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Sophomore Seminar: Gandhi and His Precursors

HIST 181
Spring 2012
Section: 01  
Certificates: South Asian Studies

This course examines the life and work of Mohandas K. Gandhi and explores the intellectual and ideological influences that shaped his career in politics and social activism. Popularly known as Mahatma, or Great Soul, Gandhi stands out above all other characters in the story of India's independence. His visionary leadership of a national nonviolent movement against the British empire is often portrayed as an achievement of singular charisma and unprecedented political methods. Yet Gandhi's undeniable originality in thought and action was informed by an eclectic assembly of writers, politicians, mystics, and social reformers who preceded him. Far from being a lone genius, Gandhi's greatest skill was marshaling the best human and intellectual resources he could find toward his goal of releasing India from the materials and psychological bonds of empire. Through a close study of figures such as Leo Tolstoy, Henry David Thoreau, John Ruskin, Annie Besant, Swami Vivekananda, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, and Rabindranath Tagore, our course will investigate how Gandhi drew on existing ideas as he helped forge a new future for India and the world.

Essential Capabilities: Designing, Creating, and Realizing, Interpretation
Designing, Creating, Realizing: Students will, with the help of the instructor, conceive of, design, and execute a research project based on primary sources and informed by the relevant historiography. The production of this project will be divided into discrete phases, which themselves will be put under the microscope so as to allow students to examine the work of historical scholarship as an object lesson.

Interpretation: A major goal of the course is to introduce students to the problems and opportunities posed by historical evidence. How do we find evidence, and how to best interpret it? A second goal is to introduce students to the different ways historians have approached the past, how their approaches reflect and inform their contemporary circumstances, how historians build on the work of others, and the theories and methods that historians employ.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS HIST
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None
Past Enrollment Probability: Not Available

Last Updated on MAY-30-2024
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