Tuesday, December 29, 2009
The first presentation was based on the article, “Postcoloniality and the Artifice of History: Who Speaks for "Indian" Pasts?” by Dipesh Chakrabarty. It problematized the idea of “Indians” representing themselves in history. In the academic discourse of history “Europe” remains the sovereign, theoretical subject of all histories. All other histories, Indian, Chinese, Kenyan etc., tend to become variations on a master narrative that could be call the history of Europe. In this sense, Indian history itself is in a position of subalternity. Europe works as a silent referent in historical knowledge itself becomes obvious in a highly ordinary way. There are at least two everyday symptoms of the subalternity of non-Western, third-world histories.
Third-world historians feel a need to refer to works in European history; historians of Europe do not feel any need to reciprocate.
The dominance of Europe as the subject of all histories is a part of a much more profound theoretical condition under which historical knowledge is produced in the third world. Our footnotes bear rich testimony to the insights we have derived from their knowledge and creativity.
For generations now, philosophers and thinkers shaping the nature of social science have produced theories embracing the entirety of humanity. These theories have been produced in relative and sometimes absolute ignorance of the majority of humankind i.e., those in non-Western cultures. The everyday paradox of third-world social science is that the third world intellectuals use these theories eminently useful in understanding their societies.
For example, following the western methodology of writing history on the basis of historical transition, the Indian history is also written. To prove this the writer takes Sumit Sarkar’s Modern India (regarded as one of the best textbooks on Indian history written primarily for Indian universities). The text opens with “The sixty years or so that lie between the foundation of the Indian National Congress in 1885 and the achievement of independence in August 1947 witnessed perhaps the greatest transition in our country’s long history. A transition, however, which in many ways remains grievously incomplete, and it is with this central ambiguity that it seems most convenient to begin our survey.”
Now the question arises, what kind of a transition was it remained? Answer is grievously incomplete. The study of such a failed history creates a lackness, absence or incompleteness. This history lead us to the British conquer and to the medieval period. This led to modernity. The terms have changed with time. The medieval was once called despotic and the modern is the rule of law. For example, Alexander Dow’s History of Hindostan, (1770) says: “this fundamental jurisprudence was the rule of law that contrasted with a past rule that was arbitrary and despotic ...Despotism was the opposite of English constitutional government.”
In the nineteenth and twentieth century’s, generations of elite Indian nationalists found Indian history between the two poles: despotic-constitutional, medieval-modern, feudal-capitalist. Within this narrative shared between imperialist and nationalist imaginations, the Indian was always a figure of lack. There was always the theme of inadequacy or failure.
This discussion led to Provincializing Europe. Here Chakrabarty is not dealing with "the region of the world we call 'Europe,'" but rather the "imaginary figure [of Europe] that remains deeply embedded in clichéd and shorthand forms in some everyday habits of thought." European thought is no longer the sole property of Europeans and can be used by postcolonialists to good effect, when revised for local conditions.
The Second presentation was based on the article “The Many worlds of Indian History” by Sumit Sarkar. It explores the idea of Indian History, its limitations and the development of history in the late colonial and contemporary times .Finally, the article concludes with a discussion on the how the gap between the writings of elite people on history and the teaching done by primary school teachers can be bridged in the academic arena. . In this article Sumit Sarkar first describes how Indian history failed to project reality. Our historigraphical essays tend to become bibliographies, surveys of trends or movements within the academic guild. Through the Ramjanmabhumi issue in Ayodhya, he gives a clear idea about how history is created because of faith and academic knowledge is sidelined. This, however, was very far from being a simple triumph of age-old popular faith over the alienated rationalism of secular intellectuals. Scholars and researchers have limited role here.
Sumit Sarkar says in his essay that the main aim of teaching history is limited to stimulating patriotism among students and to build in a quiz culture where the students should have by-hearted knowledge of various dates and events. Thereby we fail to imbibe in ourselves questioning attitudes and the ability of critical evaluation.
Impact and impositions of Western English education has affected Indian history. Two major changes occurred because of the influence of Western English education. British rule brought a notion of time as linear abstract and measurable. The other major change was they divided period into three phases. This led to the four yougas being replaced by three phases (i.e., Ancient, Medieval, and Modern Schema).
The focus of this essay, however, is not the history of India. Rather, the purpose of this piece is to explore very schematically some of the issues and examples for the abandonment of history and show what is the present stage of our history and how it can be effectively produced in future in the academic arena. Sumit Sarkar argues that the shift from late colonial history has produced one-sided accounts that artificially separate from pure history. As a result, the main essence/aim of Indian history and its basic purposes has been neglected altogether.
In the third part Sumit Sarkar compares two periods in Indian History i.e. late colonial Indian history and contemporary history. He says that, hierarchical division is more visible in late colonial period opportunities, for any kind of education was more restricted and therefore education and research was not sharp in the late colonial period. But in contemporary times, research and education has grown considerably. In late colonial period, absence of internal hierarchization is more visible. Sumit Sakar gives the example of Sir Jadunath Sarkar whose formal degrees were in English, and till retirement he combined research with the teaching of history.
In contemporary India very significant shifts in basic approaches and choice of research question has taken place. In 1950 the themes like social formation, debates about the existence and nature of Indian Feudalism, the possibilities of capital development in pre-colonial time were focused on, but in late colonial period the primary focus was on information about kings, dynasties or conquests. In 1960-1970 there were major changes happening in history. Firstly, there was the emergence of the Left. Secondly, the lower cast became more powerful due to peasant revolution. Thirdly, women participated in revolutionary activities. Sumit Sarkar says that, due to these changes Subaltern Studies and Women history came into existence. Meanwhile, there was a spate of research publications on tribal peasant and labour movements, as well as a few pioneering, sympathetic studies of lower-caste initiatives in large part independent of, or even hostile to, mainstream nationalism. The hierarchical divisions between scholars at research institute, university teachers, and those working in undergraduate colleges are visibly deepening in contemporary times. Sumit Sarkar gives the example of Ekalavya volunteer group who tried to bridge the gap between the primary school teachers and the elite researchers through teaching-cum-research seminar. They encouraged classroom discussion and creative assimilation.
Other questions that came up for discussion were, on Gramsci’s notion on common sense? How do the social and the political get connected to the education about which Sumit Sarkar has discussed in the later part of his essay? What does Partha Chatterjee say about the adoption of modern principle of European history in India?
For the further discussions the class invited Dr.Vageshwari SP, Christ University. She initiated the discussion on systematic breaking down of history. The problem in the study discourse is that we consider history as fixed not dynamic. We are not questioning the history. In India, the study of history is based on the methodology of imperialism and Geometry which provides a defined way of studying history.
The theory of relativity challenged the undisputable absolute truth of the past. Study of history is a truth making process.
One of the problems is how to convert the cultural practices to academic. Here many times form takes over content and we fail to bring up tools for the analysis.
Rewriting history is always a part of society. Here, why the history is rewritten is important, not what is rewritten. What is the agenda behind it?
The syllabus of the history in higher education should be re-worked. It should be based on facts as well as issue based.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Report of Literary Theory and Cultural Studies
The topic which my group took for cultural studies paper presentation was literary theory and cultural studies. In this major topic we focused on two essays, one is Gouary Viswanathan’s Introduction to Masks Conquests and Susie Tharu’s and K Lalita’s Empire, Nation, and the Literary Text. Through these essays we are tried to focus how literary studies and cultural studies are related.
Gouari Viswanathan in her essay talks about the introduction, and development of English education in India. In the essay the author says that the colonial rulers introduced English education as a weapon for the domination over colonized, India.
Using the story of Bangalore Nagaratnamma’s reprinting of the eighteenth century Telugu text Radhika Santwanam by Muddupalani, Sisie Taru and Lalita introduce the rationale behind the effort to collect the materials which have been seised by the people who have power. The main intention of the writers is to show how power controlled the literary work and how the literary production was always subject to gender, class, empire, and nation prejudices.
Presentations and classroom discussions on Literary and Cultural Studies were on the second week of November. For the general discussion of the module our group called Ms. Sreelatha from English and Media Studies Department. The main questions and arguments which came during discussions were, how is the notion of discipline linked with cultu re andhow language works within the discipline of cultural studies. The main argument which Ms Sreelatha proposed was, when we discuss literary studies with cultural studies, first we need to discuss with literature. Another question which came was, how culture is portrayed in literature. Other questions that came up for discussion were, is epistemological basis necessary to begin a study? Is cultural Studies having a philosophical basis? How discussion in literature and literary studies slips into question of language, identity, nation etc… andwhy Indianness? In attempting an answer one needs to acknowledge that, Cultural studies inculcates a questioning attitude which is absent in many other disciplines. Does learning a literature from a culture means one is influenced by that particular culture? The main argument for this question was based on the presumption that one culture being influenced by another and that it is not just an individual influence. Cultural influences are not very obvious. It’s in the psyche. Why should there be a division on national cultures? What is the problem in learning national cultures?
The final argument about the discipline and literature came was, we are still following the traditions of colonial rulers and what we are trying to do is just imitate them because the rules are not changing. To change this we need to raise questions and theoretical discussions which will help to create our own cultural basis in literature and in the discipline of English Studies.
Report of the Presentation on Philosophy and Cultural Studies
For the module on Philosophy and Cultural Studies, two seminal works were discussed in the class; 1) Structure, Sign and Play in the Discourse of Human Sciences by Derrida and 2) Can the Subaltern Speak by Gayathri Spivak. This report is based on the presentation on the second text and the subsequent discussion on it in the II MA English Literature with Communication Studies as well as the lecture of Mr. Sunder Sarukkai on Experience and Cognition based on his article, Dalit Experience and Theory.
Gayathri Spivak’s essay problematises three central theories of experience; 1) the postcolonial theories, 2) the subaltern concern and 3) the subalternised woman. She argues that the intellectuals are complicit in silencing the experiences of the colonised, the subaltern and the woman by appropriating their experiences inaccurately in the narratives. She questions the authority of the intellectuals to speak of the experience of these oppressed. Theorisation on the subaltern experience is palimpsestic in nature because even as the intellectual tries to construct a history/experience of the subaltern, the authentic history/experience undergoes erasure. The intellectual’s attempts to essentialise the subaltern experience actually cancels out the multifarious entity of the subaltern experience. She argues that the intellectual should constantly question one’s own ground of argument. All the subalterns, be it the postcolonial countries or the women who belong to innumerable backgrounds and conditions, cannot be put under one monolithic categorisation. Citing a couple examples of women suicide in India during the colonial period she argues how the British understanding legal explanations under the pretext of supporting women’s cause, overlooked the actual reasons for their suicide. What then is the intellectual capable of theorising? The possibility is to form a strategic solidarity with the subalterns for the sake of an argumentative support and buying their own space in the debate all the while being aware of the intellectual’s shaky ground on which one stands to argue. This she calls strategic essentialism.
The crux of the argument is, that the personal lived experience cannot be in any way generalised. The humans are in need of an unmediated channel to share one another’s experience in totem. However the unmediated experience does not take place and what is transferred to others is only partial and makes the other incapable of making the experience for theorising.
Establishing the relationship between culture and philosophy is fundamental in proceeding any further on this module. Sarukkai considered experience as the basic stratum of culture while an argument was brought to establish culture as the substratum of philosophy or the latter as the product of culture. Further arguments are required to establish both the syllogisms. For example, is it possible for anyone to have an experience outside one’s culture? Or, is culture the common fund of experiences of a group of people? As the understanding goes now the linear progression of experience-culture-philosophy is the paradigm to work with.
The question on the emergence of different philosophies at different historical junctures deserves an attention. How will one account for the emergence of Platonian idealism and Aristotelian empiricism as the product of the Greek culture while the existentialists and phenomenologists appeared only hundreds of years later in another culture. A vague attempt at answering this question was that a certain political climate is responsible for the emergence of certain types of philosophies. It was monarchy that gave conducive atmosphere for philosophies that were centred around the analysis of matter and the world. With the emergence of democracy and other people-participative forms of government the discussion on the subject of experience shifted to the human person, the meaning of his existence and experience and thereby giving rise to the existentialist philosophies. The emergence of the nihilist philosphies can be attributed to the disillusionment caused by the world wars. Going into the depth of this argument one finds that the mode of exercising power influences heavily if not being the deciding factor on the emergence of different philosophies.
This further shifted the questions on the difference between what is generalisation and essentialisation. They are to be differentiated as two different logical procedures of argument. In the process of essentialisation a general principle is arrived at by observing the experiences of A, B , C and so on. The generalisation is the reverse process of applying a principle or a personal experience as a general principle to a larger category without actually observing all of them. The former is called induction and the latter deduction.
Sarukkai explores the quintessential difference between the subjective lived experience and the mediated experience. The mediated experience has primarily a certain freedom to choose to undergo or not a certain experience, secondly one has the freedom to leave from the experience if it is not satisfactory and thirdly he has the freedom to modify that experience.
While exploring the lines of argument of Sarukkai and Spivak the philosophies could be accused of complicity in essentialising the diverse human experiences. The question itself is heavily loaded with the nuances of the individualistic turn the capitalistic philosophy of the west has taken. This question arises only when individual is possible despite the social. But the society has not been always so. In the earlier cultures which privileged the social over the individual, the subjective experiences do not take significant discussions at all. When the society is essential to make the individual possible the focus of the discussion can centre only on the society. Society being a common institution, the individual variances are shed to create minimum common identities or the essential. To treat such essentialisation as a malady could arise from subaltern, post colonial or postsructuralist perspectives in social sciences. But natural or physical sciences cannot be held accountable for such essentialsiation. If these sciences fail to draw similarities and essentialise the nature of human bodies, every body has to become a ground of experiment at the cost of its life. The question then extends to what can be essentialised and what cannot be on the basis of empirical proofs.. Such normative approaches are still unacceptable to a postcolonial reading. The arguments go in infinite regression ad infinitum.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Edward Saied’s book “Orientilism” made major inroads towards transforming the outlook of world literature. Said’s book “began to travel” and was used for various political reasons. Mr. Pinto said that, it’s how well one put forward their ideas to communicate that makes a work successful. Said was able to do that. On his lecture, he said that “world literature” does not change the syllabus instead, follows a politics of accommodation. The radical questioning the system as a whole is absent. Edward Said’s orientilism started creating ripples in India from 1981 and it affected women the most. Names like Gauri Vishwanathan and Rajeshwari Vishwanathen were put forward, whose ideas were not accepted in Indian institution, and they had to take refuge westward. One of the first institutions to radically question the system in India was Bangalore University in 1996.
On the development ideas in technology, Mr. Pinto commented on Mr. Shah’s essay on ‘internet and women’. Mr. Shah had argued on the relationship between technology and women. He illustrated this idea by focusing on the role played by women when computers were being introduced in the 1970’s and when the gramophones were invented in 1902 (till about a decade only women recorded). Mr. Pinto then emphasized on the use of the word “world” on how it was used to make a statement. He also said that the world “world does not have any materiality”. Taking off from the book called the “World is flat” by Thomas L. Friedman and the optical illusion that prevailed, he traced back to the fall of Constantinople when the two thousand year old silk route was blocked resulting in an attempt to find a new sea route to south Asia. History saw explorers like Vasco Da Gama and Christopher Columbus who stretched the horizon a bit further with their successful attempts in discovering new routes to different parts of the world. With the discoveries of various new places various dimensions of cultures and expression could be witnessed, sparking off the “process of accommodation” in world literature.
Translation of text from one language to another.
Translation of literary texts.
Translation can hardly match up to the original. rewriting the text which is written in some other language Word to word / sense to sense. It is not losing the mood and meaning of the original work.
Putting content from one language to another language atleast semantically.
Converting work from its primary language to its target language.
Trans- change. Translating a written text keeping content intact.
“Translatum” similar to anuvadam or rupantaram – going closer to the word.
Original meaning of translatum to exhume a body from its grave and bury it in another place.
Concerns with grammar, cultural contexts , expressions, meaning.
Rewriting a work from one language to another.
From regional language to a global language.
What is translation studies?
Study of the different theories and issues related to trans
Trends and shifts in translation, translated texts.
Problems one encounters while translation
Trans studies is a discipline, methods, problems theories and concepts
Applicability of the theory of translation. Looking at different aspects of translation.
Studying the process of translation.
Studying something self reflectively and critically.
What are the issues a translator should be aware of while translating?
Culture and author’s idea. Language, audience, syntax and semantics. market , proverbs. Dialectical issues. Aesthetics, meaning of original text. Writer’s viewpoint. Text always comes to you with its cultural context(Gadamer).
Translation and change of form, self translation.
Writer’s viewpoint and translator’s reading of it.
Translators make shift knowingly and unknowingly.
In selftranslation you participate in two language systems and question the previous theories of translation.
Bible translation – ppl will be trained to write similarly and they come back and write similarly. Finding terms of Bible in the respective colloquial languages.
Essence should not be lost.
Translator should be aware of his attitude towards translation
Fairly good vocabulary of the source and target languages.
Should know about the author
Know the text in all its aspects and should try and collect what has already been said about the text
Should be aware of the translated words before him
Two issues :
Ideal translator is a literary translator
Hierarchization of terms: appropriation, adaptation, translation, transcreation, transliteration
Gender translation, power translation.
Why do people translate?
Ideas and sharing of ideas. All texts go through the socio political dimensions before getting translated. Market forces also play a significant role in translation.
To know about different cultures. Why translated into dominant languages? Why specific texts get translated into other languages and not others?
Tragedies and comedies. Tragedies are in conformity with the authority and comedies challenge the authority.
Translating one of the ways to prove the lack within a culture. Creating a lack.
To get more audience for the text.
Global recognition and fame.
To make the text accessible to others. Individual pleasure, popularity, understand the culture and governance and administration(imperial necessity). The problem with the mediator facilitates translation. Dictionary comes in this context. To make the original text accessible to others who do not know the language.
To understand the nature of the language and also its culture. To create interest in the culture. Making readers more inquisitive about the language in which the work is written.
What kind of words gets translated? It is always nouns. Issues of secularism and words with heavy cultural and communal issues.
Issue of originality. Who makes a work more original translator or the writer. It problematises some of the notions we have of translation.
Trans- movement – creating a replica. any movement is transcreation.
Much of the assumptions we have of translation today are continued from the translation of bible. (word to word, faithful – word of God). INFIDEL
Bring to light certain specific problems faced by a community.
Creativity. Ethics. Communication specially for administrative reasons.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
CERTIFICATE COURSE FOR EVEN SEMESTER 2009-10
DEPT. OF PSYCHOLOGY, CHRIST UNIVERSITY
IN COLLABORATION WITH
Saturdays: 2 pm – 6 pm (Dec 2009 – Mar 2010)
Venue: Room No. 303 (Dept. of Psychology- PG Unit)
What makes us think: Conversations on Consciousness will look once again at the veracity of the mind-body divide. Will minds get collapsed to bodies/brains? Will understanding our brains help us know our minds? Or is there an unbridgeable distance between the work of neuroscience and the workings of human consciousness? What is the relation between the facts (or "what is") of natural science, the ‘interpretations’ of social science and the prescriptions (or "what ought to be") of ethics? Can neuroscience throw light on ethics? What are the relations between brain states and psychological experience? What is a mental representation? How does a sign relate to what it signifies? How might subjective experience be constructed rather than discovered? Can biological or cultural evolution be considered progressive? Can we be optimistic about the prospects of connecting matters of the mind to matters of the brain? Would we have one perspective – the perspective of materiality? Or would there be a splitting and a duality of perspectives on human affairs? How does one negotiate between transcendental idealism and mechanical materialism? How does one connect the in vitro and the in vivo? How does one work through objective/subjective, 1st person/3rd person accounts?
Continuum of Disciplines:
Perceptual and Cognitive Psychology
Cultural Studies (including anthropology and semiotics)
Ethics, Religion, and Morality approached from humanistic perspectives
At another level, this course will look at the continuum of disciplines and would try to place psychology as an uncanny in-between in this continuum. This in-between-ness will be seen by the course as the promise of the discipline of psychology (and not its problem). The promise lies in offering us a possible methodology for negotiating between apparently incommensurable disciplinary regimes like philosophy and neurobiology, and historically separated knowledge registers like the human and the natural sciences.
Blackmore, Susan (2006). Conversations on Consciousness: What the best minds think about the brain, free will, and what it means to be human. NY: OUP.
Changeux, Jean-Pierre & Ricoeur, Paul (2000). What makes us think? A neuroscientist and a philosopher argue about ethics, human nature, and the brain. (Translated by M.B. Debevoise). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press
Chalmers, D. (1996). The conscious mind. New York: Oxford University Press.
Changeux, J. P. (1985/1983). Neuronal man: The biology of mind. New York: Pantheon. (original publication 1983).
Damasio, A. (1999). The feeling of what happens. New York: Harcourt Brace.
Dennett, D. (1991). Consciousness explained. Boston: Little Brown.
Dreyfus, H. (1972). What computers can't do: A critique of artificial reason. New York: Harper and Row.
Nagel, T. (1979). What is it like to be a bat? Moral questions. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Popper, K. and Eccles, J. (1078). The self and its brain. London: Springer Verlag.
Searle, J. (1992). The rediscovery of the mind. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Monday, November 02, 2009
I'm a postgraduate student doing MA Critical Theory and Cultural Studies. I have six hours of classes per week. Well, actually four hours per week, with one two hour seminar per week per module.
I'm doing two modules this semester, one titled Material Cultures and Subject and Sign after Freud and Saussure. The second one is the most exciting part of the course, and is also the toughest. It's so interesting to see how the curve moves from Saussure, to Barthes, to Freud, to Lacan. I can actually see how each theorist and philosopher laid the foundation for the next one to come, and so on... Its a beautiful progression of thought. And it's so interesting to see how each person belongs to their time, and that they could not, obviously think beyond their time.
I was talking about the structure of the seminars when I got carried away... We have, as I said, two modules per semester, and the last two hours is this series of lectures called Tradition of Critique, which is pretty awesome, because we get an overview of the key theorists of the 19th and 20th Century. For the man module classes, we have quite a bit of reading to do... These reading last somewhere between 50-100 pages, but this s just the essential reading... There's also the secondary reading, which I've never managed to actually get around.
This week is reading week, which means we don't have classes at all. I know that sounds like a blast, but its really hard because you have to get off your back and sit and focus and read, and figure out what you want to with your essay, which I'm finding quite difficult at the moment.
Till I have more,
In typical Brit Style,
Thursday, October 29, 2009
After analyzing a painting by John Constable named “Haywain” painted in the year 1821, Mr Pinto gave guidelines on how to analyze Painting.
He said there are 3 categories of painting.
• Landscape (such as cityscape or urbanscape)
• Potrait (people) Equesterian refers to animal painting
• Still life.
How to analyze Painting
What is subject matter
What is location or setting of a particular scene.
Historical period, or work it depicts.
Season of time of the year.
Time of the day, activities by people..
What is the instant, what is the capture.
Erin Panofsky (Russian)– Branch of Art History that is concerned with meaning of Art or subject matter of Art.
Erwin Panofsky said art has 3 levels of meanings: -
1) Primary- Recognize objects. Eg:- A man walking.
2) Secondary-Conventions Eg:-Greetings, Taking off hat.
3) Tertiary-Intrusion Eg:- About the nation, class, attitude, psychology, period.
Iconology deals with the third level of meaning.
Roger Fry said people have 2 kinds of life
Art is related to Imaginary life and should not be represented of reality. Art was never realistic. Till Renaissance art was completely abstract. In the 12c art became completely realistic.
Rembrandt is considered as the greatest painter as he was excellent in the use of light.
Post Impressionist Painting – After the Impression.
1830’s there was a slight deviation from actual.
Form Looks at:-
Rhythym of line.
Light and shade
Then Mr. Pinto showed us Cezanne’s painting “Basket of Apple’s” which is a good example of still life painting.
With this painting we understood that lines create an impression and we can understand heaviness through the space used.
From 16th century onwards there is a tendency of self portrait.
Gombrich has witten a book called “History of Art”. He says Art initially began with cave painting then the Egyptians Painting which was taken over by Greeks (500 BCE to 500 C). Greeks started to make art realistic.
The next 500 years there was no art because of collapse of Roman empire.
During Renissance period the important painters are Da Vinci, Titian, Raffael but the greatest is Rembrandt.
Barooque painting is a style referred to lot of people. And Rococo refers to lot of ornaments.
19c :- Menet, student Monet.
Cezanne :- Person who began modern art.
Cubism:- Refers to breaking the painting and painting different dimensions.
Gombrich dosen’t have place for community art and also women were never encouraged in painting.
Painting is always abstract. Indian painting upto Raviverma is abstract. After him is realist.
Picasso, Yan Gogh come in the tradition of impressionist.
1745 – Butcher
1866-Origin of the world- pubic area of the women.
Essay: - Laura Muloey- Visual pleasure and narrative cinema.
Women are centre of most visual creations. It is there for man’s pleasure.
Renissance paintings- fascinations for male. There was no fascination for male body before.
1937-Picasso, in Spain, painted Guernica. UN office entrance has the picture – Guernica. This painting is about anti war.
Principles of Painting
* donor’s pic
Watching through a hole in the wall. A private view into the private life of people.
‘My body for beginners’- simple book of visuals written by scholars. Body for philosophy, for medicine.
Politics of Aesthetics
Tracy Amin – ‘My Bed”
‘This is not a pipe’ – Dushamp
Art is a construct-the artists themselves started to question.
‘Art is an imitation of reality’ – this concept is broken. This was said by Plato Baudrillard- gave a concept called hyper reality in modern times we have lost the distinction between reality and aesthetics of reality.
CN Ramachandran- Most of India is Hindu and Hindu refres to uppercast male dominatnt society. It does not include women.
Visit To The Chapel
On 25th October afternoon MCMS students were taken to St. Aloysius Chapel where the century old edifice houses breathtaking paintings which were created by the famous Italian Painter Br. Antonio Moscheni S.J.
There are 2 types of paintings in the chapel Fresco and Canvas. Frescoes cover about 600 square meters of the walls of the chapel and canvas made of pure linen of strong close weave cover 400 square meters on the ceilings.
Most of the paintings portray life of St. Aloysius the patron saint, life of Jesus. The arches consists paintings of different saints of church and Jesuit saints.
Life size angles are holding garlands of different flowers found in Dakshina Kannada.
Mr. Pinto explained different symbols in the paintings which helps us to recognize the holy personality and also different meanings the paintings try to tell.
as written by Bojamma B.C & Sandhya D'Souza
Plato says ‘Art is imitation of reality’ and reality is aesthetics. According to Jean Baudrillard "The simulation of something which never really existed."
Mr.. Anil Pinto said according to CM Radhachandran,
Hinduism = upper caste = male
Pierre Bondreau argument about nationalist is that-
· One’s taste is determined by social class we belong to.
· Most of the social classes decide what is good or what is bad.
Mr Pinto, told us to read the book “Distinction, a social critique of judgment of taste” by Pierre Bondreau.
as written by Amritha B Rao & Reena S
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
One of the most important aspects to be observed in drama review is the structure. The structure contains the exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and the denovment.
The drama review can start with a comment. The review gives the details of the drama, where was it stages, who is the director, name of the drama, whether it’s an adaption from a book, the language of communication and the actors of the drama. The review also tells about what the play tries to achieve through the characters and the subject matter. The evaluation is given after giving the intro about the drama. If the drama has a bad review and the critique has a bad opinion of the drama, the critique has to give the reasons what went wrong in the drama. A drama can be criticized by taking instances from the drama. While criticising a drama the criticism should be on the acting and not the person. When a newspaper carries the review it should create an interest in the minds of the reader and let the reader decide whether it is good or bad. So it is not necessary to give the storyline.
All plays tell the story of a hero’s journey. In the exposition stage the director gives an introduction to the characters, the location and the content. In the rising action stage small instances happen that will lead the drama into the climax which is the important level where the emotions play a highest role. Falling action stage is where the story unveils and the denovement is the conclusion.
Theatre direction includes
The director has to ensure the quality of the production, healthy artiste realise their artistic vision. He has to give bodies to the character, oversees props and he has to decide on everything.
Desired effect can be achieved through voice modulation while acting. The actor has to act according to the directions of the director. Thepsis is the first known actor in drama.
But things changed after the Second World War. Stanislovsky changed the method of acting. According to him the actor should prepare himself by imaging himself as the character. He has to put his feet in the shoes of the character and empathise with the character.
An introduction t the music programme is given at the introduction of the music review. It includes where and when the programme was held and who was the singer. The evaluation of the talent is given after the introduction. After the small evaluation the details about the music is given which includes the raga, tala and the other details about its composition. In the later part another evaluation along with suggestion from the reviewer is also included. To review music piece the reviewer should know the details related to classical music. It is always seen that only classical music is reviewed and a lot of technical terms related to music is given. This divides the readers into people who know music and others who do not have a music background.
As the music review here also the details is given about when and where the painting exhibition was conducted, who is the painter and what is the price. Here the impact of the audience is also given in the review. The review also includes the quotes from the painter and also a brief on the painter’s life. In painting review also we find a lot of technical terms like the tone of colour, which again divide the audience.
In the book review the name of the book with the language, the author, the publication and the year of publication is given. Here the reviewer raises questions regarding the book and the language used in writing. Quotes from the book are also given as examples to support the argument. The reviewer also compares the earlier works of the same author. The reviewer also sees how the book is valued in its tradition.
While writing reviews the writer should show that the review is not a subjective one but and he is considering the existing standards of the field.
as written by Saranya Valsarajan & Janice Fernandes
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
According to Plato, "Theatre deviates the society's thinking so it should be banned". His disciple Aristotle, talks only about the theatre. He says, theatre people are not imitating at all, they only want to recreate or evoke some types of emotions.
Aristotle's 'Poetics' is referred for a compulsory reading.
On 26th of October, Mr.Pinto discussed about the theatre review, right after a small workshop. After that workshop, it is understood that, all reviews in newspapers and magazines have the basic information about the play. For example: Production, Director, Characters, Story, Plot and so on. Later, it evaluates the whole play based on the appeal to emotions. Is the desired appeal is achieved? Based on this question the review will be written.
Though some reviews include harsh way of criticizing, but "Indicators" would better criticize; instead of telling directly "Unbearable", a reviewer can write - "A well trained theatre person will never like this play". And that sounds decent also. Students gave various examples for this kind of reviews and questions raised.
“Drama always takes the line. The purpose of drama is to 'Dramatize'. We see the dramas just to feel the dramatic effects done by the directors, like lighting and dialogues”. - Mr.Anil Pinto.
Ethics of Review:
The existing standards are considered in the field. There are some ethical perspectives to this:
• Important to make political and social point of view.
• Where you write (Blog, Website, or Sunday edition of a newspaper)
• Do not criticize the person.
• Avoid advertorial.
• One important thing is observe classical theatre structure.
The Journey of a Play:
1). Exposition- it includes setting of the play, protagonist and antagonist (who is the hero and who is the villain) and ends with an incitement action. Plays of Shakespeare and Girish Karnad are about hero’s journey. The main story will concentrate on the hero’s ethical decisions and how he faces the challenging society.
2). Raising action- it includes small-small incidents or problems.
3). Climax- it include highest breaking point of the play.
4). Denouement- it is the resolution of the play. Can be a happy ending or sad.
However, usually the Second act will be the longest and the Third act will be the shortest in a play.
This diagram shows the responsibility of a theatre director.
Director: he is responsible to –
Ensure the quality of production.
Help the artists to realize their artistic vision.
Prop: Properties of the play. It can be a hand prop or decoration. Properties which actors make use of it.
Method/Acting: With facial expressions and tone of voice. Actors are not just imitate, they emphasize and live the character.
Apart from this, a theatre director has to take care of Lighting, Costume, and Sound effects/design. Altogether makes Stanislavski, that is- a discipline and dedicated play.
Based on all these elements, a reviewer reviews the play.
An Actor Prepares by Stanslovsky,
Syd Field and John Tully’s text book of script writing,
Visual Culture by Owell.
Books are suggested by Mr.Anil Pinto for reference
as written by Prasanna V
Friday, October 23, 2009
The idea of authenticity can be traced to religious texts. A classic example being the Bible and the existence of multiple scripts. In such a case, which one do we accept as the primary text? In talking about religious canons though we cannot question the assumed and accepted ‘greatness’ of the text it is fortunate that we don’t have to deal with such rigidity in talking about literary canons. A case in point would be how T.S. Eliot’s The Metaphysical Poets brought back Donne and the rest, after the Romantics and more specifically, the publication of the Preface to the Lyrical Ballads seem to have pushed them into a seemingly obscure space.
Though literary creative output maybe as old as the history of mankind itself, discussions on theorisations as to the concerns of value is comparatively new – dating back to the 18th and the 19th centuries. Much as in the 20th and 21st century such a definitive idea of value has been continuously challenged. Today with the increasing popularity of cultural relativism, we tend to approach texts from a pluralistic perspective.
A post modernist understanding refutes the existence of boundaries and emphasises the illusion of boundaries. Harold Bloom’s The Western Canon and his idea of aesthetic value has been challenged by Terry Eagleton who talks about aesthetic value as an ideological construct. For Eagleton, political identity and aesthetic value are inseparable. A marxist understanding would necessary entail that philosophy of aesthetics is but a natural culmination of the class struggle between the bourgeois and the aristocrats.
In the last 50 years or so, literary critisim and not just literature has come to be characterised by a kind of self-reflexivity. So that today, there is a strong desire amongst literary scholars and critics to stay away from giving value judgments. Their main contention is that no free position exist outside of culture.
To sum it all. What is art? If we look at art as an imitation of reality in accordance to the mimetic theory , then, when reality is the representation and there is no gap between reality and the represented, how do we define art? Can art be simultaneously real and a representation? As problems of definition persists so do problems of value.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
The first class with Mr. Anil Pinto was an ice breaking session where we discussed about our respective research topics. There is only two of us for this course in media studies therefore it is easier to discuss our topics individually.
My topic was Public opinion is nothing but media opinion. Few ideas on this topic were discussed. Refering to sociology books in order to first find out what is public and what is an opinion, readings starting from Plato, Aristotle to the rise of media from the 17th and 18th century was advised.
Noothan’s topic is broadly on television, she still has to narrow it down. However she had a couple of ideas in mind that we discussed in class. One of which was reality programs being lifted from the western media. There was a discussion as to the change in content that goes through when it goes from one country to the other. This may be due to various factors like culture or the thinking mode of people. Couple of examples were discussed like in US, the case of Bill Clinton and Monica was splashed across different media. But in
We further discussed on nationalism taking for example how Indian Idol’s last two finalist were from North East and how the voting system saw a big change during that time.
We have been asked to read the following essays for our next class:
- Journal on Contemporary Thought – Essay on Femina Magazine by Parinitha Shetty.
- Ideology and Ideological State Apparatus by Louis Atthusser.
- Enlightenment as Mass Deception by Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno.
- Encoding /Decoding by Stuart Hall.
- The Public Sphere by Jurgen Habermas.
We ended our session with a tour to the library where Mr. Pinto was our guide. He helped us find these essays and showed us books that we could refer to for further analysis.
Written by Pooja Basnett
M.Phil (Media Studies)
Monday, October 05, 2009
- It’s a philosophy.
- Doesn’t have history
As per students it means:-
• Study of Poetry-drama
• Expressing in your(writers) own way
• Ideas of a writer
• Playing with language
• Communities culture- resources
• Some written piece of poet/writer
• Way of writing
• Anything written – a product of mind
• Anything which includes feeling/expression
• Free writing
• Refining thoughts
Literature is a way already given to
Plato: - (IDEAL WORLD)
There is an ideal state/world of idea. It’s an imperfect imitation of that ideal state.
Ex: - Chair-chairness Watch etc.
In the above example before drawing a chair/watch painter will create an idea in his/her mind. That idea becomes painting. Also it comes out with picture.
• As per Plato idea will imitate. It’s an ideal leaf-leafness
• Epics – Theatre
• A poet should ban the public.
• Plato says that philosophy is important.
• Philosophy thinks rationally access to idea.
Ex:- Cave – It has only darkness. There was a source of light which comes from outside. The light will create its shadow on the wall. One person who stays inside the cave will try to come out and realise the world. Once he comes to know about world he goes back and informs other people who are inside the cave. But they are not ready to accept his philosophy.
In this case the person who comes out from cave is a philosopher.
Aristotle: - (Emotions)
Literature is something which – writer/poet wants to recreate certain types of emotions.
Butcher who translated the ‘On Poetics’ of Aristotle, says that literature is a continuous balance.
As per Kant there is something which includes:-
1. Experience of Knowledge.
Children’s are born as philosophers
In the 20th Century people wanted romantic challenged thinking. There after Modernism was started.
In this era: - this given world is problematic. Many dimensions were started. Different ways of look/ thinking. In this era human world become complimented. Most of the subject/issues were looked after by one man/person. In this century directors started writing play scripts. Professional paintings were come out with literature. There was a gap in between literature and other methods. It means other than literature will made separate with other art like paintings, film etc.
Students View on following issues:-
What is Poem?
1. It’s a typical way of describing a thing/person.
2. Anything written by poet, with full of imagination.
3. A rhythmic flow of thoughts.
4. Way of explaining with different thoughts.
What is Story?
1. This has sense.
2. Which can be created or experience.
3. Short cine of createment.
4. A simple piece of writing of moral values.
What is Novel?
1. Something new it has different/way characters.
2. It has many plots.
3. This takes the reader to an imaginary world.
4. A bunch of stories.
5. It takes longer time than story.
Mr. Pinto’s view on the above:-
• Poem: - verse. Arrangement of writing.
• Story: - It’s a sequential unfolding event in time.
• Novel: - Long story is a novel.
• Plot: - is Sequential event arranged in time. How you arrange.
• Drama: - There is no narrator.
• Semiotics to analyse on visuals. As per Barthes author is dead, which means the death of author.
• Society which you born makes you to write.
• Claim overshot.
• Work to text.
as written by Antony Lobo
After the discussion, Mr. Pinto spoke on various Schools of Criticism. He presented these various ideas in the following manner-
Theories of Reading
Liberal Humanism Psycho-analysis
Formalism Cultural Studies
Theories of Doing/ Reading
Each of these theories has its own set of rules.
• Liberal Humanism
This theory came up with Renaissance. The etymological meaning of the word ‘Renaissance’ is rebirth/revival. Renaissance, was a period of revival of the classical arts and learning.
Mr. Pinto spoke about the movie-The Seventh Seal which depicts the period of Renaissance and the rebirth of knowledge.
Renaissance was a period of lack of faith in religion. Therefore, there was an interest in anything human (Lucy poems of Wordsworth ; Lucy which means light). The birth of knowledge brought about the loss of faith in God. This in turn, brought in birth of faith in human and human capabilities to withstand difficulties and to invent. This was a celebration of the ‘individual’ and ‘human ability.’
The term ‘liberal human’ was used in the 18th century to promote the middle class. After the 50’s and 60’s people refrained from using the term ‘individual’ and used ‘subject’ instead.
From 1920’s, formalism came into literature. Literature as a discipline was introduced in Cambridge University in 1912. People considered it a joke as they did not feel a need to study literature as a discipline.
Here, Mr. Pinto spoke about ‘science’ which gives importance to objectivity. According o Karl Popper, to call anything a science, it should fulfil two criteria-it should predict and it should be falsifiable.
Anything that can be experimented and arrived at the same conclusion is science. This is objectivity.
Formalism began in Russia. The idea here is to study the text irrespective of the author and his background. I.A. Richards had become the HOD of English at the age of 24 in 1921. He introduced the method of practical criticism.
This came up during the 1930’s. It developed not so much from literature, but from Saussure. Saussure said that-
Language is an implied order.
Language is a sign system.
Mr. Pinto spoke about Levi Strauss (author of Myth and Music, Raw and Cooked Rice) who met Roman Jakobson and the latter speaks about Saussure to Strauss. Vladimir Proph studied folk tales and Roland Barthes studied culture and visual. Faucault , an important social scientist of the 20th century was also discussed. The class then discussed the story of Oedipus, the king of Thebes.
Semiotics is an off-shoot of structuralism. Saussure said that there are changing elements and unchanging elements. One of the important concepts in semiotics is syntagm and paradigm. Mr. Pinto suggested Daniel Chandler’s “Semiotics for Beginners” for reference. Paradigm is what changes whereas syntagm doesn’t change.
Neither myth nor drama are concerned about the message but dramatising the intractable questions about the meaning of human life. Structuralism requires more than one field.
The word ‘post’ can have multiple meanings-
As a result of experience
Challenge ( as a response to)
Derrida sang the song of Western philosophy (brought the death of Western philosophy). Saussure had said that language is arbitrary. Derrida challenged structuralism and said that one can never get fixed meanings- There is no access to a definite meaning.
Saussure had said that we think in terms of binaries- Good and evil, Light and dark etc. Derrida said that one cannot exist without the other. He introduced the notion of ‘absent centre’. The concept of ‘God’ is beyond explanation. Here, it does not define itself, but everything in it.
This is the concept of Deconstruction. Derrida says that writing came before speech, contradicting the popular notion that speech came first. He used cave paintings to validate his point.
Derrida wanted to destabilize the centre but with no intention of establishing a new centre. His idea was to find the centre, critique it and establish multiple centres. It was all a play of meaning with no definite meaning.
Distinction between post-structuralism and deconstruction
Deconstruction was a theory proposed by Derrida which was similar to the philosophy of Nagarjuna in India. Deconstruction focussed on decentralising.
Structuralism is a tendency of thought. For example, in thinking that you are looking for a stereotype, you are creating them. It is not perceiving structure, you are conceiving it.
Derrida was Faucault’s student. Lacan, a psychologist would give lectures –‘In the name of the Father’ which would be attended by Goddard, Derrida, Faucault and others. Here he said, “ I must break the mirror which made me see myself”.
In 1964, Lyotard was asked by the Canadian government to do a study on Post-modern conditions. He reported –the nations will collapse and multi national corporations will become bigger.
There was a collapse of meta narratives and little narratives came up. In the 1960s and 70s, pop culture and gay and lesbian movements sprang up.
The class discussed “Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s Day?” in the context of post-structuralism.
Feminism came into prominence in the 1960s and 70s. Feminists may be referred to as champions of post-structuralism in that they focussed on decentralising patriarchy.
Bentham’s idea of utilitarianism-‘greatest good of greatest number of people’.
The class briefly discussed Islamic Renaissance which provided food for thought to the European Renaissance.
Feminism is a social and political movement that asks for rights. Mr. Pinto suggested Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Home” for reading.
Simone de Bouvouir’s famous book “Second Sex” marked the beginning of the second wave. Here the idea was that- a woman is made, not born. It was a social process and not a biological one.
In the context of the radical wave, the bra burning movement etc was discussed as they were tools used to make women’s issues visible.
In the third phase, Judith Butler’s “Gender Trouble” gains importance as it deals with issues of sexuality. Judith Butler had questioned why Lauis was cursed in the story of Oedipus. She indicates that it shows 3 types of rejected sexualities-
Lauis cursed for male-male relationship.
Oedipus- mother-son relationship.
Antigone- brother-sister relationship.
The Pink chaddi campaign that happened in India was discussed as a landmark in the history of movements and political organisations.
Gradually, ‘Queer studies’ came into the picture with LGBT-Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transexuals. For reading on feminism in India, Mr. Pinto suggested books by Mary. B. John.
Psychology is a study on the psyche- the mind and the behaviour. Psycho-analysis is a study of the mind and its effects on behaviour. Here, the analysis is on the individual. According to Eric Fromm, psychology is the product of Protestantism and capitalism.
Here, the class discussed the concepts of id, ego and super-ego.
Psycho-analysis can function in three ways-
Trying to understand the work by following up on the author’s life.
By trying to understand the work, gain an understanding of the author.
Understand the work through the audience.
• Cultural Studies
Cultural studies is the study of culture of the masses like film culture, procession culture etc. Culture is a meaning making process.Stuart Hall and Richard Hoggard started cultural studies in Birmingham University. Stuart Hall’s essay ‘Coding Decoding’ was suggested for reading.
Modernism is an aesthetic and not apolitical or philosophical movement. Surrealism is a part of modernism. It is a movement to shock people as it was considered that people’s senses had become dull. In modernism, it was more complex as it was considered that human life had become more complex. Only by depicting this complexity would we get access to reality. In post-modernism, there is no access to reality.
Mr. Pinto instructed the class on the following for compulsory reading-
• The Outsider by Albert Camus
• What is literature by Terry Eagleton
• Oedipus Rex by Sophocles
• Nagamandala by Girish Karnad
• On Poetics by Aristotle
G.V Iyer’s Hamsageethe was also recommended for compulsory viewing.
as written by Sajna Aravind