Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POC3105: Negotiating Postcoloniality: History and Politics of Independent India

This module descriptor refers to the 2019/0 academic year.

Please note that this module is only delivered on the Penryn Campus.


NQF Level 6
Credits 15 ECTS Value 7.5
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 2 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Dr Shubranshu Mishra (Convenor)





Available via distance learning


The module provides you with an in-depth understanding of modern India, tracing its journey from colonisation to a rising power. Regarded as the world’s largest democracy, India has faced several challenges on many fronts: social, cultural, political and economic. The module follows those challenges through scholarly debates, visual representations and empirical material to engender critical inquiry into understanding India as a postcolonial nation-state. Topics include Independence and the trauma of Partition, democracy and diversity, secularism and communalism, social movements and insurgencies, foreign relations and diaspora.


The module encourages you to  look critically at the processes of state and nation building in India since it achieved Independence in 1947. Through everyday experiences of different groups and within the many socio-cultural, political and economic contexts, the module introduces you to the deep diversities (ethnic, linguistic and religious) within the Indian model of democracy and secularism. Studying specific events shaping identities, hierarchies and resistance, the module will attempt to go beyond the official and dominant historiography to raise critical questions regarding security and militarisation, representation and inequality, economic liberalisation and exploitation, development and displacement.


You will acquire an analytical and methodological training to evaluate policy debates with respect to India, to undertake research on India and also gain a perspective into the postcolonial order and the global South. Although no prior knowledge is required, you are recommended to follow events in India through news, literature or popular culture. The module is suitable for non-specialist and specialist students studying Politics, History and Human Geography who are interested in non-Western, inter-disciplinary approaches.

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