The Jewel and the Crown: India and the Making of the British Empire module (HY32002)

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Module code


  • Level 3
  • Semester 1
  • 24 places
  • History - School of Humanities
  • Coursework 100%


This module will expand your understanding of the British empire generally and of colonial India specifically and enable the students to critically read the secondary literature on the history of colonial India. It will provide a broad understanding of social changes and economic upheavals that India experienced in the nineteenth century.

It will also encourage you to read and evaluate primary sources (in English) and use them in formulating oral and written analyses.

Key themes will include the following:

  • The Empire of Trade: The East India Company
  • The Rebellion of 1857
  • Home rule in Ireland and India
  • Indirect rule in India and Africa
  • Public Health and the State in the Victorian Empire
  • India and the Technological Watershed
  • Urbanization and the 'Development Paradigm' in British India
  • Gandhi and anti-imperial struggle
  • Hindu Communalism, Political Islam and the Idea of India


Dr Nandini Bhattacharya


This module is assessed as follows:

  • Written Essay (35%)
  • Presentation (15%)
  • Research Essay (50%)


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Module Aims

This module will provide an overview of the British empire in India, analysing how a merchant company came to be in control of the largest landed empire in the modern world. It will trace key themes in the modern history of the Indian subcontinent and position them vis a vis fundamental changes within Britain itself. It will further provide an analysis of some the main themes in modern Indian historiography. This is a period of two hundred years which will map the global ramifications of colonial rule in India.

By the end of the module, students should have:

  • Developed the ability to analyse complex historical issues critically.
  • Developed further the ability to construct and sustain an argument, written and verbal, with clarity and rigour.
  • Developed further their skills in the critical analysis of qualitative historical data.¬†

Intended learning outcomes

  1. Knowledge and understanding: An understanding of the nature and development of Indian society under British rule during the period 1757-1947.
  2. Subject-specific practical and intellectual skills and attributes: A sound grasp of the key scholarly debates and controversies surrounding these changes.
  3. Transferable, employability and enterprise skills and attributes: Constructed extended written and oral arguments supported by relevant historical evidence.