Minor in Middle East and South Asian Studies - Empire, War, and Resistance in Sri Lanka HIST 3520   Empire, War, and Resistance in Sri Lanka
The official birth of the British Raj in South Asia is conventionally dated to 1857, following a rebellion of Indian soldiers working for the British East India Company. But the antecedents of the British Raj arguably have its roots in the island of Ceylon, more than half a century earlier. In this class, we will challenge the thesis that the Raj begins in India by studying the dynamics of empire, war, and resistance on the small island state of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in the Indian Ocean. No prior knowledge of the region is required, this course is meant to introduce students to the global history, politics, and conflicts that contoured the development of modern/colonial Ceylon, known today as “Sri Lanka.” We focus on the imperial conflicts that defined the period of British colonial rule (1802 – 1948), but towards the end of the class, emphasize how these historical events continue to impact post-colonial Sri Lanka in terms of ethnonationalist strife and Asian geopolitics. In so doing, part of the conceptual work of this course is to draw into contention the stability with which we think of the term “post” colonial in terms of states within the former British empire.
FORMAT: Lecture