K-14 Teacher Resources

India and South Asia | High School Social Studies Course

Excerpt from the course “Publicity Template”

India and South Asia: From Area Studies to Ethnic Studies

Course design by Rachel Heilman, Issaquah High School.
Developed with the support of Sunila Kale (Associate Professor of International Studies) and the South Asia Center (Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington), with funding from the U.S. Department of Education National Resource Centers Program.

Dear Colleague,

I hope you are able to implement some version of this course at your institution! I have it aligned to Washington State Social Studies Standards, but it is right in line with Common Core-driven expectations and should fit well with any state’s standards. This course also very much supports the new Washington Ethnic Studies Framework.

––Rachel Heilman, March 2022

Course Description

How can understanding a particular region both shape and enhance our understanding of ourselves and the world around us? As we gain knowledge, how do we both recognize and cross the political boundaries we see on maps? In this one-semester course we will use an interdisciplinary approach to examine India and wider South Asia as we work to conceptualize the ways people, power, geography, and the past shape the region. For the purposes of this course South Asia will include Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. In our role as global citizens we will also expand our inquiries to the web of connections between South Asia and our own individual and social identities.

Expectations and Goals

Units include:

  • South Asia as a Region
  • Identities in South Asia
  • Diffusion of People and Cultures
  • Student-Led Inquiry and Presentation

Throughout the course we will be building a foundation in some interdisciplinary approaches to the construction of knowledge:

  • Area Studies
  • International Studies
  • Ethnic Studies

Introduction to the Course

Introduction Letter for Educators [PDF]

Publicity Template [PPT]

Course Syllabus [PDF]

Week 1 Agenda: Introduction to the Course [PDF]

  • Lesson 1: First Day
  • Lesson 2: “Things to Know About India” Analysis and Gallery Walk

Unit 1 | South Asia as Region

Week 2 Agenda [PDF]

  • Lesson 1: Intro to Area Studies [PPT]
  • Lesson 2: Physical Geography
  • Lesson 3: Indian Ocean and Tibetan Plateau Case Study (Part 1)
  • Lesson 4: Indian Ocean and Tibetan Plateau Case Study (Part 2)
  • Lesson 5: Linguistic Geography

Week 3 Agenda [PDF]

  • Lesson 1: The Geography of Belief Systems
  • Lesson 2: Cultural Diffusion of Belief Systems [PPT]
  • Lesson 3: Measures of Well-Being [PPT]

Week 4 Agenda [PDF]

  • Lesson 1: National Borders
  • Lesson 2: The 1947 Partition of India and Pakistan

Unit 2 | Identities in South Asia

Week 5 Agenda [PDF]

  • Lesson 1: Intro to International Studies [PPT]
  • Lesson 2: Peace Corps’ “Culture Is Like an Iceberg” Lesson
  • Lesson 3: Personal, Social, Cultural, and National Identities [PPT]
  • Lesson 4: Kishwar’s “Living Identities vs Acquired Ones”

Week 6 Agenda [PDF]

  • Lesson 1: Where is India?
  • Lesson 2: Facets of Identity in Context
  • Lesson 3: Pre-British Political History
  • Lesson 4: Islam in South Asia
  • Lesson 5: Moving to End British Rule

Week 7 Agenda [PDF]

  • Lesson 1: Creation of an Indian National Identity
  • Lesson 2: Presenting a View of Indian National Identity

Week 8 Agenda [PDF]

  • Lesson 1: Views of Indian National Identity Gallery Walk
  • Lesson 2: Close Reading of “The Rise of Hindu Nationalism and Its Regional and Global Ramifications”
  • Lesson 3: Close Listening (deep dive into scholarship – Manan Ahmed Asif’s The Loss of Hindustan: The Invention of India)

Unit 3 | Diffusion of People and Cultures

Week 9 Agenda [PDF]

  • Lesson 1: Population Density and Urbanization in South Asia
  • Lesson 2: Introduction to Migration and Cultural Diffusion [PPT]
  • Lesson 3: Lifelines Watch and Respond
  • Lesson 4: Extension of Inquiry

Week 10 Agenda [PDF]

  • Lesson 1: Timeline of South Asian Migration to the United States
  • Lesson 2: Intro to Ethnic Studies [PPT]
  • Lesson 3: Intro to American Immigration Policy
  • Lesson 4: Introduction to the Asian American Experience WebQuest

Week 11 Agenda [PDF]

  • Lesson 1: Bhagat Singh Thind: Racial Identity and American Citizenship
  • Lesson 2: The 1907 Bellingham Riots

Week 12 Agenda [PDF]

  • Lesson 1: Introduction to the Application of Multiple Perspectives
  • Lesson 2: Model Minority (Article Analysis Using Multiple Perspectives)
  • Lesson 3: Intro to Caste [PPT]
  • Lesson 4: Caste in the United States

Unit 4 | Student-Led Inquiry

Week 13 Agenda [PDF]

  • Lesson 1: Chai and Chat
  • Lesson 2: Choosing a Research Question
  • Lesson 3: Researching Context

Week 14 Agenda [PDF]

  • Lesson 1: Developing a Thesis Statement
  • Lesson 2: Research

Week 15 Agenda [PDF]

  • Lesson 1: Presentation Expectations

Week 16 Agenda [PDF]

  • Repeat: Presentation Expectations

Week 17 Agenda [PDF]

  • Lesson 1: Presentation Reflections

Week 18 Agenda [PDF]

  • Final Exam or Lesson Option: Course Reflection [PPT]