Honors in Bangalore, India

Social Justice and NGO Activism

B Term: July 26 - August 30, 2011 (dates are approximate)
Summer 2011 | Honors Humanities and Interdisciplinary Studies | 17 credits Honors Core (VLPA, I&S)
(5-credit Spring core course at UW + 12 credits Summer B term, Bangalore, India
Variation of credits may be available per preapproval with your department
* All students are welcome to apply, priority to College and Departmental Honors students, and English & CHID majors. *
Deadline: February 11th 2011
poster thumbnail

During this month-long program, we will learn about and explore the current scene of social justice activism in Bangalore, India, through partnerships with non-governmental organizations (NGO) throughout the city working on issues of urban dislocation, traffic and transportation, children's rights, rural women, and the environment. Our program in Bangalore will help us learn about these complex issues of the city and encourage analysis that takes into account issues of history, language politics, gender relations, and theories of globalization. We hope to cultivate an interest in and appreciation of the incredible challenges that organizations and activists face in Bangalore, as well as the joys and gifts of doing this work.

Bangalore has undergone tremendous change over the past 15 or so years with the emergence of a transnational labor industry and rapid growth in information technology, biotech, and garment production. Internal migration within India, as well as shifts in rural and farming communities have also affected the demography of the city and produced great change in neighborhoods, traffic, employment opportunities, education, and consumer culture. For the city's inhabitants, what this means is greater frustration with city infrastructure (roads, traffic congestion, pollution, water, electricity), and a vociferous debate on citizenship (who counts as a Bangalorean, what that has to do with privilege and power, what happens to those who fall beyond the scope and sight of lawmakers, etc). Exploring the city through the framework of justice allows us to think about these complicated changes as they impact and influence all segments of society, and helps us glean a better more holistic picture of what "social change" or "activism" might mean in this context.

Students will work with learning partners from two key organizations in Bangalore: HHS and ESG. Hengasara Hakkina Sangha is a feminist women's rights NGO that works with grassroots organizations, state institutions, media, civil society organizations, professional organizations, students and trade unions to promote women's rights through research, documentation and advocacy. Environment Support Group is an organization that works on environmental and social issues in Bangalore and throughout the state of Karnataka, focusing on research, documentation and publication, legal support, training, and campaign activities.

Check out the following resources to find out more:

  • Hengasara Hakkina Sangha: a women's Rights Resource Center http://www.hhsonline.org/
  • Environment Support Group: http://www.esgindia.org/index.html

Students will receive 17 credits total (5 credits at UW during spring quarter and 12 in Bangalore). Credits will fulfill Honors Core requirements. Other credits may be applicable depending on individual research projects. (Alternative credit may be available to non-Honors students; this must be arranged in advance with your departmental advisers)

Spring Quarter - 5 credit core course

The first stage of this study abroad program involves a mandatory 5-credit Honors course "The Ethnography of Travel" " during spring quarter 2011. This preparatory course will provide students with an introduction to the Bangalore program and will include instruction and discussion on issues of globalization, identity issues, and travel literatures. There will also be a retreat in the summer for participants to establish a sense of shared goals and values before arriving in India.

Summer - 12 credits

During the month long summer program, students will learn from a wide range of formal and informal events with program colleagues, program directors, NGO partners, and of course, the new acquaintances and friends we will make traveling around the city.

Students will be housed in home stays and/or university housing.

We will learn through a variety of methods, including site visits, guest lectures, field trips, trainings, group discussions, and group projects.


Dr. Anu Taranath
Department of English and Comparative History of Ideas

Anu Taranath has led four study abroad programs with UW students and has extensive experience teaching about international issues. Dr. Taranath is the recipient of a UW Distinguished Teaching Award (2010) and has taught courses in colonial and post-colonial literature, gender theory and cultural studies, as well as contemporary world literatures, including texts from South Asia, the Caribbean, and parts of Africa. Anu is from Bangalore and speaks the local language, Kannada.

Read more about Anu Taranath »

Amy Hirayama, UW Bothell graduate student and Brandon Maust, UW alumnus, have extensive traveling experience and academic knowledge in international education. Both Amy and Brandon have participated in previous programs to Bangalore and will assist students in navigating the city. Amy, Brandon and Anu have been collaborating on a rich variety of academic-activist projects since 2008, and bring to the 2011 Bangalore program a commitment to radical pedagogy and transformational education theory.

This program will cost approximately $3,000 per student. Course costs include accommodations, in-city transportation, field trips and most excursions, admission fees to all sites and exhibits, and some group meals.

Course fee does not include an IP&E concurrent enrollment fee ($250); airfare ($1,400-$1,600 roundtrip, depending on when and where you buy your ticket); food (about $30 per day), and personal spending money.

Payment Schedule

(under development)

IP&E will automatically charge student accounts for all program payments and fees.

Financial Aid

Students may use their regular financial aid and scholarship funds for study abroad. The exception is any scholarship in the form of a tuition waiver. Tuition waivers cannot be used to pay study abroad program fees. You may want to check with the Office of Student Financial Aid in Schmitz Hall for more information.

There are funding opportunities through the Global Opportunities Program, and the Office of International Programs and Exchanges also maintains a funding opportunities list.

Refund Policy

A $350 deposit is required at the time of acceptance. This $350 deposit is non-refundable. Any student withdrawing from the program within 4 months of the program start date will be responsible for a minimum of 25% of the total program fee. In addition, there may be other unrecoverable fixed program costs. Any student withdrawing from the program within 2 months of the program start date will be responsible for 50% of the total program fee. Any student withdrawing from the program within 1 month of the program start date will be responsible for 75% of the total program fee. Withdrawal after a program begins involves the loss of the entire program fee.

Once accepted to the program in order to formally withdraw, you must do the following, in writing:

  1. Contact the program directors.
  2. Submit a signed IPE Withdrawal Form to the UW Office of International Programs and Exchanges.
  3. Provide notice in writing to the program director that you will no longer be participating in the program for which you have signed a contract and accepted a slot.
  4. Your withdrawal date is considered the date (business day) your withdrawal paperwork is received by the UW Office of International Programs and Exchanges.

To Bangalore

Participants are responsible for making their own travel arrangements to and from Bangalore. You may wish to explore budget fares offered on websites such as Travelocity and Expedia, as well as STA and Council Travel in the University district.

In Bangalore

Students and instructors will be making several day-excursions.

All participants must have a passport valid for the duration of the program. It may take as long as six weeks (or longer) to obtain or renew a passport.

Selection to the program is competitive and acceptance into the program will be decided based on application materials, interviews, and student's demonstrated motivation to challenge themselves intellectually across academic disciplines and cultures and to work both individually and in groups. This program is designed for students who find themselves challenged and invigorated by the unfamiliarity and discomfort that study abroad programs often encourage. While social justice oriented courses are often taught in the humanities and social sciences, campus members in all disciplines are welcome, for the learning we do in the course is truly interdisciplinary and helps activate personal thinking and action. A willingness to think expansively about complicated issues, and experience with global issues is a necessity.

Students of color, glbt students, and/or first generation college students are especially encouraged and welcome to apply.

Deadline: February 11th 2011

For more information, please contact:

Or (for information regarding honors credits and honors core curriculum questions)