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Ohio University  >  Global Affairs and International Studies  >  Office of Global Opportunities  >  Programs  >  India: Gender, Culture, and Development

India: Gender, Culture, and Development

Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India


This summer, join Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Classics and World Religions for an amazing program experience at Gawande College in Umarkhed, Maharashtra, India.  Students will have the chance to explore gender in the cultural, religious, and social context of contemporary rural India. This context provides students with an opportunity to think about both the empirical and policy dimensions of conventional development work as well as to confront difficult normative questions about the trajectory and meaning of “development” itself. Exposure to everyday life in Indian villages and visits to unique sites like the Buddhist cave monasteries at Ajanta are a major part of the coursework.  

In collaboration with Gawande College, OHIO students will have the opportunity to meet with local college students and through the service learning portion of the program OHIO students will assist their Indian counterparts with English language learning. 

Gawande College is named after a local Athens family whose support of the institution goes back for decades. The College also has a strong connection to and affinity with OHIO University: some similarities between the two institutions include their relative remoteness to urban centers as well as a commitment to providing educational opportunities to local and first-generation college students.  The rural dimensions of the Athens/Umarkhed experience will provide students with an opportunity to reflect comparatively on the politics of development within nation states as well as in the broader global context.

Program Focus

Students will learn about the interconnectedness of Indian religion, society, and history through lectures, readings, and group excursions to some of the most significant religious sites venerated by Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, and Sikhs. Engaging this kind of religious diversity in context prompts reflection on the range of meanings of secularism and toleration and the central role religion plays in the Indian experience. It also provides a useful lens on questions about the appropriate relationship between religiosity and public life. 

The coursework in religion, culture, and history provides the critical backdrop for an analysis of the meanings, practices, and structures of gender. Much work in the field of development implicitly assumes a western trajectory for economic and social progress and gender emancipation. We will critically engage this literature, asking, “What aspects of western progress translate?” but also, “What local resources (economic, cultural, religious) might offer alternative and more useful conceptualizations of progress and emancipation?” 

Finally, work from these two courses comes together in a service learning experience in which our students team up with Gawande College conversation partners. In the course of providing Indian students with opportunities to refine English speaking skills, our students will engage in a process of in-depth ethnographic interviewing as a way of exploring the lived experiences of gender, religious identity, caste, and class.

Program dates 

July 1-August 1, 2020


Short visits to local mosques, temples, and stupas and day-long excursions to:

  • Sri Renuka Devi Mandir in Mahur, a temple dedicated to the goddess Renuka
  • Hazur Sahib in Nanded, one of the five sacred sites of Sikhism
  • Several Indian villages
  • Overnight trip to the Buddhist caves of Ahanta and Ellora, UNESCO World Heritage Sites near Aurangabad

Eligibility and selection process

The program is open to undergraduate students of all majors who have an interest in the cultural context and development politics of India. A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required. 

Students who will be on probation at any point during the program for a conduct offense that took place less than a calendar year from the program start date may not study abroad.  Click here to read the entire conduct policy.


Application deadline

February 15, 2020

Admissions to this program is by a rolling admission procedure, meaning that applications are reviewed by the program directors as they are received. The program enrollment is limited to 8 students.  Early application is recommended as all places may be filled before the application deadline.



Living arrangements 

During most of the program, students will live in shared double rooms in the wi-fi equipped guest house at Gawande College. All meals will be prepared on site by a cook hired for the guest house and filtered water will be provided daily. Students will stay in a hotel during excursions. 

Courses and credits 

Instruction will take place in the main rooms of the guest house with exception to the final cultural program that will be at the large lecture hall on campus. Successful completion of this program will earn 9 credit hours from the courses below:

  • WGSS 4900: Gender and Development in Cultural Context (3cr)
  • WGSS 4900: The Experience of Gender in Cross Cultural Perspective (3cr)
  • CLWR 4900: Religious Traditions of India (3cr)

Before departure, students are required to complete the reading for Part I of the WGSS 4900 syllabus and students will meet for a 2-hour seminar to discuss these readings. During spring semester, 2018, there will be a 3-hour orientation to health and safety in rural Maharashtra.


2018 Undergraduate Student Budget Worksheeet

Program fee includes: airfare, housing, meals, excursions and entrance fees.

Find out about scholarships, using your financial aid and more for this program.

Non-resident surcharge waived for this program.

Additional Information on India

To learn more about this study abroad destination, please visit the  CIA World Factbook

Health and safety 

Ohio University Office of Global Opportunities suggests you follow the  recommendations  of the Centers for Disease Control for healthy travel to your destination. Please familiarize yourself with these recommendations and requirements prior to applying to a program.

Refer to the  State Department site  for information related to safety and security at this destination.

Also refer to  International SOS  for information related to safety and security at this destination. To log in to the International SOS website, please use the OHIO membership IS: 11BCAS000010.

Requesting accessibility accommodations

If you plan to participate in an Ohio University-sponsored study abroad program and wish to request accommodation, you should contact the  Office of Student Accessibility Services  to schedule an appointment to complete an  Global Opportunities Disability Accommodation Request Form . We recommend you do this as early as possible to allow sufficient time to determine what accommodations may be made for this program.

Entry and exit requirements

U.S. citizens are required to have a valid U.S. passport when traveling outside of the United States. If you plan to study or travel abroad in the next year,  apply for your passport  now. 

India also requires a visa to legally enter and reside in the country. Visit the  U.S. Department of State  website to learn about the entry and exit requirements for India. You may need to show sufficient funds to support yourself while in-country. Please also note that visa requirements may vary if you plan to stay in the country longer than the program dates or travel to other countries after the program. Please familiarize yourself with these recommendations and requirements prior to applying for the program.

More Information on visa can be found here.

Information for NON-U.S. citizens can be found  here.

For more information, contact: 

Dr. Brian Collins
Classics and World Religion
210J Ellis Hall |  collinb1@ohio.edu

Emily Englehart  
Global Programs Coordinator | Office of Global Opportunities  
Email:  eengleha@ohio.edu








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