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Bachelor of Arts History & International Relations Programme
History and International Relations Programme

This Major brings together two interrelated fields of study – History and International Affairs. The underlying belief is that the contemporary world and how nations relate to each other within cannot be understood without the historical context. The course thus brings together some of the skills and methods of the historian with themes that are relevant for comprehending the contemporary world. The courses for this Major are a mix of Indian and World History, International Economics, Sociology of European Societies and Global & Comparative Politics.

Major Requirement

To earn a Bachelor’s degree, each student will be required to complete a total of 28 courses over the programme period of 3 years of 2 semesters each. The programme will require 16 courses in the major papers/subjects. Foundational papers/subjects will constitute the remaining coursework for the student, adding up to 12 courses.

Courses and Descriptions

Social and Cultural Patterns of Ancient India

This is an introductory survey course on Ancient Indian history. Working within a broad chronological framework spanning several thousand years, in the lectures, the student will be acquainted with the social formations of the early subcontinental history. Beginning with the Harappan civilization, which was one of the four oldest civilizations of the world, the lectures will trace the development of Indian history through the Vedic Age, formation of city-states and monarchies, emergence and decline of the various ancient Empires, the intercivilizational exchange between the Indian subcontinent and the surrounding areas through trade, travel, conquest or cultural exchange. The weekly discussions of this course will be woven around themes such as ancient literary traditions; the significance of inscriptions, archaeology and numismatics; the world of early historical city; orient-gazing in travellers’ accounts; depiction of femininity in religious art; life in royal courts; the myths of creation in South Asian religions; and the rise and impact of Buddhism on the subcontinent, to name a few.

Note: The teaching format for this course is two lectures and one class discussion each week; for the discussion the class is divided into smaller groups. The course instructor is responsible for the lectures and the TA for discussion sections. The readings consist of a combination of a textbook and of primary sources (of about 100 pages a week).  The course will have a midterm and a final examination, and written work of about 10-15 pages over the course of the term, in any combination of specific assignments.

 

The Indian Middle Ages

This is an introductory survey course on Medieval Indian history. The medieval Indian history is primarily seen as history of Delhi Sultanate and the Mughal Empire. However, this course discards the state-centric lens and examines cultural life, society, economy and arts of the Indian subcontinent from 7th century AD to the 18th century AD. The student will study about the way people dressed, the kinds of food they ate, the popular musical forms and the social norms that governed society and market. The course will help them understand how Islam integrated into the fabric of the subcontinental society, the role Sufi saints played in society and politics of empire and the impact of Bhakti saints on poetry, arts and the Indian caste system. The aim of the course is to dispel certain myths and stereotypes about the middle ages, especially in the Indian context. It will enable the student to question the picture of South Asia as a land ensconced in mysticism and religion; a society with a timeless and changeless civilization; a region fraught by communal and caste rigidities; and a society that was nudged out of its slumber with the advent of the ‘West’.

Note: The teaching format for this course is two lectures and one class discussion each week; for the discussion the class is divided into smaller groups. The course instructor is responsible for the lectures and the TA for discussion sections. The readings consist of a combination of a textbook and of primary sources (of about 100 pages a week).  The course will have a midterm and a final examination, and written work of about 10-15 pages over the course of the term, in any combination of specific assignments.

 

The Making of Modern India

This is an introductory survey course on colonial South Asian history (1700-1947) intended for students with no prior knowledge of the subject. It begins with the demise of the Mughal Empire and the colonization of the Subcontinent by the European trading companies and the establishment of British supremacy. It goes on to examine the British colonial policies and ideologies, Indian reactions to colonial rule, coming into being of colonial cities, role of historical figures such as Gandhi and Jinnah, the region’s liberation from colonial rule and finally the partition of the Subcontinent into India and Pakistan. The weekly discussions of this course will be woven around themes and questions such as was there potential for capitalist development in India, was conquest of India by design or default, were colonial cities a microcosm of the empire, was British rule through military coercion or cultural hegemony, did colonial rule change the lives of Indian women for better, and was Indian nationalism a spurious historical force. Government records, travelers’ accounts, national textbooks, contemporary literary works, maps, paintings, music, speeches of political leaders, and Bollywood cinema will be used as course materials to help students envision the colonial history of the region.

Note: The teaching format for this course is two lectures and one class discussion each week; for the discussion the class is divided into smaller groups. The course instructor is responsible for the lectures and the TA for discussion sections. The readings consist of a combination of a textbook and of primary sources (of about 100 pages a week).  The course will have a midterm and a final examination, and written work of about 10-15 pages over the course of the term, in any combination of specific assignments.

 

From Aesthetics to War: History of the Modern West

This is an introductory survey course in European history from Renaissance to the Second World War. The aim of the course is to familiarize the students with political, social and cultural developments in Europe from the 14th century AD to the 1950s. The course will begin with history of birth, rise and growth of Italian Renaissance and will take the students through the history of the Reformation, the long seventeenth century, the Glorious Revolution. Rise of print culture in Europe, the age of Enlightenment, the French revolution, Restoration of Absolutism, the Italian Resorgimento, German unification and the two history World Wars. The course material will be a mix of historiographical material and primary sources such as paintings, drawings, music, posters, lithographs, speeches, contemporary writings, travellers’ accounts, philosophical texts, and newspaper reports.

Note: The teaching format for this course is two lectures and one class discussion each week; for the discussion the class is divided into smaller groups. The course instructor is responsible for the lectures and the TA for discussion sections. The readings consist of a combination of a textbook and of primary sources (of about 100 pages a week).  The course will have a midterm and a final examination, and written work of about 10-15 pages over the course of the term, in any combination of specific assignments.

 

Reading Texts: The History of French Revolution

This is a compulsory Reading Seminar focused on historiographical readings on a particular historical event, in this case the history of the French Revolution. The students are expected to read selected texts, critically analyze, discuss and review them. In this course the students will be assigned scholarly texts on the French Revolution which examine its history from different perspectives – George Rude’s The Great Fear, George Lefebvre’s The Coming of French Revolution, Albert Soboul’s The Sans-Culottes, Alfred Cobban’ Social Interpretation of French Revolution, Francois Furet’s Interpreting the French Revolution and Simon Schama’s A Chronicle of the French Revolution. This reading-intensive class will function as a semester-long conversation, between the students, the books they read and their fellow students. Contributing to discussion, pushing and responding to one’s peers’ ideas, and helping the peers to polish their writing constitute major elements of the students’ responsibilities in this class.

Note: The reading of one book (along with supplementary readings such as reviews of the book or critical historiographical pieces related to the theme of the book) is divided over a two weeks with weekly discussions and blogging. The students should write at least 4000 words for this course – divided into 4 book reviews of 1000 words or 2 essays of 2000 words or 1 term paper of 4000 words. Each instructor will design their own Reading course. Ideally more than one Reading Course will be offered in a semester to give students an option of choosing one.

 

Reading Sources – Colonialism and Culture in British India

This is a compulsory Reading Seminar designed around a historical theme, event, process or personality but the reading comprises solely of primary sources, in this case Colonialism and Culture in British India. The aim is to train the students to interpret and analyze primary sources. The students are exposed the students to as many different kinds of sources as possible (visual, musical, written, epigraphic, numismatic, artefacts, statistical and oral). The weekly discussions focus on conceptual and methodological issues related to the use of particular kinds of sources. This reading-intensive class will function as a semester-long conversation, between the students, the books they read and their fellow students. Contributing to discussion, pushing and responding to one’s peers’ ideas, and helping the peers to polish their writing constitute major elements of the students’ responsibilities in this class.

Note: This is a seminar format course: Discussions are to be followed by weekly blogs of 500 words. The instructor can design his or her assignments with at least 10-15 pages of writing. Each instructor will design their own Reading course. Ideally more than one Reading Course will be offered in a semester to give students an option of choosing one.

 

Enlightenment & Empire (18th Century)

This course focuses on the writings of thinkers and philosophers of Scottish Enlightenment – Rousseau, Kant, Adam Smith, Bentham , Hegel and John Stuart Mill. Their writings were fundamental to the making of the modern political world. This course will primarily focus on the discussion and debate on the relationship between liberty and commerce and the way enlightenment thought got harnessed in service of colonialism. This is not simply a course on political thought because the student will be reading major texts within their political and intellectual. It will enable the student to understand how a particular thought or philosophy is a product of its historical context. The interconnected of the texts studied will give the students a sense of a deep foundation in understanding the rise and growth of modern politics.

Note: The primary form of instruction can either be lecturing or an in-depth discussion seminar. The expectation is that more time is devoted to discussion of primary and secondary readings. In these courses the coverage and analysis of historical material, and the discussion of historical methods and practices, are more in depth than in the previous courses.  Readings should be about 150-200 pages per week. Written assignments may be more sophisticated and extensive (often in the 20-25 pages or 4,000 words range, as a total of all writing assignments), and some of these classes may not require examinations.

 

History of Silk Road: Premodern Patterns of Globalization (200BC-1453AD)

The Silk Road is one of the earliest examples of premodern global connectivity. Extending from China to Roma, the Silk road created a cultural matrix of interconnectivity. It helped the travellers, trades, religious men, craftsmen and raiders who traversed the Silk Road, imagine a world bigger than their immediate spatial reality. This course will bring to fore the trade, religious, artistic and political connections between Han and Mongol China, Russia, Turkish tribes, Persian elite, Arabs and Roman oligarchies through the writings of primary documents, travelogues, film, art and music. The students will also be engaging in cartographic drawing in this course to map out the Silk Road.

Note: The primary form of instruction can either be lecturing or an in-depth discussion seminar. The expectation is that more time is devoted to discussion of primary and secondary readings. In these courses the coverage and analysis of historical material, and the discussion of historical methods and practices, are more in depth than in the previous courses.  Readings should be about 150-200 pages per week. Written assignments may be more sophisticated and extensive (often in the 20-25 pages or 4,000 words range, as a total of all writing assignments), and some of these classes may not require examinations.

 

A Global History of Cricket

This is a course on the political history of British Empire as seen through the lens of cricket. The course examines how racial, class and caste histories were intertwined with the game of cricket. The course begins with conceptual readings on leisure history of British Empire and introduces the students to key texts on history of cricket written by CLR James which examines the racial roots of the game and the work of Ramchandra Guha which explores its caste dimensions. The course also takes a comparative approach where cricket is compared to other colonial sports such as polo and hunting. The course material will also draw on visuals from the Punch and the Illustrated London News and the commentaries and writings of contemporary authors.

Note: The primary form of instruction can either be lecturing or an in-depth discussion seminar. The expectation is that more time is devoted to discussion of primary and secondary readings. In these courses the coverage and analysis of historical material, and the discussion of historical methods and practices, are more in depth than in the previous courses.  Readings should be about 150-200 pages per week. Written assignments may be more sophisticated and extensive (often in the 20-25 pages or 4,000 words range, as a total of all writing assignments), and some of these classes may not require examinations.

 

International Economics

In this course, students will learn about the theories that explain the nature of international trade, factors that decide the trade policy of nations and the consequences of such policies. The course will also cover certain topics in international macroeconomics like the concept of exchange rates, purchasing power parity, and the determination of exchange rates.

Sociology of Post-Industrial Societies

How do we observe, analyze, apprehend society when it is spatially dispersed and virtual, residing in networks and new forms of affinity? To what extent does technology shape society, or is it rather than technology is driven by social needs which shape and reshape it? Demonstrating how and why contemporary social theory has converged on common questions, across the disciplines (including philosophy, sociology, anthropology, economics, geography, ecology, history), the course will explore topics such as:- the city and urbanity, globalization, science and technology, environmentalism and the case for analysis of the world as a ‘system’ in which different parts are positioned in relation to a dominant ‘core’.

 

Introduction to Political Thought

The course will introduce fundamental concepts of political philosophy through a critical reading of some of the major texts and thinkers from both the western and Indian political traditions. The central question of the course will be to trace how various political thinkers have impacted the development of different political institutions, from the polis to government and democracy.

 

Global Politics

The focus of this course will be to understand how globalisation affects public and social actions and how state and non-state actors, individual and collective actors, cooperate and oppose each other on the world’s stage, reshaping classic inter-state relations. This course will be completely pluridisciplinary and will be based on case studies of some of the major challenges brought by globalisation – financialisation and economic globalisation, new interdependences, migration and conflicts, among others. It will also focus on the attempts at reorganising the world order after the fall of the Berlin Wall and will use cartography as tool for enlightening complex processes of global change.

 

Comparative Politics

A comparative study of political systems, this course will provide students with a foundational framework to examine political events through theoretical analysis, for instance, explaining the relationship between democracy and economic development, or the functioning of authoritarian regimes. This course will aim at developing tools for political comparison; to critically engage with concepts and events like democratic transition, democratisation, de-democratisation, political conflict, civil wars etc.

 

Dynamics of State formation

This course will examine the trajectory of State-building in India through an examination of the pre-Independence roots of the modern Indian state and its re-invention by the Constituent Assembly. It will also focus on the progressive reshaping of the Indian state – linguistic federalism, affirmative action, decentralisation, among other themes –, contextualised in their social and economic context. The terms and actors of the debates and controversies that have accompanied these changes will also be examined.

Sample Curriculum Structure

 

Semester I Semester II  Semester III Semester IV Semester V  Semester VI
Intro to Critical Thinking Critical Thinking Seminar I Critical Thinking Seminar II Social and Political Formations Mind and Behaviour Literature and the World
Great Books Trends in History Principles of Science  Introduction to Political Thought Reading History Global Politics
Introduction to Mathematical Thinking Indian Civilizations  Social and Cultural Pattern of Ancient India From Aesthetics to War: a History of Modern Europe A Global History of Cricket  The Making of Modern India
Foundations of Economic Reasoning Indian Middle Ages  International Economics History of Silk Rod: Premodern Patterns of Globalization (200BC-1453AD) Reading Texts Comparative Politics
    Enlightenment and Empire Sociology of Post-Industrial Societies Reading Sources Dynamics of State Formation

 

Faculty