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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 (Flash Video 124.7MB Mar27 09): 32:49 min

Class Video



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Chapter 1: Teaching Complex Ideas (Flash Video 15.5MB Mar27 09) (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 (Flash Video 12.6MB Mar27 09) (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 (Flash Video 14.5MB Mar27 09) (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 (Flash Video 15.4MB Mar30 09) (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 (Flash Video 19.6MB Mar30 09) (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 (Flash Video 11.9MB Mar30 09) (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 (Flash Video 7.9MB Apr1 09) (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 (Flash Video 8.5MB Apr1 09) (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 (Flash Video 6.7MB Mar30 09) (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 (Flash Video 7.4MB Mar30 09) (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.