"India a nation! What an apotheosis! Last comer to the drab nineteenth-century sisterhood! Waddling in at this hour of the world to take her seat!" Fielding mocked again. And Aziz in an awful rage danced this way and that, not knowing what to do, and cried: "Down with the English anyhow. That's certain. Clear out, you fellows, double quick, I say. We may hate one another, but we hate you most... If it's fifty-five hundred years we shall be rid of you, yes, we shall drive every blasted Englishman into the sea, and then"—he rode against him furiously—"and then," he concluded, half kissing him, "you and I shall be friends…"
—E.M. Forster, A Passage to India

IT has been said that India is to Britain what the Old West is to America: a romantic expression of the vision, energy, and frontier spirit of a younger nation. Thus, the archetypal myth of empire, with its tales of adventure and accomplishment, has long characterized the writing of Indian history under British rule. The centuries-long relationship between Britain and India is one of the great trans-cultural phenomena of modern history and India has long been styled the "Jewel in the Crown" of the British Empire.

The period known as the British Raj, which lasted eighty-nine years and encompassed the pinnacle and decline of the British presence in the Indian subcontinent, is today still mired in controversy and remains the subject of lively historical debates. What were the driving ideologies behind the Raj? What were its achievements and failures? How did the British view themselves in India? How did they view Indian culture and how pervasive was their control over Indian society? Finally, how did the British experience in India help shape the identities of present-day South Asia and Great Britain?

This seminar traces, both chronologically and thematically, the various and often competing strands of British control over the Indian subcontinent from the great mutiny of 1857 until the independence of India and Pakistan in 1947. The scope of the readings and discussions will include the ideological, political, technological, social, psychological and cultural dimensions of the British Raj. The first half of the course will be devoted to reading various primary and secondary sources on British India. Through group discussion, students will become acquainted with the most significant debates and historical schools of thought about the British Empire in South Asia. The second half of the course will be devoted to individual research and presentations as students prepare their papers.

David Campion
Pamplin Associate Professor of History
Miller 409 | MSC 41

Lewis & Clark College
0615 SW Palatine Hill Road
Portland, Oregon 97219 USA

Tel: 503.768.7435
Fax: 503.768.7418
Email: campion@lclark.edu

Class Hours:
TuTh 1:50-3:20
Miller 205

Office Hours:
TuTh 9:00-11:00
(or by appointment)
Miller 409

Course Requirements

Schedule of Classes

Research Paper Guidelines

The British Raj in Film

The British Raj Online

Prof. Campion's Other Courses

Top (left to right):
An Anglo-Indian couple at dinner, W.H. Jackson, 1895
Mahatma Gandhi on the steps of 10 Downing Street, 1931
Elephant Procession; Coronation Durbar of Queen-Empress Victoria, 1877
Queen Victoria, 1882, photograph by Alexander Bassano
Victoria Terminus, Bombay; G.B.V. Ghoni, c.1910

Bottom (left to right):
Lord and Lady Curzon at a tiger shoot, 1902 © Ernest Benn Ltd, London
Edward Hale, Gloucestershire Regiment advancing to the Attack, Northwest Frontier, India, 1897 © National Army Museum
Pear's Soap advertisement, Britain, 1934
High Court, Bombay; Clifton & Co, c.1900
Sir Hari Singh, Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir State; D.A. Chand, 1894

Created by campion@lclark.edu | Updated February 2016