The University of Southampton

HIST3132 Conflict, Transformation and Resurgence in Asia: 1800 to the Present

Module Overview

This module aims to uncover the roots of the increasing economic and political power of India and China in the contemporary world. A crucial theme is the interaction between indigenous beliefs, social systems and institutions and the economic, political and ideological impact of the West during the past two centuries.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The unit focuses on India, China and Iran from the period of nineteenth century imperial domination until the contemporary era of globalization. It focuses on the themes of imperialism, nationalism, decolonization, war, revolution and migration. It addresses these themes within a broad comparative analysis and also sets them in historiographical debates. There will be study on the differing Asian approaches to the western intrusion in the late nineteenth century followed by an assessment of the construction of modern national, communal and ethnic sources of identity. The mid twentieth century era of war, revolution and independence in Asia will form the next period for examination. The final section of the unit examines the themes of nation building in the 1950s, revolution and economic resurgence at the close of the twentieth century. By the end of the unit, students should have a good awareness of the historical roots and routes of South and East Asia’s current economic resurgence, along with some of the dilemmas surrounding the economic and political sustainability of the contemporary rapid rates of development. Students will also have a better understanding of Iran, a country which has remained consistently in the headlines since the 1979 Revolution brought to an end the rule of the Pahlavi dynasty.


An indicative list of the topics covered in the module includes: The module is divided in three parts – topics to be considered in the first part could include: •an examination of Indian and Chinese ‘traditional society’ prior to the age of imperial rule and influence. •Indian and Chinese ideological and political responses to the West •the ways in which the Colonial era encouraged overseas migration •the significance of overseas Indian and Chinese communities for the homeland •India and China in an age of nationalism, war and revolution. The second part will consider how both countries sought to forge a new nation free from western domination - topics to be considered in the first part could include: •The dilemmas and challenges which faced India and China in the 1950s and 1960s •the conflicts between the two Asian neighbours. The final part of the unit examines contemporary India and China. Possible topics include: •the impact of globalization •the pressures for market reform in both countries •an assessment of the sustainability of the rise to superpower status of the two countries.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The unit will be taught by means of seminars. Topics at the beginning of the seminar will be introduced by the tutors, but the learning will be student centred. The seminars will be divided into more formal student presentations around designated issues for discussion, followed by group work involving assessment of primary and secondary documentary material. Seminar participants will be provided with key documentary material in the form of handouts.


Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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