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Course Description

Despite its initial origin from non-literary fields as architecture and fine arts and its apparent chronological background of the post-Second World War Europe and America, Postmodernism permeated beyond any historical, geographical, and disciplinary boundaries and has considerable influence on the critical thinking and literary writings of many contemporary writers.  Acquainting the students with the major critical concepts, self-reflexive texts and amorphous themes of Postmodernism, the course aims to explore the usefulness of the term “postmodernism” as a means of approaching contemporary literature.  Thus, this course will offer an advanced introduction to the central concepts of postmodernism by providing an approach to contemporary American, Latin American, European, and Indian (Writing in English) literature. 

Course Content

Why study postmodern theory and literature?  Differences between Modernism and Postmodernism; Is postmodernism a condition or a movement?  Grappling with postmodern Identity: Issues and Problems; Versions of Postmodernism; Grand Narratives and Legitimation Crisis; Jacques Derrida and his theory of Deconstruction; John Barth and the Literature of Exhaustion;  Roland Barthes and the Death of the Author; Scriptible and Lisible texts; Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s Rhizome; Michel Foucault’s Notions of Knowledge and Power; Jean Baudrillard:  The Hyperreal and the Simulacrum; Thomas Pynchon:  Paranoia and Anti-Paranoia; Norbert Weiner’s Cybernetics and Entropy; William Gibson: Cyberspace and Cyberpunk; Zygmunt Bauman and Postmodern Ethics; Postmodernism and Popular Culture; Postmodernism in an Indian context; Postmodern Films; Postmodernism and its Limitations.

Course Audience

PhD students in the discipline of English Literature who have already done literature courses at postgraduate level. 

Outcomes of this Course

Students will emerge with a clear understanding of the term Postmodernism, especially developing an ability to demarcate it from modernism besides developing critical acumen to use it as an approach to study complex narratives.