follow us



  • January 28, 2014 To January 28, 2014

  • Seminars

  • Online

  • Humanities and Social Sciences

Universities at the Crossroads and the Humanities at a Dead-End: What is the Way Forward?

Abstract: My paper reviews the history of the establishment of University education in India—a classic colonial import—and examines its role in the present context of a globalized and postmodern world which is replete with dichotomies, contradictions and ruptures in the various spaces and processes of culture and society. I contend that the institutionalization of the teaching of the English language and the study of English literature in Modern India, along with the introduction of Western Science, was an act of dispossession which propagated Western values and naturalized colonialism by alienating an entire nation from its collective cultural past, and has, instead of integrating the diverse interests of society, brought all divisions to the fore. Moreover, the commercial and exploitative tendencies of the science and technology disciplines have dealt a body blow to the philosophical foundations of the humanities and the social sciences. Following the leads offered by the works of F.R. Leavis, Paul de Man and Jacques Derrida, I suggest that a possible solution to the overwhelming “technologico-Benthamite climate” of our world, too, lies within the precincts of the University which must act as an ultimate site for critical resistance against “all the powers of dogmatic and unjust appropriation.” I further argue that by strengthening and remodelling the humanities in general and by reconfiguring the boundaries of pucca English literature in particular, inequities of wealth and gender and social segregation may be bridged to a certain extent.