CBSE-2022 Syllabus for History Classes XI and XII

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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 doing 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 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 to relate/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 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 student 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 subheads:
  • (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, thereareoverlapsbetweenthem. Thisisintendedtoconveyasensethatchronological divides and periodization do not always operate in a neat fashion.
  • In the textbooks 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.

Class XI ( 11th )

Paper one 3 Hours and 100 Marks

Introduction to World History-8 Periods

Section a: Early Societies 32 Periods 15 Marks

  • 6 Periods-From the beginning of time
  • 14 Periods-Early Cities
  • 12 Periods

Section B: Empires-40 Periods 25 Marks

  • 6 Periods-An empire across three continents
  • 12 Periods-Central Islamic lands
  • 12 Periods-Nomadic Empires
  • 10 Periods

Section C: Changing Traditions-44 Periods 25 Marks

  • 6 Periods-Three orders
  • 12 Periods-Changing cultural traditions
  • 14 Periods-Confrontation of cultures
  • 12 Periods

Section D: Paths to Modernization-46 Periods and 25 Marks


8 Periods-The Industrial Revolution

12 Periods-Displacing indigenous People

12 Periods-Paths to modernization

14 Periods-Map work (units 1 − 16) -10 Periods 10 Marks

Class XI: Themes in World History

Introduction to World History SECTION A: EARLY SOCIETIES8 PeriodsN/A
Introduction6 PeriodsN/A
From the Begining of TimeFocus: Africa, Europe till 15000 BC-Views on the origin of human beings. Early societies. Historians ′ views on present-day hunting-gathering societies.14 PeriodsFamiliarize the learner with ways of reconstructing human evolution. Discuss whether the experience of present-day hunting-gathering people can be used to understand early societies.
Early Cities-Focus: Iraq, 3rd millennium BC, Growth of towns. Nature of early urban societies. Historians ′ Debate on uses of writing.12 PeriodsFamiliarize the learner with the nature of early urban centres. Discuss whether writing is significant as a marker of civilization.

SECTION B: Empires

Introduction6 PeriodsN/A
An Empire across Three Continents-Focus: Roman Empire, 27 B. C to A. D 600. Political evolution, Economic expansion, Religion, LateAntiquity. Historians views on the institution of Slavery.12 PeriodsFamiliarize the learner with the history of a major world empire Discuss whether slavery was a significant element in the economy.
Central Islamic Lands: Focus: 7th to 12th centuries, Polity, Economy, Culture. Historians viewpoints on the nature of the crusades.12 PeriodsFamiliarize the learner with the rise of Islamic empires in the Afro-Asian territories and its implications for economy and society. Understand what the crusades meant in these regions and how they were experienced.
Nomadic Empires: Focus: The Mongol, 13th to 14th century, The nature of nomadism. Formation of empires. Conquests and relations with other states. Historians ′ views on nomadic societies and state formation.N/AFamiliarize the learner with the varieties of nomadic society and their institutions. Discuss whether state formation is possible in nomadic societies

Section C: Changing Traditions

Introduction6 PeriodsN/A
Three Orders12 PeriodsFocus: Western Europe, 13th - 16th century, Feudal society and economy: Formation of states. Church and Society. Historian՚s views on decline of feudalism
Familiarize the learner with the nature of the economy and society of this period and the changes within them. Show how the debate on the decline of feudalism helps in understanding processes of transition.14 PeriodsChanging cultural traditions Focus on Europe, 14th to 17th century. New ideas, and new trends in literature and arts. Relationship with earlier ideas, The contribution of West Asia.
Explore the intellectual trends in the period. Familiarize students with the paintings and buildings of the period, Introduce the debate around the idea of ‘Renaissance’12 PeriodsConfrontation of Cultures-Focus on the America 15th to 18th century. European voyages of exploration. Search for gold; enslavement, raids, extermination. Indigenous people and cultures-the Arawaks, the Aztecs, the Incas. The history of displacements. Historian՚s view points on the slave trade.

Discuss changes in European economy that led to the voyages. Discuss the implications of the conquests for the indigenous people. Explore the debate on the nature of the slave trade and see what this debate tells us about the meaning of these “discoveries”

Section D Paths to Modernization

Introduction8 PeriodsN/A
The Industrial Revolution. Focus on England, 18th and 19th century. Innovations and technological change, Patterns of growth. Emergence of a working class. Historians ‘viewpoints Debate,’ Was there an Industrial Revolution?12 PeriodsUnderstand the nature of growth in the period and its limits. Initiate students to the debate on the idea of industrial revolution.
Displacing indigenous People. Focus on North America and Australia, I8th- 20th century, European colonists in North America and Australia. Formation of white settler societies. Displacement and repression of local people, Historians view points on the impact of European settlement on indigenous population.12 PeriodsSensitize students to the processes of displacements that accompanied the development of America and Australia. Understand the implications of such processes for the displaced populations.
Paths to Modernization. Focus on East Asia. Late 19th and 20th century. Militarization and economic growth in Japan. China and the Communist alternative. Historians ′ Debate on meaning of modernization14 PeriodsMake students aware that. Transformation in the modern world takes many different forms. Show how notions like ‘modernization’ need to be critically assessed.
Map Work on Units 1 − 1510 PeriodsN/A

Class XII ( 12th )

Paper one 3 Hours

UnitsPeriods (180)Marks
Themes in Indian History Part-I Units 1 − 445 Periods17 Marks
Themes in Indian History Part-II Units 5 − 955 Periods22 Marks
Themes in Indian History Part-III Units 10 − 1570 Periods21 Marks

Two Long Answer Questions from Books I, II/II, III/I, III

20 Marks

Total-80 Marks

Project Work-20 Marks

Total-100 Marks

Class XII: Themes in Indian History

ThemesPeriods (45)Objectives
PART-I The Story of the First Cities: Harappan Archaeology. Broad overview: Early urban centres. Story of discovery: Harappan civilization Excerpt: Archaeological report on a major site. Discussion: How it has been utilized by archaeologists/historians.11 PeriodsFamiliarize the learner with early urban centres as economic and social institutions. Introduce the ways in which new data can lead to a revision of existing notions of history. Illustrate how archaeological reports are analyzed and interpreted by scholars.
Political and Economic History: How Inscriptions tell a story. Broad overview: Political and economic history from the Mauryan to the Gupta period. Story of discovery: Inscriptions and the decipherment of the script. Shifts in the under-standing of political and economic history. Excerpt: Asokan inscription and Gupta period land grant. Discussion: Interpretation of inscriptions by historians.11 PeriodsFamiliarize the learner with major trends in the political and economic history of the subcontinent. Introduce inscriptional analysis and the ways in which these have shaped the understanding of political and economic processes.
Social Histories: Using the Mahabharata (12) Broad overview: Issues in social history, including caste, class, kinship and gender. Story of discovery: Transmission and publications of the Mahabharat. Excerpt: From the Mahabharata, illustrating how it has been used by historians. Discussion: Other sources for reconstructing social history.12 PeriodsFamiliarize the learner with issues in social history. Introduce strategies of textual analysis and their use in reconstructing social history.
A History of Buddhism: Sanchi Stupa Broad overview: A brief review of religious histories of Vedic religion, Jainism, Vaisnavism, Saivism. Focus on Buddhism. Story of discovery: Sanchi stupa, Excerpt: Reproduction of sculptures from Sanchi. Discussion: Ways in which sculpture has been interpreted by historians, other sources for reconstructing the history of Buddhism.11 PeriodsDiscuss the major religious developments in early India. Introduce strategies of visual analysis and their use in reconstructing histories of religion.
PART-II Agrarian Relations: The Ain-i-Akbari, Broad overview: Structure of agrarian relations in the 16th and 17th centuries. Patterns of change over the period. Story of Discovery: Account of the compilation and translation of Ain-i-Akbari. Excerpt: From the Ain-i-Akbari, Discussion: Ways in which historians have used the text to reconstruct history.11 PeriodsDiscuss developments in agrarian relations. Discuss how to supplement official documents with other sources.
The Mughal Court: Reconstructing Histories through Chronicles Broad Overview: Outline of political history 15th - 17th centuries. Discussion of the Mughal court and politics. Story of Discovery: Account of the production of court chronicles, and their subsequent. Translation and transmission. Excerpts: From the Akbarnama and Padshahnama. Discussion: Ways in which historians have used the texts to reconstruct political histories.11 PeriodsFamiliarize the learner with the major landmarks in political history, Show how chronicles and other sources are used to reconstruct the histories of political institutions.
New Architecture: Hampi Broad Overview: Outline of new buildings during Vijayanagar period-temples, forts, irrigation facilities. Relationship between architecture and the political system. Story of Discovery: Account of how Hampi was found. Excerpt: Visuals of buildings at Hampi, Discussion: Ways in which historians have analyzed and interpreted these structures.11 PeriodsFamiliarize the learner with the new buildings that were built during the time. Discuss the ways in which architecture can be analyzed to reconstruct history.
Religious Histories: The Bhakti-Sufi tradition Broad Overview: Outline of religious developments during this period. Ideas and practices of the Bhakti-Sufi saints. Story of Transmission: How Bhakti-Sufi compositions have been preserved. Excerpt: Extracts from selected Bhakti Sufi works. Discussion: Ways in which these have been interpreted by historians.11 PeriodsFamiliarize the learner with religious developments. Discuss ways of analyzing devotional literature as sources of history.
Medieval Society Through Travellers ‘Accounts Broad Overview: Outline of social and cultural life as they appear in travellers’ accounts. Story of their writings: A discussion of where they travelled, why they travelled, what they wrote, and for whom they wrote. Excerpts: From Alberuni, Ibn Batuta, Bernier. Discussion: What these travel accounts can tell us and how they have been interpreted by historians.11 MarksFamiliarize the learner with the salient features of social histories described by the travellers. Discuss how travellers ′ accounts can be used as sources of social history.
PART-III- (70) Periods Colonialism and-Rural Society: Evidence from Official ReportsBroad overview: Life of zamindars, peasants and artisans in the late 18 century, East India Company, revenue settlements and surveys. Changes over the nineteenth century. Story of official records: An account of why official investigations into rural societies were under taken and the types of records and reports produced. Excerpts: From Firminger՚s Fifth Report, Accounts of Frances Buchanan-Hamilton, and Deccan Riots Report, Discussion: What the official records tell and do not tell, and how they have been used by historians.11 PeriodsDiscuss how colonialism affected Zamindars, peasants and artisans. Understand the problems and limits of using official sources for understanding the lives of people.
Representations of 1857 Broad Overview: The events of 1857 − 58. How these events were recorded and narrated. Focus: Lucknow. Excerpts: Pictures of 1857. Extracts from contemporary accounts. Discussion: How the pictures of 1857 shaped British opinion of what had happened.11 PeriodsDiscuss how the events of 1857 are being reinterpreted. Discuss how visual material can be used by historians
Colonialism and Indian Towns: Town Plans and Municipal Reports, Broad Overview: The growth of Mumbai, Chennai, hill stations and cantonments in the 18th and 19th century. Excerpts: Photographs and paintings. Plans of cities. Extract from town plan reports. Focus on Kolkata town planning. Discussion: How the above sources can be used to reconstruct the history of towns. What these sources do not reveal.11 PeriodsFamiliarize the learner with the history of modern urban centres. Discuss how urban histories can be written by drawing on different types of sources.
Mahatma Gandhi through Contemporary Eyes Broad Overview: The nationalist movement 1918 − 48, The nature of Gandhian politics and leadership. Focus: Mahatma Gandhi in 1931. Excerpts: Reports from English and Indian language newspapers and other contemporary writings. Discussion: How newspapers can be a source of history.13 PeriodsFamiliarize the learner with significant elements of the nationalist movement and the nature of Gandhian leadership. Discuss how Gandhi was perceived by different groups. Discuss how historians need to read and interpret newspapers, diaries and letters as historical source.
Partition through Oral Sources Broad Overview: The history of the 1940s; Nationalism. Communalism and Partition. Focus: Punjab and Bengal. Excerpts: Oral testimonies of those who experienced partition. Discussion: Ways in which these have been analyzed to reconstruct the history of the event.12 PeriodsDiscuss the last decade of the national movement, the growth of communalism and the story of Partition. Understand the events through the experience of those who lived through these years of communal violence. Show the possibilities and limits of oral sources.
The Making of the Constitution Broad Overview: Independence and the new nation state. The making of the constitution. Focus: The Constitutional Assembly debates. Excerpts: From the debates. Discussion: What such debates reveal and how they can be analyzed.12 PeriodsFamiliarize students with the history of the early years after independence. Discuss how the founding ideals of the new nation state were debated and formulated. Understand how such debates and discussions can be read by historians.
Map Work on Units 1 − 1510 PeriodsN/A

Recommended Text Books

  1. Themes in World History, Class XI, Published by NCERT
  2. Themes in Indian History, Part I, Class XII, Published by NCERT
  3. Themes in Indian History Part-II, Class XII, Published by NCERT
  4. Themes in Indian History Part-III, Class XII, Published by NCERT

Note: The above textbooks are also available in Hindi medium.