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Centre for the Study of Culture and Society

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Course 706: Culture and the Disciplines

The objective of this course is to introduce the contemporary debates in the social sciences and humanities relating to the ‘cultural turn’ of the 1990s. We will, on the one hand, look into how the question of culture has been dealt with in the disciplines, and on the other, examine how the domain of cultural studies has engaged with the disciplines. Of interest here would be the claims to inter-disciplinarity made by cultural studies practitioners, and the many diverse institutional locations of cultural studies that appear to be multi- rather than inter-disciplinary. The dual focus of the course will be on understanding the disciplinary legacies of cultural studies in India and on strengthening the methodologies of cultural studies research.

Week 1- Jan 9:

Introduction from Masks of conquest by Gauri Viswanathan Link found here

Can the subaltern speak?/ Marxism and the interpretation of culture/ Cary Nelson and Lawrence Grossberg. Link found here

Week 2 – Jan 18:
Literary studies and cultural studies (Tejaswini Niranjana)

Week 3 – Jan 25:
History (Rochelle Pinto)

Dipesh Chakrabarty / Chapter 1 – Postcoloniality and the Artifice of History.Link found here

Dipesh Chakrabarty / Epilogue: Reason and the Critique of Historicism.Link found here

Henry Schwarz / Chapter II.5 - Subaltern Studies: Radical History in the Metaphoric Mode Link found here

Week 4 – Feb 8:
Anthropology and sociology (Tejaswini Niranjana)

Clifford Geertz / Chapter 1 - Thick Description : Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture Link found here

James Clifford / Chapter 1 - On Ethnographic Authority Link found here 

Week 5 – Feb 15:
Film and visuality studies (Vishnu Vardhan)

Das, Veena. 1980. “The Mythological Film and its Framework of Meaning: An Analysis of Jai Santhoshi Maa.” India International Centre Quarterly 8.1 (March): 43-56. Link found here

Kapur, Geeta. 1987. “Mythic Material in Indian Cinema” Journal of Arts and Ideas 14/15: 79-108.Link found here

Pinney, Christopher. 2004. “Introduction: The Possibility of a Visual History.” Link found here

---- “The Politics of Popular Images: From Cow Protection to M.K. Gandhi, 1890-1950.” In Photos of the Gods: The Printed Image and Political Struggle in India, 1-7 & 105-145. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.Link found here

Suggested Readings

MacDougall, David. 1997. “The Visual in Anthropology.” In Rethinking Visual Anthropology, Ed. Marcus Banks, 276-295. New Haven: Yale University Press .Link found here

Hayes, Patricia., Jeremy Silvester, and Wolfram Hartmann. 1999. “Photography, History and Memory.” In The Colonising Camera: Photographs in the Making of Namibian History, Ed. Wolfram Hartmann, 2-9. Athens: Ohio University Press.Link found here

Week 6 – Feb 22:

Film and visuality studies (SV Srinivas)

Ravi Vasudevan, 1993 'Shifting Codes, Dissolving Identities: The Hindi Social Film of the 1950s as Popular Culture,' Journal of Arts and Ideas , No. 23-24 Link found here

Ashish Rajadhyaksha, 1993 'The Phalke Era: Conflict of Traditional Form and Modern Technology.' Tejaswini Niranjana et al. eds. Interrogating Modernity. pp. 47-82. Calcutta: Seagull Books. Link found here

Week 7 – Feb 29:
Philosophy (Vivek Dhareshwar)

Donald Davidson / On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme. Link found here

S.N. Balagangadhara / Comparative Anthropology and Action Sciences: An Essay on Knowing to Act and Acting to Know. Link found here

Week 8 – Mar 7:
Psychoanalysis (Anup Dhar)

Sudhir Kakar: Culture in Psychoanalysis Link found here

Sudhir Kakar. Clinical Work and Cultural Imagination Link found here

Jonathan Lear: Knowingness and Abandonment: An Oedipus for Our Time Link found here

Jeffrey J Kripal. Phycho analysis and Hinduism: Thinking Through Each Other. Link found here


Week 9 – Mar 14:
Law (Sruti Chaganti)

1. Veena Das, Life and Words: Violence and the Descent into the Ordinary, Chapter 2: The Figure of the Abducted Woman - The Citizen as Sexed. Link found here
2. Judith Butler, Antigone's Claim, Chapter 2: Unwritten Laws and Aberrant Transmissions (pp. 14-28 of the pdf document) Link found here

3. Alternative Law Forum, Of Master Plans, Laws and Illegalities in an Era of Transition (pp. 9-31 of the pdf document) Link found here
Week 10 – Mar 21:
Education (Aswin Kumar)

Week 11 – Mar 28:
Political science (Sitharamam Kakarala)

Rajni Kothari: Caste in Indian Politics:introduction. Link found here

Rajni Kothari: The Grassroots Phenomenon: In search of a Humane India volume 2 Link found here

G. Ram Reddy; G. Haragopal: The Pyraveekar: "The Fixer" in Rural India. Link found here

Week 12 – Apr 4:
Economics (Ashish Rajadhyaksha) 'Introduction to Indigenous Capital: Economics and Culture'.

Lakshmi Subramanian: Banias and the British: The Role of Indigenous Credit in the Process of Imperial Expansion in Western India in the Second Half of the Eighteenth Century Link found here

Week 13 – Apr 11:

Michelguglielmo Torri: Trapped inside the Colonial Order: The Hindu Bankers of Surat and Their Business World during the Second Half of the Eighteenth Century Link found here

Rajat Kanta Ray. "Asian Capital in the Age of European Domination: The Rise of the Bazaar, 1800-1914". Linkf ound here

Week 14 – Apr 18:
Student presentations

(This session to be scheduled if the semester is still going on by this time)


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