Ladakh, a high-altitude desert beyond the peaks of the Himalaya, offers few resources in an extreme climate. Yet it has been the home of a thriving agricultural society for over a thousand years. In this course you will explore the coping skills and attitudes that allow the people of Ladakh to survive and prosper in peace and harmony under the harshest of circumstances. We will examine community and family structures, the role of ancient localized knowledge, as well as Buddhist traditions to learn whether Ladakh is prepared to meet the challenges of increasing westernization without losing its ecological balance and social harmony. This experience presents abundant opportunities for intensive graduate level research in areas including indigenous architecture, textiles, design and object study, sustainable design as well as craft culture, teaching methodologies, narrative studies, photography, and cultural studies. Students will read and discuss a text on Ladakhi culture and development issues, watch and discuss videos and a movie, and get a basic introduction to Buddhist philosophy.Students are required to write a 25-page research paper on a topic pertaining to their respective area of study (proposal to be approved by their respective Department Heads), keep a visual notebook with sketches and photography, present their work in an exhibit at the White Halls gallery, and contribute writing and images to a group book project.After registration, students will be required to arrange and pay for a current passport, Indian tourist visa, and travel health insurance.