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Level 5

5AAH3011 Modern South Asia from the Mughals to Modi

Credit value: 30
Module convenor/tutor: Dr Priya Atwal
Teaching pattern: 20 x 2 hour seminars (weekly)
AvailabilityPlease see module list for relevant year
Assessment: 1 x 3 hour examination (60%), 2 x 2,000 word essays (15% each) & 1 x oral presentation (10%)

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment by the following methods: 1 x 3 hour examination (60%); 2 x 2,000 word essays (15% each); 1 x 1500 word essay (10%).

N.B. This module cannot be taken in conjunction with 5AAH2031 and 5AAH3111 due to overlap of content.

The modules offered in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand: there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary between years.

This module charts a course through South Asian history, from the early modern period to the beginnings of the twenty-first century. Along the way, it explores the nature of the cultural and political journey undergone by the people of the subcontinent, as they moved from an era of rule by imperial elites, to the rise of a democratised nation-state with idealised ‘modern’ citizens at the heart of its polity. This was by no means a smooth and uncontested transition, and so alongside taking in the broader developments in the chronology of South Asian history, students will also engage in depth with analysing the nuances of change and tensions that were evoked within Indian society and politics during this fascinating period.

Provisional teaching plan

Semester 1

1. The Mughal imperium
2. The East India Company
3. The Mughals' rivals
4. British conquest
5. 1857 and the British Raj
6. British India
7. Representing Indians
8. Royal India
9. India and the First World War
10. Violence and the politics of the crowd

Semester 2

11. Swaraj
12. The 'United States of India'?
13. Partition
14. Planning the nation-state
15. Development
16. Citizenship and identity politics
17. Challenges from the Left and Right
18. Partition - unfinished business?
19. The 'modern Indian'
20. Writing a history of India: challenges & opportunities?


Suggested introductory reading

This is suggested reading and purchase of these books is not mandatory

Suggested background reading:

Barbara Metcalf and Thomas Metcalf, A Concise History of Modern India

C.A. Bayly, Indian Society and the Making of the British Empire

Stewart Gordon, The Marathas

Thomas Metcalf, Ideologies of the Raj

Jon Wilson, India Conquered. Britain’s Raj and the Chaos of Empire

Sumit Sarkar, Modern India, 1885-1947

Judith Brown, Modern India: The Origins of an Asian Democracy

Barbara Ramusack, The Indian princes and their states

Jon Wilson, India Conquered. Britain’s Raj and the Chaos of Empire

Yasmin Khan, The Great Partition: The Making of India and Pakistan

Ayesha Jalal and Sugata Bose, Modern South Asia: History, Culture & Political Economy

Ramachandra Guha, India after Gandhi: The history of the world's largest democracy 

Christophe Jaffrelot, The Pakistan Paradox: Instability and Resilience

Sunil Khilnani, The Idea of India

S. Corbridge and J. Harris, Reinventing India

Some conceptual/theoretical works to consider:

Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism

Homi Bhabha (ed.), Nation and Narration

Partha Chatterjee, Nationalist Thought and the Colonial World: a Derivative Discourse [on Gandhi and Nehru]

Edward Said, Orientalism

Dipesh Chakrabarty, Provincialising Europe

Ranajit Guha, ‘On Some Aspects of the Historiography of Colonial India’ in Subaltern Studies (vol.1)

Gayatri Spivak, ‘Can the Subaltern Speak?’ in her Selected Subaltern Studies: A Reader

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