Fall 2020 - HIST 438W D100

Problems in the History of the British Empire (4)

Contradictions of Empire

Class Number: 4196

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 9 – Dec 8, 2020: Tue, 8:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Anushay Malik
  • Prerequisites:

    45 units including 9 units of lower division history.



An investigation of advanced concepts and methodologies in the history of the British empire. Content may vary from offering to offering; see course outline for further information. HIST 438W may be repeated for credit only when a different topic is taught. Writing.


This course will explore the experiences of colonized peoples who fought for the British Empire in the World Wars. We will use this as a conduit to discuss the anti-colonial resistance and visions of freedom that were articulated at this time. The way in which people of colour across the world were treated and policed as they offered, and were forced to offer, up their lives to fight for Empire was part of the process that fast-forwarded the end of colonial rule.

The contradictions of Empire became more starkly visible as the British expected people from Asia and Africa to fight for them in their wars, but continued to give them unequal status after the war was over. As colonial intellectuals struggled to try and bring an end to colonial rule some of them began to believe in a version of freedom that was socialist and they sought help from the Soviet Union, others thought that even Fascism was more tolerable than British rule and turned toward Japan for help. It is these messy and multiple perspectives of anti-colonialism, and the lives of people affected by the World Wars, that this course will focus on.


  • Participation 25%
  • Discussion leader 20%
  • Final Research (draft) 20%
  • Final Research Essay 35%



*All readings will be circulated via canvas

*Short introductory lectures will be recorded and put up on canvas. All seminars will have a synchronous discussion session. Asynchronous participation can also be contributed online via Perusall.

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.

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Teaching at SFU in fall 2020 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).