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Study information

The Rise and Demise of the Raj: India, 1857-1947

Module titleThe Rise and Demise of the Raj: India, 1857-1947
Module codeHIH1610
Academic year2020/1
Module staff

Dr Gajendra Singh (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module will provide an introduction to the history of South Asia from the mid-nineteenth century to Independence. It will chart the changes in colonial rule that emerged in the wake of the ‘Mutiny’ of 1857, the emergence of anti-colonial nationalism(s) and end with the communal holocausts of India’s Partition. Each significant event and moment of social/cultural/economic change will be examined with an emphasis on indigenous perspectives and in the light of recent historical research. The course will be designed to accommodate those who have limited prior knowledge of the modern history of the subcontinent.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The aim of this module is to provide an introduction to the important themes in modern South Asian history; of how colonialism, nationalism and communalism have shaped the subcontinent as it exists today. You will learn to interpret and analyse documents, films and literature that sheds light on the nature of the colonial establishment within British India and of the peoples that existed at its margins. You will also learn of the vibrant historiographical debates that have occurred in the writing of South Asia’s recent past.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Assess the nature of British colonialism in India from the mid-nineteenth century
  • 2. Analyse social, cultural and economic change in colonial India from indigenous and non-elite perspectives
  • 3. Develop a critical appreciation of postcolonial history-writing

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Identify the problems of using historical sources, e.g. utility, limitations, etc, and compare the validity of different types of sources
  • 5. Present work orally, respond to questions orally, and think quickly of questions to ask other students

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. Conduct independent study and group work, including the presentation of material for group discussion, developed through the mode of learning
  • 7. Digest, select and organise material to produce, to a deadline, a coherent and cogent argument, developed through the mode of assessment
  • 8. Work with others in a team and to interact effectively with the tutor and the wider group
  • 9. Write to a very tight word-length

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Introduction
  • Indian Uprising(s) of 1857
  • The Economics of Imperialism
  • Colonialism, Indian Renaissance and Social Reform in the Late 19th Century
  • Early Nationalism in India
  • Mahatma Gandhi & Indian Nationalism, 1914-1927
  • The Growth of Communalism
  • Nehru and the ‘Freedom Struggle’, 1927-1942
  • ‘Quit India’ and Revolutionary Activism
  • Partition and Independence
  • Re-Imagining India: Understanding the Postcolonial Turn

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching22 hour lecture: Introduction to module
Scheduled Learning and Teaching2010 x 2 hour seminars. At a meeting of the whole class generally a different group of 3-4 students will give a presentation to the whole class, followed by class discussion and working through the sources for that week carefully. Additional sources may be issued in the class and the lecturer will also use the time to set up issues for the following week
Guided independent study128You prepare for the session through reading and research; writing five source commentaries and an essay and preparing one group presentation in the course of the term

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Group presentation (3-4 students)10 minutes1-6, 8Oral feedback from the seminar tutor and fellow students

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Source commentary 133850 words1-4, 6-7, 9Mark and written comments.
Source commentary 233850 words1-4, 6-7, 9Mark and written comments
Source commentary 334850 words1-4, 6-7, 9Mark and written comments

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Source commentary Source commentary1-4, 6-7, 9Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

  • Sumit Sarkar, Modern India, 1885-1947, (New Delhi: Macmillan, 1983).
  • Sumit Sarkar, Modern Times, 1880s-1950, (New Delhi: Permanent Black, 2014).
  • Crispin Bates, Subalterns and Raj, A History of South Asia Since 1600, (London: Routledge, 2007).
  • Ayesha Jalal and Sugata Bose, Modern South Asia: History, Culture, Political Economy, (London: Routledge, 1998).
  • Judith Brown, Modern India: The Origins of an Asian Democracy, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994 2nd edn.).
  • Bipan Chandra, History of Modern India, (New Delhi: Orient Blackswan, 2009).
  • Ronald Inden, Imagining India, (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1990).
  • Nicholas Dirks, Castes of Mind: Colonialism and the Making of Modern India, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001).
  • Ranajit Guha and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Selected Subaltern Studies, (New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988).
  • William Gould, Religion and Conflict in Modern South Asia, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012).
  • Rajnarayan Chandavarkar, Imperial Power and Popular Politics: Class, Resistance and the State in India, 1850-1950, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998).

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

  • Rudyard Kipling, Kim (various editions)
  • Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children, (London: Picador, 1981).
  • R.K. Narayan, A Malgudi Omnbus, (London: Vintage Classics, 1994).

Key words search

India, Modern, Raj, Empire, Colonialism, Nationalism, Partition, Independence

Credit value15
Module ECTS


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