HIST298-23S1 (C) Semester One 2023

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

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 20 February 2023
End Date: Sunday, 25 June 2023
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 5 March 2023
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 14 May 2023


This course considers the way humans have historically interacted with the land, water, plant and animal life in the Indian sub-continent and how these interactions shaped and were shaped by human kingdoms and empires from ancient to modern times.

This course offers a fascinating and challenging introduction to the study of some of the key issues in the environmental history of India. It develops skills needed for further study of the way human and environmental histories interrelate.

Image: Composite Elephant, Mughal Period.

Learning Outcomes

  • The overall aim of the course it to provide students with a fascinating and challenging introduction to the study of some of the key issues in the environmental history of India and to develop skills needed for further historical study, for further inter-disciplinary research into the relationships between people and the environment and for transfer into the work environment.

    On successful completion of the course students will be able to:
  • Communicate insights into the history of environmental change in Indian history
  • Discuss the contribution of human engagement with the environment to the development of political structures including empires, kingdoms and colonies in India
  • Discuss the impact of environmental and political change on peasant and tribal communities in Indian history
  • Discuss the role of human and animal relationships in the creation of elite and non-elite cultures in Indian history
  • Analyse and discuss appropriate primary and secondary sources.
  • Demonstrate historical insights into Indian environmental history in both written and oral form.

    Students 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
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

      Employable, innovative and enterprising

      Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.

      Biculturally competent and confident

      Students will be aware of and understand the nature of biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand, and its relevance to their area of study and/or their degree.

      Engaged with the community

      Students will have observed and understood a culture within a community by reflecting on their own performance and experiences within that community.

      Globally aware

      Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.


Any 15 points at 100 level in HIST or CLAS120, or
any 60 points at 100 level from the Schedule V of the BA.


Course Coordinator

Jane Buckingham


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Oral presentation 5% Tutorial Contribution 3 minute oral presentation
Essay 1 25% First Essay 1200 words excluding footnotes and bibliography
Essay 2 30% Second Essay 1500 words excluding footnotes and bibliography
Final exam 40% 2 hours

Please check the course Learn page for further details and updates.

Textbooks / Resources

Fisher, Michael H. An Environmental History of India: From Earliest Times to the Twenty-First Century. New Approaches to Asian History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $821.00

International fee $3,750.00

* 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 .

All HIST298 Occurrences

  • HIST298-23S1 (C) Semester One 2023