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2017/18 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

HIST5846M Contesting Patriarchy: Debating Gender Justice in Colonial and Post-Colonial India.

30 creditsClass Size: 10

Module manager: Dr Andrea Major

Taught: Semester 2 View Timetable

Year running 2017/18

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This course explores campaigns for gender justice in India from the early nineteenth century to the present, with a particular focus on the relationship between gender issues, imperialism, nationalism, and feminist activism in colonial and post-colonial contexts. It analyses both the symbolic roles that Indian women played in British colonial and Indian nationalist discourses, as well as their active participation in various movements, organisations and campaigns. In doing so it will place women's diverse experiences of the struggle to reform their status in the context of the wider social and political developments of the time. By the end of the course students should have both a firm empirical knowledge of gender issues in colonial and post-colonial India and a wider theoretical understanding of the issues surrounding ideas of feminism and gender justice in India.


On completion of this module, students should be able to:
- Demonstrate an understanding of key factors that influenced government policy, social expectation and lived experiences for women in colonial and post-colonial India.
- Critically assess the evolution of the Indian women's movement in India from 1820s to the present.
- Analyse the significance of the colonial, nationalist and post-colonial contexts on shaping debates about gender justice in India.
- Critically evaluate the scholarship on gender issues in colonial and post-colonial India
- Develop and support an argument through use of primary & secondary sources

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students will have developed the following skills
- ability to communicate complex ideas through oral & written communication
- independent research & study skills
- ability to locate, handle and synthesize complex information
- ability to employ analytical, problem-solving abilities


Topics covered will include:
- Theoretical approaches - orientalism, gender history and post-colonial feminism.
- Early nineteenth century precedents - colonial debates about sati, female infanticide, widow remarriage, women's education and domestic slavery.
- The emergence of feminism - Ramabhai, Rukhmabhai and Tarabhai Shinde, Women's India Association and All India Women's Congress.
- The Age of Consent and Child Marriage debates, 1891 and 1927.
- Women and Indian Nationalism, 1885-1947.
- The post-colonial Indian women's movement.
- Key campaigns against gender injustice - rape, domestic violence, dowry, sex-selective abortion etc.
- Women and Hindu Nationalism

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours278.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Students will prepare for each seminar by reading texts and primary sources as specified by the Module Leader. They will also be expected to undertake further, self-directed reading for each class, and to locate suitable source materials for discussion in seminars. They will be asked to prepare and deliver oral presentation and to participate in an end of module workshop.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Contributions to class discussions
- Feedback on written work
- Individual tutorials with the module leader.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1x 4,000 word essay due 12 noon Monday of Exam Week 270.00
Presentation10-15 minute verbal presentation to take place between weeks 3 and 910.00
Presentation15-20 minute presentation of workshop paper (1500 word equivalent) to take place in week 1020.00
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: 20/04/2017


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