History 103F.002

Fall 2012
Day & Time: 
W 2-4P
Gita V. Pai is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. Her general field of research and teaching interests concern the political, social, and cultural history of seventeenth to twenty-first century South Asia, particularly India. She received her MA and PhD in South Asian Studies from the University of California, Berkeley.

Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948) is one of twentieth century’s most influential political activist and thinker. A significant figure in India’s struggle for independence from British rule, he is also a famous pacifist who inspired peace and civil rights movements globally.  This seminar explores Gandhi and the nature of his unconventional and controversial politics.  It charts Gandhi’s life and career against events in London, South Africa, and India.  It examines the evolution and application of his religious and philosophic thought, and his attitudes toward the economy, western civilization, and modernity.  Gandhi’s influence on Indian politics and society will be assessed and his identity as the champion of non-violent revolution will be examined since his death in 1948.


This seminar involves critical reading and discussion of a variety of historical, political, and philosophical writings by and about Gandhi.  Gandhi’s ideas and relevance will be revisited with reference to historian’s interpretations of his life and work, as well as writings of his critics.