Focuses on the mobilization of South Asian tribal, peasant, and ethnic communities around ecological issues to secure social equity in the colonial and post-colonial period. Examines how the complex interactions of states and peoples have changed the ways in which nature itself is conceptualized. Offered: jointly with HSTAS 303.
This class will focus on some of the major themes in South Asian environmental history through the Modern period. We will examine how both the British Colonial state and the modern nation states of South Asia sought to catalogue and control the immense natural wealth of South Asia as well as the diverse and complex human interactions with the land. Specifically, we will examine how South Asian tribal, peasant, and ethnic communities have used their relationship with the environment to forge political and social identities in order to mobilize for greater political, social, and economic equity in the colonial and post-colonial period. The changing perceptions of “nature,” “wildness,” and “civilization,” will be another category for inquiry in this class. How do societies construct these categories? What kinds of conceptual and power differentials do such formulations reveal?
Student learning goals
Understanding the long-term impact of human societies on the natural world
Understanding the interconnectedness of cultural concepts of nature and micro-climates in which they are produced
Basic research skills including using databases, periodical collections, special collections, and online research tools
Evaluating and contextualizing a variety of historical approaches in South Asian Environmental history
General method of instruction
short lectures followed by discussion of class readings
none, willingness to participate in discussion a must
Class assignments and grading
2 short papers, one larger paper, and class discussion
Map Exercise 5% Essay 1 (3-4p) 20% Essay 2 (3-4p) 20% Research Essay (8-10p) 30% Class participation 20% Student Led Discussion 5%