History 39T, Section 1

Hindu/Muslim: Religion, Politics, and Violence in a Millennium of Indian History (4 units, LG)

Professor Abhishek Kaicker
Thursday 10:00-12:00, 3205 Dwinelle Hall, Class number: 41898

This course is concerned broadly with the relationship between the categories of ‘religion’ and ‘politics’; and the practices of violence which lie at their intersection; and in particular with rethinking the terms we use to imagine religious violence in the past and the present. As a case study, we will explore ways of conceptualizing the longue durée history of the relationship between Hinduism and Islam in the Indian subcontinent over the last millennium. Through reading a mix of postcolonial historical scholarship and precolonial primary sources, we will critically investigate the Islamic conquest of India; the historic evolution of the concept of ‘Hindu’ and ‘Muslim’; the profound fissure of the partition of India in 1947; and the evolving politics of memory in the twentieth century. No prior experience with the history of India is required for this class. Students will be responsible for regular response papers; they will craft an essay on the themes of the class over the course of the semester.

Instructor Bio

Abhishek Kaicker is Assistant Professor of History. His research focuses on South Asia in the early modern and modern periods. His recent work has focused on the development of cultures of politics in the Mughal empire in the early 18th century, particularly in the capital city of Delhi. He is interested in urban spaces and the forms of politics they enable and engender, and more broadly in questions of the Mughal empire’s end and the making of colonial authority in the subcontinent.


All readings and discussion will be in English.