Situated amongst the highest mountains in the world, Nepal and Bhutan remain somewhat on the cusp of the modern world. Both countries have only very recently (Nepal in 2008; Bhutan in 2006) begun to transition from monarchies to parliamentary-style democracies. Given Bhutan’s much stronger monarchy and more homogenous culture, its transition has been far smoother than Nepal’s. Both countries sit between the ancient civilizations of India and Tibet and both have extremely long and complex histories, which must be taken into account in any analysis of present sociopolitical circumstances. We will travel in Nepal and Bhutan in order to conduct research
toward a comparative sociopolitical "Tocqueville-style" study of the nature and challenges facing these new democracies. We wish to evaluate the changes taking place in light of traditional religion and culture, as well as modern developments, such as the influx of Tibetan refugees into Nepal and Bhutan since 1959. In addition, we will critically reflect on the comparisons between these newly democratic cultures and our own U.S. culture(s) and democratic system.
Prerequisite: At least one PHIL or RELS course; Fall semester prior to JT'15 departure, students will be required to enroll and participate in the IDST 098 Orientation to International Study (1 credit).
Faculty: Professor Kaarina Beam and Professor Dave Fiordalis
Fees: Program Fee: $5000 Estimated Air: $2000
LC: UQ or GP