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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: The Politics of Historiography in Post-Colonial South Asia (PGHC11330)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course addresses the political, social, cultural and economic History of South Asia since 1947, in particular India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, and the competing methodologies used to interpret this history.
Course description This contemporary history course course will explore the concepts of regional, religious, and class identities that have formed the building blocks of the modern nations of South Asia and the very different interpretation of these identities that is allowed by a 'postcolonial' historical perspective. You will interrogate the paradoxes of democracy within these emerging nations together with the secessionist and centrifugal forces, including politico-religious and revolutionary movements, that have constantly threatened and even succeeded in pulling them apart. The problems of securing balanced and equitable economic growth since the end of the colonial period, the impact of 'liberalisation' and globalisation, and the evolution of the conflicts between the nations of the subcontinent, which have most recently acquired a thermo-nuclear dimension, will also be considered. Additionally the course will examine the evolution of society at a local level, such as the struggle for the rights and freedoms of women and the lower castes, and the changing nature of what it means to be Indian, Pakistani, Hindu or Muslim, a Mohajir, Bengali or Tamil, adivasi or dalit in contemporary South Asia.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate in writing, class discussions, and presentations a detailed and critical command of the body of knowledge concerning the history of post-colonial South Asia
  2. Demonstrate an ability to analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship on the history of post-colonial South Asia, primary source materials (including newspaper reports), and conceptual discussions in contemporary history
  3. Demonstrate the ability to develop and sustain original scholarly arguments in oral and written form by independently formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence considered in the course
  4. Demonstrate in seminar discussions, presentations, and the class essay originality and independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers; and a considerable degree of autonomy
Reading List
Robert J.C. Young Postcolonialism: An Historical Introduction (Oxford: Blackwell, 2001)

Gyan Prakash 'Subaltern Studies as Postcolonial Critique', The American Historical Review, 99, 5 (Dec. 1994), pp. 1475-1490

C.Bates and S. Basu 'The Paradoxes of Indian Politics: a dialogue between Political Science and History' in C. Bates, A. Tanabe and M. Mio, Human and International Security in India (London: Routledge 2015) ch. 1

Sunil Khilnani The Idea of India (London: Penguin, 1997)

Sankaran Krishna Postcolonial Insecurities: India, Sri Lanka and the Question of Nationhood (Minnesota Univ., 1999)

T. C. Sherman, W. Gould, and S. Ansari (eds) From Subjects to Citizens: Society and the Everyday State in India and Pakistan, 1947-1970 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014)

Lucia Michelutti The Vernacularisation of Democracy: Politics, Caste and Religion in India (New Delhi: Routledge 2008)

Ayaesha Siddiqa Military Inc.: inside Pakistan's Military Economy (London: Pluto, 2007)

Thomas Hansen The Saffron wave: democracy and Hindu nationalism in modern India (Princeton University press, 1999)

Willem Van Schendel A History of Bangladesh (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009)

Sumit Ganguly Conflict Unending: India-Pakistan Tensions since 1947 (Columbia U.P. 2001)

B.R. Tomlinson The Economy of Modern India: From 1860 to the Twenty-First Century (Cambridge University Press, 2013)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsPolitics Historiography Post-Colonial South Asia
Course organiserDr Patrick Clibbens
Tel: (0131 6)50 3775
Course secretaryMiss Katherine Shaw
Tel: (0131 6)50 8349
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