Twentieth Century South Asia

Spring 2014

HISA 3003

Twentieth Century South Asia

Catherine Warner

This course will survey the history of 20th-century South Asia by examining anti-colonial movements in British India and the creation of the new nation-states of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Students will also engage closely with debates on topics such as nationalism, colonialism, economic development and gender and the family that have shaped public discourse and the politics of identity in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Questions of political and cultural representation, interpretations of history, and the rights to resources animate many of these debates. Moreover, the very nature of the political, the public, and social activism, was transformed through anti-colonial, nationalist, and revolutionary movements in the 20th century—a process that we will also trace over the duration of the course.

 We will read Ayesha Jalal’s Democracy and Authoritarianism in South Asia: A Comparative and Historical Perspective (1995) as our primary textbook to establish a broad comparative framework for understanding South Asia’s 20th century. Additional academic books, articles and primary sources (including fiction and memoirs) will illuminate more closely key eras and debates. Assignments comprise approximately 100 to 150 pages of reading per week, two short papers (3 to 4 pages in length), and two take-home exams.  


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

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