Summer 2021 - IS 313W D100

Nationalism, Democracy and Development in Modern India (4)

Class Number: 3253

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 1:30 PM – 5:20 PM

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Aug 11, 2021
    10:00 AM – 10:00 AM
    TAKE HOME-EXAM, Burnaby

  • 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.


This course is designed to introduce students to politics in South Asia in the period after independence from colonial rule. The course pays greatest attention to the region’s largest country, India, but will also incorporate the experiences of Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in substantial measure. The themes discussed during the course will be those that are important both to South Asia as well as to a general study of politics in developing countries. The course is organized around seven different themes – colonial inheritance, state formation and nation-building, democracy and authoritarianism, state and society, ethnic and secessionist conflict, political economy of development, and international issues.

The course will begin by analyzing the impact of colonialism and then trace the historical process of political change and nation-building in mainly India. After analyzing varied democratic trajectories in the region, the course turns its focus to state institutions and state-society interactions. In the second term, the course delves into various challenges to state and nation-building, issues related to the political economy of development, and ends with a brief focus on international issues.

We will also consider the impediments to democratic development, and why some states in South Asia have not been able to overcome these impediments. Time will be devoted to discussing and debating the causes and consequences of the Asian economic miracle and the Asian economic crisis that followed. We will examine the future of democracy in the region and the role political institutions play in policy making. Key internal conflicts affecting the human security of millions of South Asians will be analyzed in their unique historical and cultural context.


The objective of the course is to promote critical engagement with a wide range of empirical, historical and narrative literature. Students will learn to display this engagement through analytical essay writing and the presentation of complex arguments in seminar discussions and presentations. By the end of the course, they should have acquired a sound knowledge of key theoretical and practical debates on the issue of nationalism and India.

As this is a writing-intensive course, emphasis will be placed on enhancing proper writing skills in the discipline. Detailed feedback will be provided on the draft writing assignment. This will help students properly present and engage in the Indian debate.


  • Term Paper Outline 5%
  • Term Paper Draft and Final Version 35%
  • Presentation and Seminar Participation 20%
  • Midterm 15%
  • Final Exam 25%


Students will be required to submit their written assignments to in order to receive credit for the assignments and for the course.

The School for International Studies strictly enforces the University's policies regarding plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty. Information about these policies can be found at:


As the content of this course will be delivered online, you will be required to have access to a computer with audio and video functions. You will also need to have a stable internet connection. Lectures/seminars may be either live or recorded.



Rajeev Bhargava (eds.), Understanding Contemporary India: Critical Perspectives, Orient Black Swan, 2015, ISBN 978-81-25-4272-3, available via kindle

Yasmin Khan, The Great Partition: The Making of India/Pakistan, Yale University Press, 2007, ISBN 978-0-300-12078-3, Vital Source from the book store.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site 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.


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).