Cultural and Political History of Contemporary South Asia
Actual Course Taken: 2010 Winter - HIST175C-1 Special Topics in Contemporary Indian History: Muslim Reformation? Islam, Modernity, and Empire in British India. Structure: Midterm: 50% , Final: 50% Midterm: You get to pick one question from weeks 1-5. He provides 5 questions or so and you need to answer one. His syllabus is all online with all online readings organized week by week in themes. He gives a week's advance for a 5-10 page paper. I left it till last minute (Same as I did in the other class) and received a B+ Final: He gave us one "theme" question everyone had to do and then a question chosen from 3 possibilities. He gave the questions 5 days in advance and it was on the spot bluebook. I received a B+ Overall, he is a good lecturer, he is interesting but there are NO slides or no overarching textbook to refer to. The readings every week are helpful and you don't need to read every one(Just the weeks you choose to write about). That is good because there were some weeks (Like the Christian missionaries in British India) that did not interest me. I've taken him twice, each time got a B but I would take him again. It does not demand much of you, and if you're into the subject take it! Even if you're not interested in the subject his passion and English accent will make you into it.
Spring 2019 - I am a grad student who attended this class on the recommendation of a friend and enrolled immediately after the first lecture. I admit to generally being uninterested in history, yet this class is one of the best that I have taken hands down. The lectures were always engaging, often challenged/changed my opinion on beliefs I previously held, and every argument made by prof. Lal held solid ground. I would recommend it for anyone who is interested in South Asia or is of South Asian descent as the class sheds light on a lot of intertwined history and culture that makes the region, and its people, what it is today.