History and the Idea of India provides students with a wide-angle view of History’s methods, interpretive and narrative techniques, its philosophical predicates, political expediencies, and, importantly, its own historicity. In other words, the course orients students to the development of History as an academic discipline. Without this orientation, we believe that students are often left open to the risk of approaching the discipline un-reflexively, uncritically, and ‘un-historically’.
As indicated by the course title, ‘India,’ constitutes the illustrative frame — the relatable ground, so to speak — for students to engage the themes in the development of History as a form of knowledge. It needs to be clarified, however, that this is not a course on Indian history. Neither is it, in fullness of the term, a course on historiography. Both would look very different. While its framing is evidently closer to the latter, the goal of the course is to track the historical evolution of the discipline from the standpoint of ‘India’ and integrate this with select themes in metahistory.