HIST398-21S1 (C) Semester One 2021

Elephants and Empires: An Environmental History of Ancient to Modern India

30 points

Start Date: Monday, 22 February 2021
End Date: Sunday, 27 June 2021
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 7 March 2021
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 14 May 2021


This course emphasises the human/animal relationship as a primary factor in the environmental history of India. It focusses particularly on the environmental factors of disease, climate and health among both humans and animals in the shaping of India's history from ancient to modern times.

An exciting new course exploring the relationships between humans and animals in making India’s history.

The overall aim of the course it to provide students with a fascinating and challenging introduction to the ecological history of India, particularly the role of the human/animal relationship in shaping India’s history, and to develop skills needed for further historical study, further inter-disciplinary research into environmental, human/animal and ecological history and transfer into the work environment.

Learning Outcomes

  • On successful completion of the course students will be able to:
  • Communicate insights into the historiography of environmental change in India and relate India’s history to other global historiographical work.
  • Discuss the contribution of human/animal relationships in the development of political structures including empires, kingdoms and colonies in India
  • Discuss class and caste as factors affecting human experience of and engagement with the Indian environment.
  • Discuss the human/animal relationship as fundamental to the construction of caste and class hierarchy in Indian history.
  • Analyse and discuss appropriate primary and secondary sources, including historiographical debates.
  • Demonstrate historical insights into Indian environmental history in both written and oral form.
    The student will also have developed Generic/Transferable Skills including:
  • The ability to analyse complex material from a variety of sources and to communicate the results verbally and in written form.
  • The ability to both follow instruction and to work independently
  • The ability to engage appropriately with a range of people in small group discussion


Any 30 points at 200 level from HIST, or
any 60 points at 200 level from the Schedule V of the BA.


Timetable 2021

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 10:00 - 11:00 Meremere 105 Lecture Theatre
22 Feb - 4 Apr
26 Apr - 6 Jun
Lecture B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Thursday 11:00 - 12:00 Link 309 Lecture Theatre
22 Feb - 4 Apr
26 Apr - 6 Jun
Tutorial A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Thursday 17:00 - 18:00 Rehua 429
22 Feb - 4 Apr
26 Apr - 6 Jun

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Jane Buckingham

Textbooks / Resources

Image: Elephant and mahout from the Princely States on parade as part of the Delhi Durbar, 1903. (British Library)

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,905.00

International fee $8,000.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Humanities and Creative Arts .

All HIST398 Occurrences

  • HIST398-21S1 (C) Semester One 2021