|No. Of Credits
Semester and Year Offered: Monsoon Semester, 1st Year
Course Coordinator and Team: Rukmini Sen
Email of course coordinator: rukmini[at]aud[dot]ac[dot]in
Aim: Moving away from the perspectives of Social Stratification and Cultural Sociology, this course tries to take into account the issues of context of hierarchy in culture; but more importantly difference, while talking about plural cultures. India as a society and civilization is extremely diverse, multicultural—but does that mean that there are only horizontal differences between communities and cultures or are there hierarchical gradations/rankings between different religious and linguistic groups, caste identities and sexual identities? One aspect of the course is to theoretically understand the meanings of culture and difference with an underlying discussion on power. The other important aspect of this course is to familiarize ourselves with how the inter-connection between these three terms get operational in our everyday lives. A country which through its Constitution ensures secularism, democracy, equality, non-discrimination and justice how is it that the same society creates many ‘Others’?. This course enables us to observe and analyze these paradoxical realities of a plural, democratic society
Understanding and appreciating the diversity of Indian culture
Brief description of modules/ Main modules:
Unit 1: Culture: Meanings and Methods
How is culture defined? Do sociologists, anthropologists, cultural studies theoreticians define culture similarly? How does one research culture? Are ethnography and content analysis good techniques to study culture? Does one have to belong to the community that one is researching? How is the question of culture connected to location and identity? How is power understood as a discourse and thus connected with culture
Unit 2: Memory, History and Nation
What does the nation want to remember and historically preserve? If independence happened in 1947, partition also happened. In order to document the trauma of the partition, feminists took up a project in the 1990s to document oral narratives of families who moved from one landmass to another, who fell victim to cartographic changes. Thus memory and oral testimonies have an important role to play in reconstructing historical moments of nation
Unit 3: Law as plural, law as universal
Laws are meant to be universal dictums regulating human behavior. Can laws be plural depending upon one’s religious identity, sexual identity? The presence of personal laws in India represents legal pluralism, the reality of family courts in India also establish plural justice dispensing mechanism.
Unit 4: ‘Other’: Representations and Voices
Otherness as a concept has been central to postcolonial thought. There is a creation of the other by the powerful—group, community, nation, state, law. In recent times, the figure of the other, hitherto silent and effaced, have made claims to speak, in fact to speak back in radical ways. Who is the ‘other’ historically and symbolically? How is the ‘other’ known, represented?
Unit 5: Difference as Identity, Difference as Belonging
How the concept of difference conceptualized is and what role has it played in various political and social contexts. What are the interconnections between identity and belonging-ness while conceptualizing difference?
Assessment Details with weights: