Contemporary Critical Theories III: Discourses on the ‘Minor’ and the ‘Marginal’

Home/ Contemporary Critical Theories III: Discourses on the ‘Minor’ and the ‘Marginal’
Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSCC2FC3038

Semester and Year Offered: Monsoon 2013

Course Coordinator and Team: Dr. Akhil Katyal (currently)

Email of course coordinator: akhilkatyal[at]aud[dot]ac[dot]in

Pre-requisites: None

Course Objectives/Description:

This course is imagined as an integrating thread of all the M. A. Programmes offered by the School of Culture and Creative Expressions. Even though intricately connected to each other, this course is comprised of four parts, and is to be offered over the duration of four semesters. The first part provides a critical overview of various strands in contemporary critical theories by tracing their genealogies. The second part of the course concentrates on Cultural Studies as a discipline and its methodological and analytical departures from conventional disciplines of the Humanities and Social Sciences. The third part of this course provides a more focused study of theories on marginalities, especially in the context of gender, race, caste, class, sexualities, minority religions, ethnic communities and region. This part of this course also engages with the relationship between art and politics in this specific context of minoritarian struggle in order to envisage newer frameworks which would be more inclusive and non-hegemonic. The third semester of the Contemporary Critical Theories course for the M.A. Programme explores and analyses various discourses on minorities and marginalities. One of the primary objectives of the course is to trace the historical trajectories of the discourses on minorities and marginalities. It locates these discourses in their historical, cultural, and intellectual contexts. The course would attempt to introduce key concepts and theories regarding ‘minor’ and ‘marginal’ identities and subjectivities. The course is comprised of reading of key texts of important theorists of discourses on minorities and marginalities.

Course Outcomes:

  • To familiarize students with various theoretical discourses on minorities and marginalities, thus deepening their disciplinary knowledge of ‘culture’
  • To enable critical thinking and analytical reasoning vis-a-vis the concept of identity in relation to marginality, thus unsettling normative and stereotypical notions about identities and subjectivities
  • To make the students of SCCE appreciate the link between their creative and scholarly work with the various aspects of marginality, whether social, cultural or political

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

Week I-IV

Introduction: Discourses on the ‘Minor’


Introductory Readings

Karl Marx, “On the Jewish Question.” Karl Marx: Selected Writings. Ed. Lawrence H. Simon. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1994. pp. 1-26.

Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer, “Elements of Anti-Semitism.” Theories of Race and Racism: A Reader. Eds. Les Back and John Solomos. London and New York: Routledge, 2001. pp. 206-211.

Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, “Language: Major and Minor”. The Deleuze Reader. Ed. Constantin V. Boundas. New York: University of Columbia Press. 1993. pp. 145-151.

Jean-Francois Lyotard, Differend: Phrases in Dispute. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1988.

Charles Taylor, Multiculturalism and “The Politics of Recognition”: An Essay, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1992.

Homi Bhabha, “Editor’s Introduction: Minority Maneuvres and Unsettled Negotiations.” Critical Inquiry 23.3 (Spring 1997) pp. 431-459.


Frantz Fanon, “The Fact of Blackness”. Theories of Race and Racism: A Reader. Eds. Les Back and John Solomos. London and New York: Routledge, 2001. pp. 257-266.

bell hooks, “Racism and Feminism”. Theories of Race and Racism: A Reader. Eds. Les Back and John Solomos. London and New York: Routledge, 2001. pp. 373-388.

Homi K. Bhabha, “ ‘Race’, Time and the Revision of Modernity”. Theories of Race and Racism: A Reader. Eds. Les Back and John Solomos. London and New York: Routledge, 2001. pp. 354-368.

Chandra Talpade Mohanty, “Under Western Eyes”. Theories of Race and Racism: A Reader. Eds. Les Back and John Solomos. London and New York: Routledge, 2001. pp. 302-323.

Stuart Hall, “Old and New Identities, Old and New Ethnicities.” Theories of Race and Racism: A Reader. Eds. Les Back and John Solomos. London and New York: Routledge, 2001. pp. 144-153.


B.R. Ambedkar, “Annihilation of Caste” and “Reply to Mahatma.” The Essential Writings of B.R. Ambedkar. Ed. Valerian Rodrigues. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2002. pp. 263-319.

Gopal Guru, excerpts from Humiliation: Claims and Context. New Delhi: OUP, 2011

Sundar Sarukkai, “Phenomenology of Untouchability”. Economic and Political Weekly. 12 September 2009. Vol. XLIV, No. 37.

M.S.S. Pandian, “One Step Outside Modernity: Caste, Identity Politics and Public Sphere.” Economic and Political Weekly. 2002. pp. 1735-1741.


Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, "Can the Subaltern Speak." Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture. Eds. Cary Nelson and Lawrence Grossberg. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1988. pp. 271-313.

Partha Chatterjee, “Are Indian Cities Becoming Bourgeois At Last?” Politics of the Governed: Reflections on Popular Politics in Most of the World. New York: Columbia University Press, 2004. pp. 131-148.

Ranajit Guha, “The Small Voice of History.” Subaltern Studies IX: Writings on South Asian History and Society. Eds. Shahid Amin and Dipesh Chakrabarty. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1996. pp. 1-12.


Prathama Banerjee, “Culture/Politics: The Curious Double-Bind of the Indian Adivasi” Subaltern Citizens and their Histories. Ed. Gyanendra Pandey. London and New York: Routledge, 2010.

Rey Chow, “Where Have All the Natives Gone”. Contemporary Postcolonial Theory: A Reader. Ed. Padmini Mongia. New York: Arnold Publishing, 1996.


Abdul R. JanMohamed and David Lloyd, “Introduction: Minority Discourse – What is to be done?” Cultural Critique 7 (Autumn 1987) pp. 5-17.

Talal Asad, “On Suicide Bombing”. The Arab Studies Journal. Vol. 15/16, No. 2/1 (Fall 2007/Spring 2008), pp. 123-130.

Shahid Amin, “Representing the Musalman: Then and Now, Now and Then.” Subaltern Studies XII: Muslims, Dalits, and the Fabrications of History. Eds. Shail Mayaram et al. Delhi: Ravi Dayal-Permanent Black, 2005. pp. 1-35.

Aamir R. Mufti, “A Greater Story-writer than God: Genre, Gender and Minority in Late Colonial India.” Subaltern Studies XI: Community, Gender and Violence. Eds. Partha Chatterjee and Pradeep Jeganathan. Delhi: Ravi-Dayal-Permanent Black, 2000. pp. 1-36.

Gender and Sexualities

Wendy Brown, “What is to be Done: Towards a Post-Masculinist Politics”. Manhood and Politics: A Feminist Reading in Political Theory. New Jersey: Rowman & Littlefield, 1988. pp. 189-214.

Michel Foucault, “Preface to The History of Sexuality Vol II” The Foucault Reader. Ed. Paul Rabinow. New York: Pantheon Books, 1984.

Judith Butler, “Imitation and Gender Insubordination”. The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader. Eds. Henry Abelove et al. New York: Routledge, 1993.

Sandip Roy, “Double Minorities: The Experience of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Indians in the Diaspora.” The Phobic and the Erotic: The Politics of Sexualities in Contemporary India. Eds. Brinda Bose and Subhabrata Bhattacharyya. Calcutta: Seagull, 2007. pp. 323-338.


Lennard J. Davis, “Crips Strike Back: The Rise of Disability Studies” American Literary History

Catherine J. Kudlick, “Disability History: Why We Need Another ‘Other.’” The American Historical Review 108.3 (June 2003) pp. 763-793.

Reading List:

See above.


See above.