Best B.A. History Colleges in India :: Shiv Nadar University

Minor in History

The Department of History offers a Minor in History to undergraduate students majoring in other disciplines at SNU. Students who opt to take a Minor in History will acquire a basic understanding of the discipline and can even apply for further studies in the field. Students must take six courses totalling to 24 credits in order to obtain a Minor in History.

Key Information

History and Archaeology
School of Humanities and Social Sciences (SHSS)
Meera Visvanathan
Time to Start 
Semester 3
No. of Credits

The History Minor introduces students to a range of historical debates and issues, placing considerable focus on the interpretive methods required to understand evidence from the past. Students gain a deeper methodological understanding of the discipline by exploring its core issues, thematic range and analytical approaches.     

Course code
Does History Matter?

This course aims to be a foundational one for UG students, who are interested in rethinking/reviewing the commonsensical understanding of history as a discipline that school text books offer. It aims to expose the students to the sources, methodologies and questions of History, as it is practiced in South Asia and globally in order to help them engage critically with history’s claims to truth about the past.

* This is a compulsory course towards the completion of a minor in History/Archaeology

Early Historic South Asia

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.

Archaeology of South Asia

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.

Ancient Indian Social History

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.

Introducing the 'Early Modern' 1300 - 1761 CE

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. 

Establishment of British Power in South Asia, 1757 - 1857

This course offers students an opportunity to understand the early origins of the British empire in South Asia. We will study how the English East India Company, a joint stock mercantile concern established in 1600 in London, became invested incommerce as well as governance in the Indian subcontinent. Thus, the course examines the Company’s fiscal involvements, political and military expansion, as well as its ideological underpinnings in theeighteenth century.

Detailed Syllabus 

Unit 1Merchants, Commerce, Governance
Unit 2 Regions, Conquest, Expansion
Unit 3 Ideology and Empire
Unit 4 Rebellion and Resistance

Social Change in South Asia

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. 

Contemporary India 1947-1991

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.

Global Histories of Food

Are we what we eat? The act of eating was rooted in a finite moment; yet, food welds together time, linking the visceral processes of the body to all else in life, and the present to traditions, memory and the past. This course surveys the history of food in its wide-ranging environmental, economic, cultural and global contexts through an examination of the core themes of the production, circulation and consumption of food across time. Topics include: the domestication of plants and animals; the medieval spice trade; the Columbian exchange and entry of New World foods on Old World diets; slavery and sugar plantations; the structure of meals and the cultivation of taste and manners; industrialization; famine and food riots; cookbooks, recipes and formation of resilient identities.

Orientalism, Culture and Imperialism

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. 

The Anthropology and History of Experts and Expertise

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.