Summer 2021 - HIST 358 D100

Development, Aid and Difference in Historical Perspective (4)

Class Number: 3444

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 9:30 AM – 1:20 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units, including six units of lower division history.



Examines "International Development" within a series of historical frames, including the history of imperialism, the history of international relations, globalization, and the cultural and intellectual history of North-South relations. Students who have credit for IS 358 may not take HIST 358 for further credit.


Becoming a Global Force: South Asia from colonialism to liberalisation

This course is designed to introduce students to the changing landscape of colonial and postcolonial South Asian history, to key institutions and experiments in the 20th century history of international development as experienced in South Asia, and to introduce students to interdisciplinary critiques of non–western development through one of its most remarkable examples: India.

In the 20th century, institutions, practices and ideas associated with ‘development’ have accounted for some of the most ambitious experiments in social engineering ever witnessed. In this course we will investigate key experiments in the history of development—from attempts to transform farming and end hunger via the industrial miracle of the Green Revolution in India to attempts to transform sexual practices and stave off poverty via state-dictated population control.

The first half of the course will focus on the colonial history of development in its embodiment as colonial projects of ‘improvement’ and ‘civilisation’ during the latter decades of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. In the second half of the course, we will address how formal political independence in South Asia as well as World War II and decolonisation impacted the atmosphere on which developmental programmes could be constructed and executed.

Some of the key questions the course will address are - To what degree was development in 20th century South Asia the liberating product of a post-war and postcolonial world order, and to what degree was it merely an heir to British colonialism? What is the relationship between modernisation and colonialism? Why didn’t Five Year Plans work in India? Is it accurate to describe postcolonial Indian development as a ‘suspended revolution’?

Both academic sources and popular cultural material such as film and music will be used to explore a wide range of historical themes.



  • Class participation 20%
  • Book Review 20%
  • 2 X Source Analysis (15% + 15%) 30%
  • Final paper project 30%



Sugata Bose and Ayesha Jalal, Modern South Asia, Routledge,2003. (free e-book)

Ramachandra Guha, India after Gandhi: the history of the world’s largest democracy , Pan, 2008

Registrar Notes:


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Teaching at SFU in summer 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods, but we will continue to have in-person experiential activities for a selection of courses.  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 ( or 778-782-3112).