New Login   

Theorizing a Praxis

Saugata Bhaduri

Edited by Prafulla C. Kar , Kailash C. Baral and Sura P. Rath
Pencraft International, New Delhi, 2003, pp. 288, Rs. 495.00


Anyone involved in the business of curricu- lar literature-mongering would agree that English literary studies in most Indian universities still revolves primarily around universalist and liberal humanist notions of essential truths and ‘great traditions’, and textual criticism comprises gut reactions based on outmoded and yet unproblematized aesthetic ‘values’. Furthermore, one would also admit that Indian academics who think otherwise have to either legitimize their existence by publishing (and in all probability settling down) abroad, or remain marginal entities in their own academic industry, for which the ultimate radical positioning is at best a cautious dabbling into ‘commonwealth literature’ with the theoretical assumptions being as unquestioned as ever. While some of the ‘elite’ universities may have organized several conferences on the implications of ‘contemporary theory’ and may have also radically altered their syllabi in the last decade or so, on the one hand, these attempts have remained too rarefied to have any significant impact on the huge Indian academic hinterland, and on the other, these have somehow not generated much of a compelling theorization on the imperative of theoretical praxis. It is on these counts that it was such a pleasure to learn that the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda runs a Forum on Contemporary Theory, which, through its more than a decade old Journal of Contemporary Thought, has been intervening meaningfully in debates concerning the globally shifting horizons of English studies, and an Indian publisher has actually thought it worthwhile to publish an independent volume out of a selection of articles from that journal.   The volume is a collection of eighteen articles, all dealing with the theoretical necessity of moving from the earlier discipline of ‘English Studies’ to a more inclusive ‘Culture Studies’, with authors ranging from luminaries like Stephen Greenblatt and Fred Dallmayr to a budding doctoral student. One may argue, from a look at the list of contributors, that my initial elation at something eventually happening in the Indian literary curricular mainstream is a little misplaced, because only six of the eighteen scholars showcased in this volume belong to Indian universities, the other twelve being from Canada or the USA. However, I would still believe that the fact that all of them have been published in an Indian journal and anthologized by an Indian publisher is of great significance.   The volume begins with an ‘Introduction’ by the editors, which apart from stating facts about the Forum and its ...

Table of Contents >>
Please or to Read Entire Article

Free Access Online 12 Back Issues
with 1 year's subscription
Archive (1976-2011)
under construction.