Discerning Research Methods

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSOL4EN00014

Semester and Year Offered: Monsoon semester 2017

Course Coordinator and Team: Diamond Oberoi Vahali

Email of course coordinator: diamond[at]aud[dot]ac[dot]in

Pre-requisites: None

Aim: The aim of the course ‘Discerning Research Methods’ is to give the researchers a practical experience on what research entails. The research student would be expected to identify a critical perspective as well as readings on that perspective and through them discern a research methodology. The course will expect students to engage with issues of appropriate methodology, the idea of a ‘lens’, ‘a text’, silences/ absences in texts, translation/ transcreation and the ethic of research. n

Course Outcomes: At the end of the course students would:

  1. Have gained a thorough understanding of the critical and theoretical frameworks related to her research
  2. Have developed acute critical thinking and reading skills
  3. Have developed varied perspectives on a wide range of literary and cultural productions.
  4. Have acquired a broad and expansive understanding of the notion of a ‘text’ and literature itself
  5. Acquired an ability to read, question, analyse and formulate responses to cultural productions and the processes behind these productions.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules

Broad Areas and Perspectives: The modules listed below consist of broad research areas and critical paradigms. Only a few of the areas listed below will be taken up for detailed discussion. The decision regarding the perspectives will depend on the research interests of the researchers.

Module 1: Orality, Folkloristics, and Indigenity

Dundes, Alan. Essays in Folkloristics. Meerut: Folklore Institute, 1978.

Handoo, Jawaharlal and Reimund Kvideland. Folklore: New Perspectives. Mysore:

Zooni Publications, 1999.

Module 2: Life-writing and Memory Studies: Documentation, Archiving, Digitising, Listening and Recording Real Life Narratives and Testimonies (this section has an interface with the section on Orality)

Butalia, Urvashi. The Other Side of Silence: Stories from the Partition of India. New

Delhi: Penguin, 1998.

Langellier, KM., “Personal narrative, performance, performativity: Two or three

Things that I know for sure.” Text and Performance Quarterly, 19, 125-144.

Module 3: Psychoanalytic, Psycho-Historical, and Autobiographical perspectives

Cixous, Helene. “The Laugh of the Medusa”. Literary Criticism and Theory: The

Greeks To the Present. Eds: Robert Con Davis and Laurie Finke. New York:

Longman, 1989.

Freud, Sigmund. Case Histories I: ‘Dora’ and ‘Little Hans’. The Pelican Freud

Library.Vol.8. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1977.

Kakar, Sudhir. The Colours of Violence. New Delhi: Penguin Books India,1995.

Module 4: Ways of reading a visual text, Cinema Studies, Performance Studies, and Adaptations

Bazin, Andre. What is Cinema. Vol. I & Vol. II. University of California Press:

California, 1976.

Berger, John. Ways of Seeing. London: British Broadcasting Corporation and Penguin

Books, 2008.

Hutcheon, Linda. A Theory of Adaptation. New York: Routledge, 2012.

Module 5: Formalism, Structuralism, Post Structuralism, Semiotics

Barthes, Roland. S/Z. Trans: Richard Miller. New York: The Noonday Press, Farrar,

Straus and Giroux Inc., 1974.

Niranjana, Tejaswini. Siting Translation: History, Post-structuralism, and the

Colonial Context. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992.

Module 6: Cultural Studies, New Historicism, Cultural Materialism

Adorno, Theodor. The Culture Industry: Selected Essays on Mass Culture. London:

Routledge, 1991.

Baudrillard, Jean. Simulacra and Simulation.Trans. Sheila Faria Glaser. Ann Arbor:

University of Michigan Press, 1997.

Module 7: Post-colonial Perspective

Ashcroft, Bill, et al. Ed. The Empire Writes Back: Theory and Practice in Post-

Colonial Literatures. London: Routledge, 1989.

Césaire, Aimé. Discourse on Colonialism. NY: Monthly Review Press, 1972.

Said, Edward. Orientalism. London: Routledge, 1978.

Module 8: Research and Ethics

Hopkins, P.E. ‘Positionalities and Knowledge: Negotiating Ethics in Practice’,

ACME:An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies, Vol. 6, No. 3, pp. 386-94.

Liamputtong R. Researching the Vulnerable. London: Sage, 2007.

Said, Edward. Representations of the Intellectual. London: Vintage, 1994.

Module 9: Translation Studies

Bassnett, Susan and Harish Trivedi. Post Colonial Translation: Theory and Practice.

London: Routledge, 1999.

Mukherjee, Sujit. Translation as Discovery. New Delhi: Allied Publishers Private

Limited, 1981.

Module 10: Race, Caste, Ethnicity, Subaltern studies

Fanon, Frantz. Black Skin, White Masks. (1952). New York: Grove Press, 1967.

Guha, Ranajit. Ed. A Subaltern Studies Reader: 1986-1995. Minneapolis: University

of Minnesota Press, 1998.

Module 11: Gender and Queer Theory

Gilbert, Sandra and Susan Gubar. The Madwoman in the Attic. New Haven: Yale UP,


Weed, Elizabeth and Naomi Schor. Feminism Meets Queer Theory. Blommington IN: Indiana UP, 1997.

Module 12: ” Nationalism, Transnationalism, Multiculturalism

Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of

Nationalism. London and New York: Verso, 1983.

Mishra, Vijay. The literature of the Indian Diaspora: Theorizing the Diasporic

Imaginary. London; New York: Routledge, 2007.

Assessment structure (modes and frequency of assessments)

Assessment will be partially based on discussions and presentations. The researcher will be required to submit a comprehensive research paper at the end of the semester. The paper must demonstrate ample theoretical or philosophical grasp of the fundamental questions raised during the scholar’s interaction with the course. The course coordinator may device other assessment situations as s/he may deem fit.