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In this course you will study the history of British colonialism and the movement for independence in India, focussing on the key question: if the struggle for freedom in India was conducted along Gandhian lines according to the principles of non-violence, then how can we understand the extent of violence that accompanied decolonisation, in 1947? The course answers this question by moving beyond the dominant tropes of the British Raj, replete with civilising missions, bejewelled maharajas and tiger hunts, to present a critical interrogation of colonial dynamics, demonstrating the relationships between imperial oppression, anti-colonial violence and Gandhian nonviolence, which culminated in the independence of India and the creation of East and West Pakistan, in 1947. The course engages with narratives of imperialism embedded in contemporary and historical popular cultures, from Raj Nostalgia to Bollywood film, seeking to align these with academic and public debates about history. We will reflect on the legacies of violence and nonviolence in India, and on the enduring impact of imperialism in the region. 


Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Study Level


Offering Terms

Term 3



Indicative contact hours


Conditions for Enrolment

Course Outline

To access course outline, please visit:


Additional Information

This course is offered as General Education.

Pre-2019 Handbook Editions

Access past handbook editions (2018 and prior)

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