Colonialism and How It Shapes Our World
6 weeks, starting 15th October
Saturdays (12pm-2pm) | PKR 4000
For Students | PKR 3000
What you'll learn
About this Course
This is an introductory course which will allow the students to survey key aspects of colonialism. Through the course of the six classes, we’ll touch upon several themes/aspects of colonialism which will help us better understand the nature of colonialism and its deep impact on our lives. it is hoped that by the end of the course, we’ll come to appreciate the deep bearing colonialism has on our present (and future) and its existence not as a story of the past but as a ghost still looming large over us in our present.
The course will cover the following concepts:
What is colonialism
This section will serve as an introduction to the course. We’ll try to answer two questions: a) why do we need to study/understand colonialism; b) where did colonialism emerge from; and c) what are the different types of colonial experiences?
The bloody roots of colonial rule
In this section, we’ll take a closer look at the violent processes which constituted colonialism, both at the onset and throughout it. We’ll try to answer three questions: a) how were the natives brought under colonial rule; b) how did the (colonial) state come to monopolize violence; and c) what does this tell us about the nature of colonialism?
The colonial state
In this section, we’ll think through the colonial state, what its features were, and how it differed from the models of governance (like empire) it took over from. We’ll try to answer three questions: a) what is a state; b) how were the colonial and precolonial ‘states’ different; and c) what does this tell us about the nature of colonialism?
Colonialism and Economic extraction
This section will survey a fundamental aspect of colonialism: economic extraction. We’ll try to answer three questions: a) why did the europeans colonize and what did they gain from it; b) who lost out because of this; and c) what does this tell us about the nature of colonialism?
In this section, we’ll explore the geographical aspect of colonialism. We’ll try to answer three questions: a) what do colonial geographies look like; b) what role do spaces play in perpetuating or inequality and injustices; and c) what does this tell us about the nature of colonialism?
Climate Change and Colonialism
This section will try to understand the deep bearing which colonialism has on our environments and our relationship with them. We’ll try to answer three questions: a) how has the environment been treated in colonial modernity; b) how does colonialism shape the impact environmental hazards have on certain classes/people; and c) what does this tell us about the nature of colonialism?
The shaping of law and religion
In this section, we’ll think about the transformation of law and religion during the colonial times, often in an interwoven fashion. We’ll try to answer three questions: a) how did the legal system transform during the colonial period; b) how did people’s experience of religion change in the colonial period; and c) what does this tell us about the nature of colonialism?
This section focuses on one of the key political ideology of the 20th century: nationalism. We’ll try to answer three questions: a) what is the relationship between colonialism and nationalism; b) has nationalism been able to deliver colonized people a viable alternative from colonial rule/ideology; and c) what does this tell us about the nature of colonialism?
In this section, we’d fundamentally be concerned with the relationship between the colonizer and the colonized, especially about the way the colonized subjects are governed. We’ll try to answer three questions: a) how the colonizer views the colonized; b) what has the role of the ‘middleman’ been; and c) what does this tell us about the nature of colonialism?
The colonized subject
Following on from the previous section, here we dive deeper into the colonized subject. Who is he/she? Is there just one type of a colonized subject or are they of diverse forms? Does race, gender, class etc. play a role in how colonialism is experienced? How does the colonized view the colonizer? And of course, we’ll tie it back to the question which has been with us from the start: what does this tell us about the nature of colonialism?
The psychology of colonialism
In this section, we’ll primarily explore the ways in which colonialism impacts the psychologies of the colonized. This section will hover over many of the points made in the previous classes and try to unravel the deeper impacts colonialism has on the psyches of colonized societies.
After surveying the various aspects of colonialism over the duration of the course, this section will attempt to conclude our discussions, asking from all of us the quintessential question: where do we go from here?
Mohid Ahsan recently graduated with a degree in History from LUMS, where he was Head of Research for the LUMS Historical Society, and took part in multiple public history initiative including one on the East Pakistan conflict and the making of Bangladesh. Passionate about making critical understandings of the world more accessible, Mohid believes that this course will allow students to understand the reality and challenges of being part of a postcolonial society better. He’s currently working at a research institute at Lahore.
Frequently Asked Questions
While references to colonialism and colonial rule are abundantly thrown around, there is a lack of knowledge about what exactly these things are and what they entail. This lack of knowledge is especially felt given our colonial past and the longstanding impact it has not only on our present but our futures.
Despite the apparent dearth of understanding of colonialism, there are people of all walks of life who want to learn more about it – its history, and the bearing that history has on us. But even they are bound by the limitation of their context: most of these histories are not readily accessible to them. Schools here teach histories which appear boring and out of touch with our reality, while professors who have the potential to teach this are too busy doing so within the walls of the university. In such a circumstance, it is of much importance to impart knowledge about colonialism which is both relevant and easy to understand and is done in a language and manner which attracts rather than alienate those who seek.
Yes, but there are a few conditions. You must complete all the assignments, have at least 75% attendance, and have scored reasonably well. This is just for us to ensure that you can grasp the fundamentals before we certify you.