Folk, Oral, Indigenous, Popular Cultures

Home/ Folk, Oral, Indigenous, Popular Cultures
Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSUSEN2634

Course Coordinator and Team: Diamond Oberoi Vahali

Email of course coordinator: diamond[at]aud[dot]ac[dot]in

Pre-requisites: Deep interest and regard for Indigenous, folk cultures and orality

Aim: The objective of the course is to familiarize the students to the folk, oral, indigenous and popular art forms and literature. The aim is also to analyse the interfaces that exist between these forms as well the subtle distinctiveness of each form. The course will bring to the fore the songs of the itinerant street singers, the folklore and tales of the mystics, lovers, as well as those of ordinary people and will see how the folk imagination weaves tales as if it were weaving a tapestry. Thus this course will delve into the indigenous, folk and mass imagination in its varied manifestations.

Brief description of Modules/ Main modules:

Modules and Indicative Reading List: Keeping the time constraint in mind, only a few of the readings listed below will be discussed in the class.

Module I

Critical, Conceptual and Theoretical frameworks

Module II


  • Zirimu, Pio. “Oral Power and Europhone Glory: Orature, Literature, and Stolen Legacies” in Gunpoints, and Dreams: Towards a Critical Theory of the Arts and the State in Africa. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998.
  • Ngugi wa. “Notes Towards a Performance Theory of Orature”. Performance Research 12.3 (2007): 4-7. Web. 11 Feb. 2013. <>
  • Ao, Temsula. 1999. The Ao-Naga Oral Tradition. Baroda: Bhasha Publications, 1999.
  • Devy, G.N. ed. Painted Words: An Anthology of Tribal literature. New Delhi: Penguin Books, 2002.
  • Creation myths: Binti and other creation myths
  • Selections from the Bhilli Mahabharat
  • Selections from the Kunkana Ramayan
  • Verses by Bhakti and Sufi poets
  • Cultural Diversity, Linguistic Plurarity and Literary Traditions in India. Ed. Sukrita Paul Kumar, Vibha S. Chauhan, Bodh Prakash, 1981.
  • Selections from Anhad Garje, 4 vols.,
  • pBitek, Okot. Song of Lawino. London: Heinemann, 1984.

Module III


Carter, Asa Earl. The Education of Little Tree (1976) Mexico: University of New Mexico Press; 25th anniversary edition (August 31, 2001)

Devy, G.N. ed. Painted Words: An Anthology of Tribal literature. New Delhi: Penguin Books, 2002.

Devy, G.N. The G.N. Devy Reader. New Delhi: Orient Blackswan. 2009.

Duane Niatum. Ed. Harper’s Anthology of Twentieth Century Native American Poetry. San Francisco: Harper, 1988.

Heiss, Anita and Peter Mirtin McGill. Eds. Anthology of Australian Aboriginal Literature. London: Queen’s University Press, 2008.

Harlem Frescos.

Lazmi, Kalpana. Rudali. 1993.

Seathl. “A Simple Philosophy”. Contemporary English. New Delhi: OUP, 1991.

Selections from Mahashweta Devi’s Dust on the Road: The political Writings of Mahashweta Devi

Promod Gupta Development at Gunpoint

Indegenous art forms

Module 1V


Dandetha,Vijay.‘Duvidha’, http://www.manushi-


Kaul, Mani. Dir. Duvidha. 1973

Palekar, Amol. dir. Paheli. Red Chillies Entertainment. 2005.

Dangrembga, Tsitsi. Kare Kare Zvako (Long Time Ago) Mother’s Day (a Shona (African) Folk Tale

Gorky, Maxim. “Soviet Literature” in People’s Art in the twentieth Century: Theory and Practice. Jana Natya Manch, Delhi, 2000.

Gupta, Sudheer. dir. Anant Kalakar 2006.

Naithani, Sadhana. “The Colonizer Folklorist”. Journal of Folklore Research 34.1 (1997): 1-14.

Ramanujan, A. K. A Flowering Tree and Other Oral Tales from India. Berkley: University of California Press, 1997.

Virmani, Shabnam. dir. Had-Anhad . 2008.

---. dir. Chalo Hamara Des. 2008.

---. dir. Koi Sunta Hai (Someone Listens) 2008.

V., Propp. Morphology of the Folktale. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1968.

This module will also discuss folk songs and folk music specifically from India.

Module V


Anand, Vijay. dir. The Guide. Navketan Films. 1965.

Tamasha 2016

Berlin Wall graffiti

Chauhan, Anuja. Zoya Factor. New Delhi: Harpercollins, 2014.

India, a Joint Venture with India Today Group, 2008. Print.

Selections from: Radway, Janice. Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy, and Polular Literature. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1984.

Williams, Raymond. Culture and Society: 1780-1950. London: Chatto, 1958.

Selection from Morley, David, Chen, Kuan Hsing (ed.). Stuart Hall: Critical Dialogues in Cultural Studies. London: Routledge,1996.

Pawling, Christopher. Ed. Popular Fiction and Social Change. London and Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1984.

Pierre. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1979.

Selections from the songs of Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Justin Beiber

Assessment Details with weights:

Tentative Assessment schedule with details of weightage:

AssessmentDate/period in which Assessment will take placeWeightage
Class participationClass participation20%
Group PresentationEnd September onwards20%
Class testOctober1st week20%
Term Paper5th November20%
Research and Creative document25th November20%

The pattern of assessment is subject to revision depending on the composition and size of the class.



  • Bettelheim, Bruno. Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales. New York: Alfred A. Knofp, 1976.
  • Dundes, Alan. Essays in Folkloristics. Meerut: Folklore Institute, 1978.
  • Georges, Robert A. and Michael Owen Jones. Folkloristics: An Introduction.
  • Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1995.
  • Jung, C.G. The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. 2nd ed. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1968.
  • Selections from Bronislaw Malinowski’s writings on culture and ethnography
  • Joseph Campbell The Mask of Gods
  • Levi-Strauss, Claude. Structural Anthropology. 2 Vols. London: Allen Lane, 1968.