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Undergraduate Programme in History

The Undergraduate Programme in History at Ashoka University seeks to equip students with the historianā€™s toolbox and trains them on how to use it. A historian combines the skills of a detective, a scavenger, a judge and a ventriloquist. S/he is an artist and a skilled craftsperson who spins and weaves narratives of the past. Historical creativity lies in gathering, wrestling with, and connecting the traces of the past to construct a rich tapestry of human lives, emotions, and ideas. These traces come in various garbs ā€“ gravestones, burial sites, forgotten cities, mudpots, musical notes, folklores, war songs, memoirs, archival records, speeches, letters, newspapers, cartoons, cave art, paintings, architecture, clothes, food, chronicles, cinema, advertisements ā€“ all and any remnant of human existence.

A historianā€™s ability to make effective use of these materials requires inculcation of two core ideas: empathy and imagination. Empathy fuels and glues our connection with other humans. It helps us recognize othersā€™ perceptions, feelings and ways of being. Empathy is a vital tool of a historian because it obligates a historian to question and challenge a single conception of the world in order to access other worlds and other lives. Thus the spirit of questioning and the consciousness of oneā€™s own frames of reference is the starting point of historical inquiry. The second feature of imagination is the creative faculty which enables us to form images and feelings that ordinary senses cannot perceive. It is a critical instrument for a historian who studies worlds that are removed both in time and space from his or her own. Conjuring up those historical worlds requires a leap of imagination, a willing suspension of disbelief and a readiness to encounter the unknown.

Structure & Curriculum

The Department of History has crafted an undergraduate curriculum which contains lessons about forgotten cities, folklores, speeches, letters, architecture, clothes, food, cinema, paintings and much more. The Department has its strengths in the history of ancient India, with a special focus on archaeology, heritage, society, politics, religion, and ideas; the history of medieval and early modern India with an emphasis on states, empires, and warfare; the history of modern India and the Indian Ocean with a focus on political violence, space, environment; contemporary history and international history of modern South Asia; and global history.

  • Major

    A Major is the field of a studentā€™s primary academic focus in course of their undergraduate degree. For a Major in History, students must take a total of 12 courses in History. History majors must take all 5 gateway courses (HIS 1001, HIS 2001, HIS 2002, HIS 2003, and HIS 2004). These five gateway courses give students a solid foundation in the history of theĀ  general patterns and processes of Indian and modern Western history within a global comparative framework. These courses provide students with chronological anchors for more advanced thematic courses.

    Along with the gateways, 2 reading courses, (HIS-3001 and HIS-3002) equip students with the basic apparatus of the historical craft. Reading History introduces students to different theories that have influenced historical imagination, the various schools of thought and modes of writing history such as positivism, Marxism, annals, structuralism, post-structuralism, postmodernism and postcolonialism. Reading Archaeology introduces students to the methods and theories of archaeology globally, and engages students with the history of archaeological thought.

  • Minor

    A Minor is a secondary area of study that a student can choose to focus in course of their undergraduate degree. Students Minoring in History must take 6 total courses in History. These are:

    • any 2 of the five Gateway Courses (HIS 1001, HIS 2001, HIS 2002, HIS 2003, and HIS 2004)
    • any 1 of the two Reading Courses (HIS 3001, HIS 3002)
    • 3 additional History courses, which may be any combination of Gateway Courses, Electives, Independent Study Modules (ISM), CTS, and/or the UG Research Thesis/Project.Ā Ā 

    Note: No more than one CTS can count towards a Minor in History.Ā 

  • Interdisciplinary Major

    A prospective History interdisciplinary major student must complete 16 or 17 courses, depending on the interdisciplinary major. The Department of History currently offers 2 interdisciplinary majors in History:

    • History and International RelationsĀ 
    • History and Economics

  • Concentration

    A Concentration is a field of a studentā€™s secondary academic interest aside from their Major (and Minor) in course of their undergraduation. For a Concentration in History, students must take 4 total courses in History. These are:

    • HIS 3001. Reading History

    • 3 additional History courses, which may be any combination of Gateway Courses, Electives, Independent Study Modules (ISM), CTS, and/or the UG Research Thesis/Project.Ā 

    Note: No more than one CTS can count towards a Concentration in History.

     

Admissions

Joining Undergraduate Programmes

Ashoka Universityā€™s Department of History offers undergraduate programmes which hone a studentā€™s historical imagination through conceptual, historiographical and methodological study of different themes. The history faculty represents a broad swath of expertise, across time periods, movements, cultures and continents.

Student Stories

Study at Ashoka

Study at Ashoka