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Jacqueline Jones, Chair 128 Inner Campus Dr., Stop B7000, GAR 1.104 Austin, TX 78712-1739 • 512-471-3261

Cynthia Talbot

Associate Professor PhD, 1988, University of Wisconsin at Madison

Cynthia Talbot

Contact

  • Phone: 512-475-7229
  • Office: GAR 3.406
  • Office Hours: Spring 2014: T 3:30-5 p.m. & by appointment
  • Campus Mail Code: B7000

Biography

Research interests

Social and cultural history of medieval and early modern India (ca. 1000-1750); historiography and historical memories, Hindu-Muslim relations.

 

Courses taught

Ancient India, Medieval India, Precolonial India 1200-1750, Mughal India in History and Memory, Epics and Heroes of India, Indian Ocean Travel and Trade, and other courses on South Asia to 1750; also world history to 1500 (The Premodern World).

 

Awards/Honors 

National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, 2008-2009 & 1992-1993
Guggenheim Fellowship, 2007-2008
Institute for Advanced Study Membership, 2007-2008
American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship, 2000-2001
American Institute of Indian Studies Senior Short-Term Grant, 1999 

 

Recent Publications: 

 Professor Talbot is the author of Precolonial India in Practice: Society, Region, and Identity in Medieval Andhra (2001); co-author, with Catherine B. Asher (University of Minnesota), of India Before Europe (2006); and editor of  Knowing India: Colonial and Modern Constructions of the Past (2011). She is currently working on a book on historical traditions relating to the twelfth-century Indian king Prithviraj Chauhan.

HIS 346C • Ancient India

39855 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm GAR 1.126
(also listed as AHC 330, ANS 346C )
show description

This course covers the history and culture of South Asia from its protohistoric beginnings in the Indus Valley through the period of the early empires of the Mauryas and Guptas (roughly, 2500 B.C.E. to 500 C.E.). The emphasis will be on understanding the general patterns of socio-cultural change rather than the specifics of political history.  Considerable attention will therefore be given to social organization and ideology, religious institutions and patronage,  conceptions of kingship, and the evolution of classical culture.   Students will be exposed first hand to ancient Indian culture  through the required reading of several contemporary texts in translation.  The class format is primarily lecture but several discussion sessions will be held during the semester.  

Texts

Subject to change:

1) R. S. Sharma, India’s Ancient Past

2) Shereen Ratnagar, Understanding Harappa

3) N. A. Nikam and Richard McKeon, ed., The Edicts of Asoka

4) Richard H. Davis, Global India ca. 100 CE: South Asia in Early World History

5) Patrick Olivelle, trans., The Law Code of Manu

6) Kalidasa, The Recognition of Sakuntala, trans. W. J. Johnson

7) numerous images and excerpts from texts, supplied on Blackboard

Grading

4 reading responses (300 words apiece) 20%

2 short papers (4-5 pages)  30% (15% each)

2 exams 45% (22.5% each)

Participation   5%

HIS 350L • Mughal India In Hist/Memory

39945 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm GAR 0.132
(also listed as ANS 361, ISL 372 )
show description

This undergraduate seminar focuses on South Asia during the era of the Mughal empire.  Much of the Indian subcontinent came under the control of the Mughal dynasty, ushering in a period of peace and prosperity during which long-lasting economic and cultural linkages were formed between the various regions of the subcontinent.  Aside from its cultural splendor, political might, and booming economy, Mughal India is also important for the many ways in which it shaped South Asia's development in subsequent centuries.  We will therefore look not only at Mughal India at the height of imperial power between approximately 1550 to 1750, but also at the continuing legacies and symbolic relevance of the Mughal dynasty in British India and in India today.

The basic political history of the period will be covered in the course, through occasional lectures by the instructor and readings drawn from recent secondary scholarship on the Mughal empire.  However, the emphasis will be on exposing students first-hand to original sources from the Mughal period such as court chronicles and European travel accounts, as well as material from more recent eras such as films and historical novels.  Considerable class time will also be spent on the painting and architecture of the era, as well as on the religious patronage and social composition of the court elites.  By the end of the semester, students should be familiar with the main developments of the Mughal era and have a sense of how the Mughal dynasty has been remembered by later generations.

Texts:

1) Catherine B. Asher & Cynthia Talbot, India Before Europe

2) Andre Wink, Akbar (Makers of the Muslim World series)

3) Michael Fisher, Visions of Mughal India: An Anthology of European Travel Writing

4) Wheeler M. Thackston trans., Baburnama: Memoirs of Babur, Prince and Emperor

5) course pack

Grading:

6 reading responses (300 words each)        20%

2 drafts of short paper (5 pages)            25%

research paper proposal                   5%

2 drafts of research paper (8-10 pages)        30%

attendance & participation                20%

HIS 301F • The Premodern World

39540 • Fall 2013
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm UTC 3.112
(also listed as AHC 310 )
show description

“Premodern World” is a lower-division, lecture course that provides an overview of global development from roughly 30,000 BCE to 1500 CE.  It introduces students to the main political, social, and cultural trends in a variety of societies while at the same time stressing the global perspective.  Considerable emphasis is thus paid to comparative history and the study of cross-cultural encounters.  This entry-level course aims to teach historical thinking as well as historical content, to impart a basic grasp of the premodern past as well as to stimulate the development of large-scale frameworks for historical analysis. Although this course has no prerequisites and assumes no prior knowledge of the subject, students are presumed to be capable of critical reflection upon both lectures and readings.

 

 

Texts:

-- R. Strayer, Ways of the World, A Brief Global History with Sources vol. 1

-- Anonymous, Epic of Gilgamesh, tr. D. Ferry

-- Jared Diamond, Collapse (selected chapters)

-- P. A. McAnany & T. G. Negron, "Bellicose Rulers and Climatological Peril" in Questioning Collapse, ed. P. A. McAnany & N. Yoffee

-- Asoka's Rock Edict XIII

-- Sima Qian, The First Emperor, tr. R. Dawson (selected chapters)

-- reading on Cleopatra (to be announced)

-- Marco Polo, Travels, tr. R. Latham  (selected chapters)

-- Ross Dunn, The Adventures of Ibn Battuta  (selected chapters)

 

Grading:

Exams (3 x 20% each) = 60%; quizzes = 15%; reading worksheets = 20%; attendance & participation = 5%.

HIS 350L • Epics And Heroes Of India

39855 • Fall 2013
Meets MW 300pm-430pm GAR 3.116
(also listed as AHC 330, ANS 372 )
show description

This undergraduate seminar focuses on India's classical epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana.  Emphasis will be placed on understanding the epic characters in relation to the heroic traditions of premodern India, as well as on the role of the epics in contemporary Indian political and religious culture.  Although the ancient Sanskrit epics will be treated at greatest length, we will also explore regional-language versions of the narratives from the middle ages.  In the first ten weeks of the course, the class format will vary between lectures by the instructor and group discussion. During the final five weeks, students will be engaged largely in thinking and writing on a topic of their choice.  By the end of the semester student will have become familiar with India's epic traditions, gained greater appreciation of the humanistic value of epic literature worldwide, and improved their ability to express themselves in writing.

Texts:

1)  Chakravarthi V. Narasimhan, The Mahabharata (Columbia University. Press, 1997)

2)  Gurcharan Das, The Difficulty of Being Good (Oxford University Press, 2010)

3)  R. K. Narayan, The Ramayana (Penguin Classics, 2006)

4) Numerous articles and essays provided on Blackboard.

Grading:

5 reading responses     25%

2 drafts of analytical paper   25%

research paper proposal      5%

2 drafts of research paper   25%

attendance & participation  20%

HIS 364G • Precolonial India, 1200-1750

39695 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm CBA 4.328
(also listed as ANS 372 )
show description

This course surveys the history of South Asia during the era prior to British colonial rule.  It begins ca. 1200 with the establishment of Muslim political power in North India and ends ca. 1750 with the emergence of British dominance in East India.  The large states which emerged in this period – the Delhi Sultanate, the Vijayanagara kingdom of South India, and the Mughal empire – incorporated  regions of South Asia that had previously been politically divided and stimulated the circulation of ideas, peoples, and goods throughout the subcontinent and beyond.  The increased scale of these political networks led to greater uniformity and communication in the society and economy of South Asia, as well as the growth of a pan-Indian elite culture.  At the same time, the diversity of South Asian culture and society increased during the timespan from 1200 to 1750, due to the influx of peoples and religions of foreign origin coming overland from Afghanistan and Persia and also overseas from Europe and elsewhere.   The roots of contemporary South Asia -– an area that is distinctly different from other parts of the world yet is also very diverse internally – thus lie in the precolonial era. 

 

Assigned Reading (Tentative)

 

            1) C. Asher & C. Talbot, India before Europe

            2) excerpt from Ibn Battuta on Muhammad Tughluq

            3) travel accounts of Abd al-Razzaq and Domingo Paes

            4) Gulbadan Begum’s Humayun-nama

            5) Paramananda's The Epic of Shivaji, trans. James W. Laine and S. S. Bahulkar

            6) coursepack

 

Requirements & Grading  (Tentative)

 

                        2 papers (4-6 pps each)                       = 40%

                        2 exams (ID & essay))                        = 50%

                        1 set of discussion questions               =   5%

                        attendance & participation                   =   5%

HIS 382N • Mughal India In Hist & Memory

39790 • Spring 2013
Meets M 1100am-200pm JES A215A
(also listed as ANS 384 )
show description

This seminar focuses on South Asia during the era of the Mughal empire, ca. 1500-1800.  Much of the Indian subcontinent came under the control of the Mughal dynasty, ushering in a period of peace and prosperity during which long-lasting economic and cultural linkages were formed between the various regions of the subcontinent.  Aside from its cultural splendor, political might, and booming economy, Mughal India is also important for the many ways in which it shaped South Asia's development in subsequent centuries.  We will therefore look not only at Mughal India at the height of imperial power between approximately 1550 to 1750, but also at the continuing legacies and symbolic relevance of the Mughal dynasty in British India and in India today. 

 The course will be divided into three parts.  In the first part, students will get a general understanding of how Mughal India has been regarded both in popular memory and in academic historiography. Original sources from the era will be the focus of the second section of the course, especially Persian chronicles, foreign travelers' accounts, and courtly painting.  In the last few weeks of the semester, students will embark on an individual research paper on a topic of their choice, in consultation with the instructor.  This research paper should relate to some aspect of the period but need not be focused on the Mughal empire or court.  Alternatively, students could investigate some aspect of modern popular culture (films, historical fiction, etc.) rather than the cultural productions of the Mughal age or recent scholarship. 

ASSIGNED READINGS (Tentative):

1) Andre Wink, Akbar (Makers of the Muslim World series)

2) William Dalrymple, The Last Mughal  [to be purchased]

3) Michael Fisher, Visions of Mughal India: An Anthology of European Travel Writing

4) excerpts from Wheeler M. Thackston trans., Baburnama

5) multiple other readings provided on Blackboard

6) (optional) C. Asher & C. Talbot, India Before Europe  [to be purchased]

7) (optional) John F. Richards, Mughal Empire [ebook from UT libraries]

 

REQUIREMENTS

Various aspects of student performance will be weighted as listed below in determining the final grade for the course:

                        State of the field essay (6-8 pages) = 25%

                        Review of original sources (4 pp.) = 10%

                        Research paper (8-12 pp,) = 30%

                        Presentations = 10%

                        Participation  = 25%

HIS 301F • The Premodern World

39095 • Fall 2012
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm UTC 3.112
(also listed as AHC 310 )
show description

Course Description:

 “Premodern World” is a lower-division, lecture course that provides an overview of global development from roughly 30,000 BCE to 1500 CE.  It introduces students to the main political, social, and cultural trends in a variety of societies while at the same time stressing the global perspective.  Considerable emphasis is thus paid to comparative history and the study of cross-cultural encounters.  This entry-level course aims to teach historical thinking as well as historical content, to impart a basic grasp of the premodern past as well as to stimulate the development of large-scale frameworks for historical analysis. Although this course has no prerequisites and assumes no prior knowledge of the subject, students are presumed to be capable of critical reflection upon both lectures and readings.

Readings (tentative):

-- R. Strayer, Ways of the World, A Brief Global History with Sources vol. 1

-- Neil McGregor, A History of the World in 100 Objects

-- British Museum, A History of the World in 100 Objects website

-- extracts of original sources in translation (provided on Blackboard)

Requirements (tentative):

There will be three non-cumulative exams, consisting of both short answer and essay questions. Several short, factual, multiple-choice quizzes based on the assigned textbook readings will be administered on Mondays.  A series of reading worksheets will accompany our non-textbook sources.  Attendance and participation is another component of the final grade. The various aspects of student performance are weighted:

exams (3 x 20% each) = 60%; quizzes = 15%; reading worksheets = 20%; attendance & participation = 5%.

HIS 350L • Epics And Heroes Of India

39405 • Fall 2012
Meets MW 330pm-500pm GAR 3.116
(also listed as ANS 372 )
show description

            This undergraduate seminar focuses on India's epics, including the classical Mahabharata and the Ramayana.  Particular emphasis will be placed on understanding the epic characters in relation to the heroic traditions of premodern India, as well as in relation to the religious traditions of both past and present.  Although the Sanskrit epics will be treated at greatest length, we will also explore regional-language versions of the classical epics and to read an oral folk epic, the Epic of Pabuji.  In the first part of the course, the class format will vary between lectures by the instructor and group discussion. Toward the end of the semester, students will be engaged largely in research on a topic of their choice. 

Requirements and Grading

            Since the course is an undergraduate seminar with a writing flag, a considerable amount of reading and writing is required.  In the first part of the semester, there will be two short essays (4-6 pp. each) based on the readings and films covered jointly by the class.  Students will prepare two drafts of the first essay, based on instructor feedback.  Subsequently, students will embark on individual research on a specific region and time period, resulting in two drafts of a research paper (8-12 pp.).  Each paper must be based on at least five books and/or articles --bibliographic assistance will be provided by the instructor. 

            The success of the course will depend heavily on student participation.  For that reason, your attendance will be noted and constitute a component in the final grade.  Students are expected to have completed reading assignments and be prepared for discussion on the specified dates.  In the second half of the semester, each student will make an oral presentation to the class, reporting on progress made in his/her research project.  Students will also be required to participate in anonymous critiques of papers submitted by their classmates. 

             Various aspects of student performance will be weighted as listed below in determining the final grade for the course:

                         Two short essays (4-6 pp. each)             = 30%                         Research paper project (8-12 pp.)          = 40%                         Participation                                 = 30%

Required Texts (tentative):

1)  Chakravarthi V. Narasimhan, The Mahabharata 2)  R. K. Narayan, The Ramayana 3)  John D. Smith, The Epic of Pabuji 4)  numerous articles or book chapters available on Blackboard or in a coursepack

HIS 382N • Hindu Temple In History

39670 • Spring 2012
Meets W 300pm-600pm GAR 0.120
(also listed as ANS 384, R S 394T )
show description

DESCRIPTION

            This interdisciplinary seminar, designed for students with a range of backgrounds and interests, will examine various aspects of the Hindu temple within the context of Indian history as a whole.  During the course of the semester, we will survey the cultural dimensions of temples, investigate specific major temples as case-studies, and analyze recent scholarship on the effects of medieval temple patronage, the impact of Muslim rule on temples, and the changes caused by colonialism and the global diaspora.  Special emphasis will be given to the institutional aspects of the Hindu temple and its involvement in the larger economy, society, and polity surrounding it.  Students will be assigned readings in common throughout the semester but will also have the opportunity to pursue individualized research on topics of their choice, including the temple's religious and art-historical significance.  The format of the course will be mostly group discussion, with occasional short lectures by the instructor as well as oral presentations by students.  By the end of the semester, students should have a better understanding both of the temple's place in Indian society and of the ways in which the study of temples can yield insights into India's past. 

TEXTS

1) George Michell, The Hindu Temple

2) selections from  Adam Hardy, ed., The Temple in South Asia, 2 vols.

3) numerous journal articles or sections of books, posted on Blackboard course site

ASSIGNMENTS & GRADING

            The success of the seminar will depend largely on your participation in discussion, which will accordingly constitute a sizable component of your grade for the course.  Students should be prepared to actively contribute to class discussion every week, without prompting from the instructor. 

            In order to ensure that you have reflected on the assigned readings in a timely fashion, you will be required to submit six reading responses, each 500-700 words in length.  These responses should address the questions listed as "discussion focus" after the weekly readings, and must be submitted on our Blackboard site (Assignments section) by 10 pm the night before class -- note that there are eight sets of readings with questions on the syllabus, out of which you must choose six.  

             Students will additionally be required to submit two research papers.  In the first paper (about 10 pages long), you will be asked to describe the important characteristics of a temple or set of temples of your choice.  In the second paper (approximately 15 pages) you will conduct an in-depth analysis of some issue relating to temples.  Electronic version of papers must be submitted on Blackboard, to be circulated to all class members.  The results of your research must also be communicated to the class in the form of two oral presentations.  Summaries of anonymous peer critiques of the first oral presentation will be provided by the instructor to facilitate improvement. 

            Various aspects of performance will be weighted as listed below:

                        Participation & presentations                        30%

                        Reading responses (2 pp. each x 6)             20%

                        Temple report paper (8-12 pp.)             20%

                        Issue analysis paper (12-17 pp.)             30% 

HIS 346C • Ancient India

39610 • Spring 2011
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm JGB 2.102
(also listed as AHC 330, ANS 346C )
show description

            This course covers the history and culture of South Asia from its protohistoric beginnings in the Indus Valley through the period of the early empires of the Mauryas and Guptas (roughly, 2500 B.C.E. to 500 C.E.).  In chronological sequence, we will examine the origins of South Asian civilization, Vedic society, the second urbanization and the emergence of early states as well as Buddhism and Jainism, the significance of the Mauryan empire, the influx of peoples and ideas between 200 B.C.E. and 300 C.E., the growth of brahmin orthodoxy and ideas on political strategy, the spread of historic civilization outside the North Indian heartland, and the nature of Gupta culture and polity. 

            The emphasis will be on understanding the general patterns of socio-cultural change rather than the specifics of political history.  Considerable attention will therefore be given to social organization and ideology, religious institutions and patronage,  conceptions of kingship, and the evolution of classical culture.   Students will be exposed first hand to ancient Indian culture  through the required reading of several contemporary texts in translation.  The class format is primarily lecture but several discussion sessions will be held during the semester.  

ASSIGNED READING (TENTATIVE):

1) D. N. Jha, Ancient India in Historical Outline 2) Jonathan Mark Kenoyer,  Internet essay "Around the Indus in 90 Slides"             <http://www.harappa.com/indus/indus1.html> 3) N. A. Nikam and Richard McKeon, ed., The Edicts of Asoka 4) John S. Strong, The Legend of King Asoka 5) Patrick Olivelle, trans., The Pancatantra: The Book of India's Folk Wisdom 6) Kalidasa, The Recognition of Sakuntala, trans. W. J. Johnson 7) short excerpts from original sources in translation, supplied on Blackboard

REQUIREMENTS  (TENTATIVE):

2 Short Papers                         45% (22.5% each) 2 Exams                                    50% (25% each) Participation                                      5%

HIS 350L • Indian Ocean Travel And Trade

39655 • Spring 2011
Meets MW 330pm-500pm CBA 4.340
(also listed as ANS 361 )
show description

350L

DESCRIPTION:

            This undergraduate seminar examines long-distance travel and trade in the Indian Ocean region from approximately 1000 to 1700 AD.  It looks both at the experiences of individual travelers as recorded in narratives about their journeys, and also at larger patterns of trade, migration, exploration, and conquest within this extensive region extending from the shores of East Africa to Japan.  Although the course explores the significance of travel narratives as a genre of literature, the emphasis is on the historical developments that led to growing travel from one world region to another and also on the cultural differences reflected in the accounts.  The greatest attention is paid to the Indian subcontinent, due to its focal point in the region, but other sectors of the Indian Ocean are also considered.  A comparative perspective is fostered through analysis of travel accounts written by people from the Middle East and China, in addition to the more abundant travel literature produced by Europeans. 

            Students will be exposed to a variety of traders and travelers in the first part of the course, as well as to recent ideas about travel literature as a whole.  Toward the end of the semester, students will engage in individual research on a topic of their own choice.  Possible topics for research include an in-depth analysis of a specific traveler, a comparison of writings on a particular region by different types of travelers such as traders and missionaries, an analysis of differing attitudes towards different regions by the same type of traveler, or a study of changes in trade routes to a region.

READINGS  (TENTATIVE):

1) Michael Pearson, The Indian Ocean (Seas in History) 2) Louise Levathis, When China Ruled the Seas 3) Michael Fisher , Visions of Mughal India 4) Michael Cooper, They Came to Japan 5) Roxani E. Margariti, Aden and the Indian Ocean Trade 6) course pack

REQUIREMENTS  (TENTATIVE):

In the first part of the semester, students will be required to submit five short reading responses (500 words in length).  Several of these written reactions to a question about the assigned readings will be reviewed by the class as a whole every week.  Each student will also write two drafts of an analytical paper (1500 words) relating to the course readings; the first draft of the paper will be revised on the basis of an anonymous peer review carried out by two class members. 

Subsequently, students will embark on individual research on a topic of their own choosing, beginning with a research proposal (abstract and bibliography) and culminating in two drafts of a research paper (3000 words).  Each student will make an oral presentation to the class, reporting on progress made in his/her research project.  Students will also be required to participate in anonymous critiques of papers submitted by their classmates.

Various aspects of student performance will be weighted as listed below in determining the final grade for the course:

5 reading responses                                      20% 2 drafts of analytical paper                         25% research paper proposal                           5% oral presentation of research                          5% 2 drafts of research paper                         30% attendance & participation                        15%

HIS 382N • Historical Traditions In India

39530 • Fall 2010
Meets M 300pm-600pm GAR 1.122
(also listed as ANS 384 )
show description

This seminar examines the nature of historical writing and consciousness in premodern India, a society often said to lack a sense of history because it produced little in the way of traditional historical narratives.  Rather than evaluating Indian texts by standard measures of historicity, in this course we will attempt to understand indigenous conceptions of the past as revealed in a number of different genres including the purana-itihasa tradition, the inscriptional genealogy, historical kavya, regional-language narratives, bhakti and Sufi hagiographies, and Indo-Muslim chronicles.  The underlying premise is that such material can indeed be fruitfully interpreted from the perspective of social, cultural, and intellectual history, and so one of the objectives of the course will be to explore innovative approaches and methods of analysis.  The other goal is to provide a basic familiarity with the range of historical writing and thinking in India, with an emphasis on the premodern era.  

During the first few weeks of the semester, we will collectively read some secondary works on historical traditions and narratives in general as well as excerpts from several Indian works in translation (i.e., Mahabharata, Visnu Purana, a Cola inscription, and Harsacarita).  We will also look at some of the recent secondary scholarship on the telling of life histories (biographies, autobiographies, memoirs).  In the second half of the semester, we will continue to do some reading together as a group, but members of the class will also engage in individual research on historiographic texts and traditions of their choice.  (Note: students whose training is focused on the modern period can choose to do their projects on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.)  The format of the course will be mostly group discussion, with occasional short lectures by the instructor as well as oral presentations by students.  

Texts

Banarsidas, Ardhakathanak (Half a Story).
numerous essays provided on Blackboard course site

Grading

Among the requirements for the course are two written assignments.  In the first paper, students will assess one or more of the assigned original sources (in translation) in light of the various scholarly theories and analyses covered in the course.   At least two original historical works in translation or their equivalent must be read for the second, longer, paper, based on individual research.  Students will also be required to make two oral presentations to the class.  One presentation will consist of a report on a book read for the individual research paper, while the second presentation will summarize the research project.  The success of the seminar will depend largely on participation in discussion, which will accordingly constitute a sizable component of the final grade for the course.

Various aspects of performance will be weighted as listed below:

        presentations            10%
        participation             20%
        paper 1 (8 pp.)        30%
        paper 2 (12-15 pp.)        40%

 

HIS 346D • Medieval India

39595 • Spring 2010
Meets TTH 930-1100 CBA 4.328
show description

MEDIEVAL INDIA

HIS 346D (#39595)/                                                                                         Dr. Cynthia Talbot

ANS 346D (#30935)                                                                        TTh 9:30-11:00,  CBA 4.328

Course Description

            This course covers the history and culture of South Asia from approximately 550 to 1550.  It will emphasize the dynamic aspects of middle-period India, as regional states and cultures emerged throughout the subcontinent and Indic and Islamic peoples came into contact.  Topics to be examined include the structure of early medieval Indian states, the literature and art of devotional Hinduism (bhakti), the role of Hindu temples in medieval society, variations in the development of regional cultures, the growing impact of Islamic polities and culture from 1200 onward, and the culture of warrior elites in the subcontinent. 

Assigned Readings

to be purchased at the University Co-op (also on reserve at PCL):

            1) Alain Danielou trans., Shilappadikaram (The Ankle Bracelet)

            2) Barbara Stoler Miller trans., Gitagovinda of Jayadeva

to be downloaded from Blackboard:

            3) Romila Thapar, A History of India vol. 1, chaps. 7-11 (also on reserve at PCL)

            4) C. Asher & C. Talbot, India before Europe, chaps. 2-4 (also on reserve at PCL)

            5) V. S. Bhatnagar trans., Padmanabha's Kanhadade Prabandha (also on reserve at PCL)

            6) excerpts from Xuanzang’s Si-yu-ki, Lekhapaddhati, Amir Khusrau’s Khaza’in
                 al-Futuh, travel accounts of Abdul Razzaq and Domingo Paes

 

Requirements & Grading

            In addition to sections of two textbooks, students will read several translations of original sources.  Four of these readings will have a discussion session devoted to them, to which attendance is mandatory.  Students will be required to write four short (500 word) essays on the readings, in response to questions supplied by the instructor.  In addition, each student will have to take a leading role in one discussion sessions, which will entail not only vigorous participation in discussion but also the submission of a set of discussion questions accompanied by explanation.  In addition, there will be two examinations (a mid-term and a final) consisting of short and long essay questions.

            Various aspects of student performance will be weighted as listed below in determining the final grade for the course:

            4 essays on readings (500 words apiece)                        20%

            1 set of discussion questions with justifications            10%

            midterm examination                                                            30%

            final examination                                                            35%

            attendance & participation                                                  5%

Please note that pluses and minuses to the final letter grade will be utilized in this course.

Course Policies

-- Religious holy days sometimes conflict with class and examination schedules.  It is the policy of UT-Austin that you must notify each of your instructors at least fourteen days prior to the classes scheduled on dates you will be absent to observe a religious holy day.

-- Regular attendance in class is expected and any gaps in knowledge resulting from lack of attendance are the student's responsibility.  However, students are urged to contact the instructor if personal circumstances lead to prolonged absence.  Please note that attendance at the discussion sessions is mandatory.

-- Students must be prepared to turn in their written assignments and take examinations on the specified dates.  Delays in the submission of assignments will result in a grade penalty equivalent to approximately one letter grade per week.  Students will not be allowed to make up exams that are missed without prior approval of the instructor or documented proof of good reason (such as severe illness or death in the family). 

-- Students who violate University rules on scholastic dishonesty are subject to disciplinary penalties, including the possibility of failure in the course and/or dismissal from the University.  Since such dishonesty harms the individual, all students, and the integrity of the University, policies on scholastic dishonesty will be strictly enforced.  Please note that plagiarism means not only the verbatim quoting of another's work without attribution but also the presentation of another's ideas as one's own. 

-- Students with disabilities who need special accommodations should notify the instructor by presenting a letter prepared by the Services for Students with Disabilities Office.  To ensure that the most appropriate accommodations can be provided, students should contact the SSD Office at 471-6259 or 471-4641 TTY.

Instructor Contact Information

Office Hours                        Tuesdays 11:00-1:00  & by appointment

Office                                    GAR 3.106;   tel. 475-9303

E-Mail Address            <ctalbot@mail.utexas.edu>

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Schedule of Class Meetings & Assignments

Wk. 1 --    INTRODUCTION TO COURSE

                        Tues. 1/19            Introduction to Course

                        Thurs. 1/21            India’s Diversity: Physical & Cultural Geography

Wk. 2 --    DEFINING THE MEDIEVAL

                        Tues. 1/26            Ancient India vs. Medieval India

                        Thurs. 1/28            Harsha & His Times

                             reading:  Thapar chap. 7; excerpt from Xuanzang’s Si Yu Ki

Wk. 3 --    SOUTH INDIAN CULTURE

                         Tues. 2/2            The Dravidian South: A Regional Variant

                        Thurs. 2/4            Shilappadikaram (Ankle Bracelet)

                             reading: begin Shilappadikaram

Wk. 4 --  SOUTH INDIAN KINGDOMS, 500-900

                        Tues. 2/9            From the Pallavas to the Rashtrakutas

                        Thurs. 2/11            discussion of Shilappadikaram// short essay due

                             reading: finish Shilappadikaram, Thapar chap. 8

Wk. 5 --  THE CHOLAS & HINDU TEMPLES

                        Tues. 2/16            Cholas & The Indian Ocean

                        Thurs. 2/18            Hindu Temples: Worship & Patronage

                             reading: Thapar chap. 9, begin Gitagovinda of Jayadeva

Wk. 6 --   REGIONAL KINGDOMS, C. 1000

                        Tues. 2/23)            Gitagovinda

                        Thurs.2/25            Regional Kingdoms in North India & Beyond

                             reading: finish Gitagovinda, Thapar chap. 10

Wk. 7 --    EARLY MEDIEVAL ECONOMY

                        Tues. 3/2)             discussion of Gitagovinda // short essay due

                        Thurs. 3/4)            Was There Feudalism in Medieval India?

                             reading: Thapar chap. 11, excerpt from Lekhapaddhati

Wk. 8 --    EARLY MEDIEVAL SOCIETY

                        Tues. 3/9)            Brahmins in Society

                        Thurs. 3/11)            midterm examination

                  SPRING BREAK, March 15-20

Wk. 9 --    THE TURKIC CONQUEST OF NORTH INDIA

                        Tues. 3/23)            Founding of Muslim Rule

                        Thurs. 3/25)            Alauddin Khalji’s Conquests

                             reading:  Asher & Talbot chap. 2; excerpt from Khaza’in ul-Futuh

Wk. 10 --    INDIAN PERCEPTIONS OF THE CONQUEST

                         Tues. 3/30)            Rajputs & Kanhadade Prabandha

                        Thurs. 4/1)            Women, Honor & the Rajput Heroic Ethos

                        reading: begin Kanhadade Prabandha

Wk. 11 --    SULTANATE POWER IN THE 14TH CENTURY

                         Tues. 4/6)            Ibn Battuta & the Tughluq Dynasty

                        Thurs. 4/8)            discussion of  Kanhadade Prabandha// short essay due

                             reading:   finish Kanhadade Prabandha

Wk. 12 --    SIGNIFICANCE OF THE DELHI SULTANATE

                        Tues. 4/13)            Assessing Sultanate Rule

                        Thurs. 4/15)            Regime Change in Peninsular India

                             reading:  Asher & Talbot chap. 3, travel accounts of Paes & Razzaq

Wk. 13 --    AGE OF VIJAYANAGARA

                        Tues. 4/20)            Hampi, the Vijayanagara Capital

                        Thurs. 4/22)            discussion of travel accounts // short essay due

Wk. 14 --   HINDUS & MUSLIMS IN MEDIEVAL INDIA

                        Tues. 4/27)            Syncretism in Late Medieval India

                        Thurs. 4/29)            Sufis & Conversion

                             reading:  Asher & Talbot chap. 4

Wk. 15 --    LATE MEDIEVAL INDIA: LOOKING AHEAD

                        Tues. 5/4)            Changing World of the Early 16th Century

                        Thurs. 5/6)            catching up & exam review

final examination on Thursday May 13, 9:00–12:00 noon

HIS 350L • Mughal India In Hist/Memory-W

39660 • Spring 2010
Meets T 330pm-630pm GAR 2.128
(also listed as ANS 361, ISL 372 )
show description

Mughal India in History & Memory-W

Spring 2010, T 3:30-6:30                                                                                Cynthia Talbot

HIS 350L (39660)/ ANS 361 (30950)/ ISL 372 (42070)                                      GAR 2.128

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

This undergraduate seminar focuses on South Asia during the era of the Mughal empire.  Much of the Indian subcontinent came under the control of the Mughal dynasty, ushering in a period of peace and prosperity during which long-lasting economic and cultural linkages were formed between the various regions of the subcontinent.  Aside from its cultural splendor, political might, and booming economy, Mughal India is also important for the many ways in which it shaped South Asia's development in subsequent centuries.  We will therefore look not only at Mughal India at the height of imperial power between approximately 1550 to 1750, but also at the continuing legacies and symbolic relevance of the Mughal dynasty in British India and in India today.  

The basic political history of the period will be covered in the course, through occasional lectures by the instructor and readings drawn from recent secondary scholarship on the Mughal empire.  Students will also be exposed students first-hand to original sources from the Mughal period such as court chronicles and European travel accounts, as well as material from more recent eras such as films, art, and comic books.  By the end of the semester, students should be familiar with the main developments of the Mughal era and have a sense of how the Mughal dynasty has been remembered by later generations.

READINGS (available through Blackboard):

1) Catherine B. Asher & Cynthia Talbot, India Before Europe, chaps. 5-9

2) Andre Wink, Akbar (Makers of the Muslim World series)

3) selections from Babur-nama  & Humayun-nama

4) selections from M. Fisher, Visions of Mughal India: An Anthology of
             European Travel Writing

5) Pratapaditya Pal, ”Romance of the Taj Mahal” (essay)

*Purchase for reference: Laurie G. Kirszner & Stephen R. Mandell, The Pocket
  Wadsworth Handbook
, 4th ed. (ISBN 1428229787)

REQUIREMENTS:

Because this is a seminar class that meets only once a week, the success of the course will depend heavily on student attendance and participation.  It is essential that students come to every class session prepared to discuss the assigned readings.  Hence, short written responses to the readings will be required during the first half of the semester – these must be at least 300 words in length apiece and are due at the beginning of the class session.  Students will also submit two drafts of a critical essay (5 pages or 1500 words) on a recent Bollywood movie, Jodhaa Akbar, with revisions based on peer review.  Later in the semester, students will engage in individual research on a topic chosen in consultation with the instructor.  This research project will proceed in several stages, including the submission of a paper proposal (with abstract and bibliography), oral presentation of research, and the writing of two drafts of a research paper (8-10 pages in length), with revisions based on instructor feedback. 

Various aspects of student performance will be weighted as listed below in determining the final grade for the course:

            6 reading responses (300 words each)                        20%

            2 drafts of critical essay on film (5 pages)                        25%

            research paper proposal                                                   5%

            oral presentation of research                                                  5%

            2 drafts of research paper (8-10 pages)                        30%

            attendance & participation                                                15%

Please note that pluses and minuses to the final letter grade will be applied in this course.

COURSE POLICIES:

-- Religious holy days sometimes conflict with class  schedules.  It is the policy of UT-Austin that you must notify each of your instructors at least fourteen days prior to the classes scheduled on dates you will be absent to observe a religious holy day.

--  Because this course is a weekly seminar, student attendance and participation is critical.  Students will therefore be allowed no more than one absence without documented proof of good reason (such as severe illness or death in the family).  However, please note that attendance is mandatory on Feb. 16th, when we will conduct peer review.  Any additional absences will adversely affect the final grade for the course.

-- There are numerous written assignments spaced throughout the semester and it is vital that you do not fall behind.  Written assignments turned in late will be subject to a grade penalty, equivalent to a letter grade per week, at the instructor's discretion.

-- Students who violate University rules on scholastic dishonesty are subject to disciplinary penalties, including the possibility of failure in the course and/or dismissal from the University.  Since such dishonesty harms the individual, all students, and the integrity of the University, policies on scholastic dishonesty will be strictly enforced.  Please note that plagiarism means not only the verbatim quoting of another's work without attribution but also the presentation of another's ideas as one's own. 

-- Students with disabilities who need special accommodations should notify the instructor by presenting a letter prepared by the Services for Students with Disabilities Office.  To ensure that the most appropriate accommodations can be provided, students should contact the SSD Office at 471-6259 or 471-4641 TTY.

INSTRUCTOR CONTACT INFORMATION:

Office Hours                        Tuesdays 11:00-1:00  & by appointment

Office                                    GAR 3.106;   tel. 475-9303

E-Mail Address            <ctalbot@mail.utexas.edu>

************************************************************************

Schedule of Class Meetings & Assignments

Jan. 19) INTRODUCTION TO COURSE

Jan. 26) FOUNDING THE MUGHAL EMPIRE

               reading: Asher & Talbot chap. 5; Andre Wink, Akbar pp. 1-35

               reading response 1:  What aspects of Akbar’s reign are covered in Asher &
                                              Talbot’s book but not in the assigned pages of Wink’s book?

Feb. 2) THE SIGNIFICANCE OF AKBAR

              reading: Andre Wink, Akbar pp. 45-119 (Chaps. 5-8)

              reading response 2:  In what ways was Akbar tolerant, according to Wink? 
                                                In what ways was he not?

Feb. 9)  ELITE CULTURE OF THE MUGHAL PERIOD

              reading: Asher & Talbot pp. 152-163 (from chap. 6) & chap. 7

              reading response 3:  Are aspects of Mughal elite culture still relevant today?

                        essay on film due electronically by noon Monday Feb. 15

Feb. 16)  PEER REVIEW OF JODHAA AKBAR ESSAYS

Feb. 23)  MEMOIRS & HISTORY WRITING AT THE MUGHAL COURT

                reading:  selection from Baburnama OR Humayun-nama

                reading response 4: What unique insights are provided by this memoir?

                        revised essay on film due in class (hard copy)

March 2)  INTERNATIONAL TRADE & FOREIGN TRAVELER’S ACCOUNTS

                readingVisions of Mughal India, pp. 38-58 (Monserrate) & 164-81 (Tavernier)

                reading response 5: What is similar and different in the two travel accounts?

March 9)  THE TAJ MAHAL IN THE WESTERN IMAGINARY

                reading: Pratapaditya Pal, “Romance of the Taj Mahal” &

                          “Treasures of the World: Taj Mahal” at

                          http://www.pbs.org/treasuresoftheworld/a_nav/taj_nav/main_tajfrm.html

                          also recommended: virtual tour website “Explore the Taj Mahal” at

                           http://www.taj-mahal.net/augEng/main_screen.htm

            reading response 6:  How do current-day attitudes toward the Taj Mahal compare
                                                to those from the 18th and 19th centuries? 

SPRING BREAK

March 23)  DECLINE OF THE MUGHAL EMPIRE

                    reading: Asher & Talbot chaps 8 & 9

March 30)  ISSUES IN MUGHAL HISTORY/ CHOOSING A RESEARCH TOPIC

            come to class having thought about possible research topics!

April 6)  CONDUCTING LIBRARY RESEARCH AT THE PCL 

            meet in PCL at 3 pm, room to be announced

April 13)  INDIVIDUAL MEETINGS W/ INSTRUCTOR 

            paper proposal & bibliography due at time of appointment

April 20)  INDIVIDUAL RESEARCH (NO CLASS)

April 27)  WRITING FIRST DRAFT (NO CLASS)

            first draft of research paper due by 3 pm (hard copy)

May 4)  ORAL PRESENTATIONS OF RESEARCH

                  5-10 minute presentations of research

final draft of research paper due by 3pm Wed. May 12th (hard copy)

HIS 301F • The Premodern World

39555 • Fall 2009
Meets MW 1000-1100 GAR 0.102
show description

“Premodern World” is a lower-division, lecture course that provides an overview of global development from roughly 30,000 BCE to 1500 CE.  It introduces students to the main political, social, and cultural trends in a variety of societies while at the same time stressing the global perspective.  Considerable emphasis is thus paid to comparative history and the study of cross-cultural encounters.  This entry-level course aims to teach historical thinking as well as historical content, to impart a basic grasp of the premodern past as well as to stimulate the development of large-scale frameworks for historical analysis. Although this course has no prerequisites and assumes no prior knowledge of the subject, students are presumed to be capable of critical reflection upon both lectures and readings.

Readings:

-- R. Strayer, Ways of the World, A Brief Global History with Sources vol. 1

-- Anonymous, Epic of Gilgamesh, tr. D. Ferry 

-- Jared Diamond, Collapse (selected chapters)

-- P. A. McAnany & T. G. Negron, "Bellicose Rulers and Climatological 

     Peril" in Questioning Collapse, ed. P. A. McAnany & N. Yoffee 

-- Asoka's Rock Edict XIII

-- Sima Qian, The First Emperor, tr. R. Dawson (selected chapters)

-- reading on Cleopatra (to be announced)

-- Marco Polo, Travels, tr. R. Latham  (selected chapters)

-- Ross Dunn, The Adventures of Ibn Battuta  (selected chapters)

Requirements:

There will be three non-cumulative exams, consisting of both short answer and essay questions. Several short, factual, multiple-choice quizzes based on the assigned textbook readings will be administered on Mondays.  A series of reading worksheets will accompany our non-textbook sources.  Attendance and participation is another component of the final grade. The various aspects of student performance are weighted:

Exams (3 x 20% each) = 60%; 

Quizzes = 15%; 

Reading worksheets = 20%; 

Attendance & participation = 5%.

Publications

EDITED BOOK. Knowing India: Colonial and Modern Constructions of the Past.  Delhi: Yoda Press, 2011.  (edited volume)

BOOK. India Before Europe. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006. (co-authored with Catherine Asher)

BOOK.  Precolonial India in Practice: Society, Region, and Identity in Medieval Andhra. NY: Oxford University Press, 2001. 

“Justifying Defeat: A Rajput Perspective on the Age of Akbar.”  Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 45.2-3 (Oct. 2012): 329-68.

"Contesting Knowledges in Colonial India: The Question of Prithviraj Raso's Historicity," in Knowing India: Colonial and Modern Constructions of the Past, ed. Cynthia Talbot (Delhi: Yoda Press, 2011), pp. 171-212.

“The Society of Kakatiya Andhra,” in Rethinking Early Medieval India: A Reader, ed. Upinder Singh (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2011), pp. 166-88. (reprint of a chapter from Precolonial India in Practice)

"Becoming Turk the Rajput Way: Conversion and Identity in an Indian Warrior Narrative," Modern Asian Studies, 43. 1 (Jan. 2009): 211-243.  Reprinted in Expanding Frontiers in South Asian and World History, ed. Richard Eaton, Munis Faruqui, David Gilmartin, Sunil Kumar (New Delhi: Cambridge University Press, 2013): 200-31. 

"Recovering the Heroic History of Rajasthan: James Tod and the Prithviraj Raso," in James Tod's Rajasthan: The Historian and His Collections, edi. Giles Tillotson (Mumbai: Marg Publications, 2007), pp. 98-109. 

"The Mewar Court's Construction of History,"  in The Kingdom of the Sun: Indian Court and Village Art from the Princely State of Mewar, ed. Joanna Williams (San Francisco: Asian Art Museum, 2007), pp. 12-33.

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