The Centre focuses on teaching and research in archaeology, ancient, medieval, modern and contemporary history with particular emphasis on the study of economic, social and cultural changes. There are also courses which are thematic and cut across chronological divisions while others, such as the non-Indian history segment strongly encourage research in comparative history.
Ancient History: Initially the ancient unit encouraged study and research on the evolution of social structures, political processes, agrarian relations, urbanization, trade, traders and crafters, inter-relationships of religion, society, art and architecture as well as historical geography. More recent concerns include ways of recovering the histories of gender as well as regional religious traditions in early India. Another shift has been an increasing engagement with different methodologies in archaeology and ways of approaching visual and material cultures which are not necessarily limited to the ancient period.
Medieval History: Study and research in this unit includes such themes as the structure of medieval Indian society, changes in state systems, agrarian development, growth of trade and commerce, ideology and culture. Emphasis is also given to the study of two major transitions in Indian history, from ancient to medieval and from medieval to colonial regimes, through a reconstruction of structural continuities and cleavages encompassing institutional, technological, social, economic and ideological developments, as well as changes in the spheres of religion and culture.
Modern History: In its early phase, the modern history section of the CHS emphasised the evolution of agrarian, industrial and class structures, the study of colonialism in its economic, political and cultural dimensions, nationalism and the national movement, peasant, trade union and tribal movements, and the growth of left-wing parties and groups. Today, the concerns of the Modern Unit encompass a wide array of critiques, new methodologies, and new historical subjects. They range from the histories of women and castes, to the legacies of regions, religions, and languages; include such themes as migration, conversion and colonial power, and focus on such sites as the law, the city, or cultural objects.
The teaching of contemporary history situates contemporary developments, particularly those since World War II and Indian independence, within a long term historical context. While attention is paid to the new political formations which may equally draw on the heritage of the national movement, or on alternative intellectual traditions, efforts are also made, through the use of interdisciplinary methods, to understand historically the demands for new styles and forms of democracy, identity and statehood.
Prospective students must look up the University Website with regard to the dates for admission and the general admission procedure.