The Rise and Demise of the Raj: India, 1857-1947 (HIH1610)

StaffDr Gajendra Singh - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level4
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

The aim of this module is to provide an introduction to the important themes in modern South Asian history; of how colonialism, nationalism and communalism have shaped the subcontinent as it exists today. Students will learn to interpret and analyse documents, films and literature that sheds light on the nature of the colonial establishment within British India and of the peoples that existed at its margins. They will also learn of the vibrant historiographical debates that have occurred in the writing of South Asia’s recent past.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Assess the nature of British colonialism in India from the mid-nineteenth century.
  • 2. Analyse social, cultural and economic change in colonial India from indigenous and non-elite perspectives.
  • 3. Develop a critical appreciation of postcolonial history-writing.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Identify the problems of using historical sources, e.g. utility, limitations, etc, and compare the validity of different types of sources.
  • 5. Answer a question briefly and concisely.
  • 6. Present work orally, respond to questions orally, and think quickly of questions to ask other students.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Conduct independent study and group work, including the presentation of material for group discussion, developed through the mode of learning.
  • 8. Digest, select and organise material to produce, to a deadline, a coherent and cogent argument, developed through the mode of assessment.
  • 9. Work with others in a team and to interact effectively with the tutor and the wider group.
  • 10. Write to a very tight word-length.

Syllabus plan

  1. Introduction
  2. Indian Uprising(s) of 1857
  3. The Economics of Imperialism
  4. Colonialism, Indian Renaissance and Social Reform in the Late 19th Century
  5. Early Nationalism in India
  6. Mahatma Gandhi & Indian Nationalism, 1914-1927
  7. The Growth of Communalism
  8. Nehru and the ‘Freedom Struggle’, 1927-1942
  9. ‘Quit India’ and Revolutionary Activism
  10. Partition and Independence
  11. Re-Imagining India: Understanding the Postcolonial Turn

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching activities22 hour lecture: Introduction to module
Scheduled learning and teaching activities2010 x 2 hour seminars. At a meeting of the whole class generally a different group of 3-4 students will give a presentation to the whole class, followed by class discussion and working through the sources for that week carefully. Additional sources may be issued in the class and the lecturer will also use the time to set up issues for the following week.
Guided independent study128Students prepare for the session through reading and research; writing five source commentaries and an essay and preparing one group presentation in the course of the term.

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Group presentation (3-4 students)10-15 minutes1-4, 6-7, 9Oral
Lowest mark from portfolio of 5 source commentaries500 words1-5, 7-8, 10Mark and written comments

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
4 highest marks from portfolio of 5 source commentaries60 (15 per commentary)2000 words (500 per commentary)1-5, 7-8, 10Mark and written comments.
Essay on Sources401500 words1-5, 7-8, 10Mark and written comments

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
4 highest marks of portfolio of 5 source commentaries4 highest marks of portfolio of 5 source commentaries1-5, 7-8, 10Referral/deferral period
1500-word essay1500-word essay1-5, 7-8, 10Referral/deferral period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Crispin Bates, Subalterns and Raj, A History of South Asia Since 1600, (London: Routledge, 2007).

Judith Brown, Modern India: The Origins of an Asian Democracy, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994 2nd edn.).

Rajnarayan Chandavarkar, Imperial Power and Popular Politics: Class, Resistance and the State in India, 1850-1950, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998).

Bipan Chandra, History of Modern India, (New Delhi: Orient Blackswan, 2009).

Nicholas Dirks, Castes of Mind: Colonialism and the Making of Modern India, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001).

William Gould, Religion and Conflict in Modern South Asia, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012).

Ranajit Guha and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Selected Subaltern Studies, (New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988).

Ronald Inden, Imagining India, (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1990).

Ayesha Jalal and Sugata Bose, Modern South Asia: History, Culture, Political Economy, (London: Routledge, 1998).

Sumit Sarkar, Modern India, 1885-1947, (New Delhi: Macmillan, 1983).

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

South Asia Archive,

Mutiny at the Margins: The Indian Uprising of 1857,

The 1947 Partition Archive,

Cinemas of India,

Colonial Film: Moving Images of the British Empire,

Making Britain: Discover How South Asians Shaped the Nation, 1870-1950,

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

Rudyard Kipling, Kim (various editions)

Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children, (London: Picador,1981).

R.K. Narayan, A Malgudi Omnbus, (London: Vintage Classics, 1994).

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Origin date


Last revision date


Key words search

India, Modern, Raj, Empire, Colonialism, Nationalism, Partition, Independence