GBST 312
The Mughal Empire: Power, Art, and Religion in India Fall 2018
Division II
Cross-listed GBST 312 / REL 312 / ASST 312 / HIST 312
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

Established in the early 1500s, the Mughal Empire was one of the grandest and the longest to rule the Indian subcontinent for over three hundred years. Commanding unprecedented resources and administering a population of 100 to 150 million at its zenith–much larger than any European empire in the early modern world–the Mughals established a centralized administration, with a vast complex of personnel, money, and information networks. Mughal emperors were also political and cultural innovators of global repute. Moreover, while the Mughal dynasty was brought to an end with British colonial rule over India in 1857, the Mughal administrative structures and cultural influences continued to have a lasting impact on the British and later Indian states that followed. Centered around the intersection of the themes of power, patronage of art and architecture and religion, this course will ask: What factors contributed to the durability of the Mughal Empire for three centuries? How did global trade and innovations in taxation contribute to its wealth and stability? How did this dynasty of Muslim monarchs rule over diverse, and largely non-Muslim populations? How did they combine Persian cultural elements with regional ones to establish an empire that was truly Indian in nature? How were the Mughals viewed in their contemporary world of gunpowder empires like the Safavids of Persia and the Ottomans of Turkey? Readings will include the best of the recent scholarship on this vastly influential empire and a rich collection of primary sources, including emperor’s memoirs, accounts of European travelers, and racy biographies, which will allow students make their own analysis. They will also have the opportunity to interpret paintings (some of which are held in the WCMA collections) and architecture. They will also discuss how the Mughals are remembered in South Asian film and music.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 25
Expected: 20
Class#: 1279
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: participation, response papers/short essays, one final pape
Prerequisites: none, open to first-year students with instructor permission
Enrollment Preferences: History majors and potential History majors
Distributions: Division II
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
GBST 312 Division II REL 312 Division II ASST 312 Division II HIST 312 Division II

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