India and the world: Through the Ages

Home/ India and the world: Through the Ages
Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreHRM2AM101/HRM2CP1014

Semester and Year Offered:Semester -I (MAHM/MCPHM)

Course Coordinator and Team: Dr. Sima Yadav

Email of course coordinator:syadav[at]aud[dot]ac[dot]in

Pre-requisites: None


'India and the world: Through the Ages' is the foundation coursefor MAHM and MCPHM. The syllabus is a building block for the students coming from various streams. It gives necessary conceptual clarity to the tangible and intangible heritageoftheworld. The course focuses on a multidisciplinary approach and intends to help students appreciate the various aspects of world civilizations and their evolution incultural heritage, i.e., art and architecture, language and literature, religion and philosophy, science and technology. Through this course, students understand diverse world heritage from multidisciplinary perspectives. They develop an appreciation of the interrelations and connectionsbetween people and their ideas. The intention is to understand how humans perceive, relate, receive and experience the world around them through scientific knowledge and ideas.

Course Objectives:

Studying world civilizationshelpsusbetter understandHow and Why the World got to be the way it is. It gives attention to the history and heritage of nations and regions and their shared past. Studying world heritage helps students for future studies andtheir international exposure and experiences. It helps get them ready for the roles of Heritage Managers and custodians during this age of globalization.

Course Outcomes:

On successful completion of the course:

  • Students will be acquainted with the different historical investigation (methods) used by historians and archaeologists to understand the human past of varying land and people
  • Students will acquire or improve advanced critical reading and thinking skills.
  • They will also understand how societies and cultures are different from each other. It will train them to develop a multidisciplinary approach to understand the various aspects of heritage froma world perspective and the diversity within their traditions.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules

The courseis divided into five chronological sequencesand cultural themes. The criterion for these categories is the scale in time, geographical space, and subject matter of the topics given in the syllabus.

Module I: The Beginning to the first Civilisations

  • Introduction to Cultures and Civilisations.
  • Evolution of Ancient Civilisations: Egypt, Mesopotamia, India, Greek, and China.
  • Evolution of Cultural Heritage.

Ancient civilizations refer to the first settled and stable communities that became the basis of later states, nations, and empires.These ancient civilizations were pioneers in many of today's most significant achievements. It focuses on studying the cultural legacy and geographical settings of Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Indian sub-continent, China, and Minoan and Mycenaeans civilizations.

Reading List:

  • Robert J. Wenke, 1980, Pattern in Prehistory, Oxford.
  • Clark Kenneth, 1969, Civilization, Penguin.
  • Burn, Ralph, Leaver (ed), 2011, World Civilization, Vol. I-III, New York.
  • J. Hawkes, 1973, The First Great Civilizations, London.
  • B.R. Allchin,1968, The Birth of Indian Civilization: India and Pakistan before 500 B.C., Cambridge.
  • B. B Lal, 2009, How Deep are the Roots Of Indian Civilisation, New Delhi,Aryan Books International
  • B. B Lal,1997, The Earliest Civilisation Of South Asia, New Delhi, Aryan Books International
  • Arthur Cotterill, 1994, Ancient China, D.K. Publishing

Module II: Towards Organized States and culture

  • Evolution of States: Persia, Greek, and Rome.
  • Development ofstates: India and China.
  • Growth of States: Meso America and Latin America.
  • Evolution of cultural Heritage.

It gives insightinto the study of culture's legacy and geographical settings of 'NewWorld' civilizations like Maya, Aztec, and Inca that developed in the regions of Meso- America and Latin America.

It further focuses on the development and evolution of the regions towards organized states and empires. The key areas arethe development ofthe Persian Empire,Classical Greece and Hellenistic culture, the establishment of the Roman empire in the Mediterranean world that changed the course of history.

It will focus on theevolution ofJanapada and Mahajanapadasand howthe establishment ofthe Mauryan and Kushan empires influenced South Asia and Central Asia politically and culturally.

The development of Shang, Chow, and Chin states in China and surrounding regions laid the foundation of shared heritage for the Eastern world.

Reading List:

  • Anthony Andrews, 1971, Greek Society, Penguins.
  • Michael D. Coe, 1992, Breaking the Maya Code, Penguin
  • J. K. Fair Bank, 1992 China, London
  • Colin Wells, 1995, The Roman Empire, London.
  • Sandra Newman,2009, The Inca Empire, The Children's Press
  • B. B. Lal, 2019, The March Towards Urbanisation in the Ganga Basin: From the Mesolithic to the Mahjanapadas, New Delhi, Aryan Books Internationals

Module III: Conflict and Interaction

  • Break down of Roman Empire.
  • Byzantine Empire.
  • Feudal Age in Europe
  • Post-Mauryan states in India.
  • Evolution of Cultural Heritage.

It tells us about the breakdown of states and empires in various parts of the world.

In the west, the decline of the Roman Empire ended the ancient world, and Middle Ages were born. The west fell into turmoil; however, while much was lost, the western world still owes a debt to the Roman heritage. The key themes are the barbarian invasions and their impact on the world of the west,the emergence of the Byzantine empire, and the origin and consolidation of Christianity from ordinary people's religion to state patronaged faith and the cultural heritage associated with them.

The key theme is the study of the emergence of post-Mauryan states and the cultural heritage of India.

Reading List:

  • E. Gibbon,1946, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Penguin.
  • J. J. Norwich,1998, A Short History of Byzantium, Penguin.
  • N.E. Cantor, 1994, The Civilization of the Middle Ages, New York.
  • F. L. Ganshof,1996, Feudalism, University of Toronto Press
  • Marc Bloch, 2017, Feudal Society 2 vols, New Delhi, Aakar Books
  • Perry Anderson, 2013, Passage From Antiquity to Feudalism, Verso Publications
  • R C Majumdar, 2018, The Age of Imperial Unity,and The Classical Age,BhartiyaVidhyaBhawan

Module IV: The Cultural Efflorescence

  • Consolidation of State and Culture in India, China.
  • The emergence of EuropeanTrade, Towns, and Manorial systems.
  • Rise of Islamic Religion, States and Culture.
  • Evolution of Cultural Heritage.

The period is the golden age for India, China, and the Islamic world. The key themes are:

The emergence of the Gupta empire and post-Gupta period and the consolidation of Indian culture and traditions still influenced nearby South Asia and Southeast Asia.

In China, under the Han dynasty known for its long reign and achievements. The development of Confucianism and Buddhism as the state religion, the opening of the silk trade route to Europe permanently altered the course of Chinese history. Chinese language, art, and scientific inventions like silk, paper, glass still influence us.

In west Asia emergence of Islam has had a profound global impact since itsorigin in the seventh century. During this period, the Islamic world was the center of intellectual activities, with Baghdad serving as the capital for philosophers, mathematicians, and scientists. Many Islamic ideas and concepts spread across Asia, Africa, and Europe. Islam directly influenced society and altered the course of history and today's contemporary world developments.

In Europe, the decline of Feudalism ended the dark ages. The period marked the new burst of energy and growth through the revival of trade and towns. The period also marked the expansion of social and cultural interactions that brought new ideas and goods into Europe.

Reading List:

  • Henri Pirenne, 2014, Medieval Cities: Their Origin and the Revival of Trade, Princeton University Press
  • Henri Pirenne,2005, Social and Economic History of Medieval Europe, Routledge
  • RomilaThaper, 2002, Early India: From the Origin to 1300 A.D.
  • Peter Mansfield, 2000, The Arabs, Penguins
  • Ira. M. Lapidus,2002, A History of Islamic Societies, Cambridge University Press
  • W. H. Mcneill Ed. 1984, The Islamic World, University of Chicago Press
  • J. .K. Fair Bank 1989, East Asia, Traditions and Transformations, London

Module V: Towards the Modern World

  • Ottoman Empire and West Asia.
  • Renaissance, Reformation, Counter-Reformation, Oversea Discoveries.
  • The medieval period in India
  • Evolution of Cultural Heritage

It emphasizes the making of modern Europe throughthe Renaissance, Reformation, Counter-Reformation, and Overseas Discoveries in the West. The Renaissance is knownfor bridging the gap between Middle Ages and Modern-day civilization. It helps spread new scientific discoveries, allowing scholars and thinkers to share their works and ideas and learn from each other. These ideas and discoveries have shaped modern economies and societies. These discoveries undoubtedly changed history by opening up European imperial powers to colonize and conquer the three continents.

In west Asia, the Ottoman Empire emerged as one of the mightiest and longest-lasting dynasties in the world afterthe Roman empire. This Islamic run power ruled large parts of West Asia, Eastern Europe, and North Africa. Ottoman empire is known for its many contributions to art and culture.

In the Indian Subcontinent, the period marked the beginning of Islamic rule, which permanently influenced South Asia's social, cultural, religious, and political fabric.

Reading List:

  • Douglas Arthur Howard,2017, A History of Ottoman Empire, Cambridge University Press
  • Lord Kinross,1979, Ottoman Centuries, William Morrow Publishers
  • J. H. Plumb,1982, Renaissance, Penguins
  • Jacob Burckhardt, 1990, The civilization of Renaissance in Italy, Penguin
  • UlinkaRublack, 2017, Reformation Europe, Cambridge University Press.
  • Kenneth Pletcher, 2013, The Age of Exploration: From Christopher Colombus to Ferdinand Magellan, Britannica Educational Publication.
  • Satish Chandra, 2007, A History of Medieval India, Orient Black Swan
  • Satish Chandra, 2019, Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals,Delhi Sultanat (1206-1526), New Delhi
  • Irfan Habib, 2008, Medieval India: The study of a Civilisation, National Book Trust

Assessment Details with weightage:

  • Take-Home Assignments: 40%
  • Class Presentation of Assignments: 20%
  • End Semester exam: 40%


  • Clark Kenneth, 1969, Civilizations, T.V. documentary series.
  • M. Savelle,1957, A History of World Civilization, New York.
  • A. Toynbee, 1934-1961.A Study of History, (12 vols), London.
  • R.C.Majumdar, 1951-56,The History and Culture of the Indian People, Bhartiya Vidhya Bhawan, 11 vols, Bombay
  • B.R. Allchin, 1997, Origin of a Civilisation: The Prehistory and Early Archaeology of South Asia, London
  • B BLal,2002, Saraswati Flows on the Continuity of Indian Culture, New Delhi, Aryan Books International
  • F. Braudel,1963,History of World Civilization, Penguin.
  • Arthur Cotterill,2000, AnEncyclopaedia Classical Civilizations, Penguin.
  • Arthur Cotterill, 1999, The Ultimate Encyclopaedia of Mythology, Lorenzo Books.
  • G. Roux,1993,Ancient Iraq, Penguins.
  • H. Kees, 1978,Ancient Egypt: A Cultural Topography, London.
  • Nigel Davies,1991, TheAncient Kingdoms of Mexico,Penguin.
  • FriedrichHeer, 1961, The Medieval World, London.
  • Friedrich Heer, Volumes Published under series titledLost Civilization.
  • J. H. Mundy,2000, Europe in the High Middle Ages, London.
  • Hourly History,2020, Aztec Civilisations: A History from Beginning to End, (Meso-American History), New York
  • J. M. Roberts,1997,History of Europe, Penguin.
  • E. Hobsbawm,1998, The Age of Revolution, New Delhi
  • E. Hobsbawm,1989, The Age of Empire, New Delhi.
  • E. Hobsbawm,1996,The Age of Capital, New Delhi.
  • E. Hobsbawm,History of Humanity, Vol-I-IV, UNESCO Publication.
  • H. G. Wells,1920,An outline of World History, Penguin.
  • UpinderSingh,2008,A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India: From the Stone Age tothe 12th Century, Pearson.
  • Upinder Singh, 2016, The Idea of Ancient India; essays on Religion, Politics, and Archaeology, SAGE Publication
  • John Key, 2010, India: A History, Harper Press
  • Irfan Habib, 2001-2020, People's History of India series, Columbia University Press
  • Samuel P. Huntington, 1996,Clash of Civilisations, Random House
  • Scott Parkinson ed. The impact of World Civilisation on World History
  • Yuval Noah Harari,2011, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Harper Collins
  • Yuval Noah Harari 2015, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, Penguin
  • Yuval Noah Harari 2018, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, Vintage
  • Yuval Noah Harari 2021, Sapiens: A Graphic History, Spiegel and Grau, Jonathan Cape

Note: Additional References to Books, chapters, and Articles, audio-visual materialwill be provided during lectures.