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.