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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HIST2305 Mughals, Merchants and Mercenaries: 'Company Raj' in India 1600-1857

20 creditsClass Size: 28

Module manager: Professor Andrea Major

Taught: Semester 1 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

In 1600 the East India Company was granted a royal charter to trade with the countries of the eastern hemisphere. In 1858, in the wake of the bloody Indian Uprising of 1857, it handed control of a subcontinent to the British crown. This course explores how a trading company was able to gain direct control of three fifths of the Indian subcontinent and indirect influence over the remainder. It will introduce students to pre-colonial Indian society and the Mughal Empire, before going on to look at the causes of the fragmentation and regionalisation in existing political authority that allowed the East India Company first to trade with and then to expand its administrative and political control over India. It will explore the nature and functioning of the early colonial state in India, shifting colonial ideologies and the processes by which British traders and administrators sought to understand, represent, control and reshape their new Indian possessions.Students will be encouraged to explore both British and Indian experiences of colonialism in this period and to apply subaltern and postcolonial theoretical perspectives to the study of India's pre-colonial and early colonial history.


On completion of this module, students should be able to:
- demonstrate a detailed understanding of pre-colonial Indian society, including its people, institutions and politics;
- analyse principal events, causes and consequences of the decline of Mughal power in India and the rise of British colonial rule;
- assess the nature of colonial rule in India and its impact on Indian society;
- explain changing colonial ideologies, the place of India in the emerging British Empire and the impact of colonialism in Indian and Britain;
- analyse British attitudes to and representations of Indian society and appreciate the theoretical and methodological issues related to using colonial sources.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students will be able to show:
- a detailed knowledge of the history of Mughal decline and British expansion in India for the period 1600-1857;
- the ability to apply subalternist and postcolonial theoretical and methodological perspectives to the study of early colonial Indian history;
- the ability to analyse and interpret evidence;
- the ability to analyse and critique historiography;
- the ability to use appropriately written, visual, and electronic resources;
- the ability to present well-supported historical arguments.


The following topics will be covered
1. The nature of pre-colonial Indian society and the Mughal state.
2. The causes of Mughal decline and East India Company expansion in India.
3. The nature of early Company rule and the problems of understanding, controlling and representing India.
4. The impact of changing imperial ideologies, evangelicalism and the 'civilising mission'
5. The causes and meanings of the Indian Uprising of 1857

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours178.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Private study consists primarily in directed reading as set out in the module handbook. Students undertake this reading in order to:

1. prepare for each seminar
2. research their essay
3. equip themselves for answering the exam questions.

Private study also includes the writing of VLE Blackboard pieces in advance of five classes, the planning and writing of the assessed essay, revision for the exam and self-directed reading around the topic.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students will be monitored throughout the course on class participation. They will have the opportunity to produce an unassessed blog post if they wish, in order to receive formative feedback on the content and format.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1x3000 word essay, title to be developed in collaboration with tutor, due 12 noon Monday exam week 160.00
Assignment3x blog posts of 500-1000 words each, due in weeks 5, 8 and 11 as directed by tutor40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/04/2019


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