Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

Centre for
Asian and

Student Advisor


Department of South Asian History

An integral part of the South Asia Institute from its inception, the Department of History offers students a range of coursework on premodern to contemporary history at the BA and MA levels. All courses offer an understanding of South Asian pasts grounded within a global framework. The special focus of the Department is the late colonial period, with particular emphasis on the experience of colonialism and the dynamics of anticolonialism in South Asia. The department extends beyond traditional historical methodology – particularly that based around the textual archive, which is of limited value to understanding South Asian pasts – to offer training in interdisciplinary and multisensory approaches to research, with a strong emphasis on visual and material culture and increasingly, the findings of Sound Studies. Given the recent limitations on travel and accessing archival collections, there is also a strong emphasis on digital research methods. Teaching at the BA and MA levels involves extensive source analysis, including visual materials held in the heidICON database, grounded against the latest scholarly research in South Asian Studies.

Regular courses include:

  • An Introduction to South Asia’s Twentieth Century
  • Premodern South Asia (in German)
  • Histories of the Body in Colonial South Asia (in German)
  • Violence, Nonviolence and Anticolonialism
  • Multisensory Histories: Archives and Methods in South Asian Studies
  • Manifestoes for Modern South Asia
  • Gender and Sexuality in Colonial South Asia
  • Revisiting Civil Disobedience
  • Technology and Modernity in South Asia
  • Animals and Agency in Colonial South Asia
  • Colonialism, resistance and its afterlifes
  • Histories of Photography in South Asia
  • Histories of Censorship: Obscenity, Blasphemy and Sedition in Colonial South Asia
  • India in Germany, Germany in India: A history of Entanglements (in German)
  • Emergency, Development, and Rural Reform in South Asia (1880-1960).

With access to one of the finest South Asian library collections in Europe, an impressive suite of language teaching programs, and the extensive expertise of the Professors and scholars of the South Asia Institute and CATS, as well the Institute’s visiting fellows, the Department offers students a vibrant environment for the pursuit of learning and research.

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