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HSY2105 - Religion and Genocide in 20th Century India

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Ian Copland


Clayton Second semester 2007 (Day)


In 1947 the Indian subcontinent was partitioned to create two new national states 'India and Pakistan' on the basis of religion. In consequence, millions of Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims found themselves on the wrong side of the border. They fled, seeking safety in the companionship of their co-religionists. Many were killed before they could find it. Many more were robbed, raped or otherwise traumatized. This unit explores the roots of the partition scheme, investigates how it was implemented, and tries to understand the psychology that lay behind the collective violence of 1947. It also looks at the longer-term results of the partition, such as the on-going international dispute over Kashmir.


On successful completion of HSY2105, a student will:

  1. Have acquired a broad knowledge of 20th century Indian social and political history.
  2. Be familiar with the concepts of state, nation and community in the South Asian context.
  3. Be able to comment intelligently, with reference to published literature, on the roots and results of the partition violence of 1947 and on the causes of collective violence more generally.
  4. Be conversant with debates about the formation of historical memory.
  5. Demonstrate skills in the areas of bibliography, textual analysis and written and verbal argument.


Class participation: 10%
Documentary exercise (1000 words): 30%
Essay (2500 words): 40%
Test (1 hour): 20%
Students taking the subject at Level 3 will be expected to demonstrate more sophisticated analytical skills and submit work incorporating a higher level of competence in independent reading and research.

Contact hours

2.5 hours of lectures and tutorials per week


A first-year sequence in History or permission