful completion of the course, graduates will have the following capabilities:
- Researcher/ Scholar
- Engage and practice critical inquiry that examines the relationships between environment and society, contextualizes research, integrates theories, develops original methods, and disseminates findings in innovative ways.
- Provide new ways of looking at old problems and thereby inform the ground-based practices of developmental and other agencies that engage with environmental and social issues.
- Campaigner/ Activist / Critic within a variety of media (text, internet, radio, television, film, theatre, street theatre)
- Deconstruct existing policies, and understand their long-term impact on communities.
- Advocate communication and outreach to influence policies and public engagement.
- Mobilize and develop relationships with diverse stakeholders through grassroots-level interventions and fieldwork.
- Sustainability Designer
- Create a platform that integrates critical thinking, art, and design to provide novel solutions to complex problems of environment and society.
- Design policies; evaluate their impact on long-term sustainability.
- Curator/ Archivist
- Archive lost practices, methods, and the ways of lives, languages, and cultural nuances of communities.
- Curate artifacts, experiences, and memories of communities. Present information through innovative story-telling platforms.
Graduates with the above capability sets may have opportunities that include the following:
- Employment in research and development organizations, policy-related think-tanks, non-profits, corporate social responsibility (CSR), social enterprises, and in art, craft and design firms and organizations.
- Practitioners in innovative and participatory platforms that identify community practices and methods for adoption into social enterprises that empower marginalized communities and enable financial security within a sustainable environment.
- Independent design practitioners, and/or consultants that advise on environment and development issues.
- Critical thinkers and practitioners in academia and policymaking.
For further information, kindly email Mohan Seetharam at email@example.com
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