Identity through Popular Narratives

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSUS1FC0344

Time Slot: Monday 9 am – 1 pm & Thursday, 11 am – 1pm

Semester and Year Offered: I Semester

Course Coordinator and Team: Mr Vinod R. and Prof. Rachana Johri

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

Pre-requisites: None

Aim: Youth as a life stage comes to educational institutions to clinch and explore simultaneously choices of vocations and relationships whilst preserving stubbornly a sense of movement in the domain of fantasy about one’s identity in meandering ways. This course attempts to extend to them an imperative space to display their curious despair about themselves and come closer to their split- off parts in life which are copiously evoked by select prevailing narratives. The course proposes to deal with the following themes- the divergence of evolving identity, the dynamic of ‘the popular’ as it drapes and protects the rebellion from getting completely throttled, the special unself-conscious contact with the domain of negation of identity as well as an inverted look at what becomes the popular around the themes of caste, gender and disability. The course uses popular literature, cinema, songs, poetry and often scenarios from student’s lives to elucidate the themes of multiplicity of identity, complexity of narrative, the need for the popular, and the ambivalence of intimacy and collapse of all in states of absence.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

Module I: Scenes of the Popular. The term popular refers to some ideas, narratives, emotions, preferences, experiences that are part of the psychic landscape of human being and the world. What is the unconscious, subconscious, and conscious engagement and disengagement with certain popular narratives that influences our identity formation? Why do we share things that we are reminded of, that looks good, that make us feel or that has a narrative. What recedes to the margins in the popular that situates normalcy as the norm?

Module II: The ‘I’ through Identity In this module we delve into the crisis of youth of ideas and ideals, of love and intimacy, of fantasy and real and eventually of self and the other. The effort also remains to let a space of confluence emerge where identity isn't seen as thriving in solitude nor is it seen as being lost in the presence of the other.

Module III: The canvas of the narrative good threads can sustain a strong weave. Narratives become the weaving which identity constructs and endures. It is here that the lens of self and other change place and positions. Sometimes an entire narrative is etched and one can't locate the self. Sometimes the narrative assumes an identity of its own drowning both images of self and the other

What is the impact of intergenerational meaning of time and space when we engage with conversations, memory and forgetting of aspects of identity across three generations?

Module IV: The parlance of identity in the narrative

It would also engage with the pitfalls and the persistent questions of why is identity often going through its own paradigmatic shift, why does popular persist even in face of disturbing one’s sense of self and how narrative becomes a third party to one’s life story.

Assessment details with weightages:

Sno.AssesmentDate/period in which Assessment will take placeWeightage
1Film reviewsFirst week september20%
2Mid Semester ExamEnd of September20%
3Reflective diary with group discussionsEnd of October20%
4End Semester ExamAs per AUD Academic Calendar20%

Reading List and viewing list:

  • Erikson, E.H. (1995). Identity youth and crisis. NY: WW Norton and company.
  • Kakar, S., Erikson, E.H. (Eds.) (1993). Identity and adulthood. ND: Oxford.
  • Freud’s “On narcissism: an introduction”. London: Karnac books.
  • Kakar, S. (2000). Intimate relations: Exploring Indian sexuality. New Delhi: Penguin.
  • Kashyap, A., Motwane, V., Mantena, M. (2014). Queen. India: Phantom Films
  • Masaan. India: Drishyam Films, Phantom Films.
  • Screwwala,R Kapur,S, R(2013) Kai Po Che UTV motion pictures


  • Siwani , A. Ishan,A. Sathyu, M.S.(1973) Garam Hawa.
  • Suri,S.,Onir,Jain,R.K.(2011).Iam.India.
  • Sarkar ,Bhaskar (2010) Mourning the Nation: Indian cinema in the wake of Partition, Orient Blackswan.
  • Bhalla,Alok.ed (1994)Stories about the partition of India Vol. I-III Harper Collins.