• Offered by School of Culture History and Language
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject Asian Studies
  • Areas of interest History, Asian Studies
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Barbara Nelson
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2016
    See Future Offerings

This course surveys the history of South Asia from the earliest periods of history to 1757 in the context of empire. India has been at the centre of world culture and trade for millennia. South Asia has been the location of great empires, such as the Mauryas, Guptas and Mughals; has provided cultural and religious foundations for empires of southeast Asia and in turn has received cultural, political and religious influences from its neighbours in the middle east, central Asia and China. The course begins with the physical environment of South Asia, then goes on to examine Indus culture; the development of the Hindu tradition, Jainism, Buddhism; the arrival of Islam; the establishment of the Mughal empire; the role India played in the competition of the Portuguese, Dutch and English for control of the spice trade; and how a trading company took control of large parts of the subcontinent. As well as tracing major historical and political events, the course also explores the social and cultural developments that accompanied and contributed to the development of South Asia and its role within the development of Asian civilisations. It provides the necessary background knowledge to understand the later processes of colonisation and state formation in South Asia within its Asian context and introduces changing conceptions of the past of South Asia through examining the current major scholarly debates on issues in pre-colonial South Asian history.

Bachelor of Asian Studies


Learning Outcomes

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

On successful completion, students will be able to:
1. Demonstrate knowledge of key actors, events and locations in South Asian history up until 1757
2. Discriminate between early and later manifestations of the religious traditions of India
3. Explain developments in South Asian society and culture up to 1757
4. Differentiate between interpretations of South Asian historical evidence
5. Select appropriate sources to address a research problem
6. Communicate research results in an essay with accepted scholarly apparatus

Indicative Assessment

Item A Weekly tutorial reading notes 10%

Item B Participate in tutorial discussion 10%

Item C Essay plan with annotated bibliography (1200 words) 15%

Item D Essay (3000 words) 35%

Item E End of semester exam 30%

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.


The workload (per week) will be:

2 X 1 hour lectures

1 X 1 hour tutorial (except for weeks 1 and 13)

7 hours independent study

Requisite and Incompatibility

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




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
2016 $2718
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2016 $3876
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
2023 15 Feb 2016 26 Feb 2016 31 Mar 2016 27 May 2016 In Person N/A

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