Overview

The Master’s program in History will train students to engage with regional, national and global histories through multiple frames and perspectives. It offers research-based and innovative courses that deal with multidisciplinary approaches of social history, medical history, development studies, gender studies, caste studies, and contemporary history. The focus of the program is to develop intellectual breadth and deepen the analytical skills of the students. The program would equip students with the necessary skills of critical analysis to comprehensively understand the subject. 

 

COURSEWORK

Students enter MCH in one of the three streams for a Master of Arts degree: English, Sociology, or History. The first year at MCH is considered a foundation year. All students will take the same four courses each semester irrespective of their selected stream.  

In the third semester (second year of the MA program), students have three subjects in their core subject. The fourth and final semester has only two core subjects as each student works towards a final MA thesis of 20,000 words for 12 credits.

In the third semester, MA students will also be given an additional grade (6 credits) for their Academic Portfolio which includes participation in, and help with, MCH academic and cultural events during the two years of the program. These events are an important component of the holistic learning experience at MCH.

 

THESIS

MCH strongly encourages the development of research skills and temperament in a young scholar. At the heart of the MA program is a student’s work towards their thesis, a substantial and original project of academic research and writing.

Working closely with faculty expertise, students are taught to find a subject area that they are strongly drawn to. They are then expected to read relevant scholarship on the area, as well as apply the scholarship — the area of application may be literary or philosophical texts, field sites, archives, film, creative writing, etc. The thesis is an integral part of MCH education and students will be supported in thinking of the thesis project as early in the program as possible, if they have demonstrated strong academic capacity and motivation. Many MCH thesis have gone on to be published as monographs, in academic presses, in public media, as well as fiction, non-fiction and so on.

The Student Handbook provided on Orientation Day will contain further details about academic and extra-curricular activities at the Centre. All rules and guidelines specified in the handbook will apply. 

MCH students who opt to join the PhD program are exempted from doing PhD coursework.

 

Duration

2 years

Key Dates & Deadlines

15

15

Mar ' 23

Last date to Apply

'

Tentative Course Commencement Date

MA Courses Offered during Academic Year 2021-2022

Note: These courses are selected from a list of titles approved by the Board of Studies, MCH, MAHE. The titles offered each year depend on faculty availability and expertise, and are subject to change. 


    Drawing on various disciplinary perspectives, namely sociology, philosophy, political science and history, the course introduces the students to concepts, theories and empirical evidences addressing the question: what is specific to social—in parallel to economic or political—condition of living? The course also explores critiques of Eurocentric understanding of ‘social’ and ‘society’ those have emerged from global South and Latin America. In the process, it examines dynamics of societies with very different developmental trajectories under ‘aegis’ of colonial modernity. 

    This course explores how identities of ethnicity, caste, religion, sex, etc. thematise themselves within a quest for equal citizenship. Within the certitudes of modern Western political theory, these markers of identity were supposed to remain confined to the ‘private’. For particular identities to feature in transactions between the state and the citizen would be seen as the remnants of a different time. But who had access to the status of the ‘universal’? Did not the rights-bearing citizen have a pre-given identity—‘white, male, middle class’? If the universals were masked particulars, then the particulars had to come up with a critique of the so-called universals. As M. S. S. Pandian wrote, ‘one step outside modernity’ was to be ‘one step ahead of modernity’. We study the politics of identity through a focus on caste in modern India. We combine a study of the original writings of Phule, Periyar and Ambedkar with secondary literature on the subject. With Sumit Sarkar and Nancy Fraser, we complicate our understanding of a politics of recognition by comparing it with a politics of redistribution—in the process, cross-examining the binary.

    This course introduces students to the historical evolution of the language of cinema, its material pre-conditions, and ideological moorings. The course uses select canonical texts and cutting edge scholarship to combine a historical overview with methodological finesse. The students will be exposed to an array of film genres, and a range of methodologies for studying films, such as formal, phenomenological, and ethnographic methods, and the myriad possibilities within these. The course aims to equip students with a theoretical understanding of film as a medium and a cultural artefact, the implications of the film form, and its potentialities for analysis of culture in general.  

    The course introduces and discusses various philosophical approaches/ methods to research in Humanities and Social Sciences. By taking the philosophical method of hermeneutics, phenomenology, Frankfurt school, and deconstructive reading, the course is divided into four modules—the hermeneutical method, the phenomenological method, critical method, and deconstructive method. To introduce students to research methods in human and social sciences, the course will explicate the application of theory to practice by taking the philosophical approaches of these various methods and applying them to textual interpretation and by employing philosophical phenomenology and critical method to the understanding of social phenomena. Sample Texts: Hans-Georg Gadamer (1960), Truth and Method, trans Joel Weinsheimer and Donald Marshall. London and New York: Continuum, (reprint) 2006;  Clark Moustakas: Phenomenological Research Methods. California: Sage Publications, 1994.

    Given the rich and diverse intellectual climate in India, it is important to locate the discipline of Sociology within the Indian context. Drawing from the works of eminent scholars this course will adopt a sociological lens to analyze Indian society. In particular, the course will engage in discussion on caste, family and relationship structures, and law to understand how these social institutions are crucial for the development of Indian society. Various forms of online material will be used to explain the core concepts of this course. In this course, students will be introduced to a range of data collection and fieldwork methods, such as ethnography, online interviews, in-depth and face-to-face interviews. Additionally, in this course, students will also be taught how to do a close reading of a text, write reflection papers as well as analyze the intersections between caste, class, ethnicity, and gender in contemporary Indian society. Some of the main texts of this course are as follows: M.N. Srinivas, (1976). The remembered village; Patricia Uberoi, (2009). Freedom and Destiny: Gender, Family, and Popular Culture in India; Pratiksha Baxi (2010). Justice is a secret: Compromise in rape trials, Contributions to Indian Sociology.

    Both Time and Narrative being broad constructs that are likely to travel in multiple directions, this course has been designed with a specific focus: Literary Modernism. Modernism as an aesthetic movement is as remarkable for its global resonances as for its various avatars, whether high-modern, inter-modern, post-modern (or even anti-modern for that matter). Decisively shaped by the two world wars, these interests in embracing or questioning the notion of ‘make it new’ (Ezra Pound’s words that became emblematic of this artistic turn) have sustained across different historical-cultural contexts. More importantly, they have had a significant impact on how we, as a contemporary audience, think about the relationship between text and context. This course encourages a critical engagement with three specific facets: the narrative question–how form/style/genre interplay with content/story; the time question–how experienced and perceived time gets differentiated from clock time; the brow question–how aesthetic hierarchies have influenced modernism. 

    This course is an introduction to the ethical thinking of the twentieth-century continental philosophy—Emmanuel Levinas, Jacques Derrida, and Feminist theory. Their ethical ideas can be situated within the ethical turn of the 20th-century continental philosophy, which offers a relook at the existential problem of human relationships in the texts of philosophy. The focus of the course will be on the ethics of care, the ethics ‘towards-the-other’, and the idea of radical hospitality and responsibility ‘towards-the-other’ in Levinas and Derrida. The problem of human relationships between the ‘other’ and the ‘I’ and the question of who is the ‘other’ will be examined in this course through the works of Levinas and Derrida. Sample Texts: 

    Emmanuel Levinas, (1961) Totality and Infinity: An Essay on Exteriority. Translated by Alphonso Lingis. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff publishers, 1979; Jacques Derrida, (1997) Of Hospitality. Translated by Rachel Bowlby. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000.

    The course focuses on a long stretch that begins with history of early medieval India and covers important events up to the arrival of British colonialism. It would try to look into important events that significantly affected and shaped the history of India. The course commences with the discussion on feudalism, and would eventually cover important events comprising history of Delhi Sultanate, Bhakti and Sufi movements, Mughal Empire, South India, and arrival of western colonial powers in India. This period is dominated by remarkable political churnings and mighty empires that changed the contours of politics and society forever. The history of precolonial India is significant because it has played very important role in largely shaping culture, traditions and the ethos of the contemporary society.

    Although the focus of the course is to largely discuss political history of the period, it would also try to analyze religious, economic and wider societal changes. 

    ‘Gender and Empire’ is a course that seeks to historicise the role of gender in the making of nation and empire. It asks questions central to Indian history writing with a keen eye on imperialism, colonialism and anti-colonial nationalism. It locates the very making of colonial India within the broader context of transnational connections with Britain and the British empire. It takes an interdisciplinary approach to colonial modernity and knowledge production in key areas of history, literature, medicine, and environment, only to name a few. In particular, it interrogates gendered and racialised representations of the European Self and the colonised Other.  We will engage with various kinds of source materials, both textual and visual. 

    * This course will familiarise students with key concepts in the histories of India, Britain and the British empire.

    * Identify and evaluate significant voices from primary and secondary sources about the making of gender, nation and empire.

    * Critical analysis of historical and interdisciplinary narratives about gender and empire. 

    This course focuses on the social history of health and medicine in colonial India. It seeks to explore why and how medicine was often central to power/knowledge relationships in colonial settings. Throughout the course, we will locate medicine at the centre of our interrogation of categories like the European Self and the colonised Other.  It outlines that health and wealth of nation and empire were considered synonymous. ‘Ignorance’ and ‘disease’ were significant factors in the characterisation of Asian ‘backwardness’ while western medicine became the hallmark of ‘civilisation’. Through a re-examination of the categories ‘colonial’ and the ‘indigenous’ / ‘Western’ and ‘Indian’ – we will explore the complicity and co-option between variegated medicalised colonial and nationalist discourses about the body, health and disease. We will engage with various kinds of source materials, both textual and visual. 

    * This course will familiarise students with key concepts and theories in the field of the social history of health and medicine in colonial India.

    * Develop research and writing abilities by identifying and evaluating significant voices from primary and secondary sources.

    * Critical analysis of historical and interdisciplinary narratives about medicine, health and society in colonial India in academic research and writing.

    This course focuses on the intersections of gender, medicine and health in relation to imperialism, colonialism and nationalism. It locates medicine amidst the broader context of transnational connections with Britain and the British empire and beyond. In the process, it identifies and discusses the roles of gender and medicine in unequal power/knowledge exchanges locally and globally. It also locates medicine at the centre of the very making of colonial India within the wider context of Britain and the British empire.  Moreover, it highlights that this went hand in hand with a traditional yet modern nationalist revival of indigenous medicine and rediscovery of cultural roots. We will engage with various kinds of source materials, both textual and visual.

     

    * This course will familiarise students with key concepts in the social histories of gender, medicine and health in colonial India and its transnational connections with Britain and the British empire and beyond.

    * Identify and evaluate significant voices from primary and secondary sources about the making of imperialism, colonialism and nationalism

    * Critical analysis of historical and interdisciplinary narratives about gender, medicine, nation and empire in academic research and writing.

    This course attempts to trace the genealogy of caste politics in modern India. It plans to explore the content and context of the emergence of a specific discourses around caste and untouchability in colonial India. It would engage with a rich and vibrant historical stretch of hundred years that roughly covers a period between the decade of the 1850s and the late 1950s. This course primarily plans to critically evaluate the emergence of Non Brahmin, Dalit, and anti-caste movements that emerged in colonial period. It would also simultaneously engage with other significant questions like colonialism, nationalism, class politics, and religion that shaped the contours of identity politics. 

    Objectives of the Course:

    • It seeks to critically evaluate the history of modern India from the perspective of anti-caste discourse that emerged in colonial period.

    • It engages with the ideas and writings of prominent Dalit, Non Brahmin and anti-caste activists and scholars that instrumentally shaped the trajectory of anti-caste politics in modern India. 

    • It also critically analyses various trends within varied social movements that emerged in different parts of India.

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