HIST 320 Spring 2013 Meanings and Memories: Re-visiting the Partition of India

Cross Listed as ASST322
The partitioning of the Indian subcontinent has typically been understood as an event that began and ended in 1947, culminating in the independence of India and the birth of Pakistan. Eschewing these perceptions, however, by examining a longer history of this historical moment, this course seeks to offer an alternate account to this popular narrative. Beginning in the early decades of the twentieth century, we will trace the trajectory of the Indian nationalist movement and the demand for freedom from British colonial rule. Moving into the middle half of the twentieth century, we will examine the impact of decolonization on the region. Millions of people were directly affected by this cataclysmic event. Drawing on official archives, alongside sources as varied as memoirs, poetry, short stories, films, and oral history, students will re-visit this most significant event in South Asian history and engage with the historiographical debates that surround it. Using a combined chronological and thematic approach, this course will address themes such as nationalism, decolonization, secularism, communalism, the post-colonial nation-state, and identity politics. The main aim is to interrogate the impact of Partition on the state, society, and people of the subcontinent. What did Independence mean for India? Was Partition the only solution? Was Pakistan inevitable? And finally, why does Partition continue to matter today?
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: evaluation will be based on active class participation, map quiz, weekly commentaries on assigned readings, and a final research paper (15-20 pages)
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Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: students with background in South Asian history, or History majors
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Divisional Attributes: Division II
Other Attributes: HIST Group B Electives - Asia
Enrollment Limit: 25
Expected Enrollment: 12-20
Class Number: 3516
HIST320-01(S) SEM Partition of India Division 2: Social Studies Lata Parwani
TF 2:35 PM-3:50 PM Hollander 240 3516
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