A History of India

Ref: C3672841

The course will begin by looking closely at the decline of the Kushan dynasty of northern India, and the subsequent emergence of the Gupta dynasty. We will consider the various theories regarding its origins and early expansion, as well as considering its cultural and imperial growth under its first emperors. In particular a detailed consideration of the reign of Chandragupta II will be made and the successes achieved in the unification of Indian culture during his time. We will go on to look at the wider cultural and political impact of the Guptas across India and its outlying regions (including social, artistic, literary and religious developments), as well as considering the condition and persistence of the Tamil kingdoms of the south. We will conclude by considering the importance of the Kidarites and other "White" Huns, and their potential for the destabilisation of northern India, as well as other "native" factors threatening the decline of the Gupta dynasty.

Course aim

This course will examine the emergence of the "golden age" of early medieval India under the Gupta dynasty, and look at its achievements in unifying the Indian continent.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of theories accounting for the decline of Buddhism in India
  • Show an awareness of the continuation of Tamil culture and kingdoms in southern India
  • Provide an account of theories accounting for the rise of the Gupta Dynasty by c.300 AD
  • Provide an account of the emergence of the early Gupta kings

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • India: A History J Keay (Harper Press 2010)

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course

Download full Course information sheet

A History of India


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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