2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue
HIST2308 Life and Death in British India, 1690-1871
20 creditsClass Size: 28
Module manager: Dr Ria Kapoor
Taught: Semester 1 View Timetable
Year running 2019/20
This module is not approved as a discovery module
Module summaryWhat was life like for Britons living in India under the Raj? The subcontinent represented a site both of financial, social and sexual opportunity, and of physical and 'moral' peril for eighteenth and nineteenth century Britons. Large fortunes, military reputations and political careers could all be made there, but only if you survived the long sea voyage, enervating climate and deadly tropical diseases of the subcontinent. Beginning with the founding of the colonial capital, Calcutta (Kolkata) in 1690, and ending with the inauguration of the period of 'high imperialism' epitomised by the accession of Queen Victoria to the title of Empress in India in 1871, this module explores the emergence, development and functioning of British colonial society in India during the period of imperial expansion and consolidation. It places a particular focus on Britons' everyday encounters with India, and the physical experience of empire - places and spaces, social and sexual intimacies, climate, environment, disease and death - using these issues to investigate how ideas about 'race, place and bodily difference' played out in British India. Drawing heavily on colonial accounts, memoirs, travel narratives and other primary sources, it will analyse both official policy and public perception in order to assess the various ways in which social, ideological and political imperatives of empire were reflected in the spatial ordering, physical experience and personal performances of identity in a colonial setting.
ObjectivesThe objectives of this module are:
1. To explore the nature and functioning of British colonial society in India through a focus on the physical experiences of empire.
2. To examine how Britons in India experienced, understood and represented physical and metaphorical spaces, social relationships and sexual intimacies, climactic and environmental conditions, and illness and death in the colonial context.
3. To understand how attitudes to these issues intersected with wider debates about race, gender, empire and identity.
On completion of this module, students will demonstrate:
1. An understanding of the physical challenges and experiences of empire in India, and the ways in which colonial society was structured to deal with them.
2. A nuanced appreciation of British experiences of and attitudes to India, especially as they relate to wider issues of race, gender and identity in colonial society.
3. A close critical familiarity with some key primary texts relating to these issues.
4. A sophisticated knowledge of the relevant historiography, including the most recent developments in the field.
- in-depth study and interpretation of primary sources
- thorough understanding of historiographical debate
- development and substantiation of own arguments
- historical comparison
1 - Introduction: India and the British Imagination
2 - Sojourners not Settlers: Colonial Society in British India, 1757-1947
3 - 'In the Style of an Asiatic Prince': Encounters on the Colonial Frontier
4 - 'White Town': Sahibs, Memsahibs and the Development of Colonial Society
5 - Wilderness, Wildlife and Weather: Encountering the Indian Environment
6 - A Time of Cholera: Epidemic Diseases and Mortality in British India
7 - No seminar. Lecture replaced with a short film screening and discussion and/or essay clinic.
8 - Dangerous Liaisons: Soldiers, Sex Workers and the Colonial State
9 - Under Siege: Conflict, Captivity and Violence
10 - Conclusion - High Imperialism, Decolonisation, and Raj Nostalgia. No seminar.
11 - Summing up, exam discussion, revision
|Delivery type||Number||Length hours||Student hours|
|Private study hours||180.00|
|Total Contact hours||20.00|
|Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)||200.00|
Private studyPreparatory reading for lectures and seminars
Opportunities for Formative FeedbackPreparation for and participation in seminars, submission of 10% element, performance in the essay and exam.
Methods of assessment
|Assessment type||Notes||% of formal assessment|
|Essay||1 x 2,000-word essay, due by 12 noon Monday of teaching week 8||40.00|
|Presentation||Verbal presentation with accompanying handouts and script||10.00|
|Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)||50.00|
Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated
|Exam type||Exam duration||% of formal assessment|
|Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)||2 hr 00 mins||50.00|
|Total percentage (Assessment Exams)||50.00|
Reading listThe reading list is available from the Library website
Last updated: 19/09/2019
Browse Other Catalogues
- Undergraduate module catalogue
- Taught Postgraduate module catalogue
- Undergraduate programme catalogue
- Taught Postgraduate programme catalogue
Errors, omissions, failed links etc should be notified to the Catalogue Team.PROD