Summer 2023 - HIST 358 D100

Development, Aid and Difference in Historical Perspective (4)

Class Number: 3242

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

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

  • 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.


South Asia from the independence to the present

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 cinema and music will be used to explore a wide range of historical themes.



  • Class participation 20%
  • 1 x Book Review 20%
  • 2 x Source Analyses (15% each) 30%
  • Final 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.


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

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