Special Subject: End of Empire: Nationalism, Decolonisation and the British Raj in India 1937-1950 Part B (V1353B)

15 credits, Level 6

Spring teaching

In this module you will study the national movement in late colonial India in the context of decolonisation.

Concentrating on the last phase of colonial rule, you’ll examine the changing relationship between the Indian National Congress and the Raj. We also discuss the different imaginings of the Indian nation, both by political parties – such as the Congress and the Muslim league – and also peasants, workers and women.

Gandhi and his non-violence emerges as a key feature of the period. His ultimate failure and the resulting partition of India is an important focus of the module. We will also look at the violence and upheaval of Partition in the years leading up to the creation of the democratic Republic of India.

In seeking to redress the elitist bias in Indian history, we draw upon subaltern historiography. This is in order to understand popular consciousness at the time of decolonisation. We also consider the perspectives of colonial policy makers, such as Lord Mountbatten, Viceroy at the time of independence, and other important government functionaries. The creation of the Republic of India was to make India into the largest democracy in the world.

Your first term will concentrate on general issues related to the subject. In the second term, we emphasise the use of primary sources that throw light on issues raised in the first term.


100%: Seminar


50%: Coursework (Essay)
50%: Written assessment (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 22 hours of contact time and about 128 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2023/24. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to COVID-19, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: