Through a focus on a series of critical historical issues and debates (class XI) or on a range of important historical sources (class XII), the students would be introduced to a set of important historical events and processes. A discussion of these themes, it is hoped, would allow students not only to know about these events and processes, but also to discover the excitement of reading history.
Effort in these senior secondary classes would be to emphasize to students that history is a critical discipline, a process of enquiry, a way of knowing about the past, rather than just a collection of facts. The syllabus would help them to understand the process through which historians write history, by choosing and assembling different types of evidence, and by reading their sources critically. They will appreciate how historians follow the trails that lead to the past, and how historical knowledge develops.
The syllabus would also enable students store late/compare developments in different situations, analyze connections between similar processes located in different time periods, and discover the relationship between different methods of enquiry within history and the allied disciplines.
The syllabus in class XI is organized around some major themes in the world history. The themes have been selected so as to (i) focus on some important developments in different spheres-political, social, cultural and economic,(ii) study not only the grand narratives of development-urbanization, industrialization and modernization-but also to know about the processes of displacements and marginalization. Through the study of these themes students will acquire a sense of the wider historical processes as well as an idea of the specific debates around them.
The treatment of each theme in class XI would include (a) an overview of the theme under discussion,(b) a more detailed focus on one region of study, (c) an introduction to a critical debate associated with the issue.
In class XII the focus will shift to a detailed study of some themes in ancient, medieval and modern Indian history although the attempt is to soften the distinction between what is conventionally termed as ancient, medieval and modern. The object would be to study a set of these themes in some detail and depth rather than survey the entire chronological span of Indian history. In this sense the course will be built on the knowledge that the students have acquired in the earlier classes.
Each theme in class XII will also introduce the students to one type of source for the study of history. Through such a study students would begin to see what different types of sources can reveal and what they cannot tell. They would come to know how historians analyze these sources, the problems and difficulties of interpreting each type of source, and the way a larger picture of an event, a historical process, or a historical figure, is built by looking at different types of sources.
Each theme for class XII will be organized around four sub heads: (a) a detailed overview of the events, issues and processes under discussion, (b) a summary of the present state of research on the theme, (c) an account of how knowledge about the theme has been acquired, (d) an excerpt from a primary source related to the theme, explaining how it has been used by historians.
While the themes in both these classes (XI and XII) are arranged in a broad chronological sequence, there are overlaps between them. This is intended to convey a sense that chronological divides and periodization do not always operate in a neat fashion.
In the text books each theme would be located in a specific time and place. But these discussions would be situated within a wider context by (a) plotting the specific event within time-lines, (b) discussing the particular event or process in relation to developments in other places and other times.