Now you can view this blog on your mobile phones! Give a try.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

2nd MA English - Culture Theory - CIA 2 - WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE

Culture Studies is the study of meaning making processes. It is reflective as it involves the questioning of oneself. Culture theory, on the other hand, is a complex body of knowledge that helps one to understand Culture Studies better. ‘Culture’ is a highly contested and debated territory due to the multiplicity of issues and subjects involved. It can neither be defined nor can it be confined to having a set of clear cut characteristics.

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


Capitalism flourished in Europe due to the emergence of protestant ethics, which encouraged people to work, develop their own enterprise, and engage in trade and accumulation of wealth for investment. This protestant work ethic was a force in the development of capitalism. Both these schools of thought emphasised the idea of individual who is free and undetermined. It created an individual who is free from all kinds of compulsions both internal and external. It rejected deterministic approaches in the understanding of the individual. But the thinking of Sigmund Freud provided a point of departure for questioning autonomous Subject, which was the foundation of capitalism. Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis brought fresh debates in the way one understands the individual. He brought the idea that an individual is nothing but a mass of impulsions and is determined by various factors. He introduced the concept subjectivity. Accordingly, subjectivity is a state of existence and various factors, both external and internal, have gone in to produce it.

Pinto, anil. "Subjectivity." Bangalore: Christ University, 18/11/10. Discussion.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Hello friends,
I'm hereby introducing AISEC, India, a youth driven platform that brings you a whole lot of opportunities. Do explore and get in touch. Experience and exposure counts!!

AIESEC is the world’s largest student-run organization. Active in over 1700 universities, in more than 107 countries and territories, our international platform enables young people to explore and develop their leadership potential to have a positive impact in society.
In partnership with business and higher education, AIESEC has over 60 years of experience in developing high-potential students into globally minded responsible leaders.
The majority of our partner organizations engage with AIESEC in order to increase their profile, attract top talent to their organization, or to support our efforts in enabling young people to develop their potential.

Who we are..
AIESEC is a global, non-political, independent, not-for-profit organization run by students and recent graduates of institutions of higher education.
    " 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.
AIESEC in numbers..
  • 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
Your browser may not support display of this image.
Peace and fulfillment of humankind's potential.
Your browser may not support display of this image.

Our international platform enables young people to explore and develop their leadership potential for them to have a positive impact in society.
Your browser may not support display of this image.
AIESEC provides its members with an integrated development experience (The AIESEC Experience) comprised of leadership opportunities, international internships and participation in a global learning environment. See more about the AIESEC Experience here
Your browser may not support display of this image.
Our values provide a way for the collective leadership of AIESEC to encourage common norms of behaviour across our global network.
Activating Leadership
We lead by example and inspire leadership through our activities.
We take full responsibility for developing the leadership potential of our members.
Demonstrating Integrity
We are consistent and transparent in our decisions and actions.
We fulfil our commitments and conduct ourselves in a way that is true to our ideals.
Living Diversity
We seek to learn from the different ways of life and opinions represented in our multicultural environment.
We respect and actively encourage the contribution of every individual.
Enjoying Participation
We create a dynamic environment created by active and enthusiastic participation of individuals.
We enjoy being involved in AIESEC.
Striving for Excellence
We aim to deliver the highest quality performance in everything we do.
Through creativity and innovation we seek to continuously improve.
Acting Sustainably
We act in a way that is sustainable for our organisation and society.
Our decisions take into account the needs of future generations.

The AIESEC Experience
Your browser may not support display of this image.
AIESEC offers youth-driven impactful experience to our members.
Youth driven: We are run by youth for youth
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
The structured program offered to all members of AIESEC in over 100 countries is called 'The AIESEC Experience'.

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.

Key principles of the AIESEC Experience

Taking and active roleAIESEC has an incredible platform; however, it is ultimately up to the individual to take full advantage of these opportunities.
Increasing capacityAIESEC provides young people with the opportunity to increase theoretical knowledge and practical experience in a wide-range of functional and soft skills.
Building networkAIESEC provides young people with the opportunity to create a strong and global network to support them in their personal and professional pursuits.
Developing self awareness and personal visionAIESEC supports young people in clarifying and expanding their ambitions through mentorship, personal vision exercises and an inspiring environment.
Challenging worldviewAIESEC “shakes up” the way young people see the world through intense experiences such as conferences, working abroad, and engaging in diverse environments

Why Partner with AIESEC
Today, more than 4.000 organizations -from multinational to small and medium scale business, non-profit to government and UN- are partnering with AIESEC to access to the best talent. AIESEC's unique network offers a lot of unique opportunities for organisatons to co-operate with AIESEC and obtain value.

Talent Access
Depending on the requirements of a company, AIESEC provides access to international Talent that can be students, recent graduates and young professionals with work experience. As well there exist growing potential for reaching a great audience of AIESEC Alumni across the world.
  • Global Exchange Program
Global Internship program in partnership with AIESEC is the most effective and direct way to access young AIESEC talent. AIESEC internship programs aim to be both short term and long term HR solutions tailored to each partner’s individual requirements, based on the program’s objectives and countries involved.
  • AIESEC Graduates Program
AIESEC Graduates Program is a complete solution for sourcing high-profile international talent for permanent placements and building desirable employer brand. Solution offers specific brand profiling and access to dynamic, forward thinking, experienced international talent across 107 countries.
It is designed to build independent talent pipeline which could be connected to existing graduates programs.
  • Positioning in the Alumni Network
After 60 years of activating youth leadership AIESEC connects thousands of its past members around the world. AIESEC Alumni is a broad and diverse group with professionals at different levels of organizations in diverse sectors worldwide . Currently through its online platform AIESEC connects more than 60 000 AIESEC Alumni many of whom are now upcoming business, social and political leaders.
Contact Us

For Membership -

Tripa Basavaraj

Ph. No: (+91) 9916307871

For International Internships -

Ali Masudi

Ph. No: (+91) 8095098734

Gurmeet Singh Sachdev

Ph. No: (+91) 9886670424

For Corporate queries (To hire international interns)-

Shravan Thampi

Ph. No: (+91) 9901319288

Raunaq Ahluwalia

Ph. No: (+91) 9880427616

For NGOs and Schools (To hire international interns) -

Kiran Rapaka

Ph. No: (+91) 9845820026

Raunaq Singh Thind

Ph. No: (+91) 9916726847

For sponsorship and other partnerships -

Madhav Agarwal

Ph. No: (+91) 9008004797

Deepak Chandrasekharan

Ph. No: (+91) 9902826914

Others queries-

Ankit Chowdhary

Ph. No: (+91) 9844551425

Monday, November 15, 2010

Practising Cultural Theory

Cultural Theory Class Note: 11/11/10
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!

Cultural Theory Class Notes

II MA English
Class note for: 10-11-10

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

What we expect this semester!

The students of 2nd year  PSEng gave a list of few suggestions to make EST 431 Introduction to Literary Theory course more effective and fun this semester. They are-

  • Please announce topics in advance

  • Problem-based learning

  • Give topics for class discussion

  • Give references and other material that could help understand concepts better

  • Also, a few of my classmates have volunteered to blog about the things we learn in class.

    Humanist Literary Theory, Plato and Aristotle -> Simran
    Feminism and literary thinkers -> Jyotsna
    Psychoanalysis: Sigmund Freud ‘Creative Writers and Day Dreaming -> Urgen
    Race and Post-colonialism -> Gloria
    Indian Classical Theory -> Ashmita

    Wednesday, November 10, 2010

    " How to go about Dissertation" first session of discussion with Prof Anil Pinto

    This is the first discussion Fr Vipin and I had with Mr Pinto regarding our Dissertation.

    The First requirement to go about with a dissertation is to have:

    1. Tentative title
    2. Objectives of Dissertation
    3. Research Question
    4. Why a dissertation on this topic?/Need for the study
    5. How will it be useful to the present domain of knowledge?
    6. How will it be useful in terms of future academic engagement.

    The Structure of an eighty page Dissertation should include :

    1. Introduction (10 pgs)
    2. Literature Review (20 pgs)
    3. Analysis (20 pgs)
    4. Analysis (20 pages)
    4. Conclusion (5-10 pgs)
    5. Works Cited (5 pgs)
    6. Appendix

    In introduction, the area of dissertation should be introduced. What is the kind of work been done so far in the area, explain the need for the study on chosen topic. Objectives of the study and its limitations (explain what areas are deliberately opted off in the Dissertation, and why). It should also contain chapter overviews.

    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.

    Work given by the guide for the researchers to do for next meeting with the guide is 
    1. To give a brief write up of 3 pages regarding the topic of dissertation.
    2. To list out the names of 10 thinkers who have contributed on the same topic
    3. Prepare a Bibliography

    1. Pinto,Anil. "How to go about dissertation." Christ University,Bangalore.8 Nov. 2010. Discussion.

    The Future of Money - Documentary film on Vimeo

    Following is an interesting documentary on future of money. Now I am tempted to offer a certificate course on Money!

    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

    National Workshop on Contemporary Indian Drama by Mahesh Dattani

    Department of English, St Aloysius College (Autonomous), Mangalore, Karnataka is organizing a two-day National Workshop on Contemporary Indian Drama on 7 & 8 January 2011. Mahesh Dattani, the noted playwright, is the resource person.

    For more information please email to, or swamysac at Website:
    Mobile- +919448744522

    Sunday, November 07, 2010

    Educational Experiments in the Blog

    For two reasons, i have realized, i need to document my experiments with blogs in particular and the digital space in general. One, when journalists approach me for comments either on using internet-enabled technologies or digital condition, most of the time I am unable to pools my thoughts together or recall my experiments. I always wished I had some writing which I could forward to them which would make my life and their life a bit easier. Two, more importantly, the need to research on education in digital environment would necessitate documenting numerous experiments that emerge at the intersection of my helplessness in connecting to my students, their inability to connect to the present educational system, the historical baggage and the present compulsions of the state, and educational institutions, and my desire to harvest the promise of the digital.

    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

    Youtube Assignments

    teaching the whole textbook online

    CIA submissions and the consequent student interaction

    Teaching a novel online

    Wikipedia articles as assignments

    Blogging the international conference

    Seminar reports

    Course plans


    Seminar/workshop announcements

    Journals in English

    online writing lab
    video lectures

    Class notes updates by students

    Collaborative writing

    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

    IV Sem BA English Studies - EST432 Introduction to Literary Theory Course Plan

    You may also download the course plan clicking here.