Fall 2019 - IS 313W D100

Nationalism, Democracy and Development in Modern India (4)

Class Number: 7912

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 9:30 AM – 1:20 PM
    WMC 2522, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units. Recommended: IS 210 or 220.



An examination of the differing narratives of nation and modernity in the struggle for independence from colonial rule in India, and their implications for the post-colonial state, for politics and for India's economic development. Writing.


This course is designed to introduce students to politics in South Asia in the period after independence from colonial rule. The course pays greatest attention to the region’s largest country, India, but will also incorporate the experiences of Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in substantial measure. The themes discussed during the course will be those that are important both to South Asia as well as to a general study of politics in developing countries. The course is organized around seven different themes – colonial inheritance, state formation and nation-building, democracy and authoritarianism, state and society, ethnic and secessionist conflict, political economy of development, and international issues.

The course will begin by analyzing the impact of colonialism and then trace the historical process of political change and nation-building in mainly India. After analyzing varied democratic trajectories in the region, the course turns its focus to state institutions and state-society interactions. In the second term, the course delves into various challenges to state and nation-building, issues related to the political economy of development, and ends with a brief focus on international issues.

We will also consider the impediments to democratic development, and why some states in South Asia have not been able to overcome these impediments. Time will be devoted to discussing and debating the causes and consequences of the Asian economic miracle and the Asian economic crisis that followed. We will examine the future of democracy in the region and the role political institutions play in policy making. Key internal conflicts affecting the human security of millions of South Asians will be analyzed in their unique historical and cultural context.


  • Term Paper Outline 10%
  • Term Paper 30%
  • Presentation 15%
  • Midterm 15%
  • Final Exam 30%


Students will be required to submit their written assignments to Turnitin.com in order to receive credit for the assignments and for the course.

The School for International Studies strictly enforces the University's policies regarding plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty. Information about these policies can be found at: http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/teaching.html.



Rajeev Bhargava (eds.), Understanding Contemporary India: Critical Perspectives, Orient Black Swan, 2015
ISBN: 978812542723

Yasmin Khan, The Great Partition: The Making of India/Pakistan, Yale University Press, 2007
ISBN: 9780300120783

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html