| Department of History

B.A. (Research) in History

The total credit requirements of the B.A (Research) in History are here broken-up semester-wise providing a model for how students should distribute their credits across semesters. The actual semester-wise breakup may vary from an individual to individual and should be worked out in consultation with the Undergraduate Advisor of the Department.
150

Total Credits

52

Core Credits

56

Major Electives

42

CCC + UWE credits

Core & Elective Courses

Core Courses

Core courses provide the critical foundations to the undergraduate programme in History Major at SNU.

Core courses are taught through a combination of lectures and tutorials and introduce students to broader themes and subject areas and to the major disciplinary approaches in history and archaeology respectively.

Core courses have no prerequisites and students opting for a major in history are required to take 10 core courses (40 credits) from our course catalogue.

The department offers a wide selection of core course options and the course offerings will depend on faculty and student interest. Present options include Early Historic South Asia, Visual Histories and Archaeological Practices, and Fasting and Feasting: Global Histories of Food.

Course code
Title
Credit
HIS101
Introduction to Archaeology
4

Course description not available.

HIS102
Does History Matter?
4

The course focuses upon the research methods of History and aims at developing an understanding of the discipline. It is designed for promoting analytical and critical skills, which History requires, and for illustrating the intellectual value of thinking through issues of historiography. Students shall be taught ‘how to do history’, and will be informed of the various ways in which they can critically approach the subject and its sources. They shall be trained to think historically through questions such as: How do we write histories? Do we need to regard the manner in which we relate to histories? What constitutes historical evidence? Can we map the changes in evidentiary domains over time? Why do we need to note the historical relationships between memory and production of historical knowledge? Additionally, students will be exposed to contemporary historical literature for gaining an understanding of the role of historical knowledge in shaping and changing the public domain. 

HIS103
Early Historic South Asia
4

This course charts the slow transition, rise and spread of cities and states in early historic South Asia. Beginning from c.1500 BCE and extending into the early centuries CE, it shows how the development of urban civilization was marked by a host of interconnected factors: the rise of monarchies, the development of trading networks, the emergence of writing, and the spread of religious groups. By bringing together analyses of textual and archaeological data, it aims to shed light on this complex and dynamic period in the subcontinent's past.

HIS104
Bronze Age Civilizations
4

What is the meaning of the Bronze Age? What role did the civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt play in enabling some of the most significant developments in human societies? This course begins with the discovery of these civilizations, plots their development over time, and discusses how they may be understood both through written as well as archaeological material. 

HIS201
Archaeology of South Asia
4

The earliest occupations in the subcontinent, in the absence of writing, can only be reconstructed on the basis of material remains, which is the purview of archaeology. Yet, archaeology also helps us to understand later periods when there are written sources. This course, through a study of the material remains of the past, will take the student from roughly the 8th millennium BCE to the 16th century CE. This will enable us to understand how the histories of ordinary people can be constructed through their everyday objects.

HIS202
Ancient Indian Social History
4

The study of social history represents an exciting arena in understanding India's ancient past. This course seeks to introduce students to the field, focusing in particular on issues of gender, class and caste. In the place of glorified pictures of the ancient past, such studies allow us to glimpse an ancient world peopled by men, women and their concerns, mediated by ideologies and social groupings. Emphasis will also be placed on questions of methodology, showing how an integrated study of texts, inscriptions and material culture can help us understand the complexities and contradictions of ancient societies, removed from us in time.

HIS204
Introducing the 'Early Modern' 1300 - 1761 CE
4

The historiography of the Early Modern allows us to see the heuristic value of adopting a trans-national perspective in our studies of regional histories. The term alludes to a new sense of the limits of the inhabited world, and relates to the histories of the period between 1450 CE and 1800 CE, when maritime explorations, mapping and reporting produced extensive knowledge about the global geography. We see the emergence of a truly global economy, in which long distance commerce connected expanding economies on all continents, developments of new technologies occasioned new organizational responses to their effects, population increased significantly, intensification of uses of land led to establishment of settler frontiers, and large and powerful states and dynamic imperial systems mobilized new resources. Through histories of the kingdoms of Vijayanagara, regional states in the Deccan and prominently the Mughal Empire, the course will examine the significant contributions of South Asia within the early modern world economies, and explore the implications of this model for the study of South Asia. It shall focus prominently upon cultural histories for emphasizing the connections between South Asia and the World. 

HIS206
Establishment of British Power in South Asia, 1757 - 1857
4

Students will be led to explore the journey of the English East India Company (EEIC) from its first steps as an ascendant political power in the battle of Plassey, to its demise in 1857, and the formal incorporation of its territories within the expanse of British Empire. The course studies how the EEIC, a joint stock mercantile concern became invested in the spoils of political wars in India in the 18th century. We will explore the relation between EEIC’s expansion in political power and the emergence of a colonial order of governance. The course will highlight two aspects of ideological foundations of British struggle for supremacy —the rhetoric of law as a measure of civilization and supremacy; education as a means of spreading civilization and order. We explore the histories of insurgencies against British rule, the Revolt of 1857, and conclude with the formal incorporation of India within the British Empire.

HIS208
Social Change in South Asia
4

The period since 1860 has been a time of deep-seated and persistent social change in South Asian society, as a result of the imposition of colonial rule. This course introduces students to the literature on modern South Asian history with an emphasis on the diversity of approaches that characterize the historiography of the region, from political history to subaltern studies and studies of culture and economic development. Topics will include, the idea of the Indian nation; peasant protests, famine and poverty; life in urban cities; changes in the lives of women; science, medicine and technology; the construction of crime and social deviance. 

HIS209
Contemporary India 1947-1991
4

This course looks at the major developments in contemporary India in terms of new forces and issues that are unleashed as a logical corollary of India gaining independence. It will thus examine in the historical context the major developments that have shaped the Indian sub-continent post the independence, namely the framing of the constitution, the major strands of political   and economic processes that have shaped the contexts, the events in 1962 (China), the ‘green revolution’, 1975 (emergency) and the decade of 80s that terminated in the momentous year of 1991 where a new set of forces strove to shape the contours of the subcontinent. The course will be discussion oriented with audio visual material as an aid along with specific readings.

HIS210
Histories of Archaeology in South Asia
4

An understanding of the histories of archaeological scholarship and practices is crucial for developing the skills of historical methodology and archaeological knowledge. The histories provide critical insights into the many traditions of historiography, and demonstrate the reasons for nurturing a trans-regional and trans-national perspective while writing regional histories. Through histories of antiquarian scholarship and archaeological fieldwork, this paper shall map the many ways in which we can historicize the early archaeological scholarship of India. It shall explore the manner in which the British developed and used archaeology in India, and the disciplinary developments that followed in the early decades of Indian independence. The lecture topics shall create a sense of the unequal encounters of the politics of imperialism, relationships between power and knowledge, uses and abuses of histories of origins, and creations of heritage and legacies. The course shall thereby also attend to issues of ethics.

HIS213
Field Methods in Archaeology
4

Archaeological field work is known to be intrusive. It makes it imperative that we keep this in mind while planning, designing, executing and publishing data gathered from archaeological sites. This course is designed for students who want to pursue a career in archaeology, in other words, an initiation to field archaeology methods. The course is hands-on and uses activities both within and outside the classroom in order to give students a basic understanding of archaeological fieldwork. The course does not include archaeological theory and is not designed to be an introduction to archaeology, rather as suggested by the title explores how and what different techniques are used by archaeologists.

HIS215
Histories of the Art and Architecture of South Asia
4

Course description not available.

Elective Courses

Elective courses are specialized courses designed and taught by research faculty.

The class sizes for departmental electives are small, allowing the instructor to work closely with students to impart specialised subject training in either historical or archaeological methods, and may include the opportunity to work with primary materials.

The departmental offerings reflect the research expertise of the faculty and many of our courses embrace themes and methodological approaches that are on the cutting-edge of research today. Elective courses require departmental prerequisites and students interested in taking an elective course option are advised to consult the course catalogue to ensure they satisfy the prerequisite requirements.

A Majors student is required to take 11 elective courses (44 credits). Majors students also have to work on an Undergraduate Dissertation (12 credits) in their final two semesters. 

 

Course code
Title
Credit
HIS301
Archaeology of Cities
4

This course focuses on understanding urbanism and urban settlements in the third millennium in Mesopotamia, Egypt and South Asia. The intention is to introduce the students to early urban developments and enable students to analyze urbanization, the physical and social forms of urban centres, as well as the functions of varying urban spaces.

HIS302
Archaeology and Death
4

Course description not available.

HIS303
Resources, conflict and the state
4

Course description not available.

HIS304
Pastoral nomads and the state
4

Course description not available.

HIS305
Curating Cultures: Collections, Museums and Practices
4

What functions do museums serve in the modern world? Why is it important to examine curatorial practices? How might one do archaeology, and anthropology, in and of museums? How do museums generate and consolidate theories of material culture and cultural differences? And, how have museums within the post-colonial worlds changed or responded to shifting political and economic movements, and accommodated source communities. These are some of the questions, which the course shall address while exploring the histories of museums and their collections of antiquities within India. Through specific examples it shall also review the making of local and national collections, the distinctions between public museums and others, and inform of best practices: of collections management, conservation and curation. Devised as a practical and theoretical approach to museum studies, the course shall illustrate the importance of museums and their curation, and collections, within the archaeological scholarship.

HIS306
Histories of writing
4

Course description not available.

HIS307
Orientalism, Culture and Imperialism
4

Our seminar explores the cultural production, consumption and circulation of the western scholarship relating to the Orient that characterise European overseas expansion in the modern era. The course takes at its basis Edward Said’s foundational text, Orientalism: Western Perceptions of the Orient (1978) and his seminal assertion that European political domination of the Orient and the knowledge relating to its land, peoples, and cultures were interdependent. The present seminar will examine various forms of knowledge production and their varied uses within the colonised world, stressing the core themes of the use of technology; the construction of imperial identities and their modes of representations; and, the appropriation of and resistance to these formulations. The topics covered include: anthropology, criminology and law; mapping, cartography and census enumeration; science and medicine; philology; museums displays and exhibitions; and nationalist discourse. The reading material relates to British imperial expansion in South Asia. Students are encouraged to read outside of the suggested texts, and if appropriate, place the discussion in a wider geo-political framework. 

HIS310
Diagnosing Difference: Health And Mental Illness In An Age Of Empire
4

Franz Fanon (1925-1961) was a psychiatrist who practiced in Algeria during the anti colonial war of resistance against France. His writings bear testimony to the deep psychological impact that colonialism had both on the colonized and the colonizer. In this course we will start with his essay titled “Medicine and Colonialism” in Dying Colonialism to focus on his treatment of the difference between the imperial metropolis and the colonial periphery, and their ramifications on the body and the psyche of the colonized. We shall study how historical literature on medicine has treated this difference. These texts will help us think how race, gender and class emerged as sites of articulating difference through the representation of imperial medical concerns in the African continent and South Asian subcontinent. The course will create an opportunity to reflect on the relationship between the history of medical knowledge formation and the constitution of imperial bodies in the late 18th and 19th centuries.

HIS311
South Asia in Historiography
4

This course will build on students’ knowledge of the practice of history of South Asia by introducing the debates, methodologies and theoretical approaches that articulate historical concerns. Each week the course will focus on key works, and study how they speak to the wider historical and theoretical debates and approaches represented by the Annales School, Historical Sociology, Micro-history, The Cultural Turn, Gender history, Subaltern Studies, Post-Colonial Studies, the history of the Senses, and Oral history.

HIS315
The Anthropology and History of Experts and Expertise
4

We live today in a world where we are increasingly understanding ourselves through what we do. That is, by the kind of knowledge we produce and expertise we possess. Indeed, it would not be too much of a stretch to suggest that the most important question we ask today of people immediately after introducing ourselves is “what do you do?” While this question can be seen as an innocuous form of conversation making, it also is a form of self-identification and valuation through which we make sense of ourselves, others as well as the world around us.

This class attempts to unpack how the disciplines of History and Anthropology have studied who is an expert? What is expertise? What kinds of value/signification is placed on expertise and experts within larger questions of nationhood, economy, colonial and postcolonial statecraft?? We shall also look at what kinds of images of social reality do experts and expertise provide. And how does this, in turn, fashion /forge both expertise and expert communitarian formations.

HIS316
The Opium Question: Writings on the opium wars (1839-1860)
4

Course description not available.

HIS401
UG dissertation I
4

Course description not available.

HIS402
UG dissertation II
8

Course description not available.