HISTORY 195 - The Writing of History
Fall 2022, Section 003 - Law and Everyday Life in Colonial and Postcolonial Societies
Instruction Mode: Section 003 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: History (HISTORY)
Department: LSA History
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Details

Credits:
4
Requirements & Distribution:
FYWR
Waitlist Capacity:
unlimited
Other Course Info:
This course may not be included in a History major. F.
Repeatability:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

Description

“Everybody is involved in law. It’s not just elites; everybody is in it, and everybody’s making it.” 
(Welke and Hartog 2009, p. 635)

Historians of colonialism have shown how modern European colonial governments used the rhetoric of the “rule of law” to justify their conquests and legitimize their continued occupation of colonized territories. “Law and everyday life in colonial and postcolonial societies” is a first year writing course in which we will investigate what we mean by the rule of law by focusing on the case of colonial India. The purpose of the course is to think critically and historically about the role of law in people’s everyday lives in colonial and postcolonial societies, as both an enabling and a dis-enabling tool of social justice and empowerment. We will examine concepts such as colonial difference, the underlying racial ideologies behind colonial laws, and the ways in which these laws transformed caste and gender hierarchies in colonial and postcolonial India. Further, we will interrogate the persistence, and in many ways, sharpening of existing caste, gender, and class hierarchies despite the prevalence of progressive laws that guarantee constitutional safeguards, and fundamental rights in postcolonial India. By critically engaging with primary and secondary sources, and developing our ideas through the process of writing, we will interrogate Welke and Hartog’s assertion to ask: does “everybody” have the same relationship to the law, and the power to make or change it? 

The course begins with a broad overview of concepts such as rule of law, colonialism, cultural difference, and the ways in which legal processes contributed to the formation of the colonial state – at the level of high politics as well as everyday state-making. From processes of state formation we will move our focus to “histories from below” to examine the ways in which people encountered and experienced law in their everyday lives. Legal histories use different kinds of archival sources that go beyond specific laws and regulations. Over the course of the semester we will critically analyze different primary sources such as newspaper articles, literature, and film alongside case law and official sources. These sources will help us imagine, understand, and unpack the nineteenth and twentieth century colonial legal worlds, and we will investigate how caste, gender, and racial ideologies shaped people’s everyday experiences with colonial laws and vice-versa. Specifically, we will learn strategies on how to read primary sources, such as reading “against (or along) the grain,” in order to see what is not apparent on our first reading. We will also explore effective strategies for reading and analyzing secondary sources. 

Better reading practices contribute to developing creative writing styles, and in the course we will explore writing in different genres for a varied audience through assignments that include a book review, film review, journalistic writing, storytelling, legal writing, and a research paper. 

Course Requirements:

You will be asked to maintain a writing journal throughout the course in order to see how your writing style develops, your strengths as writers, and the challenges you encounter in the process. Every week you are required to post two discussion questions on the readings, and occasionally submit brief responses which will be considered low-stakes writing. One of the days in the week has been reserved for in-class writing of either low-stakes assignments or for drafting graded assignments. These sessions will provide you another opportunity to discuss writing concerns with me, outside of the usual office hours. Before the final submission of each assignment, you will participate in peer-review workshops where you will get feedback on your drafts. For the research paper, you are required to submit a research proposal, and at least 2 drafts before the final submission. 

Intended Audience:

First-year students

Schedule

HISTORY 195 - The Writing of History
Schedule Listing
001 (REC)
 In Person
11314
Closed
0
1Y1
5Enrollment Management
5
MW 1:00PM - 2:30PM
Note: Section 001: This class will be held in the Clement Library.
002 (REC)
 In Person
11315
Closed
0
3Y1
6Enrollment Management
4
WF 10:00AM - 11:30AM
003 (REC)
 In Person
18554
Closed
0
2Y1
6Enrollment Management
5
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM
004 (REC)
 In Person
27307
Closed
0
1Y1
6Enrollment Management
6
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM

Textbooks/Other Materials

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Syllabi

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CourseProfile (Atlas)

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CourseProfile (Atlas)