The course follows the development of the history of the region from the earliest phases of human settlement, the first civilization in the Indus valley, and the formation of the Mauryan and Gupta empires. It will analyze the growth of different state structures from tribal/lineage based state to these great empires. It incorporates the rise of regional states and the growing importance of trade to linking South Asia with the West. It will also examine the development of different religious traditions from Vedic Brahmanism to Buddhism to Jainism and the very early days of Islam in the region. The central question of this course will be how to contextualize the relationship between structures like family, law, caste, community, state and the tumultuous changes in the subcontinent over this long period. Formerly HST 256. Requirement Designation: Understanding the Past.