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Between India and Europe: Introduction to the History of Exchanges and Encounters - I Automne

Entre Inde et Europe : Introduction à l'histoire des échanges et contacts

Responsible Faculty: Faculty of Arts

Teacher(s): Philippe Bornet
Lecturer(s): -

Validity: 2013 -> 2014

No timetable defined.


Autumn semester
2 hours per week
56 hours per semester

Teaching language(s): French
Public: Yes
Credits: 0


The course introduces the students to the relations and encounters between Europe and Asia (in particular, India), focusing on key episodes from ancient to early modern times.


Even if usually considered as belonging to different continents and as heirs of cultures that are almost diametrically opposed to each other, India and Europe have been in contact since Antiquity. Introducing the notion of "connected history" (S. Gruzinski et S. Subrahmanyam) the class deals with major episodes of the relations between India and Europe, from Greek times (Alexander the Great's conquests, Greco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek kingdoms etc.) to the arrival of islam.

Working on the basis of source documents (in translation), we attempt to understand the different logics of encounters (trade, politics, religion, "science") and evaluate their impact on cultural dynamics, on the Mediterranean as well as on the Indian side. A particular attention is given to trade and religions in contact along the famous "silk road" - in particular Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Manichaeism. The different cases provide particularly fertile grounds to develop a reflection on issues of globalization and non-European historiography.


Halbfass, Wilhelm, India and Europe, New York: SUNY, 1990.

Additional information


Canton de Vaud
Swiss University
Unicentre  -  CH-1015 Lausanne  -  Suisse  -  Tél. +41 21 692 11 11  -  Fax  +41 21 692 26 15