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Imagining India: From the Colonial to the Global

Semester and Year FA 2011
Course Number IDSEM-UG1555
Section 001
Instructor Ritty Lukose
Days Thu
Time 9:30 AM - 12:15 PM
Units 4.0
Level U
Foundation Requirement SOC, GLOBAL


Drawing on an interdisciplinary set of readings about India, this course explores a fraught and difficult dynamic within the modern world – democratic nation-building. We move from a variety of pre-colonial and colonial imaginings of South Asia to politicized assertions of a unified Indian identity during the anti-colonial movement. Here, nation is not only a political entity, but also a cultural project that re-shapes ideas of self, religion, community, region, family, gender and kinship. The post-independence period is explored through writings on the Partition that created India and Pakistan, “development” as a key concept that has been central to nation-building, and struggles around caste, gender, sexuality, tribal identity, environment, region and religion. How the state contends with majority and minority identities and claims, the complexities of secularism, notions of equality and difference, all in the context of vibrant social movements and a large NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) sector will enable an in-depth exploration of how democracy, as idea and practice, happens in India. How globalization shapes contemporary understandings of India will be explored towards the end of the course. Readings include: Ronald Inden’s Imagining India , Amitav Ghosh on the Indian Ocean World, Modern South Asia: History, Culture, Political Economy by Sugata Bose and Ayesha Jalal, the writings of Gandhi and Nehru, subaltern studies collective writings on nationalism in India, The Nation and its Fragments by Partha Chatterjee, Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children , Menon and Bhasin’s Borders and Boundaries: Women in India’s Partition and India’s New Middle Class: Democratic Politics in an Era of Economic Reform by Leela Fernandes.



Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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