History 4963 - Southern Asia

Room: NBW 102
TTh, 2:00-3:15 p.m.
Section 2685

Instructor: Doug Catterall
Office: Burch Hall 202D
Office Hours: T, W 11-12a.m.,1-2 4-6 p.m.,Th 11-12 p.m., 1-2p.m.
work telephone: 581-2949
home telephone: 536-7950
e-mail: dougc@cameron.edu

Sebastian Munster's Map of Asia, 1550s-60s
© State Library of Queensland, Australia


The map above shows how well established European fascination with the cultures and peoples of the Indian Ocean was by the sixteenth century. The story of European exploration, exploitation, and, ultimately, colonial domination of the Indian Ocean region is now well known. Rather than revisiting that history, though, this course aims to look at the cultures and societies of the Indian Ocean region from the perspective of the people who lived in them. Although focusing on particular regions –chiefly Persia /modern-day Iran, India, and Indonesia-- we will approach the Indian Ocean as a cultural, social, and political realm whose various regions were closely interconnected, an approach that we will realize through studying events unfolding between 1500-1950 from the perspective social networks. This world may seem distant from us, in time and space. It is in fact very much with us, though, as a glance at current conflicts between India and Pakistan as well as unrest in Indonesia and the shape of Iranian society show all too well. So I'm glad that each of you has booked a place in what promises to be a very interesting journey.

Our method in the course will be to look at the Indian Ocean region in three different ways. First we will consider the foundations of the Indian Ocean world from 1500 to 1750, a period in which Europeans were present in the Indian Ocean zone, but did not dominate it. While we will take into account the state and politics, our main emphasis will be on material culture and the social structures supporting it. In other words, we will be looking more at everyday life. Having seen how the Indian Ocean region worked between 1500 and 1750, we will then look at that same period from the standpoint of two cultures: Safavid Iran and Mughal India. Our emphasis in this second major unit in the course will be on perceptions. What did different members of these societies make of one another and what did they make of Europeans and Europeans of them? Having focused on the Indian Ocean world before Europeans were dominant there, we will spend the remainder of our time in the course on colonialism's various manifestations in the Indian Ocean region. My hope is, of course, that you will gain a greater understanding of the history of the world of the Indian Ocean. At the same time, I also want you to see this course as a vehicle for learning more about the world in which we currently live. As I place a particular emphasis both on written and oral expression, it is also my hope that you will each improve your abilities in these areas as well.

Specific Objectives of the Course:

Contextual Knowledge:
In this course you will improve your knowledge of the events, historical actors, and transformative trends active in the cultures and societies of the Indian Ocean from between 1500 and 1900. In particular we will focus on the economic, cultural, and social structures that bound the societies of the Indian Ocean together with an emphasis on material culture and everyday life. In addition, you will also gain an understanding of how people "native" to the Indian Ocean zone perceived one another and how perceptions governed interactions between folk from the Indian Ocean zone and Europeans. Finally, the course will give you a deeper understanding of colonialism as it unfolded in the Indian Ocean world. You will gain information on these topics by reading, evaluating, discussing, and writing about the books and in-class readings assigned for the course.

Historical Thinking:
Since this is a seminar in which our main goal will be to understand how different historians have tried to understand complex historical phenomena, you will improve your ability to evaluate conflicting interpretations of past events and issues. You will do this in two ways: 1) by contributing to discussions in class, which is a major component of the course grade, and 2) by writing the reaction papers and working papers that form the writing component of the course.

Historical Research Skills:
In this course you will write both primary- and secondary-source based reaction papers. Thus, you will gain greater familiarity with how to deal with primary and secondary sources. In addition, we will discuss how historians have tried to relate their work to that of other historians (historiography); how they have used sources to explore the past (methodology); and how historians deal with the complex task of defining change, continuity, and the causes behind each. Thus, you will gain experience in and also think critically about how to conduct, organize, and present research by examining and dicussing how others have done these things and by doing them yourselves. You will also gain a knowledge of the terms and categories that historians use when they practice their craft.

A Seminar Environment:

I run my upper division courses as seminars for the most part. This means that the focus of much of our classroom activities will not be me standing before you and lecturing. Instead we will spend our time discussing the issues raised in the books and readings that are assigned for the course (see below for these). In order for a seminar to work we need the following things: 1) consistent participation from all members of the class in the dicussions and other activities 2) openness or the freedom that allows each individual to say what is on his or her mind 3) respect for boundaries, which means not saying things in a way that might be unacceptable to members of the class or unacceptable in a more general sense. If we strive towards these three ideals, I guarantee you that this class will be exciting, fun, and even exhilarating!!!


Course work consists of four elements: participation in discussions, informal
writings (called working papers), formal writings, and an essay-based final


a. Preparation: In order to understand the background presentations that I will
give and participate in class discussions and other activities you will need
to do the assigned readings. Please budget time to complete readings for
the date in which they appear in the assignment and reading schedule.
The readings are in two forms, which are listed below.

Secondary Works:

Colonialism and the Modern World: Selected Studies, edited by Gregory Blue, Martin Bunton, and Ralph Crozier (Armonk, NY and London: M.E. Sharpe, 2002).

K.N. Chaudhuri, Asia before Europe: Economy and Civilization of the Indian Ocean form the Rise of Islam to 1750 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990).

Iran and the Surrounding World: Interactions in Culture and Cultural Politics, edited by Nikki R. Keddie and Rudi Matthee (Seattle and London: University of Washington, 2002).

John F. Richards, The Mughal Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993).

Primary Sources:
All primary sources will be supplied by me. When I deem it helpful, I will supplement our secondary-source readings with short source readings. You will be notified in a timely fashion if these need to obtained outside of class. In addition, you will also be given a selection from a major ethnographic source on which you will base your second paper.
All of the above readings will be required for the course. The secondary-source materials are available at the CU Bookstore, although I do not require that you buy them there.

b. Discussion: This may seem like a small thing and something unrelated to the real stuff (passing the exams and hammering out the papers). As this is an upper division course run largely as a seminar, however,
I want to stress that participation in discussion will count heavily (10%) in your grade and that active participation often improves performance in the pressure situations. I will gauge participation on a daily basis with a check, check-plus, check-minus system.

c. Informal Writings: There is no single textbook for this course. Indeed, there are really no textbooks yet written for this field. Therefore, for each of the major books we read I will assign at least one short writing
exercise or working paper to help focus your reading of the books and to prepare you for our discussions. For some papers I will be asking you to write up a brief analysis of the main point of a section or sections of the reading in question. In other words, I won't want just a summary, but an actual discussion of what's going on in the piece. Other papers may require something slightly different. The emphasis will vary from paper to paper. Informal writings will also be graded with a check, check-plus, check-minus system and include comments. I will provide a sample of the sort of thing for which I'm hoping before the first assignment. These informal writings
will be worth 10% of the total mark, so please take them seriously.

d. Credit for Participation: Informal writing(s) and class discussion and the reading quiz will be worth 20% of the final grade. You can receive up to ten points for each day that you show up to class for a total of 290 and approximately 48 points for each working paper for a total of another 290 points. An A in participation requires a minimum of 468 points, a B 416, a C 364, and a D a minimum of 312 points.

Reaction Papers:

You will have to three focused essays/reaction papers in this course. Each paper will account for 20% of your total grade, but with particular attention paid to the degree to which people improve over course of the term. Due dates for the papers are listed below. General guidelines will be found by clicking on the hypertext in this sentence. Specific guidelines for the papers will be provided in this syllabus in a timely manner. To find them look for the due dates below in the course assignment and reading schedule where you will find the paper title in hypertext; by clicking this hypertext you will arrive at the specific instructions for the paper. Guidelines for the grading standards that apply to written work done for this class may be found by clicking on the hypertext in this sentence.

Final Examination: 20%, cumulative and essay-based.


Standard Guidelines for Academic Work:

Late Papers:
The following policy applies to all late papers for this course that will receivea letter grade. All papers submitted at any time on the day that the paper is due will be considered on time. Papers submitted after that date, no matter what the reason may be, will be automatically marked down one grade. You will then have ten days from the original due date to turn in the paper, during which time no further penalty for lateness will be incurred. If in that time you are unable to complete the work, the paper will receive a zero.

Late Informal Writings:
No late working papers (i.e. informal writings) will be accepted, so don't ask. Remember, though, that your participation grade is a composite of your performance in class and your performance on informal writings. Thus, as long as you achieve the number of participation points corresponding to the mark you desire, you'll be fine.

Missed Examinations: As noted above, there is a final examination for this course. Makeup's for the final examination will be allowed only under extraordinary circumstances and the nature of any make-up final given will be determined at my discretion.

Plagiarism: Plagiarism is the representation of the work of another as your own. In all of the writing you do for this course you must make clear to me which ideas in a paper are your own and which come from someone else.
This is especially important for any formal essays you write. In these such essays you must cite all primary and secondary sources you use in accordance with the proper conventions. I will provide a sheet explaining the basics of citation before any formal essays come due. If for some reason you do not receive a copy of this hand-out, do not assume you will be exempt from following its guidelines as it will be available on the online syllabus. In cases of plagiarism, the Department of History and Government at CU follows the plagiarism policy in the 2002-2003 "Student Handbook," as described in the CU Code of Student Conduct on on pp. 124-141. Please heed this warning as I am quite serious about it.

Reference Desk:

Here is an on-line encyclopedia that you may find useful for this course.

I once had more on-line reference tools, but sadly they have become
restricted to subscription customers only. On the bright side, the CU
Library has a number of sources available through EBSCO and I strongly
encourage you to use them. Please see me if you require an orientation
as to how to access these resources. For the Columbia Encyclopedia click on the hypertext below:


Please Note: Information on the above site is copyright protected.

Schedule of Readings, Weekly Topics, Assignments and Activities

(8.20) Introduction and Course Overview
The Cultural Geography and Physical Space of the Indian Ocean Zone
(8.22) Cultural Identities/Identities of Cultures: Asia before Europe,42-70.

(8.27) An Overview of State, Society, and Economy: Asia before Europe, 71-91.

(8.29) Perceptions of Space and History: Asia before Europe, 112-148.

(9.3) Perceptions of Time and History: Asia before Europe, 92-111.

Foodways, Clothing and Housing in the Indian Ocean Region
(9.5) What is material culture?: Asia before Europe, 151-161 plus additional assigned reading.
Turn In: Working Paper #1
(9.10) Foodways: Asia before Europe, 161-181.

(9.12) Clothing and Housing: Asia before Europe, 182-217.

The Rural World in Indian Ocean Cultures
(9.17) Agriculture: Asia before Europe, 218-262.
(9.19) Animals and People, Asia before Europe, 263-296.
Manufacturing and Urbanization in the Indian Ocean World
(9.24) Manufacturing: Asia before Europe, 297-337.
Turn In: Working Paper #2

(9.26) Urbanization: Asia before Europe, 338-374.

Ethnography #1: Mughal India
(10.1) Founding of the Mughal Empire: The Mughal Empire, 1-57.
(10.3) Akbar's System of Government: The Mughal Empire, 58-93.

(10.8) Jahangir and Shah Jahan: The Mughal Empire, 94-150.

(10.10) The Succession to Shah Jahan: The Mughal Empire, 151-164.

Turn In: Working Paper #3
Turn In: Paper #1
(10.15) Aurangzeb's Reign: The Mughal Empire, 165-252.

(10.22) Collapse of the Independent Empire: The Mughal Empire, 253-297.

Ethnography #2: Safavid Iran
(10.24) Politics in the Safavid State: Iran and the Surrounding World, 89-120.
(10.29) Safavid Policy Towards Nomadic Groups: Iran and the Surrounding World, 61-86.

(10.31) Safavid Impact on India, : Iran and the Surrounding World, 15-35, 121-145.

Colonialism in the Indian Ocean World, c. 1750-1950.
(11.5) Different Approaches to Colonialism: Colonialism and the Modern World, 25-68.
Turn In: Working Paper #4 (MAY BE TURNED IN AS LATE AS 11.14)
(11.7) The Eighteenth-Century Transition in India and Iran: Iran and the Surrounding World, 121-145 and Colonialism and the Modern World, 71-99.

(11.12) Elites in the Colonial Era: Iran and the Surrounding World, 146-161 and Colonialism and the Modern World, 167-181.

(11.14) Science and Empire: Colonialism and the Modern World, 219-233, 246-261.

Turn In: Paper #2
(11.19) Domesticity and Empire: Iran and the Surrounding World, 182-202 and Colonialism and the Modern World, 182-199.
Turn In: Working Paper #5
(11.21) Concepts of Land in the Colonial Era: Colonialism and the Modern World, 100-119 plus additional reading.

(11.26) Nationalism and Decolonization: Iran and the Surrounding World, 161-181 and Colonialism and the Modern World, 200-216, 265-281.

Turn In: Working Paper #6: FORGIVEN!!!
(12.3) The Indian Ocean World in the Present, the Case of Iran: Iran and the Surrounding World, 205-231, 281-304, 327-374.

(12.5) Wrap-Up and Review.

(12.10) Sit Final Examination, 1-3 p.m. Good Luck!!!

Turn In: Paper #3