• Offered by School of Culture History and Language
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject Asian Studies
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person

The Governor-General’s palace at Simla in the foothills of the Indian Himalayas was the venue of conferences in 1945 and 1946 that determined the future of the Indian nation. The British Government, the Indian National Congress, the Muslim League, and representatives of all sections of Indian society from the untouchables to the aristocratic ruling princes all took part. After much wrangling and negotiation, the final outcome of the conference was Partition of India on the one hand and Pakistan (and what became Bangladesh) on the other. It was an outcome that satisfied no one, and in the chaos that followed up to one million refugees lost their lives.

Reverberations from Partition continue to impinge on the security of South Asia to this day. How did the decision to partition India come about? Did it have to be like this? Were other outcomes possible? The focus of this course to explore the dynamics and personalities that lead to Partition and to answer in part these questions.

In this highly innovative course we use role-play to recreate the Simla conferences. Each student will take on the roles of one of the participants including the British and India participants. The aim of the game is to form alliances with sufficient numerical strength to convince the British Government to adopt a model of India that meets the needs of each individual or faction. Students may have to compromise their principles to build such alliances, but at the same time must remain accountable to their constituents. The success of the course depends on each participant in the game undertaking a heavy reading load in the first few weeks as students master the historical background to the conference and become familiar with the role they are to adopt. To negotiate effectively with other factions, students will also have to understand their backgrounds, goals and motivations.

This course is part of a series entitled, Reacting to the Past, developed by Mark Carnes, Columbia University.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  • Improve group and individual negotiating techniques and strategies
  • Strengthen public speaking capacity and confidence
  • Become skilled in role-play based learning activities

Indicative Assessment

  • Civil Service Examination (week 4)  15%
  • 1st presentation (1000 words)  25%
  • 2nd presentation (1000 words) 25%
  • Hats-off learning Journals 15%
  • ‘Read and Respond’ 15%
  • A bonus 5 points may be awarded to members of factions who achieve their game objectives

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


32 teaching hours per semester

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have successfully completed 36 units of any courses.

Prescribed Texts

Embree, A. and Carbes, M. 2006. Defining the Nation: India on the eve of Independence 1945. New York: Pearson Longman.




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $2604
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $3576
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

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There are no current offerings for this course.

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