Course Description

South Asian History

HISA 1501

Introductory Seminar in South Asian History

"The City in South Asia"
Fall 2015

To be taught by Nabaparna Ghosh, who will be joining us in the fall.  Her e-mail address is:  Please contact her directly with any questions.

What does the 'city' mean in South Asia? This course will explore the history of South Asian cities and their contexts -precolonial, colonial, national, and postcolonial. We will start with the spectacular gardens, courts, and monuments of Mughal cities: Shahjahanabad (Old Delhi), Hyderabad,and Murshidabad. We will then examine the fortified settlements of colonial cities: Bombay, Lahore, Calcutta, and Dhaka.Following from this, we will look into the very different cultural forms and practices that postcolonial megacities, Bangalore and Gurgaon, embody. 

What do the shifting spaces of cities tell us about history? How have religion, gender, and caste mapped onto urban space? How have city dwellers used urban space to shape new identities?

Along with textbooks we will use fictions, memoirs, and films to reveal the hidden stories of cities.

Requirements: No examination. Class participation (40%), Two short papers (30%), Final research paper (30%)

Sample Readings:

  • Wayne E. Begley, "The Garden of the Taj Mahal"
  • Gyan Prakash, Mumbai Fables
  • Vinay Lal, Modern Indian City

Corcoran Department of History
University of Virginia
Nau Hall - South Lawn
Charlottesville, VA 22904


(434) 924-7147
(434) 924-7891
M-F 8am to 4:30pm
Department Contacts