Thursday, December 30, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
In the latter half of the chapter on Humanist theory, the traditions and thoughts of many influential thinkers stemming from both Platonic and Aristotelian thought have been examined. Before even attempting to consider what these thinkers have put down in literature and philosophy as their own traditions, it is necessary to examine exactly what the oral traditions of Plato and Aristotle themselves is.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
In his essay on Culture within Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society, Williams begins by tracing the origin and development of the word. For him, it is one of the most complicated words in the English language not just due to its intricate historical development but mainly due to its relevance and undisputable impact in other systems of thought.
Williams then goes on to map the treatment that the word has undergone (in Latin and French), along with the range of meanings it has been a host to, until it got passed on to English. "The primary meaning was then in husbandry, the tending of natural growth." This then explains the metaphoric meaning (a noun of process) it undertook when "the tending of natural growth was extended to the process of human development". This, along with the meaning in husbandry, was the main sense until 1C18 and eC19.
Williams points out that this sense developed crucially towards a "degree of habituation" being added to the metaphor as well as "an extension of particular processes to a general process, which the word could abstractly carry". It is from here that the independent noun 'culture' began its complicated modern history with its complicated latencies of meaning.
Williams refers to a letter from 1730 (Bishop of Killala to Mrs. Clayton) which he cites from John H. Plumb's England in the Eighteenth Century as one of the earliest recorded references of 'culture' in English appearing as an independent noun, an abstract process or the product of such a process. He then quotes Mark Akenside (1744), William Wordsworth (1805) and Jane Austen (1816) on their uses of the word 'culture' to make clear the fact that "culture was developing in English towards some of its modern senses before the decisive effects of a new social and intellectual movement".
Williams then looks at the developments in other languages, especially in German, to follow the development of 'culture' in English. German borrowed the word from French, Cultur and later spelt Kultur, its main use synonymous to 'cultivation': first in the abstract sense of a general process of becoming 'civilized or cultivated'; second in the sense which had already been established for civilization by the historians of the Enlightenment as a description of the secular process of human development. Then Johann Gottfried von Herder, according to Williams, in his unfinished Ideas on the Philosophy of the History of Mankind (1784--91), brought about a decisive change of use in the word where he challenged the universal histories' assumption that civilization or culture - the historical self development of humanity - was a unilinear process; an assumption that led to the "high and dominant point of C18 European Culture" and thereby attacking that very dominant claim to a superior culture. Taking up from Herder, "cultures in the plural" were looked at; to speak of "cultures of the plural: the specific and variable cultures of different nations and periods, but also the specific and variable cultures of social and economic groups within a nation." This sense of culture was widely developed in the Romantic movement as an alternative to the orthodox and dominant 'civilization'. And from here, the new concept of 'folk-culture' emerged, emphasizing national and traditional cultures. this sense of culture was primarily a response to the emergence of the "mechanical character of the new civilization", and was used to distinguish between "human and material development". However, the 1840's in Germany saw Kultur being used very much in the sense of civilization as used in the C18 universal histories. Williams uses G F Klemms' Allgemeine Kulturgeschichte de Menschheit - 'Genreal Cultural History of Mankind' (1843-52) - to show this use of Kultur in the sense of tracing human development from savagery through domestication to freedom.
These various treatments of 'culture' contribute to its modern usage and complexity. There is then the literal continuity of physical process as used in say 'sugar-beet culture' or 'germ culture'. Beyond this physical reference, Williams recognises three broad categories of usage:
(i) The independent and abstract noun which describes a general process of intellectual, spiritual and aesthetic development, from C18.
(ii) The independent noun, whether used generally or specifically, which indicates a particular way of life, whether of a people, aperiod, a group, or humanity in general, from Herder and Klemm.
(iii)the independent and abstract noun which describes the works and practices of intellectual and especially artistic activity.
The third category, a relatively late category according to Williams, seems to lend itself to the widespread usage of 'culture' to be music, literature, painting and sculpture, theatre and film.
The complex and still active history of the word, along with the complex senses, "indicates a complex argument about the relations between general human development and a particular way of life, and between both and the works and the practices of art and intelligence". Embedded within the complex argument are also the opposed as well as as overlapping positions, thereby further complicating the argument. Rather than trying to reduce the complexity of usage, Williams advocates that "The complexity, that is to say, is not finally in the word but in the problems which its variations of use significantly indicate".
Original Text: Williams, Raymond. Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society. Britain: Croom Helm. 1976.
[Note: This is part of an article contributed by me on Wikipedia as CIA II for Mr.Pinto's 'Cultural Theory' paper, II MA English. Link: Click here for the Wikipedia entry]
Thank you Mr.Pinto for encouraging us to be 'givers' and not just 'users' of cyber resources! :)
Following are the questions that have come to me from the classroom while teaching various courses. I do not have answers for them, either because of my lack of exposure to the disciplines, or schools of thinking from where these come from, or because of the limitation of my own intellectual work, or ….
I put them here so that they are not lost to me or to someone else who might be asking similar questions.
I wish to address them either through guest lectures, or through falling back on accessible resources. In case someone out there wishes to help us from any part of the globe with a guest lecture via skype or similar technologies, you are most welcome. You may also refer to a book or essay which we can read.
Your response can
a. help us understand or articulate the question better
b. resolve the issue raised in the question.
While giving out the questions I will also attempt to give the title of the course where the question came up, the essay that gave rise to the question and the date and place. Names of the those who came up with these questions will be disclosed only with prior permission. However, some acronym will be used to identify the person in case of need for further clarity in the future.
2. Do feminists, esp. Cixous and Irigary believe that experience is accessible only through language?
3. How are sense perception, experience, thought, and language different?
( All the above questions come from Translation Studies Course taught for MA English while discussing Roman Jakobson’s “On the Linguistic Aspects of Translation on 10 Dec 2010 @ CU. Came in the discussion with DR)
4. What is knowledge? Is there a difference between knowledge in sciences and knowledge in social sciences? Is social science knowledge not sound?
9. Is there a difference between calling something 'theoretical' and 'philosophical'? In other words, what is the difference between theory and philosophy? Within Kantian epistemology, isn't philosophy supposed to do what theory is doing today - Reflect on and issue/subject?
10. What is the philosophic distinction between emotions and thoughts? "Tagore was keener on expressing his emotions rather than strictly translating his Bengali work." In this sentence how do we know we really are referring to emotions? (23 April 2011, Anil)
11. What is the distinction between thought, idea, concept, word, term, category? (6 July 2011, BA English Honours class, CU)
12. Do we have translation a concept for translation? If yes what is it? (6 July 2011, BA English Honours class, CU)
13. What is the difference between ideology and discourse?
14. When and why did the ideas of holistic renaissance humanist scholar change? (14 July 2012, IMA English class)
10 Sept. 2012 (MPhil Psychology)
15. Can sensory experiences be quantified?
16. What do we quantify in research in psychology?
17. What is the purpose of quantitative research in psychology?
18. When did psychology feel the need for quantitative research?
19. What is the value of geometry to psychological research?
20. How do you establish truth through empirical research methods
21. What is the need of quantitative research in psychology?
22. Is psychology trying to imitate science through quantitative methods? If so, why does it need to imitate?
Thursday, December 09, 2010
I you wish to seek any clarifications, please use the comment section below.
Sunday, December 05, 2010
Friday, December 03, 2010
Hello there! Are you alive right now? Yes, I believe? Well then you have been structured in many ways by ideologies, mainly economic, emerging from the United States of America in the last one century.
This film festival aims at presenting several issues which are usually not taken up in mainstream media (or hide behind the workings of mainstream media, as you shall see in a few of the films to be screened). We shall screen a personal selection of six films - a mix of mainstream movies and documentaries.
Entry is free, and you can come and go as you please.
December 4th, Saturday
2:00pm - 6:00pm
Start of film festival. Screening of the documentary War on Democracy and the movie Team America: World Police. Discussion [optional].
December 5th, Sunday
10:00pm - 1:00pm
Screening of documentaries The Corporation and Story of Stuff.
1:00pm - 2:00pm
2:00pm - 6.15pm
Screening of the documentary Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media and the movie Wag the Dog. Discussion [optional].
Jaaga Screening Room, Jaaga
Google Maps: http://maps.google.com/maps/
No. 16/1, Rhenius Street
Off Richmond Road
Opposite Hockey Stadium
Bangalore - 560025.
>> If you are getting here via auto-rickshaw or cab:
The primary landmarks are "Opposite the Hockey Stadium near Richmond Circle in Shanthinagar" once you get close we're "8 buildings to the right of the TV9 building, across from the Hockey Association Club main gate on Rhenius Street"
>> If you are driving:
- Get onto Richmond Road, going towards Richmond Circle (it's a one way road in the right direction)
- Take a left just before Richmond Circle at the Coffee Day (you'll be turning onto Rhenius St but the sign is hard to see)
- Just go straight and you'll pass TV9 on your left and the Hockey Stadium on your right.
* Look for a strange building with a red gate :)
For more information, visit: http://americanhegemonyff.
[on the festival, schedule, contact, venue, location]
For more details, contact Mohan at 810 577 4016.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Therefore, for the Culture Theory paper, Mr. Pinto presently adopts innovative, experimental and student-centric pedagogy. He encourages students to actively engage with the text to discover the intricacies of Culture Theory as he believes that the methods and arguments used, to arrive at a conclusion, are more important than the conclusion itself. According to Mr. Pinto, classroom learning is a part of the larger rubric of evolving knowledge through the discussions and debates that arise out of an intimate engagement with the text.
The Culture Theory CIA - 2 requires students to post Wikipedia articles on the topics assigned to them. This assignment seeks to facilitate knowledge production by encouraging students to partake in the evolution, storage and dissemination of knowledge. Hence, this assignment is not only an educational experiment but also an earnest attempt to propagate the systematic understanding and explanation of phenomena.
Allotment of topics for Wikipedia articles:
John V. A - Theodore Adorno and Max Horkheimer: “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception”
Panom Kaewphadee - Kenneth Womack: “Introduction: Theorising Culture, Reading Ourselves”
Vipin George - Jodi Dean: “The Net and Multiple Realities”
Abhay Shetty - Ashis Nandy: “An Intelligent Critic’s Guide to Indian Cinema”
Divya Rao - Raymond Williams: “Culture” ; “Popular”
Farah Aleem Ghori - Roland Barthes: “Myth Today”
Josna Joseph - Antonio Gramsci: “History of the Subaltern Classes” ; “The Concept of Ideology” ; “Cultural Themes: Ideological Material”
Josy Edwin - Pierre Bourdieu: “A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste”
Rekha Kamath - Susie Tharu and K. Lalita: “Empire, Nation and the Literary Text”
Kusumika Mitra - Walter Benjamin: “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”
Nidhi V Krishna - Louis Althusser: “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses”
Rini Thomas - Stuart Hall: “Encoding, Decoding”
Rinu Dina John - Stuart Hall: “Cultural Studies and its Theoretical Legacies”
Rungkan Leelasopawut - Frederic Jameson: “The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism”
Sudeepta Mukerji - Raymond Williams: “Base and Superstructure in Marxist Cultural Theory”
Vandana Sugathan - Michel de Certeau: “Walking in the City”
Dhanya Joy - Simon During: “Introduction”
Inchara B.R - Theodore Adorno: “The Culture Industry Reconsidered.”
Foram H Jakharia - Mrinalini Sebastian: “Understanding Culture”
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
- " AIESEC is the international platform for young people to explore and develop their potential. Our platform enables organizations to interact and source high-potential university students and graduates from all over the world through our exchange programs, conferences, and virtual communication tools.
- 45,000 members
- Present in 107 countries
- Over 4,000 partners
- 8,500 international internships
- Present in 1,700 universities
- Over 800,000 alumni worldwide
Our international platform enables young people to explore and develop their leadership potential for them to have a positive impact in society.
We take full responsibility for developing the leadership potential of our members.
We fulfil our commitments and conduct ourselves in a way that is true to our ideals.
We respect and actively encourage the contribution of every individual.
We enjoy being involved in AIESEC.
Through creativity and innovation we seek to continuously improve.
Our decisions take into account the needs of future generations.
Impactful: We enable a strong experience to our stakeholders that change them and/or societies
Experience: Our experience is comprised of a global learning environment, leadership opportunities and international internships
In this program, all members go through a formal introduction to the organization to connect them with the purpose, values and impact of AIESEC. Members then take on responsibility virtual or physical, in some area of operations and activity. Members then have the option to take on leadership role, internship, or both. The final step of the AIESEC Experience is to head to the future - to take the skills, inspiration, and networks from AIESEC to have a positive impact in society.
- Global Exchange Program
- AIESEC Graduates Program
It is designed to build independent talent pipeline which could be connected to existing graduates programs.
- Positioning in the Alumni Network
For Membership -
For International Internships -
Gurmeet Singh Sachdev
For Corporate queries (To hire international interns)-
For NGOs and Schools (To hire international interns) -
Raunaq Singh Thind
For sponsorship and other partnerships -
Monday, November 15, 2010
II MA English
Mr. Pinto begins the class with an open question ‘Why would a company grant 3 months paid maternity leave?’
Answers like ‘welfare’, ‘concern’, ‘responsibility’, etc. flew around the room. Going by our responses, our faith in upright organizational codes of ethics looks very promising. But Mr. Pinto only smiles and urges us to probe and consider further the economics of such a policy.
Cultural Studies, he then reveals, will examine the meaning of this policy from economics’ point of view – which is that it is an investment the company makes in order to secure labour productivity as well as to prepare for a future work force. Now suddenly, the whole concept of ‘maternity leave’ doesn’t seem so purely noble.
Mr. Pinto also cited an example of his friend, a theorist (legitimised by his substantial publications), who found substantial flaws in the theories posited in the Dalit space (a relatively minor space) used for expression. But the theorist did not want to launch criticism because he felt it would come at too costly a price. Not to be mistaken for condescension, but rather the plain fact that if he had done so, then it would have resulted in the dissolving of even that minor space of expression. But does that mean that not addressing it will allow the crack to widen? His answer to that is that there are many cracks (hegemonic manipulations) already existing within the majority space. If we can live with those then the minor cracks existing in that smaller space can indeed also be borne. This was his negotiation with the politics of cultural space. Studying his decision and reasoning shows that for him, it was a decision based on his ethical code.
What is Mr. Pinto trying to achieve through these two cases of scrutiny? He’s trying to put Cultural Studies into practice by making us scrutinise the meaning making process involved in the concept of ‘maternity leave’ or even in the example of his theorist friend.
‘Culture’ simplified is after all nothing but a meaning making process. We are constantly embedded in cultural processes, but these activities are by no means innocent – i.e. they are never free from politics. Cultural Studies will study these processes and question, probe, and challenge in order to study these meaning making processes. It looks to question what others don’t know easily and also questions what is not easily evident.
Mr. Pinto is careful in not terming Cultural Studies as an ‘academic discipline’ quite like other disciplines. Rather, it is a methodology of sorts that is incorporated into all disciplines – sciences, social sciences as well as art/literature – and becomes a tool for scrutiny and self reflection.
Mr. Pinto also warns us gravely (and rather ominously) that any serious student of Cultural Studies, if bitten once by the serious probing Cultural Studies undertakes, will never truly go back to being the person he/she was before. While that may sound liberating and alarming at the same time, what we students are mostly relieved about is that it definitely doesn’t sound boring!
Some questions raised at the beginning of the hour:
• Why is Marx so popularly revisited across disciplines even today, in favour of say...a Spivak?
• How is Cultural Theory different from Cultural Studies?
• Cultural Theory vs. Literary Theory?
Addressing the question on Marx before the rest, Mr. Pinto began by urging us to look at the domain of knowledge production. Knowledge is the systematic understanding and explanation of phenomena and knowledge comes from empirical, lived experience. This then leads to questions, which in turn lead to reflection. Some would then write theories to logically make sense of this. Such a process not only facilitates growth of theories but of people as well.
So we have a Plato, an Aristotle, Newton, Einstein, Heidegger, Husserl, Derrida, Foucault etc...
These people are special because they give new theoretical frameworks using which people will examine diverse phenomena across the world. But ofcourse, the labour of their predecessors is crucial to these frameworks as well (so to understand Marx we need to understand Hegel and to understand Hegel, go back to Kant and so on...); just as how their successors ensure they carry forward their works (like how the Neo-Platonists carry forward Plato, how Spivak carries forward Foucault etc.) is crucial as well.
Karl Marx comes in here as one of the crucial ‘givers’ of a theoretical framework (and not the theory). His economic analysis is so scientific and mathematical, you can’t really miss it. From his analysis he carves out the ideas of ‘labour’, ‘capital’ (capitalism, capitalist...), ‘bourgeois’ etc., and includes even ‘environment’ (the first capital comes from where? Nature!).
After Marx, we don’t have a single figure who contributed as significantly in terms of establishing a theoretical framework for understanding society and social phenomena.
And to understand Marx we need to go back to Immanuel Kant. Once that German philosopher comes into the picture, the entire British philosophical tradition comes to a halt. (Before Kant, the philosophical domain saw the likes of Locke, Newton, Hume, Berkley etc.) Kant carves out a German lineage of philosophers and finishes off the British lineage. For nearly 200 years, Kant stood undisputedly significant in the philosophical scene after which the likes of Foucault and Derrida brought back the French into the picture.
But what one can’t deny is that Kant is far reaching (both temporal and spatial). Take even universities as we see them today. The university model of the first university of Berlin, Humboldt University (1810) is a strong influence on universities across the world even today (founder Wilhelm von Humboldt was a philosopher who took over from Kant). The divisions of social sciences, sciences and humanities in universities can be attributed to Kant. [Read: Critique of Pure Reason which is his theory of ‘perception’; Critique of Practical Reason which is his moral philosophy; and Critique of Judgment which is his theory on aesthetics] He divided knowledge domains into three factors: reason, ethics and aesthetics. The sciences must explore ‘reason’, the social sciences must explore ‘ethics’ (but according to Mr. Pinto, sadly don’t do a satisfactory job of it in reality), and literature must explore ‘aesthetics’ (but again, Mr. Pinto feels it doesn’t). Philosophy is supposed to reflect on all these. That is why it asks ‘what’.
Art, literature were not spoken of before Kant. The arts such as dance, painting, etc. were a way of life. They were ‘studied’ without judgement only after Kant, within the domain of ‘aesthetics’. But once it is judged it goes into the domain of the social sciences (ethics) from the domain of aesthetics. Aesthetics for Kant is pure pleasure without baggage (intention, ownership, monetary value etc.).
And this is precisely why literary theory as a discipline fails. It is the area of aesthetics that academics 'questions'. Aesthetics is therefore, in that sense, studied ‘unethically’ with ulterior motives. E.g. Postcolonial studies will look at not aesthetics but ethics – the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ of it will now shift the discipline’s domain from ‘aesthetics’ to that of ‘ethics’.
It is here that Cultural Studies enters the picture. It constantly questions and challenges this idea of how aesthetics (i.e. those constructed unethical manipulations in the name of aesthetics) tangles up with ethics.
Finally, Cultural Theory is different from Cultural Studies in that ‘studies’ must reflect upon itself to be called ‘studies’. ‘Theory’ is only concepts that are specific to domains that then interact with other domains or even within the same domain.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
4. Analysis (20 pages)
Make a list of 10 major thinkers in the area and write minimum of one page summary on each thinker's contribution to the field.
1. The Future of Money - Documentary film on Vimeo
2. "What is the future of money?" Rediff article
3. Future of Money Project
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
For more information please email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or swamysac at yahoo.com Website:http://sacenglishworkshop.hpage.com
Sunday, November 07, 2010
At least for once this will be post-in-progress. I will keep writing as and when ideas compel me to write or revise.
Youtube Assignment Announcement
teaching the whole textbook online
CIA submissions and the consequent student interaction
Teaching a novel online
Wikipedia articles as assignments
Blogging the international conference
Journals in English
online writing lab
Class notes updates by students
model questions papers
Additional resource link
Legitimation online content- wiki
Harvesting the WWW for questions from the classroom
Question bank workshop for students
Tweeting model questions papers, exam material from Blog
Saturday, November 06, 2010
Please go through the following links before you start writing articles in Wikipedia on the essays assigned to you as part of CIA 2.
1. Wikipedia Guidelines on writing wiki articles
2. WikiHow resource on How to Write a Wikipedia Article
3. Howcast video on how to create a Wikipedia article.
4. eHow resource on creating a new Wikipedia article
5. An article from searchengineguide
MEL 435a Translation Studies course plan. Click here to download.
Friday, November 05, 2010
You may download the course plan of MEL 433 Cultural Theory here.