'The Jewel in the Crown': India and the Making of Imperial Britain - HIST5103

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Spring Term 5 30 (15) Aparajita Mukhopadhyay checkmark-circle


Often described as the 'Jewel in the Crown', British India played a key role (economic, strategic, military) in the expansion and consolidation of British Empire. In the 18th century India had been a territory held by the English East India Company; by the mid-19th century India became a crown colony and an integral part of the British Empire for reasons that included both resources and a role in enhancing imperial prestige.

Focussing mainly on the nineteenth century, this module explores the processes through which India became a colony and its broader impact on the British Empire. More specifically, the purpose of the module is to impart in students a critical understanding of the relationship between India and the British Empire, especially the ways in which India influenced imperial policies (social, economic) in both metropolitan Britain and in the wider British dominions and colonies. In short, this module offers a survey of the complex, long and historically consequential relation between India and the British Empire.


Contact hours

Total contact hours = 30
Total private study hours = 270
Total study hours = 300

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:
Essay (4,500 words) 50%
Primary Source Analysis (1,500 words) 25%
Gobbet Analysis (500 words) 10%
Book/Article Review (1,500 words) 15%

Reassessment methods:
100% coursework

Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices.
The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages (https://kent.rl.talis.com/index.html).

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Appreciate the main themes of the history of the British Empire in the nineteenth century.
2 Demonstrate a critical understanding of key concepts and developments in the period, including but not limited to the expansion of British colonial control in India; India's transition from a possession held by the English East India Company to being a 'crown colony' in 1858; and role of British India in further consolidation of the British Empire.
3 Demonstrate a critical understanding of the range of causal factors that brought about the British imperial expansion in India and the intersections between history of colonial India and British Imperial History.
4 Appreciate the significance of both continuity and change in imperial history.
5 Demonstrate a critical understanding of the impact of the colonial control over India on both the shape of the British Empire, including the politics, economy and society in the nineteenth and early twentieth century.
6 Demonstrate a critical understanding of key historiographical debates and approaches relating to the study of the history of colonial India and the British Empire against a broader global canvas.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Effectively communicate ideas and arguments.
2 Demonstrate their ability to present ideas in written work in both essays and in smaller assignments, as well as critically reflect on their work and the development of their transferrable skills.
3 Demonstrate their ability to analyse, synthesise and precis secondary and primary literature.
4 Demonstrate their ability to work independently.
5 Demonstrate their ability to produce work for a deadline.


  1. Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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