Winter Term 2016/2017

VL: "Foundations of Cultural Studies"
Mi 14-16, HS 0.03, Geb. B3 1

What is meant by "culture", and why do we need to study it? At the simplest level culture encompasses the how of life lived in a society, i.e. our common pool of language use, food customs, fashion trends, architectural styles, forms of entertainment, but also of social taboos and norms, regardless of whether these are explicitly expressed or implicitly understood. If "culture" is, in this sense, a way/s of 'worldmaking', is it not also much more than that?  We can ask: Who makes these norms for us, or have they arisen from our own collective behaviour? To what extent are we agents who actively make our own 'worlds'; to what extent are we consumers of what social and cultural institutions, the media, and advertising agencies would have us believe is what the majority of us currently think/should be thinking? Cultural Studies have set themselves the agenda of trying to explain, as best as possible, why it is that we 'perform' culture in the ways that we do in the societies we inhabit.

Course material will be placed in the Semesterapparat (IB) or, if otherwise difficult to locate, will be made available online.

All lecture series material to be read in preparation for each session as scheduled; regular participation in the full lecture series; end of term written test.
Please check the TAS website under "Your Studies" for guidelines, especially on note-taking during a lecture series.


HS: Superheroes? Godmen Under Scrutiny
Mi, 16-18, R. 1.20, Geb. C5 3

"India had been in the Godman business longer and continues to produce more of them than any other country in the world", avers the famous publicist, Khushwant Singh. If this is indeed so, one expects this phenomenon to have captured the imagination of writers and film-makers alike. We will be setting out on our explorative journey by reading R. K. Narayan's well-known novel, The Guide (1958). On establishing the parameters of literary treatment of this topic, we will turn to related films, starting with Hindi cinema's adaptation of this novel to its popular screen, as Guide (1965). Early in 2003, a joint production (UK, France, US) launched The Guru, a film that took a good look from the outside at this phenomenon.  More recent Hindi films have still not tired of this topic, even if their perspectives range from highly critical, as in PK (2014), to that of a self-proclaimed Godman starring in his own film, Messenger of God (MSG, 2015).

VL: No Place Like 'Home'?: Diasporic and Mainstream South Asian Films in Conversation
Do, 14-16, HS 0.03, Geb. B3 1

What types of 'Indianness' do popular Hindi films tend to project when addressing 'home' audiences; in what ways do these differ from the images of Indians abroad offered us, especially more recently, by these cultural mainstream products? In what kind of a transcultural relationship, moreover, do these films stand with regard to films about Indians like themselves, as created by diasporic filmmakers? In this lecture series, we will be looking at some of the most representative of these films, including mainstream popular Hindi productions like Purab aur Paschim (East and West), DDLJ (Braveheart Wins the Bride), Swades (Home), My Name is Khan; and related films made abroad like My Beautiful LaundretteBend it Like BeckhamBrick Lane and The Namesake.


Kolloquium TAS
Do, 16-18.30, R. 1.19, Geb. C5 3

For B.A., M.A. and Lehramt Candidates

All TAS students in the semi-final stages of their studies are encouraged to attend.

Those intending to take any part of their final examinations in TAS are strongly advised to participate in this colloquium a semester prior to the final run through. Those students starting out / meanwhile engaging with their written academic work, i.e. those doing an M.A. or a B.A. thesis, are also expected to attend and therewith to present their work to peer-review.
The colloquium's focus is on developing study skills while providing on-going guidance during exam preparation. Further, it provides a supportive forum for presenting theses-in-progress and mock exams, all within the frame of engaging with the application of TAS theory parameters to selected texts.