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Sunday, December 30, 2012

An exploratory Study on Body Art- People With It and Perceptions Towards It

Dear Readers,
I am a final year MSc Psychology (Counseling) student at Christ University.
My dissertation is about studying personality differences in people with and without body art- tattoos in specific.
While that may be the topic of my primary research, I would also be interested in doing a qualitative analysis of certain related topics. Hence, I am taking a shot and posting a few questions on this forum. Please feel free to answer them as you like and pass it on to friends or people you think might be interested.
Your replies will go a long way in making this research possible.

Thank You,
Vani S

P.S. Please mail all responses to Your responses will be kept private and confidential and used only for the purpose of this research.

Body Art-
Definition as per this study- People with a tattoo(s) and a maximum of one ear lobe piercing on each ear to allow for a cultural sanction.

Answer the following if you have a tattoo. You may also answer this on behalf of someone you know who has a tattoo (mention the same). Please feel free to express as much as you want for any of the questions and back them with personal experience, anecdotes or academic studies. Thank You.

Demographic Data-
Socio Economic Status-
Email Id-
Telephone Number-

1. What is your perception about the personality of a person that decides to ink themslves? (Eg: They might be reckless/ extroverted)

2. Why do you think people decide to get tattooed/ Why did you decide to get tattooed?

3. What are some of the factors that helped you go ahead with the decision of getting inked even though it is a permanent mark on your body?

4. Do you think people who get tattooes are significantly different (personality traits and behavior wise) from people without tattoos?

5. Have you ever suffered discrimination or stigma from your workplace/ elsewhere because you have a tattoo?

6. Do you think the Indian cultural and value system has a significant impact on getting a tattoo? (Eg: increased resistance from family)

7. Do you have a tattoo (s)? If yes, can you list the details? (Where, Colour, Size, Number of tattoos etc)

8. Do you think people often regret getting inked years later? If yes, what may some of the reasons be for the same?

9. What are some of the questions you are commonly asked by people post getting the tattoo and how do you respond to the same?

10. Would you get more tattoos inspite of the number of practical challenges, restrictions, the cost, the discouragement from family and other similar factors? If yes, why? If No, why?

Other remarks-

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Literary Criticism, Critical Theory & Criticism around Creative Writing

I've studied criticism in many forms. During my under-graduation at Christ College, I studied the different schools of literary criticism—new criticism, formalism, structuralism, etc. It was extremely interesting—like observing a thought manifest into words, and then into a complete theory. Even though what these theories enabled was to be able to critique literature and understand it from different perspectives, what soon became clear was that the theories could stand on their own, and be understood as independent working systems of thought in progress. Although we were talking about literature, I felt that we could as easily be talking about anything else—about completely different meaning making processin in society. It became, instead of a way to understand and study literature, a way to understand and make sense of society.

The second form of criticism I studied was during my Masters, which was Critical Theory. I was studying Criticism of society here—looking at Lacan, and Derrida, and Barthes. There was a purpose to the criticism; in some cases, as when we were studying Post-colonialism, if it was to study the impact of the West on nations that had been colonised, understand our own (Indian) relationship to Colonialism, and our efforts to unconsciously Decolonize the West; in other cases, it was a theory of understanding and building piece, where we spoke of reconciliation of countries which had been torn apart by racism, apartheid, or genocide. This form of criticism also lent itself to allow one to look at objects and the relationships we share with them, and how this contributes to our understanding of materials. In all these cases, there was a purpose to the criticism. We were moving towards a goal—to achieve something. To gain, for lack of a better word, some kind of closure in argument of pros and cons that led nowhere.

Now that I'm "studying" MFA Creative Writing, the approach to Criticism is entirely different. We are looking at Criticism not to give us answers of what has already been created, but to help us work towards creating more literature. We work around discussions of craft, and plot; character, and setting, and we do this not to achieve a deeper understanding of what already is, but what can be. It is like drawing blueprints from something that exists, and then, using those blueprints to create new buildings, and new models of architecture. There is much more freedom; to make of it, what we will, and to use it how we please. This is, a criticism that begins in theory, but ends in creation. Criticism that begins without the aim of solving a problem, or getting closer to it, but as a catalyst, and enabler to help a practioner of the craft of writing. It is, might I add, my favorite version of criticism.

Friday, November 30, 2012

What is Translation?

* The different meanings of a word:

* The different meanings of the word "education:"
-etymological: derives from L. educare to look after a child
-conceptual: the training of individuals to produce knowledge for the betterment of the state (Kant)
-linguistic: the learning of facts, skills, ideas
-sociological: emancipation, social standing etc
-metaphorical: (several meanings possible)

* The word "translation" etymologically derives from L. trans across and L. latus moving, carrying. In medieval times, it was originally used in the sense of exhuming a body from one plot of earth and transferring it to another plot. Thus, the modern meaning of the word "translation" is metaphorical- that of transferring text (the body) from one plot of earth (one language) to another plot of earth (another language).

* The three kinds of translation identified by Roman Jakubson:
1. intra-lingual: from one variant of language to another, from one dialect to another or even paraphrasing
2. inter-lingual: from one language to another
3. inter-semiotic: from one semiotic system to another

Jakubson hails from the Prague school of structuralism and was Lévi-Strauss' instructor of semiotics.

* Saint Jerome was the patron saint of translation and his birthday is celebrated as "Translation Day."

* Susan Bassnett was a translation theorist who founded and later abandoned/shut down the field of study today known as "comparitive literature." She published a seminal book called "Translation Studies."

* The word "turn" in the "cultural turn of translation" is linked to Derrida who was responsible for turning the gaze towards oneself (as opposed to upon a subject which was structuralism's modus operandi). This "turn" is what Anil Pinto calls "belly-button gazing."

- Anshuman Manur

Sunday, November 18, 2012

15th Nov Translation Studies

Translation Studies
Discussions of class on 15th Nov 2012.
Expectations of the class:
·        The class to share with each other translations of Indian forms which they come across.
·        Every student to read the essay and share their understandings which helps all to get different prespectives of the same essay.
·        To collect everyone’s prespective of the essay and threading everything together (by teacher) to evolve a framework.
·        Discission in the class should be able to help in translations.
·        To learn: why and how to translate? – linguistic, legal and social aspects.
·        Balance between theory and practical.
·        To learn aesthetics of translation and translation review.
·        The essays to be completed in time.
·        Key concepts of the essays to be given (by teacher) and a class discussion on that, prior to reading the essay so that it’s esaier to understand the essays and saves time too
[discussion: if key points are given in advance to our reading we may miss out on other points which we would otherwise make a note of. Also, it’ll make us think on one particular line and not give space enough for our own understanding.]
·        To find the relevance of ‘theories’ of translation and to develop practical ability.
·        Whole class as one to locate points in essays.
·        Being able to relate to the essays.
·        Reading essays at home and discussing it in class.

Ø  Keya Majumdar’s essay
Ø  Skype

Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology

Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology:

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

At Educause, a call for digital preservation that will outlast individual institutions and companies | Inside Higher Ed

At Educause, a call for digital preservation that will outlast individual institutions and companies | Inside Higher Ed:

'via Blog this'

Gates foundation and ACE go big on MOOC-related grants | Inside Higher Ed

Gates foundation and ACE go big on MOOC-related grants | Inside Higher Ed:

'via Blog this'



'via Blog this'

HASTAC seeking Postdoctoral Scholar for NSF EAGER Social Network Data Grant | HASTAC

HASTAC seeking Postdoctoral Scholar for NSF EAGER Social Network Data Grant | HASTAC:

'via Blog this'

Biblioteca Virtual de Ciências Humanas | Information Society | Sociedade de Informação | Centro Edelstein

Biblioteca Virtual de Ciências Humanas | Information Society | Sociedade de Informação | Centro Edelstein:

'via Blog this'

Biblioteca Virtual de Ciências Humanas | Information Society | Sociedade de Informação | Centro Edelstein

Biblioteca Virtual de Ciências Humanas | Information Society | Sociedade de Informação | Centro Edelstein:

'via Blog this'

Mercedes Bunz

Mercedes Bunz:

'via Blog this'

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Call for help - Poetry, Music & Translation

My task:
I am looking (have been looking for a week now with little success) for a Kannada poem (any time period/poet).
It must have explicit references to music (need not be the central theme though).
Finally, it must have a translation published in English (preferably from a published book, but academic journals are fine too)

My purpose:
I am a student of Comparative Literature in the UK and have opted for a course called "Poetry, Music, and Translation". This is the topic for a seminar presentation I'll be doing. Unfortunately, gathering resources in Kannada Literature is very difficult and way too expensive for my student's budget in the UK, so I appeal to anybody interested in the same field to kindly help out.

(I could use a Hindi poem for which resources are readily available. But I personally think it's time Kannada Literature made its presence felt at my university, which I was digruntled to see didn't have a SINGLE book on Kannada translations but had plenty in Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Bengali, Oriya, and what not - it's definitely personal for me now!)

I intend to compare the Kannada poem with its English translation and identify the issues in translating the following aspects:
Formal composition:
rhythm and rhyme, if any; syllable composition; etc. - CAN these aspects be translated? If yes, how?

Is there anything about the poem and its references to music that suggests there is an essential link between music and poetry? Are there parallels suggested between poetry and music? If yes, how do these parallels between music and poetry relate to the formal aspects of the poetry? How does the translation attempt to convey all of the same?

The time-frame:
I would really appreciate it if anybody could make any suggestions about the same, or generously mail me any resources they have come across, by 21 Oct, (next Sunday).
My email:

Thank you and keeping my fingers crossed here! Divya.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

MPhil English Studies Literature and Philosophy Syllabus

REN 237: Literature and Philosophy                                                60 Hours

To introduce to the problems, theories and concepts of literary criticism, from the Anglo-American New Criticism to Deconstruction to Postmodernism.
To  place modern theories in the philosophical and aesthetic context in which they originated and evolved.

Unit I
The Philosophical and Aesthetic Foundations of Literary Theories

Kant, Hegel, and Literary Theory

From Romanticism and Young Hegelianism to Nietzsche

Anglo-American New Criticism and Russian Formalism

Kant and Croce in the New Criticism

Russian Formalism between Kantianism and the Avant-Garde

The Aborted Dialogue between Marxists and Formalists

Unit II

Czech Structuralism Between Kant, Hegel, and the Avant-Grade

Roman Jakobson's and Jan Mukarovsky's Kantianism

Hegel and the Avant-Grade in Mukarovsky's Theory: Structure, Function, Norm, and Value

Symbol and Aesthetic Object: From Mukarovsky to Vodicka

Problems of Reader-Response Criticism: from Hermeneutics to Phenomenology

From Gadamer to Jauss: The Hermeneutics of Reader-Response

From Ingarden to Iser: The Phenomenological Perspective

Stanley Fish's Alternative

From marxism to Critical Theory and Postmodernism

Marx, Lukacs and Goldmann: Hegelian Aesthetics

Benjamin and Adorno between Kant and Hegel: Avant-Garde, Ambiguity, and Truth

Mikhail M. Bakhtin's Young Hegelian Aesthetics

Marxist Aesthetics in a Postmodern World: Alex Callinicos, Terry Eagleton, Fredric Jameson

Unit III

The Aesthetics of Semiotics: Greimas, Eco, Barthes

Greimas or the Search for Meaning

Umberto Eco: From the Avant-Grade to Postmodernism

Roland Barthes' Nietzschean Aesthetics

The Nietzschean Aesthetics of Deconstruction

The Philosophical Origins of Deconstruction: From Platonism and Hegelianism to Nietzsche and Heidegger

Derrida's Romantic and Nietzschean Heritage: ecriture, iterabilite, differance

Derrida on Mallarme and Jean-Pierre Richard

Paul de Man: Allegory and Aporia

J. Hillis Miller: Aporia, Repetition, Iterability

Geoffrey H. Hartman: Negativity, Delay, Indeterminacy

Lyotard's Postmodern Aesthetics and Kant's Notion of the Sublime

From Kant to Lyotard: Postmodern Aesthetics of Disharmony

Lyotard and de Man: the Sublime, Allegory, and Aporia

Unit  IV

Towards a Critical Theory of Literature

Literary Theory between Kant, Hegel, and Nietzsche

Towards a Critique of Ideology: Ideology as Sociolect and Discourse

Towards a Critical Theory of Literature

Eldreidge, Richard, ed. The oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Literature. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. Print.
John, Eileen and Dominic McIver Lopes. Philosophy of Literature: Contemporary and Classic Readings. Malden: Blacwell, 2004. Print.
Simons, Jon. From Kant to Levi-Strauss: The Background to cotemporary Critical Theory. Edinburg: Edinburg UP, 2002. Print.
Zima, Peter V. The Philosophy of Modern Literary Theory.  London: The Athlone P., 1999. Print.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Rethinking Technology in Higher Education in India

Rethinking Technology in Higher Education in India[1]

Anil Pinto
 Dept of Media Studies, Christ University, Bangalore, INDIA.

 (Published in the journal ELT Vistas Vol 2, Issue 1. 58-63. Print. ISSN 0975-8526.)

While there have been many discussions on technology in higher education, especially in the context of language teaching, they have largely been either utopic or dystopic.[2] The former argues that technology is a panacea for all the difficulties that one faces in teaching in the regular classroom, and educational administration. The latter’s view would disagree with technology doing a better job than the human teacher. The second group also asks questions about the teacher becoming redundant with the technology, or the consequent loss of human touch in education. What is to be noted is that both the responses are a reaction to the phenomenon of the proliferation of the digital technology in the society and its direct and indirect bearing on the classroom.  However, both polemic positions ignore the complex ways in which the digital technology has come to redefine our engagement with the social- and the political aspects of our society and consequently also the classroom.

Before I begin to discuss digital technology in the context of higher education, I wish to clarify the use of some key concepts here. One is technology. Technology on the one hand has come to be understood as an object out there, and on the other, in recent times, to exclusively refer to high technology like mobile phones and computers. However, I draw upon the etymological understanding of the term technology which comes from the Greek word techne meaning skill or that which reduces human labour. By extension I treat script, print as technologies. Script and print are the two technologies that have redefined the way human societies were organised and their worldview.[3] Although there is no availability of evidence that can stand the rigour of academic inquiry to suggest that the digital is also a similar technology like that of print and script, empirical observation, and anecdotal evidence clearly points to such a direction.

I use the term digital technology in order not to group the new phenomenon under the rubric of other technologies as I wish to draw attention to the nature of the technology that defines it – digitality. I also use it to make a point that the digital technology is distinct in that “[m]uch like the print technologies the rise and emergence of digital technology seems to be producing new citizenships, forms of governance and public spheres of which … technology-mediated identities are a component.”[4]

Classroom although linguistically suggests a physical organisation of place within an enclosure of four walls where teaching-learning takes place, needs to be considered more as a space that emerges in a specific relationship between knowledge disseminator and knowledge ‘receiver’ within the norms and laws framed by the state or society. Such an understanding of the term will help in understanding the nature of the classroom in the context of distance, and internet-mediated learning. 

One of the reasons why the polemic positions regarding the digital technology arise is because of the tendency to concentrate only on the technology and not necessarily reflect on how do the technologies influence and sometimes transform or enable different subjectivities. The other reason is due to the tendency to treat the digital technology merely as another technology and thereby collapse the present development as belonging to the old developments of the television or print technology era.

Digital technologies have already unleashed a different imagination, behaviour and thinking that are changing the socio-political conditions as we knew them. These have already had a direct impact on the classroom. The use of mobile phones quite unapologetically, constant touch with the world outside the classroom through mobile phones, plagiarism that seems completely normal for the students, blogging, social networking among students based on political causes, academic needs, expressing academic disappointment, venting the grouse against the teachers and institutions in the cyberspace, institutions trying to woo prospective students through institutional websites  are some of the immediately perceived outcomes of this new condition.

What makes the phenomenon worth taking note of in India is the recent interest of the state to harness the internet technology to address the issues affecting the higher education. The Indian State has been allocating significant amount of money and putting organisations in place to not only make information and communication technology (ICT) part of existing higher education apparatus but also to look at creating a new system facilitated by the ICT alongside. Recently, Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) gave its go ahead for the National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology. This mission costs Rs 4,612 crores in the 11th plan.[5] Indira Gandhi National University (IGNOU) is making its course material available online and allowing students to take exams online round the year for select courses. Quite a few universities are also shifting to making the course material available on their websites, or giving it in CDs.[6] These are some of the examples of existing universities trying to adapt to the changed social demands mediated by digital technology.

There is however, an inherent flaw within the present imagination which has brought ICT into the existing higher educational institutions which are trying to accommodate the ICT within the structure that is largely a legacy of the print era. For examples, one of the direct outcomes of the digital technology is to increasingly present knowledge as contested. This comes clearly in conflict with existing lecture method which assumes that there is definiteness to knowledge and the teacher’s reading and view is the sufficient proof of that.
The tensions one notices in the classroom or within academic institutions between teachers and students are also due to the way knowledge production has changed. During the print era formal knowledge production was the sole privilege of the scholars and researchers on which the teachers banked on. When knowledge production breaks the age barrier and in a typical classroom or an academic space you have students who are producers of knowledge in the cyber space, and teacher who has not involved in publication, tension in their relationship is inevitable. The teacher and the student going to the same source for information, for example, Wikipedia can also create new tensions in the power-equations between the teacher and the students.
Within the Indian higher education set up the present tension is due to the historical development of the borrowed university structure meeting the changed socio-economic and political conditions. First, in the Humoldtian imagination, a teacher in a university was supposed to be also a knowledge producer.[7] But the teacher for numerous reasons remained only as a knowledge disseminator. It is this historical role only as a knowledge disseminator that now has come to be challenged in Indian higher education due to state intervention which likes to see teachers as knowledge producers and not merely knowledge disseminators. Second, this state intervention comes along with the market demands for skilled labour from the universities which has made theoretical or conceptual learning seem like an aberration. Third, the exposure of Indian higher education to first world thanks to globalisation coupled with India’s global ambitions necessitated a global ambition of higher education.
However, none of these created a crisis in higher education for which the state now thinks of the ICT as an answer. The crisis that the state takes note of occurs when the three historical and contemporary issues meet the fourth historical development of India – higher education as a right – where increasingly various groups making claims to entry into higher education . The demand looks nearly impossible for the state to achieve within the present infrastructure and resources. Further, this claim to higher education as a right runs counter to the Humboldtian imagination of the university where the university is entrusted with the job creating a small elite class which will preserve the national culture.[8] Hence, the state turns to ICT as a way of addressing the crisis. In this context the digital technology becomes for the state what in communication theory is called the last mile solution. But the introduction the digital technology to address the crisis, only further takes the university away from its Humboldtian moorings.
The incorporation of the digital technology would call for a different type of organisation of the institution in terms of its curriculum, pedagogy, testing, evaluation, and administration. The idea of institution as buildings may require change. It might more of a cyberspacial presence. Curriculum may take on the coursework reading mode with blurring of disciplines where the reading material is made available online. This might even dissolve existing disciplines and create newer ones. Peer learning may replace face-to-face regular contact classes. Testing could become anytime, anywhere and may demand different levels of testing. Evaluation will undergo changes perhaps of which we do not have clear idea. The administrative set up of a university might undergo important change with the administrator becoming the most important person than the professor, a trend that is increasingly becoming a norm.[9]  

While the digital technology is likely to replace the physical teacher, it may not replace the symbolic teacher, and the research-teacher.[10] The symbolic teacher might be required to validate a skill or particular exposure to knowledge and methods of a domain of knowledge. However, the research-teacher is most likely to stay as the perhaps in a different role and function.

However, the most significant change that will occur would be the model of teaching-learning. With all the major interactions of human societies with technologies which consequently shaped them differently, if there was on  model that survived from the period of the script through print was the one to many model of the teaching.[11] It is this model that is under threat of becoming many-to-many model – a way in which the knowledge architecture on the cyberspace is built.

In conclusion, with the state initiative in proliferating ICT into existing traditional universities, and creating ICT based educational systems imparting higher education, the very structure and nature of higher education and classroom its microcosm, itself is emendable for change. Since, such a change is inevitable, while implementing the ICT it would be important to think about accommodating the technology enabled imagination within the re structuring of the institution of higher education.

[1] This paper is an outcome of the Digital Classroom course jointly taught by Ashish Rajadhyaksha, CSCS, Nishant Shah, CIS and me at Christ University, Bangalore.
[2] I owe this insight to Ashish Rajadhyaksha.
[3] Briggs, Asa and Peter Burke. A Social History of the Media: From Gutenberg to the Internet. Cambridge: Blackwell, 2002, pp 1-14.
[4] Shah, Nishant and Sunil Abraham. Digital Natives with a Cause? Bangalore: CIS, 2010, 23.
[5] Mukherjee, Shubra. ‘Education Plan Halfway’. Deccan Herald. 31 Jan 2010, pp 7.
[6] Gandhigram Rural University offers its M.Phil. course material in CDs.
[7] Readings, Bill. The University in Ruins. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996, pp 15.
[8] Ibid.
[9] ibid, pp 8.
[10] This insight is from Anup Dhar of CSCS, Bangalore.
[11] This insight is from Anshis Rajadhyaksha.