Undergraduate

modules

Modules

HIS3326 : Women in Colonial South Asia: Tradition, Reform and Modernity

Semesters
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

Students who are interested in non-European history or in gender history will enjoy this module, which uses lectures, seminars and film screenings to discuss a very important aspect of Asian societies: gender discrimination. There is a strong tradition of gender discrimination in India with women often receiving poorer education, health care and being at the receiving end of different forms of violence. The Delhi rape case in 2012 has been in the news internationally but is unfortunately not an isolated occurrence. Indian women’s position has also been historically important for British rule in India.

Women were at the heart of debates about ‘traditional’ Indian society and efforts to reform and modernize it. British rule over south Asia was justified in terms of the low position of women in Indian society and the colonial state intervened through new laws to act as saviours of Indian womanhood. British Rule in India was known for the banning of Sati in the early nineteenth century. Sati was the practice of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands and was believed by missionaries to signify the low position of women in Indian society. Laws were passed by the British colonial government to prohibit Sati or widow-immolation and to prevent child-marriage. This course will examine the debates that this created regarding women in South Asian society. Upper-class and upper-caste male reformers debated with the British the grounds on which reform would proceed. Attempts by missionaries to use these issues to encourage conversion to Christianity and the colonial state’s intervention were perceived by the orthodox as an attack on Indian society.

This module will examine the issues that arose in these debates through an examination of themes such as widow-remarriage, women’s education, purdah (practices of veiling women) and and what it meant to be a good wife and mother. The course will discuss whether women’s participation in the anti-colonial nationalist movement was based on the understanding that women were the repositories of Indian ‘tradition’. It will ask what light women’s writing throws on their position in these debates and issues.

As this is a special subject, there will be extensive use of primary sources to reconstruct the viewpoints of different historical actors, including British colonial administrators, missionaries, South Asian male reformers, Hindu and Muslim women and British women.

The aims of the module are:
1) To understand how the position of women in India became a subject of both colonial and nationalist discourses and explore the role that gender can play in fashioning identities.
2) To provide an opportunity to acquire a sound general knowledge of the subject, reading widely and critically in the primary and secondary literature associated with it and to develop the capacity for independent study.
3) To provide an opportunity to investigate in some depth selected problems in South Asian history, including the appraisal of selected source material and the critical examination of current historiography.

Outline Of Syllabus

Week-by-week topics may differ from the following:

- Sati: Debates, Government Regulation and Reformist Discourses
- Widow-Remarriage and Social Reform
- Advice Literature for Women and Domesticity
- Women’s participation in the nationalist movement and the role of Gandhi
- Indian Women’s Education and Missionary efforts
- Women and Social Reform in Islam, North India
- Ideas of Conjugality and the Child-Marriage controversy
- Purdah: Veiling and segregation of women
- Indian Women’s Autobiographies

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion541:0054:001/3 of guided independent study
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading551:0055:001/3 of guided independent study
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching11:001:00Revision Session
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching13:003:00Film Screening
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching101:0010:00Seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching102:0020:00Seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops11:001:00Library Workshop
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery11:001:00Essay Surgery
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study551:0055:001/3 of guided independent study
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Seminars encourage independent study and promote improvements in oral communication, problem-solving skills and adaptability. Preparation for seminars will require students to undertake a programme of private reading, requiring good time management and personal responsibility for learning. Seminar preparation will require the student to read and analyse critically a wide range of literature.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M25Doc.commentary of 1,500 to 2,000 words (including footnotes but excluding bibliography)
Essay2A753,000 word essay (including footnotes but excluding bibliography)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Documentary commentary exercises test knowledge and understanding of the texts set for the module. The ability to compare and contrast related source texts on a common subject. The ability to expound and criticize a textual extract lucidly, succinctly and with relevance in a relatively brief space.

Work submitted during the delivery of the module forms a means of determining student progress.

Submitted work tests intended knowledge and skills outcomes, develops key skills in research, reading and writing.
This module can be made available to Erasmus students only with the agreement of the Head of Subject and of the Module Leader. This option must be discussed in person at the beginning of your exchange period. No restrictions apply to study-abroad, exchange and Loyola students.

This module can be made available to Erasmus students only with the agreement of the Head of Subject and of the Module Leader. This option must be discussed in person at the beginning of your exchange period. No restrictions apply to study-abroad, exchange and Loyola students.
All Erasmus students at Newcastle University are expected to do the same assessment as students registered for a degree.
Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending semester 1 only are required to finish their assessment while in Newcastle. This will take the form of an alternative assessment, as outlined in the formats below:

Modules assessed by Coursework and Exam:
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be one essay in addition to the other coursework assessment (the length of the essay should be adjusted in order to comply with the assessment tariff); to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Modules assessed by Exam only:
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be two 2,000 word written exercises; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Modules assessed by Coursework only:
All semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be expected to complete the standard assessment for the module; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending the whole academic year or semester 2 are required to complete the standard assessment as set out in the MOF under all circumstances.

Reading Lists

Timetable