Decolonising Cultural Studies


  • Rashmi Sawhney School of Business Studies and Social Sciences (SBSSS), CHRIST (Deemed to be University), India



Cultural Studies in India, Localising Curriculum


Written as a reflective account emerging from the process of reviewing and revamping an MA in English and Cultural Studies at Christ (Deemed to be University), Bangalore, in the year 2018-19, this essay takes the form of a tapestry woven out of four separate but related inquiries. Section I reflects upon the experience of having taught introductory courses in Cultural Studies (henceforth CS) in India and Ireland separated by a gap of 15 years, and germane questions of cultural specificity and curricula. Section II provides an overview of the available narratives of CS within India, focusing on the distinctive approach taken in each account. Section III looks at the relationship between CS, Postcolonial Studies (henceforth PS) and Subaltern Studies (henceforth SS), as they developed in play with one another in 1980s England and America. And Section IV comments on some wider institutional and creative practices of relevance, and the implications these hold for possible future directions of CS. In totality, the article attempts to assess what transformative wor


Alvares, C. (1979). Homo Faber: technology and culture in India, China and the west. Bombay: Allied Publishers.

Anderson, P. (Jul-Aug 2016). The heirs of Gramsci. New Left Review, 100. Available at issues/ II100/ articles/ perry-anderson-the-heirs-of-gramsci [Last accessed 20/06/2019].

Chaturvedi, V. (2000). Mapping Subaltern studies and the postcolonial. New York: Verso Books.

Fanon, F. ([1952] 2017). Black skins, white masks. London: Pluto Press.

Fanon, F. ([1961] 2001).The wretched of the earth. Penguin Modern Classics.

Guha, R. (1982). Subaltern studies I: writings on Indian history and society. New Delhi: OUP.

Guha, R. (1997) A subaltern studies reader (1986-1995). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Hall, S. & Back, L. (July 2009). At home and not at home. Cultural Studies, 23(4), 658-687.

Hall, S. & Whannel, P. ([1964] 2018). The popular arts. Durham: Duke University Press.

Hall, S. (Jan-Feb 2010). Life and times of the new left review. New Left Review, 61. Available at https:// issues/ II61/ articles/stuart-hall-life-and-times-of-the-first-new-left. [Last Accessed 22/07/2019].

Hsing-Chen, K. (2015). Asia as method. In T. Niranjana & W. Xiaoming, (Eds.), Genealogies of the Asian present: situating Inter-Asia cultural studies, pp. 57-75. Hyderabad: Orient Blackswan,.

Kothari, R. & Snell, R. (Eds.). (2011). CChutnifying English: The phenomenon of Hinglish. New Delhi: Penguin.

Lal, V. (1996). South Asian cultural studies: A bibliography. New Delhi: Manohar Books.

Nandy, A. ([1980] 1995). Alternative sciences: creativity and authenticity in two Indian scientists. New Delhi: OUP.

Niranjana, T. & Xiaoming, W. (Eds.) (2015). Genealogies of the Asian present: situating Inter-Asia cultural studies. Hyderabad: Orient Blackswan.

Prasad, M. (2015). Cultural studies in India. In T. Niranjana & W. Xiaoming, (Eds.), Genealogies of the Asian present: situating Inter-Asia cultural studies, pp. 153-70. Hyderabad: Orient Blackswan,.

Radhakrishnan, R. (2008). Cultural studies in India: A preliminary report on institutionalisation. Bangalore: CSCS.

Said, E. (1978). Orientalism. New York: Pantheon Books.

Sardar, Z. & Van Loon, B. (1998). introducing cultural studies: A graphic guide. Michigan: Totem Books.

Sarkar, S. (1968). The thoughts of Gramsci. Mainstream, 7, 17-26.

Tamari, T. (2006). Cultural studies in Japan: An interview with Shyunya Yoshimi. Theory, Culture & Society, 23(7–8), 305–314.

Tharu, S. (2012). Problematics of the popular in contemporary India. Available at [Last accessed 9/06/2019].

Thompson, E.P. (1963). The making of the English working class. New York: Vintage Books.

Uberoi, J. S. (1978). Science and culture. New Delhi: OUP.

William, R. ([1958] 1983). Culture and society. New York: Columbia University Press.