This course is discontinued

HIS2172 – Kings, Gods and Temples in Pre-Colonial South Asia

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

The course deals with state formation in pre-colonial India/South Asia, focusing on the nature of political ideology and structures of administration. We will examine the relationship between developments in religious institutions and modes of worship and processes of state formation.

Another topic is the relationship between social formations (clans and castes), ideologies and the development of state administration. We will discuss Buddhist, Hindu and Islamic regimes by reading the work of both historians and anthropologists.

Supporting courses:

Learning outcome

Students will learn the basic outlines of social, religious and political development in pre-colonial India/South Asia. They will learn how one can analyze religion and politics in relation to each other and acquire an appreciation for the wide varieties of religious and political forms that existed in pre-colonial South Asia. Students will also develop skills in reading critically, thinking independently and writing clearly.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

General university entrance requirements.

Recommended previous knowledge

30 study points from either HF- or SV-faculty.

A good ability to read and understand English is required for this course.


This course is given in the form of seminars (24 h).

Accepted compulsory activity/assignment is valid the two following semesters during which the course is taught. Exceptions may occur if the form of evaluation alters, if the tuition plan alters significantly, or other substantial adjustments are made.


During the course, students will write a paper which will receive comments from the teacher. The paper will be handed out the second time of class, and handed in the eigth. Normally all students will be assigned the same task. The length of the paper should be approximately six pages (where one page is estimated to hold 2300 characters without spacing). The paper must be approved before the exam; otherwise students will be barred from taking the exam. The final assessment is a 3-days take-home examination.

3-days take-home examination: The students have three days to write an assignment. The length of the assignment should be 6-10 standard pages (2300 characters without spacing). The exam assignment will be published on the current semesterpage.

The exam is to be handed in in Fronter. The file must be submitted in .pdf-format and we stress that the student is responsible for making sure that the files are readable. If you need assistance in converting your file into .pdf, we recommend that you follow these instructions. The file must be named with your candidate number (not your name) and the course code (HIS2172).

In the process of uploading the file containing your exam, you will be asked to confirm that the work you are submitting is your own and that you are aware of the University of Oslo's policy concerning academic integrity and cheating. To qualify for uploading you must answer these questions affirmatively.

It is not possible to follow this course without admission to the course since the form of assessment is integrated in the teaching of this course.

Formerly given exams

Explanations and appeals

Students can request an explanation of their grades. This must happen within a week after the announcement date by sending an e-mail to The candidate must provide their candidate number, e-mail address and telephone number. The examiner decides whether the explanation will be given in writing or orally. The explanation shall normally be given within two weeks after your request.

Grade appeals or complaints concerning formal examination errors - the candidate may appeal their grade or complain about formal examination errors on written exams within three weeks after the result has been announced. If the candidate has asked for an explanation, the deadline is three weeks after the candidate received their explanation. The complaint must contain an explanation of why the student complaints. If the candidate has received a written explanation for the grade, it must be attached. It is recommended that the following form is used: bokmål / nynorsk / english (pdf). The appeal must be sent or delivered to the Faculty of Humanities for registration. You will find the address on the form. The complaint will then be submitted to the responsible department for further processing.
For more information see the Faculty of Humanities website.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Periodic evaluation


Students’ own work can be in either English or Norwegian.

Facts about this course






This course is currently not offered.

Teaching language