BA Politics and Modern History / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
'A Nation In The Making': India, 1800-1947

Unit code HIST30291
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by History
Available as a free choice unit? No

Overview

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, in their history, art, literature and culture, the people of the South Asian sub-continent were beginning to see an ‘Indian-ness’, an essence, that bound them together and made them different from the rulers. These were the earliest stirrings of the nationalist intelligentsia that fed the anti-colonial struggle and shaped the country’s destiny in 1947. However, precisely because it was imagined, the ‘nation-ness’ was also selective, preferential and exclusionary. The course will chart the contours of these ‘national’ imaginings, and critically analyse their content, throwing light on those processes that made the modern Indian nation available not to all, but certain select groups only. We will see how the complex workings of class, caste, communal, and gender divides contributed to numerous fractures and tortuous solidarities, which nationalist categories often tried to subsume.

Pre/co-requisites

HIST30291 is restricted to History programmes, History and American Studies programmes and European Studies programmes (please check your programme regulations for further details).

This module is only available to students on History-owned programmes; Euro Studies programmes; and History joint honours programmes owned by other subject areas. Available to students on an Erasmus programme subject to VSO approval.

Aims

This course will study the cultural constructions of nationalism in colonial India. It would focus on those imaginings that helped the people of the subcontinent construct a ‘national’ identity for themselves.

The course aims to equip students with:

(1) A knowledge of the anti-colonial struggle in India between 1800 and 1947, and its political, social and cultural mappings.

(2) An ability to apply recent theories of the ‘nation’ to a completely different terrain, that of the colony, and question some of the assumptions that feed western stereotypes of the nation-state.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students should be able to;

Syllabus

This course will start with introductory sessions on the nation state model as it developed in western Europe and its relevance for colonial situations. It will set the terms of the debate by introducing postcolonial theory and use it to investigate the evolution of anti-colonial nationalism in India in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. First the normative model of the Indian ‘nation’ and then the various marginalised constituencies within it will be discussed in a series of lectures and seminars focussing on race, gender, caste, class and religion. Films, paintings, literary writings will be examined to enable students to form a critical understanding of the processes shaping Indian nationhood in the period.

Teaching and learning methods

Seminars (3 hours per week). Each session is broken up into an introductory lecture (50 minutes) and is followed by a seminar discussion (1 hour and 50 minutes), with a ten minute break between the lecture and seminar. Students present readings and sources as assigned during the second half.

Knowledge and understanding

(1) Form a critical understanding of the formation of the modern Indian ‘nation’, focusing (a) specifically on the social and cultural history of nationalism in India, and (b) the larger issues of identities and representation in anti-colonial nationalisms.

(2) Undertake thoughtful investigations of the nation-state model that claims to stand for an entire people, without entailing some act of suppression or/and exclusion.

Intellectual skills

(1) Understand and draw out the complexities of power in diverse, challenging cultures outside the familiarities of the West.

(2) Apply postcolonial theory in understanding the politics and history of the Third World, and more recent global developments.

Practical skills

(1) Gain proficiency in making short presentations

(2) Engage orally in critical debates as part of the learning process

(3) Interpret and analyse primary sources, as well as developing the skills needed to assimilate a wide range of secondary reading material in substantial writing exercises.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Acquire a range of transferable skills such as:

Reading original and secondary material; analytical reporting skills; comprehension of debates and arguments; ability to craft original intervention; listening and participating in team discussion; advance independent study skills and personal responsibility for schedule of tasks and duties; self-management, confidence and independence essential for employment.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
The module prepares students for employability through its teaching structure that involves team work, independent research, honing of critical and analytical skills, and formal presentational skills involving Power Point. Class discussions also hone debating skills and critical reflection on the topics discussed.
Group/team working
The module prepares students for employability through its teaching structure that involves team work, independent research, honing of critical and analytical skills, and formal presentational skills involving Power Point.
Innovation/creativity
There is an element of independent research and group work involved with the presentations.
Leadership
There is an element of independent research and group work involved with the presentations.
Oral communication
Every week student groups from this module are required to make two oral presentations, one on a source-based study and another on an assigned reading, in front of the whole class. These group presentations are then peer scored but not formally assessed on content, articulation, lay out, and quality. Class discussions also hone debating skills and critical reflection on the topics discussed.
Research
The regular coursework and exams sharpens intellectual ability, and offers scope for assimilation of a variety of primary and secondary material as well as further independent research.
Written communication
The regular coursework and exams sharpens intellectual ability, and offers scope for assimilation of a variety of primary and secondary material as well as further independent research.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 50%
Written assignment (inc essay) 50%

Feedback methods

Source Analysis: via Blackboard and office hours - formative and summative

Essay: via Blackboard and office hours - formative and summative

 

Recommended reading

  • Partha Chatterjee, The Nation and Its Fragments (Princeton, 1993)
  • C. A. Bayly, Origins of Nationality in South Asia (Cambridge University Press, 1999)
  • Jalal and S. Bose, Modern South Asia: History, Culture, Political Economy (Routledge, 2011)
  • Jalal and S. Bose, Nationalism, Democracy and Development: State and Politics in India (New Delhi: OUP, 1999)
  • Sumit Sarkar, Modern India: 1885-1947 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2001)
  • Crispin Bates, Subalterns and Raj: South Asia since 1600 (Routledge, 2007)

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
External visits 3.5
Seminars 33
Independent study hours
Independent study 161.5

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Anindita Ghosh Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Assessment Methods

Source Analysis, summative, 1500 words, 20%

Essay, summative, 2500 words, 30%

Exam, summative, 2 hours, 50%

 

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