programme

Anticolonialism and Postcolonial Futures

Home/ Anticolonialism and Postcolonial Futures
Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreNA4

Semester and Year Offered: Winter Semester 2019

Course Coordinator and Team: Ngoru Nixon

Email of course coordinator: ngoru@aud.ac.in

Pre-requisites: None

Aim:

  • The aim of the course is to foreground a range of political futures that have had been imagined in the course of the anti-colonial movement. Such imaginations can serve as a template to further think about the possible world based on the ideal of inclusiveness, informed by justice and equality.

 

Brief description of Course:

  • This course is an exploration of the attempt by some of the important thinkers/figures of the colonized world and society to imagine and fashion forms of decolonization. To engage in this mode of inquiry entails not only an understanding of the larger milieu in which a thinker is situated but also an investigation into why and how a particular form of future came be to be envisaged and conceived. In undertaking this venture, the concern of the course is less about whether the attempts of the thinkers remained realized or unrealized than about foregrounding a range of political futures which could conflict or complement one another. Such exploration also points us towards the direction of the possible worlds that can be aspired for and inhabited.
  • Much of the engagement of the course will pertain to the diverse thinkers/figures from the Indian context. In addition to the popular figures such as Gandhi, Savarkar, Aurobindo, Tagore, Ambedkar, Nehru, the course will introduce Jaipal Singh, the Adivasi leader from the present-day Jharkhand, who is popularly known for his participation in Constituent Assembly debates. The assembling of these figures within a synchronous frame is less an act of merely putting them together than to underscore the tension, conflict, or equivalence between the wide-ranging positions or ‘standpoints’ on the discursively related questions of nation and nationalism, west and east, colonialism, violence and marginalization, freedom, humanism, etc. In this engagement, the course will also draw from critical voices dealing with the similar questions from African-Caribbean context in the form of negritude and Fanon.

 

The Course comprises of four modules:

Module 1: Introduction- Colonialism and Nationalism (2 Weeks)

Module 2- Nation and Its Other (3 weeks).

Module 3- Contesting the ‘Nation’ (4 Weeks).

Module 4: Between Anticolonialism, the National, and Internationalism/Humanism: Nehru, Negritude and Fanon (3 Weeks):

Module 1: Introduction- Colonialism and Nationalism (2 Weeks)

The introductory module seeks to discuss colonialism both as a concept and a phenomenon. The discussion would entail elucidating the binary narratives- colonizer and colonized, west and east, civilized and barbaric, rational and irrational, etc- which colonialism engenders and operates with. The engagement with colonialism and its impact on the non-western world invariably lends itself to the discussion on anti-colonial nationalism.

Essential Readings:

  • Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. Penguin Books, 1958.
  • Chandra, Bipan. “Colonialism, Stages of Colonialism, Colonial State.” Journal of Contemporary Asia, Vol. 10, No. 3 (1980): 272-285.
  • Mishra, Pankaj. From the Ruins of Empire: The Intellectuals Who Remade Asia. Farrar. Straus and Giroux, 2012. (Prologue, pp. 1-11).

 

Supplementary Readings:

  • Chatterjee, Partha. The Nation and Its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories. Princeton University Press, 1993.
  • Memmi, Albert. The Colonizer and the Colonized. Routledge, 2003.
  • Young, Robert J.C. Empire, Colony, Postcolony. Wiley Blackwell, 2015.

 

Module 2- Nation and Its Other (3 weeks).

  • The discussion on anti-colonial nationalism cannot but engages with the debate on the nation and how the question of the other is conceived. In this regard, the module will examine the nature of engagement in Gandhi, Aurobindo and Savarkar.

 

Essential Readings:

  • Gandhi, M.K. Hind Swaraj and other Writings, edited by Anthony J. Parel. Cambridge University Press, 1997.
  • Savarkar, Veer. Hindutva. Hindi Sahitya Sadan, 2003.
  • Sharma, Jyotirmaya. Hindutva: Exploring the Idea of Hindutva. Hapercollins, 2015.

 

Supplementary Readings:

  • Chatterji, Bankimchandra. Anandamath. Translated by Julius J.Lipner. Oxford University Press, 2005.
  • Hardiman, David. Gandhi in His Times and Ours: The Global Legacy of His Ideas. Colombia University Press, 2003.
  • Heehs, Peter. Sri Aurobindo: Nationalism, Religion, and Beyond- Writings on Politics, Society, and Culture. Permanent Black, 2005.

 

Module 3- Contesting the ‘Nation’ (4 Weeks).

  • The rationale behind reading Tagore, Ambedkar and Jaipal Singh together consists in that they represent the voices marking the ‘internal’ contestation over the question of nation and nationalism- whose nation and nationalism? The discussion will also refer to how this ‘internal’ contestation involves the critique of the positions of both Gandhi and ‘extremist nationalists’. While Tagore’s point of critique is anchored around the narrative of ‘rooted cosmopolitanism’, the narratives of Ambedkar and Jaipal Singh are informed by the wretched and marginalized position of the ‘untouchables’ and the Adivasis respectively within the imagined ‘nation’. The ‘woman question’ will be also examined. The module will explore the equivalence and tension (if any) between these critiques.

 

Essential Readings:

  • Aloysius, G. ed. Ambedkar on Nation and Nationalism. New Delhi: Critical Quest, 2009.
  • Munda, Jaipal Singh. Adivasidom: Selected Writings and Speeches of Jaipal Singh Munda. Edited by AK Pankaj. Ranchi: Pyara Kerketta Foundation, 2017.
  • Roy, Anupama. Gendered Citizenship: Historical and Conceptual Explorations. Orient Longman, 2005. (Chapter 4)
  • Tagore, Rabindranath. Creative Unity. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1922. (Ch 8- The Nation, pp. 137-148).
  • Tagore, Rabindranath. Nationalism. Introduction by Ramachandra Guha. Penguin Books, 2009. (Chapter 2 and 3; Nationalism in the West and Nationalism in India).

 

Supplementary Readings:

  • Ambedkar, B.R. Annihilation of Caste: The Annotated Critical Edition. Navayana, 2014.
  • Bhattacharya, Sabyasachi., ed. The Mahatma and the Poet: Letters and debates between Gandhi and Tagore, 1915-1941. New Delhi: National Book Trust, 1997.
  • Constituent Assembly Debates (Selections)
  • Kiro, Santosh. The Life and Times of Jaipal Singh Munda. Prabhat Prakashan, 2018.
  • Moon, Vasant. ed. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar: Writings and Speeches Vol. 9. Dr. Ambedkar Foundation, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Govt. Of India, 2014. (Selections from Chapter 1- What Congress and Gandhi have Done to the Untouchables).
  • Tagore, Rabindranath. Home and the World. Translated by Sreejata Guha. Penguin Books, 2005.
  • Tagore, Rabindranath. Gora. Translated by Radha Chakravarty. Penguin Books, 2009.

 

Module 4: Between Anticolonialism, the National, and Internationalism/Humanism: Nehru, Negritude and Fanon (3 Weeks):

  • Taking the argument in the previous module as a point of departure, this module will look at the imagination involving the transformative progression from the narrative of anticolonialism to the articulation of internationalism and humanism. The module will discuss Nehru’s idea of internationalism/international cooperation and the idea of ‘new humanism’ articulated in negritude and Fanon.

 

Essential readings:

  • Biko, Steve. I write What I like: Selected Writings. University of Chicago Press, 2002.
  • Cesaire, Aime. “Culture and Colonization.” Social Text 103, Vol.28, No. 2 (Summer, 2010): 1-18.
  • Fanon, Frantz. The Wretched of the Earth. Penguin Books, 2001.
  • Nehru, Jawaharlal. The Discovery of India. Penguins Book, 2004 (Chapter 3: The Quest, pp. 40-63; The importance of the National Idea: Changes Necessary in India, pp. 573-582).
  • Publications Division. Jawaharlal Nehru on International Cooperation. Government of India, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, 1966. (Selections).
  • Senghor, Leopold Sedar. “Negritude: A Humanism of the Twentieth Century.” In Colonial Discourse and Post-Colonial Theory: A Reader, edited and introduced by Patrick Williams and Laura Chrisman. London and New York: Routledge, 2013. pp. 27-35.

 

Supplementary Readings:

  • Amrith, Sunil S. Crossing the Bay of Bengal: The Furies of Nature and the Fortunes of Migrants. Harvard University Press, 2013.
  • Nehru, Jawaharlal. The Unity of India: Collected Writings, 1937-1940. Lindsay Drummond, 1948.
  • Rabaka, Reiland. The Negritude Movement: W.E.B Du Bois, Leon Damas, Aime Cesaire, Leopold Senghor, Frantz Fanon, and the Evolution of an Insurgent Idea. Lexington Books, 2016.
  • Wilder, Gary. Freedom Time: Negritude, Decolonization, and the Future of the World. Duke University Press, 2015.

 

Assessment structure-

  • Break-up:
  • Mid-semester: 20%
  • End semester: 30%
  • Class participation: 10%
  • Quiz/Assignment/Essay/Presentation: 40%