Catherine H. Warner
Advanced seminar examining central issues in historiography. Emphasizes reading, discussion, and writing.
What is an empire? Why have historians tended to focus so much attention on the big empires of India’s past? How has empire as a concept shaped the way in which South Asian history is broken up conceptually into periods, and what are some of the shortcomings in these approaches? In this class, we will examine “empire” as an explanatory device in Indian history. We will also examine the relationship between history writing in India and the formation of empires. This seminar will focus on the Mughal and the British empires in India, as well as consider what is meant by "neo-imperialism" in the context of independent India (after 1947). Readings will include primary sources from the 16th to 20th centuries that offer historical arguments either in praise or critique of these political formations. Alongside these primary sources, we will focus on the historiographical trends in writing about empire current in recent scholarship and consider what is at stake in such debates. Throughout the seminar, students will develop a research project on a related topic.
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