Seminar in South Asian History



Fall 2013

HISA 4501 (1)

Seminar in South Asian History

"The Partition of India: Problems and Perspectives"

Neeti Nair

The Partition of India has been the defining political misstep in 20th century South Asia, confounding centuries of fluid identities in one sweeping irreversible decision. In this course we examine the texture of life in pre-Partition Punjab, the United Provinces (UP) and Bengal; detail the denouement in political negotiations that culminated in Partition; consider the violence that became constitutive of Partition; and mark the enormous consequences of the international boundary line separating India from Pakistan and later, Bangladesh.

Films, fiction and a range of primary and secondary sources will be used. The following books will be available for purchase at the bookstore:

Ayesha Jalal, The Sole Spokesman: Jinnah, the Muslim League and the demand for Pakistan, Cambridge University Press, [1985], 1994

Neeti Nair, Changing Homelands: Hindu Politics and the Partition of India, Harvard University Press, 2011

Vazira Fazila-Yacoobali Zamindar, The Long Partition and the Making of Modern South Asia: Refugees, Boundaries, Histories, New York: Columbia University Press, 2007

Other readings including book chapters, journal articles and short pieces of fiction will be posted on collab. This research seminar fulfills the second writing requirement. Permission of the instructor is required to register for the course. Prior coursework in South Asian Studies/ History will serve as a prerequisite for this course. The reading load will average 200 pages a week.

Course requirements include active participation in discussions (20%); weekly one-page position papers (20%); a short proposal of 5 pages (10%), the presentation of research (10%) and the final research paper of 18-20 pages (40%). The final essay of 18-20 pages will be a research paper drawing upon a range of primary sources like the Transfer of Power volumes, Constituent Assembly Debates, contemporary newspapers, collections of correspondence, memoirs, Partition literature etc.



Corcoran Department of History
University of Virginia
Nau Hall - South Lawn
Charlottesville, VA 22904



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