Sebastian Prange studies the history of trade and traders on the Malabar Coast in southwestern India. His work argues for the importance of studying South Asia as part of the wider Indian Ocean world by exploring the trans-oceanic networks that integrated the region into circulatory exchanges of goods, texts, ideas, individuals, and allegiances.
(Formerly titled “Major Issues in South Asian History”) This course offers a sweeping survey of Indian history from its ancient civilizations to the formation of the modern nation-states of South Asia. Particular attention is put on the changing conditions of everyday life, the development of religious thought and practice, the evolution of political ideology and action, and the making of India’s diverse social orders across time. HIST 273 will introduce students to the methods of historical practice, including primary-source analysis, historical writing, library and research skills, and public history.
This course studies the history of the Islamic world in its global dimensions and contexts. It considers the emergence of an Islamic polity in seventh-century Arabia, the rise of the caliphate to encompass a diverse empire, and the global diffusion of Muslim states, societies, and diasporas. It is not a course about Islamic theology or the religious practices of Muslims but rather explores the formation of Islamic states and institutions from a historical perspective. In this way, it seeks to move away from viewing Islam as a monolithic, timeless entity and instead explores its historical pathways without privileging any single narrative or viewpoint. Ultimately, the course asks how useful the category of “Islam” is to understanding the global past. Beyond this specific content, this course will introduce students to the methods of historical practice, including primary-source analysis, historical writing, library and research skills, and public history. HIST 280 will introduce students to the methods of historical practice, including primary-source analysis, historical writing, library and research skills, and public history.
The History of Violence
This History Honours Tutorial offers a conceptual engagement with the role of organized violence in history. While pervasive and ever-present in the historical record, violence is more often simply taken for granted than critically examined and conceptualized. We ask whether violence has a logic (or, perhaps, agency) of its own, how it functioned in different historical situations, whether there are different qualities of violence depending on who it wielded by, and how our understanding of our own world is in many ways rooted in our changing relationship to violence.
The course falls roughly into three parts. The first part builds the foundations by looking at the pre-history of violence and engaging with different theories of violence. The second part looks at violence in relationship to the state: violence by the state (warfare), violence against the state (insurgencies and revolutions), and violence within the state (civil wars).The final part looks at a series of case-studies of non-state violent enterprises—pirates, street gangs, the mafia, and terrorists—to test our concepts and grapple with the thorny issue of legitimacy.
Parallel to our collective work in class, you will be developing a research project of your own design, from proposal to prospectus, draft, presentations, and final text. You will receive guidance and feedback at every stage and be able to explore in depth a particular theme or case-study that deepens our understanding of the role of violence in history and historiography.