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Sayako Kanda, Associate Professor, Faculty of Economics

Our seminar class is a small Indian World

This seminar class studies economic history of South Asia, mainly of India. 13 third-year students and 6 fourth-year students are enrolled in 2011. This is a new seminar class in its only fourth year.

Associate Prof.Kanda and students

With a novice teacher and novice students, three years have passed quickly trying to figure out our style as a seminar class. There are hardly any students who choose my seminar class with reasons such as “ I want to study xx”, “because I admire the tradition of xx seminar class”, or “I like the atmosphere of xx seminar class”. Every year starts with everyone including myself all looking at different directions. We might say that this is an assembly of various spices each with a strong flavor.

In our seminar class, we don’t limit to studying economic history which is my field of expertise. We work on various issues on India considering students’ interests. Students in their third year learn basic skills such as to “research”, “read”, “write”, “present” and “debate”. This year, a project to make a travel guidebook is underway. For this, each student chooses a state and does a thorough research of its economy, politics, culture and etc. When this is complete, they work on “deciding on a theme” for “Mita-sai” paper, the most important event for third-year students. This is actually very difficult. Students have surprisingly many drawers, so through this theme-deciding process, I hope to enhance their ability to open their own drawers and take out whatever is inside.

Students in their fourth year start to work on their graduation thesis, which is the summarization of seminar class activities. Some students study child labor problems, the Indian diaspora or does a comparison study of economic power of India and China, while other students look into whisky consumption in India or the possibility of Indian music. Unique themes are not only exciting, but they help add new drawers for the teacher and other students. We can say that the two years’ study in the seminar class is a process in which unique spices draw out the individuality of each other and blend into a perfect masala. It is truly an Indian World. This seems to have become the style of my seminar class.

Student's Voice
Yoshimasa Takeda, Fourth-year Student,
Faculty of Economics

My days with our seminar class

In our seminar class, we study the current economy of India based on the economic history. India has problems in the business aspect as well as problems on poverty, philosophy, religion and democracy which has gone too far. All the important subjects to discuss the world’s future are in India. Economics, which is related to all of these problems is a complicated but exciting thing to study. In last year’s “Mita-sai” paper, we focused on India’s electricity as a resource, looked into the problems of the Indian economy and put together a solution. Since this is a seminar class in its only fourth year, we can design the class as we wish, and we also need to. We have lively discussions with our teacher and classmates, trying to make a better seminar class by trial and error.

*This article appeared in the 2011 summer edition (No.271) of “Juku.”
*Position titles, etc., are those at the time of publishing.