History | Introduction to South Asian History
G200 | 28326 | Dodson

The region of South Asia today encompasses the countries of India,
Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka.
This course is intended to introduce students to some of the
principal historical themes and cultural features of this diverse
region from the neolithic era to the present day. Rather than making
any attempt at comprehensiveness, however, lectures will focus upon
some of the important problems and debates current in South Asian
history. Topics will include: the nature of ancient society and the
role of religion in daily life; the rise of Buddhism and Jainism;
the functioning of the ancient imperial state; cultural and
religious syncretism in the ancient world; the development of sacred
temple architecture; the 'invasion' of Turkic peoples into the
subcontinent from the eleventh century; Islam in South Asia; the
rise and decline of the Mughal empire; the development of Indo-
Islamic art and architecture; the advent of British colonial rule in
the eighteenth century; cultural and social change under British
rule; the rise of nationalism; renewed religious identities
and 'communal' violence; popular Western perceptions of South Asia;
and views of ancient India in modern Hindu fundamentalism