After English: What do we Teach when we Teach Literary and Cultural Studies?

  • Srinivas S V School of Liberal Studies, Azim Premji University, Bengaluru, India
Keywords: Capabilities and English Studies, Close reading in literature, pedagogy


English Literature today is very different from what it was in the early 1990s, when the discipline was called upon to justify its existence by a vocal section of teachers and students. As a result of the changes inaugurated by the crisis in English Studies‘ and due to the comfort afforded by the demand for English language, the discipline has been relatively free from internal and external pressures to justify its existence. This is, therefore, a good time to raise the question of disciplinary relevance. I draw on my experience as a student, teacher and researcher formed by the 1990s to argue that the transformation of the discipline was at least partly facilitated by its investment in the engagement with texts and texutality. Reading and interpretation, albeit framed by a very different set of concerns, remain at the heart of Literary Studies as well as its offshoot, Cultural Studies. I, therefore, suggest that we consciously focus on building this capability, even as we introduce our students to an every-expanding range of textual forms.


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