Fall 2023 History BC3825 section 001



Call Number 00191
Day & Time
M 6:10pm-8:00pm
Points 4
Grading Mode Standard
Approvals Required Instructor
Instructor Anupama Rao
Course Description

B. R. Ambedkar is arguably one of Columbia University’s most illustrious alumni, and a democratic thinker and constitutional lawyer who had enormous impact in shaping India, the world’s largest democracy. As is well known, Ambedkar came to Columbia University in July 1913 to start a doctoral program in Political Science. He graduated in 1915 with a Masters degree, and got his doctorate from Columbia in 1927 after having studied with some of the great figures of interwar American thought including Edwin Seligman, James Shotwell, Harvey Robinson, and John Dewey.


This course follows the model of the Columbia University and Slavery course and draws extensively on the relevant holdings and resources of Columbia’s RBML, Rare Books and Manuscript Library Burke Library (Union Theological Seminar), and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture among others to explore a set of relatively understudied links between Ambedkar, Columbia University, and the intellectual history of the interwar period. Themes include: the development of the disciplines at Columbia University and their relationship to new paradigms of social scientific study; the role of historical comparison between caste and race in producing new models of scholarship and political solidarity; links between figures such as Ambedkar, Lala Lajpat Rai, W. E. B. Du Bois and others who were shaped by the distinctive public and political culture of New York City, and more.

This is a hybrid course which aims to create a finding aid for B. R. Ambedkar that traverses RBML private papers. Students will engage in a number of activities towards that purpose. They will attend multiple instructional sessions at the RBML to train students in using archives; they will make public presentations on their topics, which will be archived in video form; and stuents will produce digital essays on a variety of themes and topics related to the course. Students will work collaboratively in small groups and undertake focused archival research.  This seminar inaugurates an on-going, multiyear effort to grapple with globalizing the reach and relevance of B. R. Ambedkar and to share our findings with the Columbia community and beyond.  Working independently, students will define and pursue individual research projects.  Working together, the class will create digital visualizations of these projects.

Web Site Vergil
Department History @Barnard
Enrollment 5 students (18 max) as of 6:07PM Friday, July 12, 2024
Subject History
Number BC3825
Section 001
Division Barnard College
Note Instructor Permission Required. Enrollment Limited.
Section key 20233HIST3825X001