Cities and the Making of Modern South Asia, c. 1750-1950

Module code: HS3697

At the dawn of the 21st century South Asia is at the epicentre of a new global ‘urban revolution’. It is estimated that by the middle of the current decade the region will account for five of the world’s dozen largest urban agglomerations. Furthermore, according to a United Nations report, there may well be over 800 million South Asians living in towns and cities by 2030.

This module will explore the historical processes that laid the foundations for this extraordinary development. It will particularly focus on the role of cities in the history of modern South Asia from the mid-18th century, when the subcontinent became a part of the evolving British Empire, to the mid-20th century, when colonial rule formally ended.

Some of the questions you’ll ask are: how did colonialism transform the urban landscape of South Asia? How were these cities governed by the British? When did South Asian cities acquire their modern form? How did South Asians imagine and experience urban modernity? What impact did the Partition have on South Asian cities?