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Monday, November 30, 2009

World Literature

The idea of word literature was represented in a very glorified manner until the emergence of comparative literature. World literature itself had a very English connotation. Roman, French and the English literature dominated the world scenario. Anthologies of world literature had often been used to market the European cannons. Comparative literature to a certain extent created a binary. Literature from South America, Asia, and Africa which were something “outside the imaginations” started being accommodated in world literature.
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.

introductory class on translation studies

What is translation?
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.
Literary aspects
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



Conducted by

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.

For more information contact: Sonia Soans ( ) or Diptarup Chowdhury ( )

Monday, November 02, 2009


I know its been really long and that I was supposed to write all this long ago.. But I've decided to write about it today. So, here's a little abstract of how classes work here.

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,