|Course Type||Course Code||No. Of Credits|
Semester and Year Offered: Ist Semester; 1st Year
Course Coordinator and Team:Dr Budhaditya Das
Email of course coordinator: budhaditya[at]aud[dot]ac[dot]in
The course is an introductory course on the discipline of environmental history, with a particular focus on South Asia.The course will encourage students to build a historical understanding of contemporary environmental concerns and acquaint them with intellectual genealogies of ideas like prudence, conservation and wilderness.It aims to critically examine the ways in which colonialism and capitalism transformed human-environment interactions in the Global South since the sixteenth century. The course will attempt to highlight linkages between the discipline of environmental history and the traditions of environmentalism in postcolonial India.
On the successful of completion of this course, students will be able to:
Brief Description of Modules:
Module 1: Introduction to Historical Thinking
This module will familiarise students with the diverse responses to the question ‘What is History?’
Module 2: Environments and Histories
The module will introduce the key questions that inform the discipline of environmental history.
Module 3: Human Societies in Early South Asian Environments
This module will focus on human-environment interactions in early South Asia and examine resource use and ideas of nature in the pre-Mauryan and Mauryan empires.
Module 4: Politics and Resource Use in Pre-Colonial India
The module will introduce students to early theoretical frameworks that gained popularity in the study of environmental history of India.
Module 5: Colonialism I: Contact, Commerce and Empire
The module will examine ecological transformations wrought by traders, explorers, imperial armies and settlers in the early phase of mercantile capitalism, with specific reference to the Columbian Exchange.
Module 6: Colonialism II: Ideology, Property and Law
The module will discuss categories of thought and ideologies of nature that informed the policies and rule of the colonial state in South Asia.
Module 7: Forests and Shifting Frontiers
The module will examine the colonial demands for timber, nontimber forest produce and revenues, and the institutions and legislations that transformed forest landscapes in South Asia.
Module 8: State, Pastures and Pastoralists
The module will consider the transformations within long-distance nomadism, alpine and semi-arid pastoral ecosystems in the Indian subcontinent in the colonial period.
Module 9: Landscapes and Wildlife Conservation in the Raj
The module will discuss the continuities in imperial attitudes towards wild fauna between the Mughal and British rulers, through the linkages between shikar, sovereignty and masculinity.
Module 10: Canals, Irrigation and Environmental Change
The module will introduce students to colonial hydrology and the political project of building dams, canals and irrigation networks in important river basins in north and northwest India.
Module 11: Colonial Governance of Floods and Floodplains
The module will continue the discussion of the earlier module by focusing on colonial practices of flood control and management, and examine the limitations of hydraulic interventions and colonial attempts to control society and nature.
Module 12: Nationalism, Nature and Development
The final module of the course will introduce students to the linkages between conceptualisations of nature and the ideologies of nationalism in the late colonial period.
Assessment Details with Weights:
Short Memos: 35%
Take-home essay: 30%
End-semester exam: 35%
Indicative Reading List: