Today, South Asia is among the most dynamic and volatile regions of the world. The on- going tensions between two nuclear states (India and Pakistan), rapid economic development (India) and the immediate threats posed by climate change make it a particularly important region to study thoroughly. This course offers a global historical perspective on South Asia in general and India in particular. We deal with the economic, social, and environmental history of South Asia from the 18th to the 20th century.

We thus cover the period from the expansion and consolidation of British rule, rising nationalism and Gandhi, independence and the partition into India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. This long-term perspective allows us to gain a deeper understanding of the recent political and economic development on the subcontinent. In each week the course offers its students both an overview of a particular period and an in-depth analysis of a specific topic, such as famines, caste, disasters, drugs or the possibility of a nuclear war. While academic texts certainly form the core material of this course, they are complemented with movies, novels, radio shows, podcasts and records from the imperial archive.