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History 161: History of Modern India

Faculty Member: Parna Sengupta
Class Description:
A survey of the modern history of the Indian sub-continent from the establishment of the Mughal Court in North India (1525 AD) to the present including the Indian Ocean trade, the Southern independent kingdoms, British colonial rule, nationalism and post-colonial South Asia. Students will be asked to consider the differences between the early modern, colonial, and national states and empires on the subcontinent.


Watch/Download Full Video (MP4 Video 281.7MB Jul28 17): 32:49 min

Class Video



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Chapter 1: Teaching Complex Ideas (MP4 Video 34.1MB Jul28 17) (4:03 min)
Parna talks about using specific, concrete examples, particularly visual ones, to teach about major concepts in colonialism in particular and the history of ideas in general.

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Chapter 2: Teaching Against the Grain of Student Assumptions (MP4 Video 29.4MB Jul28 17) (3:20 min)
Parna discusses the difficulties of teaching colonialism to students who regard themselves as "anti-colonial" and whose assumptions about politics may not prepare them for the dissonances of the course material.

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Chapter 3: Importance of Intellectual History (MP4 Video 8.3MB Jul31 17) (3:48 min)
Parna talks about student resistance to reading "old, white" thinkers and the need to help them read primary sources in the context of an intellectual tradition.

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Chapter 4: Unpacking the Reading (MP4 Video 8.6MB Jul31 17) (4:02 min)
Parna articulates her strategies for helping students engage large ideas in the reading.

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Chapter 5: Thinking Like a Historian (MP4 Video 11.6MB Jul31 17) (5:11 min)
Parna discusses how she poses questions to encourage her students to think like a historian and how she has embraced a more open structure to her classes to allow for this.

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Chapter 6: Reading Text Aloud in Class (MP4 Video 26.5MB Jul28 17) (3:08 min)
Parna evaluates her strategy of having students read aloud in class, including both its benefits and its limitations.

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Chapter 7: Moodle (MP4 Video 4.7MB Jul31 17) (2:05 min)
Parna talks specifics about how she uses the course management system, Moodle, to deepen the engagement of all students in the reading and discussion.

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Chapter 8: The Vasco d' Gamma Moment (MP4 Video 17MB Jul28 17) (2:16 min)
Parna shares her pleasure in seeing her students utilizing the ideological concepts of the course in new contexts.

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Chapter 9: Shifting Aims in Teaching (MP4 Video 15MB Jul28 17) (1:50 min)
Parna discusses her changing attitude about trans-historical connections that students make and her own changing goals in teaching history.

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Chapter 10: Watching Oneself Teaching (MP4 Video 5MB Jul31 17) (1:59 min)
Parna reflects on how she has changed over time and how watching the class video helped her to see how students react to different aspects of her teaching.