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140146 UE Social Identities in Colonial India (2017S)

Continuous assessment of course work



max. 24 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Tuesday 04.04. 09:30 - 11:30 Seminarraum 2 ISTB UniCampus Hof 2 2B-O1-18
Tuesday 25.04. 09:30 - 11:30 Seminarraum 2 ISTB UniCampus Hof 2 2B-O1-18
Tuesday 02.05. 09:30 - 11:30 Seminarraum 2 ISTB UniCampus Hof 2 2B-O1-18
Tuesday 09.05. 09:30 - 11:30 Seminarraum 2 ISTB UniCampus Hof 2 2B-O1-18
Tuesday 16.05. 09:30 - 11:30 Seminarraum 2 ISTB UniCampus Hof 2 2B-O1-18
Tuesday 23.05. 09:30 - 11:30 Seminarraum 2 ISTB UniCampus Hof 2 2B-O1-18
Tuesday 30.05. 09:30 - 11:30 Seminarraum 2 ISTB UniCampus Hof 2 2B-O1-18
Tuesday 13.06. 09:30 - 11:30 Seminarraum 2 ISTB UniCampus Hof 2 2B-O1-18
Tuesday 20.06. 09:30 - 11:30 Seminarraum 2 ISTB UniCampus Hof 2 2B-O1-18
Tuesday 27.06. 09:30 - 11:30 Seminarraum 2 ISTB UniCampus Hof 2 2B-O1-18


Aims, contents and method of the course

This seminar course will examine some of the key themes in the social history of colonial India, with a focus on identity politics in the critical fields of caste, gender and religion, and the linkages between them. These arenas are at the centre of historical writings on colonial India today, and studies on them have been widely recognized as the most challenging and exciting interventions in the recent past in historical and cultural studies, not only in India, but elsewhere too. In historicizing various axes of caste, gender and religious identities, the course will highlight how these were represented and conceived through a historical and an interactional course. Central to the course will be the issues that emerged in this period around caste stratification, religious reforms, the role of women, linguistic controversies, and their implications on constructions of nationalism, and on debates around ‘tradition’ and ‘modernity’. The course will be thematic rather than chronological. It will particularly grapple with attempts made in colonial India to assert such identities, and how various icons, symbols and images came to be used in such constructions. While exploring these social and cultural imaginations, at a theoretical level the course will move beyond nationalist frames. It will examine how these identities could be both limiting and liberating. While they were deeply intertwined with each other and with politics, these constructions also helped in critiquing and challenging singular, neat identities

Assessment and permitted materials

Though no prior knowledge of colonial India is required, the students should have a broad interest in the modern social history of the region, as well as a willingness to do a wide range of readings. Students will be expected to develop and demonstrate their skills in class participation and presentation, as well as a written essay to be submitted at the end of the course. Teaching will be done through brief lectures, followed by class discussion on assigned readings per week. Each seminar participant will have to do a class presentation, which can be in the form of a reaction paper and understanding on a given topic. Individual interests and guided and independent library research and writing will be encouraged. At the end of the course, an essay will have to be submitted of 10 pages (Times New Roman, 12 points, double spaced), on a topic which the student is likely to further pursue.

Update May 15: 1. Students have to write an essay of 5000 words by 31 July 2017, and send it to me by e-mail at charugup7@gmail.com
2. Before this, they have to give me an outline of their essay (1 page) on 27 June 2017 (Tuesday)

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Examination topics

Reading list

Required Readings

Banerjee-Dube, Ishita, A History of Modern India, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015 (relevant sections).
Pandey, Gyanendra, The Construction of Communalism in Colonial North India, Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1990.
Sangari, Kumkum and Sudesh Vaid, eds, Recasting Women: Essays in Colonial History, New Delhi: Kali for Women, 1989.
Sarkar, Sumit and Tanika Sarkar, eds, Caste in Modern India, 2 Vols, Ranikhet: Permanent Black, 2014.
There will be some additional readings for various topics, which will be specified.

Schedule of Topics, and Readings

1. Colonial Knowledge, Caste and Census
Read: Banerjee-Dube (147-54); Sarkar and Sarkar, eds (Vol. 1: Chapt. 9: Padmanabh Samarendra, ‘Anthropological Knowledge’: 255-96; Chapt. 10, Frank Conlon, ‘The Census of India: 297-310; Chapt. 11, Bernard Cohn, ‘The Census, Social Structure’: 311-39).

2. Non-Brahmin and Dalit Movements
Read: Banerjee-Dube (350-56); Sarkar and Sarkar, eds (Vol. 1: Chapt. 13: Sekhar Bandyopadhyay, ‘Popular Religion’: 381-422; Vol. 2: Chapt. 5: Nandini Gooptu, ‘Caste and Labour’: 107-32; Chapt. 14: Rosalind O’ Hanlon, ‘The Creation of Lower-Caste Identity’: 382-401; Chapt. 16: Ramnarayan Rawat, ‘Struggle for Identitites’: 433-71).

3. Gandhi and Ambedkar
Read: Banerjee-Dube (356-64); Sarkar and Sarkar, eds (Vol. 2: Chapt. 11: Christophe Jaffrelot, ‘Analysing and Ethnicizing Caste’: 315-29; Chapt. 12: D.R.Nagaraj, ‘Self-Purification vs Self-Respect’: 330-61).

4. The Gender of Caste
Read: Sarkar and Sarkar, eds (Vol. 2: Chapt. 7: Anupama Rao, ‘Sexual Politics of Caste’: 168-199; Chapt. 9: Charu Gupta, ‘Feminine, Criminal, or Manly?: 234-72).

5. Gender, Domesticity and Reforms
Read: Banerjee-Dube (93-99, 188-93, 199-204); Sangari and Vaid (Lata Mani, ‘Contentious Traditions: The Debate on Sati in Colonial India’: 88-126; Partha Chatterjee, ‘The Nationalist Resolution’: 233-53).

6. Gender, Print and Popular Culture
Read: Sangari and Vaid (Sumanta Banerjee, ‘Marginalization of Women’s Popular Culture’: 127-79; Vir Bharat Talwar, ‘Feminist Consciousness in Women’s Journals in Hindi: 1910-1920’: 204-32; Susie Tharu, ‘Tracing Savitri’s Pedigree’: 254-68).

7. Mother India, Protest and Nation
Read: Banerjee-Dube (292-98); Sangari and Vaid (Vasantha Kannabiran and K. Lalitha, ‘That Magic Time’: 180-203; Kapil Kumar, ‘Rural Women in Oudh’: 337-69).

8. Religious Identities and Indian Historiography
Read: Pandey (‘Introduction’: 1-22; Chapt. 2: ‘The Colonial Construction of the Indian Past’: 23-65).

9. Religious Revivalism, Reforms and Modernisation
Read: Banerjee-Dube (99-106, 154-60); Pandey (Chapt. 4: ‘Community as History’: 109-57).

10. Hindi, Hindu Hindustan: Nationalization of Hindu Traditions
Read: Pandey (Chapt. 5: ‘Mobilizing the Hindu Community’: 158-200; Chapt. 6: ‘ “Hindi, Hindu, Hindustan” ’: 201-32).

11. Violence, Public Sphere and Everyday Life
Read: Pandey (Chapt. 6: ‘Nationalism vs Communalism’: 233-62).

Association in the course directory


Last modified: Mo 07.09.2020 15:34