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Modern South Asia: An Introduction

Course Code: HIST 2252
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Department: History
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture, Seminar
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

Modern South Asia: An Introduction, surveys the history of the Indian subcontinent from the Mughal empire to the present day. Major themes include the society and economy of pre-colonial South Asia; European incursions; the Great Resistance; the structures of British colonial rule; the emergence of anti-colonial struggles, independence movements and nationalism; colonial economies, agriculture, industry and famine; the path to independence; the impact of British imperialism; partition and independence; rural-urban dynamics; caste and belief, class, gender and social reform; regionalism and nationalism; modernity, decolonisation, socialism and neoliberalism; and the new nation states of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.

Course Content

1. Introduction: Geography, Culture, Ancient Civilization

2. The Mughals

3. The re-emergence of regional India and the incursion of Europe

4. British India: Company Raj, Government Raj

5. War, Nationalism(s), and Independence

6. Partition, New States and Communalism

7. Nehru’s India

8. Congress and the Gandhis

9. Regional India: Bengal, Kerala, the Punjab

10 Pakistan and Bangladesh

11 Land Frontiers and Maritime Frontiers: Afghanistan, Myanmar, Nepal, and Sri Lanka

12. Contemporary Politics and Economics: Congress Coalition or Bharatiya Janata Party neo-

13. The Complexities of South Asian Society: Rural and Urban Life, Culture, Caste and Faith,
and Gender

14. Diaspora India and Contemporary Challenges

Methods of Instruction

Classroom instruction will include both lectures and seminar discussions. Lectures will provide instruction on weekly topics with opportunities for student inquiry and discussion. Seminars will encourage active class participation in the analysis of assigned primary and secondary readings. Classroom instruction may also include student presentations on specific readings and/or topics, and other types of student-led activities. Classroom instruction may also include tutorials and workshops on transferrable skills, including research methods, academic citation practice, and presentation skills.

Means of Assessment

Assessment will be in accordance with the Douglas College student evaluation policy. Students may conduct research with human participants as part of their coursework in this class. Instructors for the course are responsible for ensuring that student research projects comply with College policies on ethical conduct for research involving humans.

Students will have opportunities to build and refine their research capacity and historical thinking skills through assessments appropriate to the level of the course. There will be at least three separate assessments, which may include a combination of midterm and final exams; research essays; primary document analysis assignments and essays; quizzes; map tests; in-class and online written assignments; seminar presentations; student assignment portfolios; group projects; creative projects; class participation.

The value of each assessment and evaluation, expressed as a percentage of the final grade, will be listed in the course outline distributed to students at the beginning of the term. Specific evaluation criteria will vary according to the instructor’s assessment of appropriate evaluation methods.

An example of one evaluation scheme:
Class/seminar participation 15%
Book review essay 15%
Research proposal 10%
Research essay 25%
Midterm exam 15%
Final exam 20%

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course, successful students will be able to demonstrate historical thinking skills, research skills, critical thinking skills and communication skills appropriate to the level of the course by:

1. Locating, examining, assessing, and evaluating a range of primary sources and secondary scholarly literature critically and analytically (reading history).

2. Constructing historical arguments, taking historical perspectives, and interpreting historical problems through different types of writing assignments of varying lengths (writing history).

3. Participating in active and informed historical debate independently and cooperatively through classroom discussion and presentation (discussing history).

4. Independently and cooperatively investigating the ways that history is created, preserved and disseminated through public memory and commemoration, oral history, community engagement, and other forms of popular visual and written expressions about the past (applying history)

course prerequisites

One 1000-level History course or permission of instructor



curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.