Radical Poetry of Protest and Resistance

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation ElectiveSOLEN3604

Semester and Year Offered: IInd Semester (Winter Semester 2021)

Course Coordinator and Team:  Dr. Kopal

Email of course coordinator:

Pre-requisites: Basic interest and an ability to analyze poetry

Course Objectives

  • The course aims for the students to understand the theoretical formulations of the relationship between art/poetry and society.
  • It aims to explore with the students the radical potential of poetry in bringing about change.
  • To engage students in thinking about their own oppressions and finding how others have expressed those or similar oppressions through poetry and music.
  • To view poetry in its performative aspect.
  • To engage with the contemporary scene of poetry and music of protest.

Theoretical Readings:

  • Adorno, Theodor W. "On the fetish character in music and the regression of listening." The essential Frankfurt school reader(1938): 270-99.
  • Adorno, Theodor W. “Is Art Lighthearted” in Notes to Literature (volume two), trans. by Shierry Weber Nicholson. (1991): 247-253.
  • Limbale, Sharankumar. "Towards an alternative aesthetics of Dalit Literature." (2004).
  • Rancière, Jacques. Dissensus: On Politics and Aesthetics. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015.
  • Rancière, Jacques. Aesthetics and its Discontents. Polity, 2009.
  • Scott, James C. Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden transcripts. Yale university press, 1990.
  • Tilly, Charles. Contentious Performances. Cambridge University Press, 2008.
  • Bloch, Ernst, et al. The Principle of Hope. Vol. 1, 2, 3. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1986.
  • Goodin, Robert Edward, Robert E. Goodin, and Charles Tilly, eds. The Oxford Handbook of Contextual Political Analysis. Vol. 5. Oxford Handbooks of Political, 2006.
  • Omvedt, Gail. Dalit Visions: The Anti-caste Movement and the Construction of an Indian Identity. Orient Blackswan, 2006.
  • Butler, Judith. Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative. Routledge,1997.

Poems (Tentative)

  • Alice Walker, “When Golda Meir was in Africa”
  • Marge Piercy, “The Rape Poem”
  • Pablo Neruda, “Letter on the Road”
  • Claude Mckay ,“If We Must Die”
  • W. S. D. Du Bois, “An ABC of Color”
  • Walt Whitman, “Song of the Open Road”
  • Faiz Ahmed Faiz, “We will See”
  • Wilfred Owen, “Dulce et Decorum Est”
  • Avtar Singh Pash, “Ominous”
  • Margaret Atwood, “Reincarnation of Captain Cook”
  • Allen Ginsberg , “Howl”
  • Kumar Vikal, “Children of Dangerous Times”
  • Nazim Hikmet, “Angina Pectoris”
  • Wole Soyinka, “Telephone Conversation”
  • Kamla Das, “My Grandmother’s House”
  • Brecht ,“The Burning of Books”, “The Shopper”
  • Dhoomal, “Twenty years after Independence”
  • Selections from Bhakti and Sufi poetry (Kabir, Bulle Shah, Meera )
  • Shiv Kumar Bhatalvi, selections from “Luna”
  • Maya Angelou, “Still I Rise”
  • Edna St Vincent Millay, “Conscientious Objector”
  • Langston Hughes, “Harlem”
  • A.K. Ramanujan, “Highway Stripper”
  • F.M. Shinde, “Habit”
  • D.S. Dudhalkar, “Wall”
  • Namdeo Dhasal, “ Man you should Explode”
  • Anshu Malvia, “In the Womb, Why did they kill me...
  • Kishwar Naheed, “ I am Not That Woman”
  • Amreen Murad ,“Surfacing of the mad; crumbling normalcy”, “I Too Exist”
  • Muhamad Darwish “Eleven Stars over Andalusia”
  • Tenzin Tsundue “Desperate Times”
  • Sonam D Buchung selection from Muses In Exile
  • Agha Shahid Ali’s Selection from The Country Without a Post office: Poems
  • Anais Nin selection from Children of the Albatross
  • Adrienne Rich selection from Blood, Bread and Poetry
  • Ashwini Sukthankar selection from Facing the Mirror: lesbian Writing from India
  • Selections will also be made from a number of Protest songs emerging from several social, political, feminist as well as other radical groups across the world.
  • (The course design is non-modular; it has an internal continuity as is apparent from the course content)

Assessment Details with weights:

Tentative Assessment schedule with details of weightage:

Assessment situation 1


Class Participation (response papers and short notes)

Throughout the semester

Assessment situation 2


Group presentation

 Throughout the semester

Assessment situation 3


End Term Project



The pattern of assessment is subject to revision depending on the composition and size of the class.