programme

Lineages of the Contemporary

Home/ Lineages of the Contemporary
Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSCC2FS2014

Semester and Year Offered: Winter

Course Coordinator and Team: Dr Rajan Krishnan

Email of course coordinator: rajan@aud.ac.in

No pre-requisites.

Course Objectives/Description:

The course seeks to introduce to the students of masters/ research program in SCCE and the university certain key critical texts on major conceptual axes of the contemporary world, namely capitalism, colonialism, modernity and nationalism. The key thematic issues of post-colonial nationalism and capitalist modernity impinge on every conceivable human activity and hence are linked to all disciplinary formations. Hence the course is offered as an elective to all MA students.

The course basically prompts the question of what are the defining characteristics of contemporary times? What constitutes and determines life today as against a transcendental notion of a human life? In responding to the prompted question the course uncovers four axes of historical lineage in which the contemporary life is situated.

The course consists of four modules. The module on capitalism discusses the historical origins, key anthropological elements and certain basic tenets from the works of Blaut, Marx and Giovanni Arrighi; the module on colonialism reads Edward Said’s formulations in the key text of Orientalism, Frantz Fanon and David Scot to discuss colonial and post-colonial difference; the module on modernity covers the writings of Dipesh Chakravarthy, Timothy Mitchel and Bruno Latour; the last module on nationalism will just carefully read selected passages from Benedict Anderson and Partha Chatterjee.

The objective is to create an awareness of the historical context of contemporary life.

Course Outcomes:

  • A moral and ethical awareness of the debates around post-colonial studies.
  • An ability to critically think and analytically reason through larger transcendental notions of human life through discourses of modernity and nationalism.
  • Produces multicultural competence through engagement with thinkers from various contexts, producing careful conversations through lateral thinking.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

Lineages of the Contemporary

It is a four module course each running for 3 or 4 weeks each. ONLY SELECTIONS FROM THE TEXTS INDICATED WILL BE NECESSARY READINGS AND NOT THE WHOLE BOOKS.

Module 1: Capitalism

Blaut, James M. 1492 : the debate on colonialism, Eurocentrism, and history

Marx: Grundrisse, Capital Volume I Chapter 1/ Ellen Melkins Wood, Origin of Capitalism

Giovanni Arrighi: Long Twentieth Century: Money, Power and the Origins of our Time

Module 2: Colonialism

Edward Said, Orientalism.

Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks

David Scot, Refashioning Futures

Module 3: Modernity

Dipesh Chakravarthy, Habitations of Modernity / Hardt & Negri – Empire

Timothy Mitchell, Introduction, Questions of Modernity

Bruno Latour, We have never been Modern

Module 4: Nationalism

Benedict Anderson, Imagined Community

Partha Chatterjee, Nationalist Thought in the Colonial World: A Derivative Discourse

Assessment Details with weights:

  • Weekly response papers: 40%
  • Classroom Participation: 20%
  • Term end take home exam: 40%

Reading List:

See module description above.