Summer 2023 - IS 313W D100

Nationalism, Democracy and Development in Modern India (4)

Class Number: 3775

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 8 – Aug 4, 2023: Fri, 9:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Aug 9, 2023
    Wed, 12:00–3:00 p.m.

  • 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.


An introduction to South Asian history and politics from the time of independence from colonial rule all the way to the present day. India is presented in popular discourses as an eternal, unchanging civilization, but has experienced dynamic growth and is one of the most diverse regions of the world. Similarly, the South Asian region as a whole appears, on the surface, to have a great degree of similarity across provinces and states, yet everyday life is fraught with tensions that often erupt into violent confrontation. How do we understand these contradictions? By the end of this course, students will be able to understand and discuss the region and its complexities in far greater detail.

Thematically, the course will follow a number of themes:
  • legacies of colonial rule
  • nationalism and politics
  • ideologies of economic growth and development
  • diaspora and migrations within South Asia
  • social and revolutionary movements
  • gender, caste and identity

The course focuses mainly on India, but will also bring in some discussion from the contexts of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.


By the end of the course students will be able to:

- display a rigorous understanding of nationalism in South Asia verbally through their seminar discussions and in writing.
- critique and identify the multiple narratives of nationalism and belonging across the South Asian region.
- appreciate the complexity of developing political systems in a region as socially, religiously and ethnically diverse as South Asia.
- explain ideologies of development and economic growth in post-independence Indian history.


  • Seminar participation 25%
  • Research proposal presentation 15%
  • Annotated bibliography (with a minimum of 5 sources) 20%
  • Final research essay 40%



All readings will be available electronically and hyperlinked through the course Canvas page. You will not be required to buy any textbook for this course.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at:

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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.


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.