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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Politicals of Knowledge Production and Ethnographic Methods

Did you know... that most Research Method theories or knowledge fields come from larger politico, historical contexts?
  • like most psychology tests were done during the Vietnam war
  • World war II brought dramatic changes to clinical psychology
  • that the Internet was first used to compute details of the U.S Army and therefore for the use of defence
  • Language teaching has all it's methods in War. Communicative method comes from the time of Vietnam war
  • that the history of Dental sciences can be traced back to Nazi camps,where Jews were experimented upon, mercilessly and without their consent
  • the entire field of pesticides emerges from World War II
  • Fort Detrick in Maryland was the headquarters of US biological warfare experiments. Operation Whitecoat involved the injection of infectious agents to observe their effects in human subjects
  • Also there have been and still are numerous human experiments that performed in the US, which have been considered unethical, and were often performed illegally, without the knowledge, consent or informed consent of the test subjects and many of these experiments were funded by the US Govt especially the Central Intelligence agency and the US military!

these are just a few examples which go to show that '90% of all research, scientific and otherwise, happens during wars or for purposes of war,' and everything comes from 'Anthropology'.

Anthropology, roughly put, is the study of humans and culture and it was developed during the colonial period where the colonists would look down upon the people in the subservient outlets, having a superior air or notion about themselves. They assumed that the people there were under-developed, less intelligent and incapable of advancement without their help. to help them they needed to gain fundamental knowledge about them and so they studied the natives. They studied their food, clothes, eating habits, mannerisms... not realising, all along, that their interest lay not in the natives development but in their own benefit. It is said that to market a product to a community, study their culture... and that is what they did, under the guise of 'development'. For the natives being studied they may be an already developed lot and may lead content lives and may feel no need for further development. But the scholar may disagree.

And to this day the gap between the knower and the knowee exists. The problem when it comes to research is that you bring in your own framework and it usually is the scholar's perspective.

To study people they used methods that were ethnograpchic. They evolved

  • observation
  • interview
  • surveys and
  • structured surveys

And then from Anthropology came Sociology which is by definition the study and classification of human societies. But the uncanny truth remains that when it is the study of people from under-developed Nations of the East, it is Anthropology while when studying people from the developed countries of the West, it is termed as Sociology! Before Independent India, studies here were Anthropology... after Independent India, studies here were Sociology.

Towards the end two interesting points were made by Mr. Pinto... the first one he said 'To look at a country's development take a look at it's educational institutions'.

and the second, he was saying 'Politics is not bad... Power is!' he said each one of us engage in our own political space.

I'd like to pose my thoughts on this statement. The word politics today has a negative connotation to it. Politics is not bad, power is but ironically powerful people control the politics of a Nation. And if each of them are involved in their own political space, who will do things for the greater good?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Types of English Language Teaching (E.L.T.) Syllabi

Following is the lecture notes compiled by Vidya of III JPEng.

Before we get into the types of Syllabi (in English Language Teaching), we must understand some of the basic concepts. They are as follow;

Programme- It is the entire degree one is enrolled for within which plenty of other courses are available. E.g. B.A. which offers you many other courses within it.
Course – is the path one has taken in the programme available such as B.A. in Journalism and so on.
Paper- Course and paper are usually used interchangeably.
Subject -The principal theme, or leading thought or phrase, on which a composition or a movement is based. In educational field it applies to a particular theme or topic within the course. For e.g. Psychology, English etc.
Curriculum- All that one has to do in order to get through a programme to have mastery over it. Many medical colleges for instance ask the students to complete a year of bond before giving them a degree of MBBS or BSc. Nursing.
Syllabus- Which is directly linked to paper/subject of teaching, or description of what is to be learned. It is an outline or a summary of the main points of a text, lecture, or course of study.
Course plan- on the other hand is about ‘how’ to teach that syllabus, what is going to be covered, how much time required and so on.

Syllabi are positioned into various categories:
1) Procedural syllabus: Where in one decides / explains step by step the development of ideas or learning situations.
2) Cultural syllabus: It assumes that learning habits across the world are not similar. Every culture has a particular way of teaching language. E.g. one trained in India to ‘reproduce’ what is taught finds it difficult to understand and cope with the demand of ‘production’ of knowledge when studying in Europe.
3) Situational syllabus: Structured, but assumption is that if situations are created then learning happens faster.
4) Structured/Formal syllabus: In which there is assumption that one has to introduce language in terms of its complexity.
5) Multidimensional syllabus: This takes care of many situations, not focusing on one dimension of language learning but taking care of all the aspects.
6) Task-based syllabus: In which one looks at the task at hand. Thus there is an assumption that by giving various tasks can lead to learning of many words, vocabularies so on.
7) Process syllabus: Type of syllabi where learners are engaged in evolving the syllabus. However at the end everything is in teacher’s control.
8) Learner-led syllabus: Slightly different from process syllabus, in which learner is constantly interacting with the syllabus.
9) Content based syllabus: In which focus is given on content such as poem, essay, story and so on.
10) Proportional syllabus: a different type of syllabus wherein language is learned in proportion, as in one learns what is required of him in a given situation

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Media Research

Today our class started with a recap of the previous class where we had discussed on the topic of mass and masses. Post discussion the topic shifted to Indian culture and selling of foreign products in India. The topic came about on the lines of how Coca Cola is been sold as a thirst quencher in the market, when the same thing can be replaced with water or other beverages such as tea, coffee or lemon water. We elaborated on the topic saying that Coke is sold through indigenization of the product such as portraying it as been associated with happiness and Indian festivals such as Diwali. However the counter argument was that Diwali is part of religious celebrations by Hindus and not necessarily an Indian culture on the whole. The topic was broadened by bringing in the topic of dress code and how most institutions in South India follow a strict dress code for students which is mostly salwar kameez for girls and formals for men. However here again salwar kameez is a North Indian dress. Bhangra has also moved on in the same way. Originally a Punjabi festival it has become extremely popular all across India, even though Bollywood is located in Maharashtra and most actors hail from Uttar Pradesh. So it remains unexplained how Bhangra became so popular among masses blurring regional and state lines. However the fact remains that these examples point to the fact that there is movement of North Indian culture down to the South. Also cultures get carried through products and goods that are sellable.

At the time of choosing the Indian national language, Bengali lost to Hindi by a single vote. Bengali was mooted as a national language because it is more ancient than Hindi. However it’s a pity that Urdu was not taken up more seriously since Urdu as a language is extremely rich though it has fallen prey to been wrongly linked up with Islam. Most great poets and lyricists like Gulzar and Javed Akhtar still write in Urdu.

Media research in India is a copy of what happens in the western countries especially the U.S. It’s based on audience and television research. This might be due the reason that many lecturers in established institutions in India and researchers in the industry have at some point of time been to the US for their studies or pursuing research related material and have gotten exposed and influenced to that particular form of media research.

Over the years the education system in India with regards to the syllabus has changed very little. Take for example journalism schools. The syllabus very much remains the same that was taught a decade back. The media in itself has seen changes in leadership styles. In fact most famous media journalists are not from a journalism background for example Prannoy Roy has done his Phd in Agricultural Economics and Rajdeep Sardesai had studied Economics and Law.

Definition of research remains the same across all disciples. It is termed as being something new, knowledge production and epistemology. Also research in terms of media and communication, differences between method and methodology were further discussed in the class. Method is a particular way of doing something example interview, survey. Methodology is various practices in research that is how you are going to do your research, what you are going to use and the final presentation.

Different types of method includes interview, action research, observation, participant observation, focus group discussion, survey (survey can be based on interview, questionnaire and online questionnaire), psychoanalysis, marxist analysis, semiotics, discourse analysis, content analysis, queer analysis. There are hardly any books on research methods for media studies. Mr. Pinto is also thinking of writing a book on the same, one that can be used in various colleges by students pursuing research in media. Waiting for the book…

Pooja Basnett

media research in India - critical reflections

Mr. Pinto’s first class of semester II, M.phil Media Studies, research methodologies in media, was a short class and dealt with the analytical power of the audiece.

Mr.Pinto started with the fact that research in media in India is all about audience survey. Also the research knowledge available in India is largely influenced by the U.S. So there arises a requirement of more theories for studying media itself and less of an audience survey.

Mr. Pinto went on to discuss the word ‘mass’ on how it suggests that the recipients of media products constitute a vast sea of passive, undifferentiated individuals, and how Stuart Hall, one of the leading cultural theorists, challenged the tem mass. Hall brought in agency or the analytical power of the audience. He says the message does not reach the reciever unaltered. The message reaches the audience after passing a series of codes. The message from the encoders is transformed at every point, because we as individuals are tuned into following traditions. We have been taught codes and therefore look to apply what we have been taught in practically everything. Eg; while writing a news article we invariably tend to follow the inverted pyramid style because we have been taught to!

The magic bullet theory holds no good anymore because each individiual percieves a message differently. But that is the final stage, before it reaches the audience the message undergoes numerous transformations, under the story writer’s hand, under the camera person’s hand, under the editor’s hand and more. And then the way the audience indivually takes to it differs from person to person.

So in such a society as today where each man thinks differently and percieves things differently, a collective audience survey is not good enough, calling out for more research work in India studying the media itself.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

SEPHIS Fellowship

The Centre for the Study of Culture and Society (CSCS) offers a fellowship awarded by SEPHIS to a student from any country in the South to spend one academic year in Bangalore, India, beginning July 2010.

The main purpose of the fellowship programme is to help develop alternative frameworks for research and teaching as well as new theoretical paradigms that take into account the specific experiences of non-Western societies.

The student can either register with CSCS for the Ph.D. in Cultural Studies (validated by the Manipal University and Kuvempu University) or register in his/her own country and do the CSCS coursework for two semesters.

The Ph.D. programme's uniqueness lies in the following:

o Focus on inter-disciplinarity
o Emphasis on the formulation of research problems and teaching programmes in relation to development, democracy and cultural issues that draw on conventional disciplines but cut across their boundaries.

Research areas at CSCS include:
o Culture and Colonial histories; Law and Society; Higher Education; Gender Studies; Social Justice; Psychoanalysis; Culture and Rights; Cultural policy; Culture industries; Film and Popular Culture; Political Studies; Theorising the Region (focus on the Indian Ocean and Southern India); Science, Technology and Society Studies.

The following are the ongoing research programmes at CSCS with which students may also be associated (for a description of these programmes, please visit programme pages on the CSCS website:

o Culture: Industries and Diversity in Asia (CIDASIA)
o Law, Society, Culture
o Higher Education
o Culture, Subjectivity and Psyche: Rethinking Mental Health (CUSP)

Eligibility: A Master’s Degree in any discipline with 55% marks or its grade equivalent if the student is registering with CSCS for the PhD., or proof of Ph.D. registration in any Southern university outside India if the student is coming only for coursework.

Benefits: A substantial stipend, international airfare, accommodation in Bangalore, travel costs for three weeks within India for visits to different academic institutions, tuition and other fees will be provided for. If the student registers for a PhD at CSCS, financial support available after the first year will be at par with that of other CSCS students.

Current CSCS faculty are drawn from the fields of film and media studies, political theory, history, and art history, gender studies, psychoanalytic and legal theory and science studies with a strong background in inter-disciplinary cultural studies. Applicants are requested to visit the CSCS websites for more information of the institution, its faculty, courses, library, etc:

To apply: Applications should include a sample of writing such as a term paper, a current CV, two letters of recommendation, transcripts of last two degrees obtained, and proof of eligibility.

Write to Dr. Anup Dhar, Convenor, Academic Committee, Centre For The Study Of Culture And Society, No. 827, 29th Main Road, Poornaprajna HSBC Layout,

Uttarahalli, Bangalore - 560 061

Email: anup at

Telephone: 91-80-26423268

Fax: 91-80-26423002

Deadline: Complete applications must reach CSCS by April 10, 2010. E-mail and fax applications are acceptable only if followed by a hard copy sent by airmail or courier. Candidates will be informed of the outcome by April 15, 2010. The CSCS academic year begins in the last week of July. In case of delays related to visa procedures, selected applicants may also officially begin their coursework in the following semester beginning January 2011.

MPhil – Applied Linguistics Course Plan

Session 1 : Introduction to Linguistics – history

Session 2 : Phonetics – 17 Feb

Session 3 : Morphology – Word formation 18 Feb

Session 4 : Morphology – Derivational and Inflectional 24 Feb

Session 5 : Syntax– 25 Feb

Session 6 : Syntax -3 Mar

Session 8 : SALA – Introduction 4 Mar

Session 9 : SALA – Language families 10 Mar

Session 10 : sociolinguistics 11 Mar

Session 11 : Neurolinguistics 17 Mar

Session 12 : Clinical linguistics 18 Mar

Session 13 : Language and brain 24 mar

Session 14 : Language acquisition

Session 15 : Translation- A History

Session 16 : Linguistic theories of translation

Session 17 : Linguistic theories of translation

Session 18 : Translation Studies after the theory turn

Session 19 : Translation Studies – contemporary concerns

Session 20 : Retrospection


  • Each session is of two hours duration.
  • Sessions 2 to 14 will be taught by Deepti
  • Sessions 1 and 15 to 20 will be taught by Anil

CIA I - Observation of the language acquisition process in children from the age-group 11/2 to 6 years. Report - 20 pages (Further instructions will be given in the classroom.

CIA II - Socio-linguistics- Observation of language behaviour and change in your society

CIA III – Translation studies – Presentation and reports on essays. A short research paper of about five pages.

Monday, February 15, 2010

National Seminar on Gendering Indian Narratives

UGC National Seminar on “Gendering Indian Narratives

by Department of English, Kakatiya University, Warangal, AP

(March 22 & 23, 2010)


Women have been subjected to oppression for centuries in the patriarchal society. Aristotle distinguishes women on account of "a certain lack of qualities." St Thomas Aquinas calls woman an “imperfect man”. Philosophers like St Thomas Aquinas, Rousseau, Hegel, Nietzsche, and Sartre have also considered women morally inferior. Feminism emerged as an organised movement for women's rights and interests, and the political, economic and social equality of sexes in the male-dominated society. Feminist criticism is concerned with “woman as the producer of textual meanings with the history, themes, genres and structures of literature by women.” It is an attempt to revalue the literature of the past from a gender perspective. Feminist criticism is regarded as deconstructive in spirit and method in as much as it aims at a revisionist reading of literary history and typology. Simon de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex (1949) has provided the theoretical foundation for feminist criticism by pointing out the basic asymmetry between the terms 'masculine' and 'feminine'. Man as viewed as ‘One’, while woman, the ‘Other’. One is not born a woman, but rather becomes a woman.

Feminism has assumed various forms. Political Feminism can be seen in the works of Kate Millett, Germaine Greer, Mary Ellmann, Shulamith Firestone and Michele Barrett. It finds the “sexual politics” in "acting out the roles in the unequal relation of domination and subordination." Millett traces “politics” in the mechanisms that establish the male hegemony and female subjugation and insist on raising women's political awareness of this injustice. Gynocriticism can be seen in the works of Elaine Showalter, Virginia Woolf, and Mary Ellmann. It concerns itself with developing a specifically female framework for dealing with works written by women, in all aspects of their production, motivation, analysis, and interpretation, and in all literary forms, including journals and letters. French feminist criticism can be seen in the works of Jacques Lacan, Juliet Mitchell, Julia Kristeva, Helene Cixous. The common radical claim of French theorists has been that all western languages are utterly and irredeemably male-engendered, male-constituted, and male-dominated. Discourse, Lacan proposes, is “phallogocentric”; that is, centred and organized throughout by implicit recourse to the phallus(used in a symbolic rather than a literal sense) both as its supposed “logos”, or ground, and as its prime signifier and power-source. The basic problem of the French theorists is to establish the very possibility of a woman’s language that will not go into the groove of the phallogocentric language and become subservient to it. Thus the question of gender has become more prominent in theoretical debates. In spite of their aversion for male theories, the Feminists have not been able to be completely independent of them. Feminists want to wrest their share of discursive power from men. The Feminist criticism, however, exudes confidence in the words of Showalter that it is "not visiting. It is here to stay, and we must make it a permanent home". It is, however, felt by critics like Raman Selden that Gender criticism "will never be able to resort to a universally accepted body of theory." It is hoped that the enterprise of Feminist criticism should not be confined to women alone, but it should be shared by men as well.

Susie Tharu & K. Lalitha’s Women Writing in India in 2 volumes broke a new ground by exploring women’s writing in 13 languages covering a period from 600 BC to the early 20th c. These writings from Therigatha (songs of Buddist Nuns, 6th c) to the most recent work illuminate the lives of women over two and a half millenia of Indian History and extend our understanding of gender issues. Representation of women in ancient and medieval classics like The Ramayana, The Mahabharatha, Abhignana Sakuntalam, Silappadikaram, Swapna Vasavadutta, Mrichakatikam, Kadambari etc need to be reexamined from a fresh perspective.

Gender issues have attracted greater attention in the recenst Indian literature/fiction written in English and regional languages. They acquired greater focus in the hands of recent fiction writers. Though many of these writers have refused to be branded as feminists, one can discern feminist postures implicitly, if not explicitly, in their writings. Issues of gender involving male and female roles, and their interconnection with narrative and space have come to the fore. Gender is invariably linked to class, culture, caste and identity. While defining the role of man/woman vis-a-vis family and society at personal, social, political and economical levels, the writers are not impervious to western, European feminist theories. Man-Woman relationship is revalued from a gender perspective to expose the ideological implications. Gender is viewed as a cultural construct, while sex is biological. Mention may be made of writers like R K Narayan, Raja Rao, Anand, Malgonkar, Amitav Ghosh, Vikram Seth, David Davidar, Jai Nimbkar, Anita Desai, Kamala Markandaya, Ruth Prawer Jabhwala, Nayantara Sahgal, Bharati Mukherjee, Anita Desai, Shashi Deshpande, Uma Vasudev, Githa Hariharan, Shobha De, Arundhati Roy, Manju Kapoor, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Gita Mehta, Dina Mehta, Meera Syal and Kiran Desai.

Indian women in the past were denied opportunities available in the society. The traditional values, and early marriage system in Hindus and purdah system in Muslims confined them within the limits of the home. She has no identity other than her family. Thanks to the reform movements by social reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, women were educated. The educated women became conscious of the injustice inflicted upon them by the patriarchy and started protesting against it. When the Freedom Struggle started men and women came together to fight against the British Raj, and gradually the issue of gender discrimination began dissolving. Post-Independence India witnessed a significant change as constitutional provisions were provided to offer woman equal rights and privileges in society which have “tremendously influenced her outlook on conjugal relationship and attitude towards marriage” (Promilla Kapur 1976). In such a transitional phase, the clash between tradition and modernity often resulted in conflict and frustration. A new generation of women novelists emerged in the recent past embracing the changed values. They portrayed women with a voice of their own, a voice that had been suppressed for centuries. Endowed with a capacity to make free choice, these women not depend on the choice of the male. Santosh Gupta points out that “women writers have eloquently voiced women’s side of life – the experiences of man’s ‘other’, society’s marginalized and silenced half. Breaking off from the traditional male-dominated novels that focussed on public subjects and public space, women’s novels have brought to center-stage the ignored and unexpressed lives that have been on the periphery of male lives” (23). They throw deep insights into the female psyche and present a full range of feminine experience. Women have consolidated their position by shedding their servility towards their husbands. An effort to re-define the man-woman relationships can be seen in the novels of Bharati Mukherjee, Nayantara Sahgal, Uma Vasudev, Arundhati Roy, Githa Hariharan, Shashi Deshpande, Shobha De and others. The word ‘New Woman’ has come to signify an awakened woman trying to assert her rights as a human being and determined to fight for equal treatment with man. “An interesting aspect of the modern Indian enlightenment has been the creative release of the feminine sensibility” (A.V. Krishna Rao 50).

The recent Indian women novelists have reflected variously on the gender issues through their powerful portrayal of man-woman relationships in their writing. To mention a few novels– Kamala Markandaya’s Two Virgins (1973) Anita Desai’s Fasting, Feasting (1999), Nayantara Sahgal’s The Day in Shadow (1971), Shashi Deshpande’s That Long Silence (1988), The Binding Vine (1993), A Matter of Time (1996), Moving On (2004), Shobha De’s Socialite Evenings (1989), Uncertain Liaisons (1993), Githa Hariharan’s The Thousand Faces of Night (1992), When Dreams Travel (1999), Jai Nimbkar’s Temporary Answers (1974), A Joint Venture (1988), Bharathi Mukherjee’s Jasmine (1989), Desirable Daughters (2003), Uma Vasudev’s The Song of Anasuya (1978), Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things (1997), Rama Mehta’s Inside the Haveli (1977), Namita Gokhale’s Paro: Dreams of Passions (1984), Anjana Appachana’s Listening Now (1998), Indu K. Mallah’s Shadows in Dream-Time (1990), Manju Kapoor’s Difficult Daughters (1998), Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s Sister of My Heart (1999), The Vine of Desire (2002), Shauna Singh Baldwin’s What the Body Remembers (1999). Women in these novels “question, analyse and try to open out the gender roles, male power and relationships that are important to all men and women” (Gupta 35).

The male discourse focuses on gender issues from a masculine perspective. Mention may be made of novels like Narayan’s The Dark Room, Raja Rao’s The Serpent and the Rope, Anand’s The Old Woman and The Cow, Malgonkar’s The Princes, Jai Nimbkar’s Final Solutions and Joint Venture, David Davidar’s House of Blue Mangoes, Amitav Ghosh’s The Glass Palace, The Hungry Tide, Rohinton Mistry’s Such a Long Journey, Vikram Seth’s The Suitable Boy etc There is a need to examine whether women are portrayed in their sexually defined stereotypical roles as mothers, good submissive wives or bad dominating wives, seductresses, betrayers etc. or reflect women’s real experiences and real worlds.

The present seminar seeks to re-value the Indian narratives from the gender perspective. It addresses itself to the following issues:

1. Woman in Indian culture and society

2. Women’s portrayal in the ancient and medieval Indian Narratives

3. Gender theories: East & West

4. Issues of Gender vis-a-vis Caste, Class, Culture and Identity.

5. Feminism as a social movement and its influence on literature

6. Gender theories vis-a-vis Indian literatures in English

7. Ideological base of Male discourse

8. Strategies of protest by women against male domination.

9. Feminist discourse and its influence on women’s emancipation

10. Gendered Language

11. Any other topic that has a bearing on the theme of the Seminar.

The Seminar, it is hoped, would contribute to the understanding of seminal issues related to the issues of gender and its re-presentation in Indian narratives in English and regional languages.

For Details, contact:

Prof G Damodar

Director of the Seminar

Head, Department of English

Kakatiya University


Emails: /

Cell: 098491-42641

Saturday, February 13, 2010

International Seminar on Technology Enhanced Language Learning: The Way Forward - A Report

Following is the report of the International Seminar on Technology Enhanced Language Learning: The Way Forward organised by District Centre for English, Thrissure, Kerala on 10, 11 and 12 February 2010. Jijo KP helped me in the preparation of this report. I am grateful for his assistance.

Day One

1. Therambil Ramakrishnan, MLA, Thrissur: While requested the teachers to adopt technology emphasised on taking to technology with a pinch of salt.

2. APM Mohammad Hanish, IAS, Director of Public Instructions, Kerala, in his presidential address emphasised on the centrality of the human teacher in the process of ICT education.

3. Kapil Kapoor, JNU – Key note address.

Prof. Kapur mapped the changes that are taking place in our educational system due to ICT and drew our attention to the assumptions behind those shifts. He found shifts in existing social organisation in terms of rejection of authority, ability and move from object to subject or learner-centeredness. The shift, he said, is proposed with the assumption that the students are passive and non-interactive in the ‘traditional’ classrooms and that control is not necessary in terms of grading and that we should move to uncontrolled exposure from selective exposure. Prof. Kapur’s lecture invited us to interrogate the shifts and the assumptions seriously so that a more constructive pedagogy and curriculum can be evolved in the post-ICT period.

4. SDhanavel, Anna University, Chennai, in his presentation sharing his experience in Anna University stressed on the importance of using home grown low-cost models for pedagogy and to resist the manipulation of the education by the market.

5. Kirsten Anderson, USA, introduced using of theatre in teaching language to beginners of English Language Learning among Dalits and using DVD short films using folk materials. She also looked at English as a matter of social intervention.

6. Steven Herder spoke about using different ICT tools for two purposes, 1) professional development of the teacher, whereby the teacher can connect to the teaching community on line and grow interacting with them, 2) to enable the students to learn language better and with more excitement.

7. RJ Kalpana, Chennai: presented a paper on the use of blogs as a cost effective and innovative way of engaging with student’s learning.

8. Sunder Singh, Karunya University, Coimbatore : Drew attention to the widening gap between the digital natives and digital immigrants and the danger of a teacher becoming a technological administrator and supervisor.

9. James Simpson, University of Leeds, UK – in his online presentation drew attention to the shift in the nature of language and communication used online.

Day Two

10. Kamala, LFC, Guruvayoor, said that ICTs have been changing the way writing has been in practice for a long time.

11. Devaki Reddy, IIT, Chennai, spoke about using the internet resources for better language learning especially collocation and diction. She spoke of the need of teachers becoming facilitators in the process of language developments by students using online resources so that they can become independent in their learning.

12. Anil Pinto, Christ University, Bangalore – A different socio-political condition has emerged due to ICT – the digital condition. And elaborated on the need to carefull rethinking curriculum, pedagogy, testing and evaluation so that we are able to have a less violent society facilitated by ICT.

13. KJ Varghese, Christ College, Kerala, spoke of using learning through Mlearning or mobile phone enabled learning. He shared the software and hardware and strategies required for this.

14. Kalyan Chattopadhaya, Leeds University, UK, spoke on the use of chat and the different linguistic and social dimensions emerging in interactions over the cyberspace.

15. Presentation on language lab by Orell Techno Systems – demonstrated the possiblites of using language lab to enhance language learning differently. Questions of Indian English, need to subscribe to international standards were raised in this session.

16. Prabodh Chandra Nayar, Kerala University spoke on the need to give a gradual exposure to language syntactic structures.

17. K Elango, Anna University, Chennai, in his workshop demonstrated how to use material and methods in language teaching and more importantly use the exiting media to encourage students to write nad publish

18. Thiru, Teledata, Chennai, demonstrated on how to transfer administrative work to computer and showed how electronic modules can be used to enable enhanced learning.

Day Three

19. ME Premanand, MC College, Calicut, traced the history of infographics and showed how to use them for enhanced language learning.

20. P Bhaskaran Nair, Pondicherry University – need to think the language and social system in the context of the changing socio-political conditions. His presentation reflected the need to seriously look at the theories of language and language acquisition seriously and look at the new evolving pedagogies and philosophies of second language acquisition suspiciously.

21. Anwar Sadat, Director, IT@School, Kerala, mapped the history of in Kerala from IT to ICT enabled learning and the kind of strategies used to make the transitions.

22. Sijo and Jaimon, Kerala in the presentation showed the possibility of taking ICT to the secondary classroom through their experiments with podcasting.

23. Maya Pandit - Pro VC EFL University, Hyderabad, spoke on the present condition of education and ICT penetration in India and ways in which EFL is engaging with such a scenario.

24. Michael Warren Sonneleitner, spoke and views on Gandhi on technology and their relevance today. He also made a case study of privatized education in the US and its disastrous outcomes in the US.

Summary: All presentations brought out the narrative of crisis. But the location of crisis by one group was placed in existing ‘traditional’ pedagogies the other placed it in the way new technological or social developments. The answer to the crisis by the first group was to shift to ICT as a pedagogic method or end in itself. The second group has two answers, one, to continue using the existing methods which are sufficient to address the language learning needs; two suspect the existing and proposed ICT based pedagogies and think of a pedagogy which is more in sync with the cultural, social and political needs of the community which is learning English as the second language.

Reports on the Seminar: (Please click on the headlines for the full reports)

ELTI may be set up in Thrissur

‘Use technology to enhance classroom experience’

‘Gandhi wanted people to control technology’

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Response to Zizek' s Talk, Kochi Life

Whither Left

What I gained from the seminar is not easily quantifiable and I am not attempting to make an audit of it. What is given here is my reflection on a thread of discussion initiated by Zizek, the living Patriarch of Marxism presently.

Whither Left, a seminar conducted by Kochi Life (8-9, Jan, 2010)brought a new lease of energy to the think tanks of the Marxist elites. Zizek, probably the latest scholar of the leftist bandwagon put on a garb of an activist rather than a scholar in the discussions although scholarship was not in wanting in the deliberations. Zizek’s plea was to return ad fontes of the pure Marxist theories.

The practicality of the argument was in doubt ever since the attempt to establish communism by a revolution of the proletariat. The government that emerged did not quiet establish communism but only oligarchy of the party heavyweights. These are the old criticisms that Catholic Church levelled against Marxism in Rerum Novarum. Marxian theory was not any way the beginning of communist experiments. It is the early Christianity which tried that experiment and miserably failed over the span of perhaps one year and one chapter. Ref. Acts of the Apostles Chapter 4 and 5. The failure has happened to early Church and the later theoretical Marxists equally.

Why this failure of communism? A few thoughts are in place while thinking of this failure.

Primarily, that the left do not take into account the human being in action and considers only the human being in thought. The human being in action is a particular person with a name, an identity and a certain place in the web of social relationships. Marxism is almost afraid to consider the individual in the particular identity and gives him the garb of a proletariat or capitalist, devoid of any particularities. This abstract man of the class could be killed or saved because the action is occult, literary and abstract. From the abstract, the particular is non sequitur, in this case especially. The annihilation of one class is achieved only by a particular person of the communist ideology hating a person of the capitalist mental frame. This hatred even if it is christened in Marxist or any other ideological registries will have the same psychological contends of enmity. This hatred should remain as a permanent state of mind until a classless society is established. Fortunately, the human kind tends to slip away from a permanent state of mind such as hatred and regret hating others unless one is a mentally deranged. Hatred, murder, blood and gory excite even a deranged mind only temporarily. Expecting to keep such derangement as permanent state of mind is perhaps a little short of derangement itself.

Secondly, Marxism has an unspecified assumption that there is an extremely bad humankind, which is the capitalist and another benevolent proletariat who, for the time being engages in violence, at the end of the revolution and establishment of the classless society, can turn out to be altruistic to the once capitalist. A theory based on such an unscientific assumption is to be read as a fiction or as theory? This still baffles me. Utopia does better than this theory in all counts.

But the final object of Marxism has a lasting value, an ideal. Capitalism has no ideology and works by the natural inclinations of the human kind. It promotes the welfare of the self and not of the neighbour. It is based on the biological drive for self preservation. What Marxism proposes is an epikeic philosophy of the Bible although its means are objectionable. One has to overcome the self-preservation drive to take care of the neighbour. In spite of all the Christian orthodoxy the gospel still remains largely unpracticed. Even so is Marxism.

Now what is wrong with the Marxists In India?

The distance between the theory and praxis is at the centre of its failure. At this juncture of rethinking Marxism the analysis should focus on the praxis and not theory. Unfortunately, Zizek has gone the theoretical way. The return to the theory will again nullify the value of experience. The experience of applied communism was not available to Marx. Now, when it is available, that experience should dialogue with the theoretical Marxism, to make itself relevant. The experience of Marxism is different in India and Russia or elsewhere and therefore theorisation should be qualified by the area of its practice. The need for this qualified regional perspective of Marxism cannot be overemphasised. As an example the praxis of Marxism in India could be taken into consideration.

The radical ideology of Marxism, in India’s case, slipped into the framework of Democracy. Marxist parties have been ideology-lead political movements which provided alternatives for the capitalist parties in Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura. But Marxism failed in identifying the right capitalist and directed the hatred to the middle and lower class peasants. In the experience of Kerala, having the labour force turned against its own class whose surplus profit is only the owner’s unaccounted labour, the petty farmers found it totally unprofitable to maintain their self-reliant agricultural processes. Thus when agriculture became unprofitable the petty farmers laid their land unutilised which the real capitalist grabbed later. By the time the party heavyweights who had argued for overthrowing the capitalist, mellowed down their theoretical orthodoxy and colluded with the neo capitalists forcing the petty farmers to run away from their land or to other ways of sustenance. Most of them having found a job outside Kerala and in many cases outside India, this class of the petty farmers manage to live a decent life. But the fall out of this unreflected Marxism is the conversion of the agricultural land into other purposes making the state largely depend on other states for food grains.

If communism is harping on rejuvenation at the global financial crisis on the basis of its near-victory during the depression in 1930ies, it is playing the wrong fiddle. Marxism is still not reflecting and theorising on the ground realities of its existence. This refusal to dialogue with the ground realities is making it more and more fossilised in the academic circles. If China has introduced theoretical Marxism in its curriculum, I am afraid communism is slowly migrating to universities absolutely insulated from praxis. Its total fall is not distant now.

Jijo K.P.

Friday, February 05, 2010

The Tejeshwar Singh Memorial Fellowships

SAGE invites applications for the award of

SAGE instituted THE TEJESHWAR SINGH MEMORIAL FELLOWSHIPS in 2009 to honour Tejeshwar Singh, Managing Director of SAGE India for 25 years and doyen of the publishing industry in South Asia.

ADDITIONAL FELLOWSHIP IN 2010: SAGE is pleased to announce the addition of a third fellowship in the SOCIAL SCIENCES in 2010. Proposals in the areas of social justice--including individual rights, changing lifestyles and the significance of an expanded educated class would be preferred. Preference will be given to proposals that are interdisciplinary in scope. For the purposes of this award social sciences comprise economics, economic and social history, political science, psychology, sociology and social anthropology.

PRESIDING PANEL: Rolf Lynton, T N Madan, Surendra Munshi, Bhikhu Parekh, T V Rao, Jagdish Sheth, Arvind Singhal, Sanjay Subrahmanyam and Romila Thapar.

DURATION: One year with a stipend of Rs 50,000 a month. Rs 50,000 can be claimed for travel during the tenure of the fellowship. There are no restrictions of theme or ideology but the work must contribute to an understanding or an advancement of the subject in South Asia. The principal brief to the fellows is to author a book on their chosen subject of research at the end of the fellowship. The book may be published by the scholar's choice of publisher with due acknowledgement to the Tejeshwar Singh Memorial Fellowships for supporting the research.

ELIGIBILITY: Open to nationals of South Asian (SAARC) countries, including those currently resident overseas. Candidates must be below 40 years of age on 1 April 2010.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES: Applicants are invited to submit their curriculum vitae, a research proposal and a 5000 word sample of their writing. The last date for receipt of applications is 31 March 2010.

AWARD OF FELLOWSHIP: The applications for each fellowship will be vetted by a jury of four experts including one representative of SAGE. The award of the fellowships will be announced in June 2010.

All applications should be addressed to:
Ms Smrithi Sudhakaran
Public Relations Executive
SAGE Publications India Pvt Ltd
B-1/I-1, Mohan Cooperative Industrial Estate
Mathura Road, Post Bag 7, New Delhi 110 044
T: 91 (11) 4053 9222; ext: 256; F: 91 (11) 4053 9234


Language and Linguistics
The first session of Semester II/ (Elective)Linguistics was lead by Mr. Anil Pinto. It was an overview of the course contents and a cursory look at the history of language and Linguistics. He shared following with us:
  • In 1786 Sir William Jones an Englishman ,scholar of Sanskrit established the similarity among languages- Greek, Celtic, Sanskrit which were later grouped under one family named as Indo- European Languages, followed by grouping of other languages under different families.
  • In 1913 Swiss linguist Ferdinand Saussure 's book Cours de Linguistique Generale created history as it was the first time language was subjected to methodological systematic study. The methodological structural principles given by him are: Langue and Parole( Language structure vs speaking in language), Arbitrariness of the Sign (Signifier and Signified), Diachronic and Synchronic Study of the Language ( the study of evolution of the language over different periods' of linguistic system and study of language in a point in time).
  • In America ,Bloomfield further expanded the structural study of language and termed it as "Descriptive Linguistics,based on the principle of behaviourism i.e Stimulus....Response, in his book, 'Language' (1933).
  • Chomsky, world famous linguist stated that language is not genetically acquired but language acquisition is a function of a device present in our brain . He called it LAD (Language Acquisition Device). He founded the concept of Universal Grammar.


Language is a dynamic process, it undergoes changes with time and changes in socio-political system. Mr. Pinto attributed divine quality to it by explaining the omniscient, omnipotent aspect of language.( Do we see another new theory of Divine Principles of language coming to occupy place in language history, Mr. Pinto?)

Language has immense power to create. Ancient Hindu Vedas declare that the Universe was created with the sound of " AUM".Humboldt has gone to the extent of saying " Man is a man through the use of language alone".

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

All India Conference: Literature In English Language Teaching

The Regional Institute of English, South India, Bengaluru will hold an All India Seminar from 1 - 3 March, 2010 on the theme Literature in English Language Teaching

Teachers, teacher educators, researchers and others who are interested in English anguage education are requested to send in the abstracts of the papers they wish to present at the seminar, on or before 10 February, 2010. Acceptance of the abstracts will be intimated to the presenters by 15 February, 2010. Complete papers should reach us by 26 February, 2010.


Literature in English Language Teaching

Place of Literature in the Language Classroom
Trends in Language and Literature Teaching
Literature and Language Curriculum
Assessment of Literary and Language Competence - Issues and Implications Selection of Texts - Challenges before the Curriculum Developer Using Technology to Teach Language through Literature
Translation as a Tool for Language Learning and Teaching
Literature for Creative Writing
Literature-based Tasks for Language Acquisition
Language, Literature and Culture
Literature in ESP Context
Abstracts and papers may kindly be mailed to and the hardcopies may be sent to:

The Coordinator
All India Seminar 2010
Regional Institute of English, South India
Jnanabharathi Campus, Bengaluru - 560 056

Note: Abstracts must be written in 200 - 250 words. The writers may also make a mention of the mode of presentation and the equipment required for the same

Registration Fee for the Seminar:
Three days: Rs 500
One day: Rs 300
Accomodation fee: Rs 200 per day

Ravinarayan Chakrakodi

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Sudhamshu needs help

Dear people, warm greetings to you!

Our Sudhamshu is leaving Christ to work on his Phd. Yup, an irreparable loss for the department. And hope he comes back.

Just when he was doing the last minute work to leave from here, he came to know that five of the books that he had borrowed from the library are yet to be returned. And he doesn't have them. Most probably, and quite typically, he has lent it to others and hasn't kept track.

For someone like Sudhamshu, who believes in an open society, this could be a testing moment.

Most of those books are foreign publications and each easily costs Rs. 1, 500 and above, working to a total of some Rs. 9,000 and odd.

In case, you are any of your friends do have any of the following books, please get back to Sudhamshu or Anil or me.

Postcolonialism - an Historical Introduction - Young Robert C J
Asian Cinemas: A Reader and Guide - Eleftheriotis Dimitris
Solitude of Emperors - david Dadvidar
Film Studies Reader - Hollows, Joanne

And please do spread the message to other friends who might have borrowed it from him.

Thank you!

National Conference on New Perspectives in Non-Native Literatures in English


Department of English, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad is organising a two-day National Conference on New Perspectives in Non-Native Literatures in English on 23rd and 24th March 2010

The arrival and recognition of non-native English literatures in the English world is undoubtedly keyed to the references of social, economical, political, artistic and global dominance and aspiration of non-native English critics, scholars and students. The genesis of the manufacturing of literature in English in almost all parts of the non-native English world can be greatly attributed to the unending popularity of English in addition to its expressive flexibility which fascinates even its vociferous opponents.

The National Conference New Perspectives in Non-Native Literatures in English is the second conference that the Department of English is hosting.

In this conference the endeavor will be to discover new perspectives and challenges which pave way to identify the untrammeled and new areas of trends in creative writing and new research in English Studies. Additionall y, the Conference aims at facilitating an accord and understanding between literatures in other languages and their manifestation in English so that students and scholars around the world develop a literary intelligence which, while honoring linguistic excellence, also successfully de-recognizes linguistic barriers.

The theme and sub-themes of this conference succinctly mirror the objectives of this Conference which are necessitated by research activism in the Department of English. It is positively held that the conference shall be effectively helpful to research scholars and supervisors who are looking out for new fields and disciplines to proactively carry out their study and make some contributions to the fields of English Studies.

Additionally, an apprehension amongst the literature scholars and teachers particularly in India is that language teaching/teachers are given prominence over literature teaching/teachers. The reason of such apprehension lies in assuming that literature is there only for reading and teaching; and it is connected with only universities and institutions. It is high time that such apprehensions are eradicated. This Conference will also hold deliberations on various available areas and opportunities for literature scholars.

New Perspectives in Non-Native Literatures in English

Sub Themes
1) New Areas of Research in English Studies
2) Comparative Study of Urdu and English Literatures
3) Translated Literatures
4) The Death of Post-Colonialism
5) Stereotyping of Literature
7) The Politics of Literature
8) Muslim Literatures in English
9) Author Translator Issues
10) Guided Research in Literature
11) Indian Literatures in English
12) World Literatures in English
15) The Death of Theory in Present Literatures
16) Regional & Cultural Identity, Globalization and Literature
17) Teaching Literature
18) Affinities between Cultures in Literature
19) Multiculturalism
20) Literature, Plagiarism and Entertainment Industry
21) Digital Story-Telling

Call for Papers
Scholars and researchers can present papers on any topic or related topic listed above. Those s who wish to present their papers are required to submit the abstract electronically at in about 250 words before 28th February 2010. On 10th March 2010 they would be informed about the acceptance or rejection of the paper. In case of acceptance, the candidates are required to electronically submit the full paper at by 20th March 2010. No paper should exceed 2000 words. The candidates are required to bring along with them in the Conference at least four sets and a soft copy of their paper. The paper must be written in MLA style sheet.

Please send your completed application form with a DD or cheque of Rs. 500 payable to:
Professor Amina Kishore
Head, Department of English,
MANUU, Gachibowli, Hyderabad
TA/DA will not be provided
Closing date for receipt of application: 10th March 2010
Registration can be done electronically at

Monday, February 01, 2010

MPhil - Research Methods in English Studies Course Plan

Course Introduction: This course will hone the reading writing and textual analytical skills of the participants. While the first module will be lecture oriented. Module two and three will take the workshop mode involving intensive reading and writing exercises. Module four will be in a seminar mode. Only a select essays will taken for the seminar.

Course Objectives

  • To introduce the participants to the various research methods in English Studies.
  • To equip students with the skill of textual analysis
  • To hone research writing skills
  • To expose students to the theories of reading authorship

Session 1 : Archival Methods (Anil)

Session 2 : Oral History as a Research Method (Varghese)

Session 3 : Visual Methodologies (Debasmita)

Session 4 : Discourse Analysis (Sumeela)

Session 5 : Ethnographic Methods (Varghese)

Session 6 : Quantitative methods for text studies (Shaheen)

Session 7 : Textual analysis as a research method (Meenaa)

Session 8 : Interviewing (Sumeela)

Session 9 : Elements of Literary Works; Understanding a Literary Text

Session 10 : Interpreting and Analyzing a Literary Text

Session 11 : Exposition

Session 12 : Compare and contrast

Session 13 : Cause and effect; argument

Session 14 : Barthes - Work to Text (Shahin)

Session 15 : Barthes: Death of the Author(Shahin)

Session 16 : Foucault - What Is an Author? (Debasmita)

Session 17 : White -The Historical Text as Literary Artefact (Varghese)

Session 18 : Jameson - Preface, and On Interpretation (Anil)

Session 19 : Jameson - Metacommentary (Meenaa)

Session 20 : Jameson - The Ideology of the Text (Sumeela)


  • Each session is of two hours duration.
  • Sessions 1 to 8. Will be seminar based. Research Methods for English Studies edited by Gabriele Griffin will be the textbook.
  • Sessions 9 to 13 will draw upon the work of MAR Habib in research writing. The sessions will follow workshop methodology
  • Sessions 14 to 20 will also be seminar based. The texts will be made available in the beginning of the course.

CIA I - Four short research papers of not less than 750 words each using exposition, compare and contrast, cause and effect, and argument as styles of writing. Date for submission: By 22 March 2010. Based on Sessions 1 to 13.

CIA II - Presentation and report based on sessions 1 to 8

CIA III – Presentation and report based on sessions 14 to 20

Note: The reports should summarise the presentation and discussion in respective seminars. The reports should strictly adhere to standard academic writing formats. The reports should reach me within a week from the date of presentation. I will respond to them within a week's time.


Griffin, Gabriele. ed. Research Methods for English Studies. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2005. Print.

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th ed. New Delhi: East-West Press, 2009. Print, Web.

MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing. 3rd ed. New York: MLA, 2008. Print.

Somekh, Bridget and Cathy Lewin. eds. Research Methods in Social Sciences. New Delhi: Sage/Vistaar, 2005. Print.

The Chicago Manual of Style 15th ed. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2003. Print, Web.

The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. 5th ed. Washington: Amer. Psychological Assn. 2001. Print.