Spring 2021 - HIST 243 D100

A Brief History of Modern India - from British Colony to Independent Republic (3)

Class Number: 5704

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Fr 10:30 AM – 12:20 PM



A survey of South Asian history designed to equip those students completely unfamiliar with the region, with a foundation in the political, social and cultural contours of South Asia from 1757 to 1947. Students who have previously taken HIST 243 STT may not take HIST 243 for further credit. Breadth-Humanities.


Does Bollywood intrigue you, Gandhi confuse you?  And samosas uplift your very soul? Want to know the history of such wonders? 

This course provides a survey of the history of South Asia between the eighteenth and late twentieth centuries: a crucial period in shaping of the modern South Asian subcontinent. These three centuries were characterized by the crumbling of a once-magnificent Mughal empire, the entry of European trade and colonialism, the development of Indian nationalism and the eventual emergence of the independent states of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

We will explore the most significant events, themes and debates of the period such as the causes behind the rapid success of British imperialism, the nature of Indian nationalism and the politicization of religion. The course also introduces the student to important current debates in the historical scholarship of the region especially those of gender, ecology, caste, and the history of sexuality. The course combines a study of scholarship and popular culture in order to understand the ideologies, policies, and processes that shaped the colonial state and continue to mould the entire South Asian subcontinent.

No previous knowledge of South Asia is required to take this course.


  • Participation 20%
  • Primary source (document) analysis 20%
  • Primary source (material object) analysis 20%
  • Primary source (film) analysis 20%
  • Primary source (audio/journalism) analysis 20%



  • Ideologies of the Raj (Thomas Metcalfe)
  • Concise History of Modern India (Metcalfe and Metcalfe).

Registrar Notes:


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Teaching at SFU in spring 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).