Skip to main content Skip to navigation


Essay questions

First short essay (Feel free to email me the essay BUT remember to put your name on the document itself)

1. How did the British represent authority in Victorian India?

2. Why does British Utilitarianism matter to Indian history?

3. 'Caste was a coherent category in colonial India.' Discuss.

4. 'The colonial census produced an accurate representation of Indian society.' Discuss.

5. 'Shoes make the man.' Discuss

OR if you prefer more of a free-style approach, take either the Said OR the Inden and read it alongside one or two of the Cohn articles OR the Dirks book OR the Stokes book. Investigate how the two texts (Said/Inden and Cohn/Stokes/Dirks) talk to one another in terms of understanding how the British in India mediated the relationships between power and knowledge for the colonial project. If you want to write your essay this way, then you must email me your title at the outset. And you should rely on Bose and Jalal to fill in the narrative gaps.

Second short essay

1. Why and how did Indian women matter to colonial rule?

2. Why and how did Indian women matter to nationalist thought?

3. Compare nationalist and colonial discourses on the 'improvement' of Indian women.

4. How, according to Chatterjee, did economic development legitimate Indian nationalism?

5. Compare the role of the "Indian village" in Gandhian and Nehruvian economic development thought.

Third short essay

1. What does modernization have to do with development?

2. Were dams a development success story? (alternatively: replace 'dams' with 'population control' OR 'the Green Revolution')

ADDITIONALLY I am happy for you to devise your own essay title, but please make sure to clear it with me at least two weeks before the essay deadline.

Resources for (long) essays

RESOURCES Digital South Asia Library

RESOURCES Official Publications of India

RESOURCES Digital resources for colonial India