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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : History

Undergraduate Course: Postcolonial Indian Diplomacy: Intersections of Race, Caste, and Gender (1947-Present) (HIST10461)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits40 ECTS Credits20
SummaryThis course examines Indian diplomacy as a performance of postcolonial identity - imbued with the experience of Empire and evident in the anxieties that shape India's diplomatic practice. Using a critical and 'embodied' approach, the course interrogates the centrality of categories like race, caste, gender, religion, and class to Indian diplomatic history. It covers topics such as the Kashmir conflict, non-alignment, Afro-Asian solidarity, India's nuclear status, and contemporary Indian discourses of the international order.
Course description Indian diplomatic history has largely been concerned with a 'high politics' driven narrative that regards diplomacy as taking place in a bounded 'international' space populated by 'rational' actors. This course takes a different approach, and considers Indian diplomacy and ideas of the 'international' as shaped by the entanglements of Empire. Drawing on recent postcolonial and feminist critical interventions in the field, we will study Indian diplomatic practice and foreign policy through the intersectional lens of race, caste, gender, religion, and class.

Beginning in the first decades after independence, we will examine topics including the afterlives of Partition in Indian diplomacy, Nehruvian notions of non-alignment, Indian self-perception as a 'Leader of the Third World', the evolution of India-Pakistan relations, India's attitudes towards the United Nations, and Indian cartographic anxiety about borders. The second semester turns to the diplomatic discourses spurred by the 1971 war against Pakistan: a pivotal moment in the remaking of Indian diplomatic identity and its attendant discourses of regional domination. Many of our themes have significant contemporary resonance, such as Indian discourses of 'national security', the diplomatic significance of the Indian diaspora, nuclear nationalism, and the impact of Hindutva on Indian diplomacy. India's key bilateral relationships vis--vis Pakistan, China, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Britain, Russia, and the United States are all explored. Utilising a diverse range of primary sources including diplomatic memoirs, documents, biographies, fiction, and cinema, the course will equip students to interrogate the silences of the diplomatic archive and highlight the importance of a nuanced, intersectional approach to postcolonial diplomacy.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements A pass in 40 credits of third-level historical courses or equivalent.

Before enrolling students on this course, PTs are asked to contact the History Honours Admission Administrator to ensure that a place is available (Tel: 503780).

The course is recommended for students who have some prior experience of studying modern South Asian/Global History at either pre-Honours or Honours level.
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  0
Course Start Full Year
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 400 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 44, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 8, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 348 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework, semester 1:
1,500 word analysis of any event in India's diplomatic history covered in Semester 1, utilising at least one primary source - diplomatic memoir, document, newspapers etc. (10%)
4,500 word essay of any topic of their choice. (40%)
The topics for both assignments will have to be discussed with and approved by the course organizer.

Coursework, semester 2:
1,500 word analysis of any event in India's diplomatic history covered in Semester 2, utilising at least one primary source - diplomatic memoir, document, newspapers etc. (10%)
4,500 word essay of any topic of their choice. (40%)
The topics for both assignments will have to be discussed with and approved by the course organizer.
Feedback Students are expected to discuss their coursework with the Course Organiser at least once prior to submission, and are encouraged to do so more often. Meetings can take place with the Course Organiser during their published office hours or by appointment. Students will also receive feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the Course Organiser.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate, by way of seminar discussions and written course work, a nuanced and sophisticated approach towards postcolonial diplomatic history.
  2. Demonstrate, by way of seminar discussions and written course work, an awareness of Indian diplomacy and postcolonial identity that is intersectional and cognizant of the hierarchies of race, caste, religion, gender and class.
  3. Demonstrate, by way of seminar discussions and written course work, extensive reading and critical engagement with relevant primary and secondary sources.
  4. Demonstrate an ability to understand and apply specialised research or professional skills.
  5. Demonstrate independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers.
Reading List
Abraham, Itty. How India became territorial: Foreign policy, diaspora, geopolitics. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2014.

Aiyar, Sana. Indians in Kenya: The Politics of Diaspora, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015.

Anievas, Alexander, Nivi Manchanda, and Robbie Shilliam, eds. Race and Racism in International Relations: Confronting the Global Colour Line. London and New York: Routledge, 2014

Bhagavan, Manu, India and the Quest for One World: The Peacemakers, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013

Burton, Antoinette. Africa in the Indian Imagination: Race and the Politics of Postcolonial Citation. Durham NC: Duke University Press, 2016.

Chacko, Priya. Indian Foreign Policy: The Politics of Postcolonial Identity from 1947 to 2004. London: Routledge, 2012.

Datta-Ray, Deep K. The Making of Indian Diplomacy: A Critique of Eurocentrism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.

Krishna, Sankaran. Postcolonial Insecurities: India, Sri Lanka, and the question of nationhood. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999.

Malone, David, C. Raja Mohan and Srinath Raghavan, eds. The Oxford handbook of Indian foreign policy, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2015

Rotter, Andrew J. Comrades at Odds: The United States and India, 1947-1964, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2000

Thakur, Vineet. Postscripts on Independence: Foreign Policy Ideas, Identity, and Institutions in India and South Africa. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2018.

Varadarajan, Latha. The Domestic Abroad: Diasporas in International Relations. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - A critical understanding of diplomatic history - derived through extensive engagement with new interventions in the field.
- Ability to utilise primary and secondary sources effectively and innovatively.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Kalathmika Natarajan
Course secretaryMiss Katherine Perry
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