programme

Modern Literary Cultures of India

Home/ Modern Literary Cultures of India
Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSCC2LA1044

Semester and Year Offered: Winter

Course Coordinator and Team: Anita E. Cherian (current)

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

Pre-requisites: None

Course Objectives/Description:

This course is an extension of the first semester core course ‘pre-modern literary culture of India’ and hence driven by the same rationale as stated in that course. In gist, the course has been conceived as a pedagogical engagement in the complex terrain of literary culture(s) of India within its linguistic plurality and cultural diversity. By initiating them to various multilingual traditions and texts (in translation) from modern Indian languages along with English writings of India, the course will attempt to give an insight to the historical dynamics of literary canon formations (and de formations ) to develop a deeper understanding of the contemporary literary scape to which they are located as practitioners of the art of creative writing. On the basis of these discussions, critical/creative writings exercise will be done to challenge their creative imagination.

main thrust of the course is to engage in creative writing through various models available in the modern literary cultures of India. It attempts to critically probe into the complex dynamics of modern Indian literary landscape to map the rich and diverse manifestations of Indian literary culture. Tracing the historical course of literary traditions/movements across various Indian language writing spheres from colonial to post-colonial expansion , the course will attempt to understand the multiple schemata of creative ‘ writing’ through the evident transitions/ transmutations and ruptures to the manifested essence of inter- disciplinarity of Indian literary culture. main objective of the course is to enable certain critical self- reflexivity among the students as emerging writers and cultural practitioners to understand their agency and role within this complex post- colonial literary landscape of India by tapping into the modern and contemporary literary - cultural traditions in its ruptures and continuity.

The course seeks to practice creative writing through various modern /contemporary literary models available in the multi-lingual literary cultures of India. It also seeks to critically understand the role and agency of a writer by reading various literary movements, forms, figures and aesthetical/formalistic/ ideational positions in the modern Indian lingua-scape. The students on the process also gain insight about the multi-lingual literary cultures of India.

Course outcomes:

Introduce students to the literary landscapes prevailing in the subcontinent in the contemporary period.

  • To produce multicultural awareness and sensitivity to issues and histories of diversity and difference among students.
  • To inculcate moral and ethical reasoning among.
  • To create sensitivity to the different literary forms existing today.
  • To enable students to engage in self directed, research oriented projects.
  • To familiarize students with the digital resources available for the study of Modern Indian literatures.

Overall structure:

UNIT I: Conceptual frame & historical backdrop.

Recapitulation

Introduction. Recapitulation of the pre-modern literary cultures of India learnt in the previous semester. Questions about continuity, discontinuity, intersections, interconnections, dissemination, within the vast complex terrain called the ‘Indian Literature’.

The Colonial Rupture

Discussions about the colonial rupture and the emergence of English as power language and the proliferations of various Indian language writings at the advent of 19th century.

The New Nation, New Imagination

Focus on the Cultural Imagination of an emerging Nation: Theoretical formulations of the “Indian Literature” through region specific vernacular writings of Indian languages.

New Site of Institutionalization

Role of institutions and organizations in construction of ‘Indian literature’ as a category along with various other canon formations. Simultaneous discussions about the role of pedagogical policies and tools in the national curriculums.

UNIT II: Literary Models for critical consciousness and creative exercises

Pluralism and Diversity.

Mapping of the modern/ contemporary literary culture of India through various entry points in the Indian Language writing discourses. Introductions to the complex terrain of modern Indian language writings with focus on certain common strands / issues/ ideas across various region/culture in the pan Indian linguascapes.

New Genre/ New Perspectives

Discussions about the emergence of newer trans-regional, trans-cultural literary expressions in terms of gender, class and subaltern/ marginal identities.

Subjectivity/ selfhood against the contested realities/Identities

Focus about the Construction of a Subjectivity/ Selfhood in the socio-political and cultural climate of the postcolonial phase across the frames of the regional/ national/ international. The aim is to engage with the new existentialist predicaments, complexities, conflicts and dilemmas centered around the polarities of colonial /post- colonial, modern/ traditional, rural /urban.

Contents (brief note on each module; indicative reading list with core and supplementary readings)

UNIT I: Conceptual frame & historical backdrop

Recapitulation

Introduction to the subjects. Recapitulations of the pre-modern literary cultures of India learnt in the previous semester. Questions about continuity, discontinuity, intersections, interconnections, dissemination within the vast complex terrain called the ‘Indian Literature’.

The Colonial Rupture.

Discussions about the colonial rupture and the emergence of English as power language and the proliferations of various Indian language writings at the advent of 19th century. Initiation to the debates emerging out of this departure to the critically probe into the issue drawing upon the British language / Educational policy, Macaulay’s Minutes and Nationalist pro -vernacular debates. Discussions about Power language versus the vernaculars and various points of contestations and interconnectedness, assimilations and dissemination. Attempts of vernacularization of English in the Indian literary experiments.

The New Nation, New Imagination

Focus on the Cultural Imagination of an emerging Nation. Theoretical formulations of the “Indian Literature” through region specific vernacular writings of Indian languages. Discussions about attempts to theorize the category of “ Indian Literature” by likes of P P Raveendran, Sisir Kumar Das, and others and the subsequent counter position/ counter discourse.

New Site of Institutionalization

Role of the National Literary Institutions organizations in construction of ‘Indian literature’ as a category along with various other canon formations.. Simultaneous discussions about the role of pedagogical policies and tools in the national curriculums.

UNIT II: Literary Models for critical consciousness and creative exercises.

Pluralism and Diversity: The Indian Language writing discourses.

Introductions to the complex terrain of modern Indian language writings with focus on certain common strands / issues/ ideas across various region/culture in the pan Indian linguascapes . Discussion would revolve around the idea of vernacular spheres as vanguards of Indian literary modernity and prima sites for progressive reflections of socio-political realities and resistance to disparity/ discriminations. Discussion through certain entry points to the subject matter such as the Hungry Generation Bengali Poetry movement , the trend of Protikvadi Asomiya Kovita, ,or the Marxist/ communist/ socialist writings of Hindi Pragatishil Sahitya of the 1930s to focus about the experimentations and interpolation /cross-fertilization through responsiveness to international trends.

New Genre / New Perspective.

Discussions about the emergence of newer trans-regional, trans-cultural literary expressions in terms of gender, class and subaltern/ marginal identities.

Dalit literature

Writings by women writers/ feminist writing such as Ambai, Indira Goswami, Ismat Chugtai, Amrita Pritam , Mahasweta Devi, Alka Saraugi and others. (Not an exhaustive list)

Folk/ Folkloric Imagination /Epic inspiration.

Discussion about the newer modes of appropriation of myth, folklores in the modern/ contemporary contexts. Revisiting of the Epic for newer interpretations and interventions.

Subjectivity/ selfhood against the contested realities/Identities.

Focus about the Construction of a Subjectivity/ Selfhood in the socio-political and cultural climate of the postcolonial phase across the frames of the regional/ national/ international. The aim is to engage with the new existentialist predicaments, complexities, conflicts and dilemmas centred around the polarities of colonial /post colonial, modern/ traditional, rural / urban.

Primary text:

  • Stallion for the Sun by U R Anathamurthy,
  • Volatile Electron by Saurav kumar Chaliha
  • Pal Gomra ka Scooter by Udai prakash.

Writing Exercises on the basis of these literary models, movements, ideology, issues and ideas both as narratives and counter-narratives.

Pedagogy:

Instructional design: Lecture and Class room discussion with regular practice based creative writing exercises.

Special needs (facilities, requirements in terms of software, studio, lab, clinic, library, classroom/others instructional space; any other – please specify) Class room projector to screen some videos related to the topics of discussions.

Expertise in AUD faculty or outside : AUD faculty

Linkages with external agencies (e.g., with field-based organizations, hospital; any others)

Assessment structure (modes and frequency of assessments): Regular creative writing exercises. Four major assessment situations (with submission of the creative works/ assignments) on the basis of the exercises discussed in the class. Assessment on the basis of class participation/ presentation and regular attendance. (three assessment situations for 20% each and 40% for a long assignment)

READING LIST

Primary Texts

  • The great Indian Novel by Shashi Tharoor
  • Yagnaseni by Pratibha Ray
  • Marathi and Punjabi Dalit poets
  • Poems by Bengali Hungry Generation poets.
  • Poems by Assamese Symbolist poets.
  • Fiction by Hindi Progressive writers.
  • Feminist fiction by Women writers like Ambai, Ismat Chugtai, Mahasweta Devi, Indira Goswami. (Suggested anthology: The Inner Courtyard, Stories by Indian women. Ed. Laxmi Holstrom. Rupa & Co. 1991.)
  • Fiction by Uday Prakash.
  • Fiction by U R Ananthamurthy.
  • Fiction by Saurabh Kumar Chaliha. (Suggested anthology: Best of Indian Literature. 1957-2007. Four Volumes. Ed. Nirmal Kanti Bhattacharjee and A J Thomas. Sahitya Akademi. New Delhi. 2012.

(The Primary texts are subject to change as per requirements by the instructor.)

Secondary Readings for theoretical/ conceptual/ historical frames

  • Indian English and Vernacular India: Contests and Contexts. Co-edited by Makarand Paranjape and GJV Prasad).New Delhi: Pearson Longman, 2010.
  • Nalini Iyer, Bonnie Zare, eds. Other Tongues: Rethinking the Language Debates in India. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2009.
  • Subramanian Shankar. ‘Flesh and Fish Blood: Postcolonialism, Translation, and the Vernacular’, Flashpoints, University of California Press. 2012.
  • Meenakshi Mukherjee. The Perishable Empire. Oxford University Press. New Delhi.2000.
  • Paranjape, Makarand. "Post-Independence Indian English Literature: Towards a New Literary History." Economic and Political Weekly. Vol. 33.No. 18 (May 2-8, 1998): 1049-1056. Web. 4 Dec. 2011.
  • Eagleton, Terry. Frederic Jameson and Edward W. Said. Nationalism, Colonialism, and Literature. London: University of Minnesota Press 1990, 2001
  • Shah, Nila, and Pramod K. Nayar. Modern Indian Poetry in English, Critical Studies. New Delhi: Creative Books, 2000, Print.
  • Ahmad, Aijaz. In Theory: Nations, Classes, Literatures. New Delhi: Oxford U P, 1992. Print.
  • Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities. London: Verso, 1991. Print.
  • Appiah, Kwame Anthony. “Is the Post- in Postmodernism the Post- in Postcolonial?” Critical Inquiry 17 (Winter 1991): 336-57.
  • Bhabha, Homi. Nation and Narration. London: Routledge, 1990. Print.
  • Chakladar, Arnab. “The Postcolonial Bazaar: Marketing/Teaching Indian Literature.” ARIEL 31.1-2 (2000): 183-201.
  • Cooppan, Vilashini. “Ghosts in the Disciplinary Machine: The Uncanny
  • Life of World Literature.” Comparative Literature Studies 41.1(2004): 10-36.
  • Damrosch, David, ed. Teaching World Literature. New York: MLA, 2009.
  • Das, Sisir Kumar. A History of Indian Literature 1911-1956, Struggle for Freedom: Triumph and Tragedy. New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi, 2006.
  • Ghosh, Bishnupriya. When Borne Across: Literary Cosmopolitics in the Contemporary Indian Novel. New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 2004.
  • Huggan, Graham. The Postcolonial Exotic: Marketing the Margins. London: Routledge, 2001.
  • Jameson, Fredric. “World Literature in the Era of Multinational
  • Capitalism.” Social Text 15 (1986): 65-88.
  • Niranjana, Tejaswini. Siting Translation: History, Post-Structuralism and the Colonial Context. Berkeley: California UP, 1992.
  • Raveendran, P.P. “Genealogies of Indian Literature.” Economic and Political Weekly June 24, 2006: 2558-2563.
  • Amaresh Dutta. Encyclopedia of Indian Literature, Sahitya Academi. New Delhi, 1987.
  • Sisir Kumar Das. A History of Indian Literature. Volume I & II, Sahitya Akademi. New Delhi. 2005.