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Course Information

Instructor Info:Uditi Sen
Office Extension x5598
William Ryan
Office Extension x5646
TA Info:Vanessa Crawford
Term: 2013F
Meeting Info: Tuesday Thursday
09:00 AM - 10:20 AM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) 108
09:00 AM - 10:20 AM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) 108

Independence from British rule saw colonial India being partitioned into Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan in 1947. This 'event' was accompanied by riots, genocidal ethnic violence and led to the displacement of over 15 million people. This course is designed as an exploration of the many meanings of this watershed in South Asian history. Beginning with the 'high politics' of partition, we will move on to exploring common people's experience and memories of partition, 'from below'. Causes of religious hatred, the refugee crisis, memory and fiction on partition will be some major themes. The continuing relevance of partition in the politics, society and culture of South Asia today will be explored in detail, using the broadest range of sources (newspapers, films, primary historical sources, creative writing, interviews and documentaries). This course will be of interest to all students interested in exploring the inter-relationship between conflict, history, gender and memory.

Course Objectives:
  • Develop critical thinking, reading and writing skills through close examination of differing interpretations of the partition of India.
  • Develop analytical skills through rigorous engagement with debates regarding the origin and nature of partition
  • Develop analytical skills through critical reading of a range of sources, including historical documents, interviews and films.
  • Increase awareness of the role played by national politics and cultural and religious orientation in the interpretation of recent history
  • Strengthen research, reading, writing and presentation skills through a series of assignments and activities designed to challenge students to develop their own critical approaches and analyses.
  • Develop skills of independent inquiry and study both as individuals and while working in a group through specific assignments.
Evaluation Criteria:

To receive an evaluation for the course, you must complete all assignments on time and make satisfactory progress on the course learning goals.  I expect a lot of writing and active class participation.  If you are absent for more than two class meetings without a good reason, you will not get an evaluation.

Incompletes can only be given in exceptional circumstances. The final paper and portfolio must be submitted in time. 



 Assignments include reading, writing, class presentations and project-based work.  I expect readings to be done thoughtfully and critically before the class date for which each assignment is listed as discussion is largely based on the readings.  Students will be expected to participate in and occasionally run discussions. 

 Written Assignments:  All written assignments MUST be submitted on or before the specified due-date. I do not accept late papers without prior permission.  Papers must be typed, double-spaced and proofread, with page numbers.  Please plan ahead for printing your papers so that you don’t have last minute computer problems.  You should always spell-check and proofread your assignments before turning them in.

Additional Info:

Readings and Textbooks

All readings are either available online through the course web site (under Readings and in the daily Syllabus), or can be accessed through books kept on reserve at the Hampshire Library. Additional resources (websites, documentaries, primary sources) will also be made available through moodle. 

This course DOES NOT use any single text book. Instead, it uses TWO primary texts and several additional readings. All students are expected to buy the primary texts. If you are interested, you can also buy the additional suggested readings but this is not compulsory. 


1. Ian Talbot and Gurharpal Singh (eds.), The Partition of India, Cambridge University Press, 2009

2. Sugata Bose and Ayesha Jalal, Modern South Asia: history, culture, political economy, (2nd Edition), Routledge, 2004.


1. Yasmin Khan, The Great Partition: The Making of India and Pakistan, Yale University Press, 2007.

2. Ritu Menon and Kamla Bhasin, Borders and Boundaries: Women in India’s Partition, 1998.

3. Vazira Fazila-Yacoobali Zamindar, The Long Partition and the Making of Modern South Asia: Refugees, Boundaries, Histories, 2007.