This course is discontinued

HIS2417 – Politics, Poverty and Water in Post-colonial India

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

Those who follow news reporting on Asia will be familiar with the entrance of India into global political and economic spheres. They may also be aware that recent economic growth in India has not brought the vast numbers of urban and rural poor out of poverty. This course explores reasons for the persistence of high proportions of poor and very poor communities and groups in post-colonial India. A guiding question for the course is why electoral politics have been slow in promoting processes of what some observors call the “deepening of democracy” in India.

In approaching both political processes and rural political participation, the course uses as case studies two states in south India, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Economic growth and well-being in these two states is challenged by persistent and worsening water scarcity. Since south India has large semi-arid zones, the politics of access to water in south India is also a theme in the course.

The course combines an interest in Indian political culture and institutions with the desire to understand dynamics in political economy. The case studies from Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu provide opportunities to learn about political change in possibly the socially most complex part of the world.

Learning outcome

Students will learn basic components of political culture in an area of the world which has highly complicated social structures and a vast, mostly agricultural population. They will learn the kinds of political dynamics which are set in motion by the introduction of electoral politics in socially complex societies. They will also become acquanted with ways in which rural folk both cooperate and compete over vital resources, in this case, water. Students will build on their capacity to read critically, think independently, and write 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.


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 lectures and seminars (24 h).

Obligatory Essay: 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. It is the student's responsibility to find out if the essay has been accepted.

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.

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


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 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 (HIS2417).

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.

Formerly given exams

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.

Examination support material

No examination support material is allowed.

Language of examination

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

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

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.

Resit an examination

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


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

Periodic evaluation

Facts about this course






This course is currently not offered.

Teaching language