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HIST3107 The 1947 Partition of India and its Aftermath Part 1

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

- Examine the historiographical debates surrounding the 1947 division of the Indian subcontinent and its aftermath - Illuminate and critically assess those controversies through the study of primary documents and texts from the period - Understand the ‘high politics’ of the 1947 partition of India

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The different historical approaches to the 1947 partition of India
  • The British policy behind the decision to divide and quit India in August 1947
  • The types of sources available to historians of the Transfer of Power in India and the ways in which they can be interpreted
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Display effective time management in preparation of class and coursework assignments
  • Display the ability to work in a small group situation on shared tasks
  • Communicate effectively in both oral and written presentations
  • Critically assess large amounts of complex material
  • Work independently in preparing for class work and written assignments
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Search for and locate historical sources to support your essay work
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the evolving historiography of partition
  • Analyse and collate a wide range of historical information
  • Produce clear and coherent essay work
Cognitive Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Display critical judgement in interpretation of specific texts
  • Synthesize a large body of primary and secondary material
  • Display critical judgement in the understanding of polemical and frequently conflicting material
  • Formulate opinions and debate these in informal discussion
  • Engage responsively to questions raised during presentations


This module will explore the origins and causes of the British decision to divide and quit India in August 1947. It will focus on the impact of the Second World War on political development in India. There will be a critical examination of the historiographical debates surrounding the British departure, the partition and the emergence of Pakistan. Part 2 of the module will explore the human costs of partition arising from its associated violence and mass migration, along with the legacies for not only individuals and communities, but also for nation building and statecraft in the subcontinent.

Special Features

The introductory sessions will enable students to place complex historiographical debates concerning the 1947 partition of India within a wider context. Their understanding of these debates will be demonstrated both in their essay assignment and in the gobbets exam. The latter will also test the students’ ability to handle and contextualise a range of primary source material. Debates and simulations will enable students to critically examine the ‘high politics’ of the British decision to divide and quit India.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include - Short introductions to major historiographical debates - Discussion of set secondary readings and primary documents - Tutor-led sessions designed to develop skills of source analysis Learning activities include - Guided reading in preparation for Student led discussion - Source analysis exercises - Individual and group presentations

Independent Study260
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

Stanley Wolpert (2006). Shameful Flight: The Last Years of the British Empire in India. 

H.V. Hodson (1969). The Great Divide- Britain, India and Pakistan. 

Ian Talbot (2002). Khizr Tiwana, The Punjab Unionist Party and the Partition of India. 

Ian Talbot (2005). Pakistan: A Modern History. 

Mushirul Hasan (ed) (1994). India’s Partition: Process, Strategy and Mobilization. 


Assessment Strategy

Assessments designed to provide informal, on-module feedback - Weekly student presentations and discussion - Short book review assignment feedback via tutorials - Student-led debates - Class based primary sources workbook exercise feedback via tutorials 1 x 3,000 word Historiographical essay 1 x 3,000 word Source-based essay 1 x Takeaway gobbets exam (1,500 words)


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (3000 words) 40%
Essay  (3000 words) 40%
Take-away exam  (1500 words) 20%


MethodPercentage contribution
Resubmit assessments 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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