Spring 2020 - HIST 252 D100

Islamic India (3)

Class Number: 4662

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 6 – Apr 9, 2020: Tue, 2:30–5:20 p.m.



A survey of the cultural patterns, social and political forces, and historical contexts that have shaped the Islamic period of Indian history. Special attention will be directed toward the Mughal empire and its decline. Breadth-Humanities.


When James Mill, the economist-philosopher-historian, wrote about India he saw its history as being clearly divided between a “Hindu”, “Muslim” and “British” time-period, but of course things were not all that simple in reality. Was there a clear-cut “Muslim” period in India? How did Islam in India affect people who were not Muslim? Was Islam in Punjab the same as Islam in Bengal? These are the questions you will know the answer to by the end of this course.

Alongside these we will focus on the extraordinary individuals who roamed India and who, while part of Islamic India, are really difficult to label as “Muslim” in the way we understand the term today. From Tamerlane (Timur) and his claimed ancestry from Genghis Khan, to the great Mughal Babur who was a devout Muslim but who held parties where, as one observer described it “wine flowed like water” (wine is forbidden in Islam), we will meet all kinds of interesting individuals in this course.

The focus throughout will be on India, but this course will leave you better equipped to engage in a more sophisticated manner with the theme of Islam and Muslims in the history of the world.

No prior knowledge of India or Islam is required.


  • Participation 15%
  • Portrait of an Individual 15%
  • Midterm Exam 20%
  • Weekly Reading Diary 20%
  • Final Exam 30%



You are only required to buy this required textbook. All other readings will be circulated via canvas. Any version is acceptable.

Richard M. Eaton. India in the Persianate Age, 1000-1765, University of California Press, 2019.


Barbara D. Metcalf. Islam in South Asia in Practice (Princeton)

  Francis Robinson. Islam and Muslim History in South Asia (Oxford, 2003)

Registrar Notes:

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