Modern India, Global Urbanization, World History


Howard Spodek received his B.A. degree from Columbia University (1963), majoring in history and specializing in Columbia’s newly designed program in Asian Studies. He received his M.A. (1966) and Ph.D. (1972) from the Uni¬versity of Chicago, majoring in history and specializing in India. His first trip to India was on a Fulbright Fellowship, 1964–66, and he has spent a total of some twelve years studying and teaching in India. He has also traveled widely throughout the United States, Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Europe. He has been a faculty member at Temple Uni¬versity since 1972, appointed Full Professor in 1984. He was awarded Temple’s Great Teacher designation in 1993.

Spodek’s work in world history began in 1988 when he became Academic Director of a comprehensive, inno¬vative program working with teachers in the School Dis¬trict of Philadelphia to improve their knowledge base in world history and facilitate a rewriting of the world history program in the schools. Immediately following this program, he became principal investigator of a program that brought college professors and high-school teachers together to reconsider, revise, and, in many cases, initiate the teaching of world history in several of the colleges and universities in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. Those projects led directly to the writing of The World’s History, a college-level textbook now entering into its fifth edition.

Howard Spodek has published extensively on urbaniza¬tion in India, including Urban-Rural Integration in Regional Development (1976); Urban Form and Meaning in South-East Asia (editor, with Doris Srinivasan, 1993); Ahmedabad: Shock City of Twentieth Century India (2011); and a wide array of articles, including analyses of working women’s organiza¬tions. In addition, he wrote and produced the documentary film Ahmedabad (1983), and was the executive producer and subject specialist for the documentary film The Urban World: A Case Study of Slum Relocation in India (2013). He organized and served on the three-person team that translated the six-volume Autobiography of Indulal Yagnik from Gujarati to English (2011). He has written on his experiences with world history faculty at the college and high-school levels in articles in The History Teacher (1992, 1995). He has received funding for his research, writing, teaching, and film from Fulbright, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the American Institute of Indian Studies, the Smithsonian Institution, and the World Bank.

Selected Publications

  • Urban-Rural Integration in Regional Development: A Case Study of Saurashtra, India, 1800-1960¬ (Chicago: University of Chicago,Department of Geography Research Papers Series, 1976).
  • Urban Form and Meaning in South Asia ed. with Doris Srinivasan. (Washington: National Gallery of Art, 1993).
  • The World’s History (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1996, 2001, 2006, 2010, 5th ed. 2014).
  • The Autobiography of Indulal Yagnik, 6 volumes, co-editor and translator (from Gujarati) with Devavrat N. Pathak and John Wood. (New Delhi: Manohar Books, 2011).
  • Ahmedabad: Shock City of Twentieth Century India (Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 2011; New Delhi: Orient Blackswan, 2012)


  • AHMEDABAD: The Life of a City in India. 30 minute classroom documentary, 1983 — Producer/Writer. Distributed by the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Center for South Asian Studies. Finalist, Anthropological Films, American Film Festival, 1985.
  • THE URBAN WORLD: A CASE STUDY IN SLUM RELOCATION. 40 minute documentary, 2013 – executive producer and subject specialist, produced with a seed grant from the Temple University Faculty Senate and support from the World Bank

Courses Taught

  • Turning Points in Ancient World History
  • Turning Points in Modern WOorld History
  • History of Modern India
  • The City in History