H140 Introduction to the History of South Asia

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Year 1
Term 1
Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of History

Module overview

South Asia (comprising of present-day India, Pakistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and the Maldives) has a history stretching back millennia. This module introduces the historical processes that shaped the society, culture, economy and political landscapes of the subcontinent over this period. We begin with the Harappan or Indus Valley civilization and conclude with the English East India Company’s conquest of Bengal, a moment that marks the beginning of the colonial period. Students will study the principal historical themes, debates and controversies that have concerned scholars over the decades and thus build a foundation for further study of the history of South Asia at more advanced levels.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

  1. Have gained a broad understanding of the main historical and historiographical themes and debates in South Asian history from the earliest times to European conquest.
  2. To read, analyse and discuss primary and secondary source material related to themes across the span of South Asian history.
  3. To express ideas clearly through oral presentations and seminar discussions.
  4. To write clear, persuasive, analytical essays.

Method of assessment

  • Source Analysis (AS1) of 750 words - worth 30%.
  • Essay (AS2) of 2,000 words - worth 70%.

Suggested reading

  • Bose, S&A. Jalal. Modern South Asia , New York, 2003.
  • Khilnani, S. The Idea of India , London, 2003.
  • Metcalf, B.D, & T.R. A Concise History of India , Cambridge 2003.
  • Thepar, R. Early India, London, 2002.


Roy Fischel


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