Political Speeches and Writings by Literary Writers

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation ElectiveSUS1EN2404

Semester and Year Offered: 3rd Semester (Monsoon Semester 2019)

Course Coordinator and Team: Diamond Oberoi Vahali

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

Pre-requisites: None

Course Objectives/Description: Aim: The course aims to establish a connection between literary writers and the political. It will demonstrate the intervention of literary writers in the socio-political processes that form the discourses of power and subjugation, be these in the arena of gender, class, caste, national liberation movements, war, religion, indigenous cultures or then race. The course will focus on political speeches and writings by literary writers and not on literary texts.

The objective of this course is to covertly state that literature as a discipline does not exist in a social vacuum, just as literary writers are not just writers who weave merely fictitious narratives but are people with deep concerns about issues governing their own contemporary times. Literary writers not only reflect these concerns in their literature but many a time they overtly take positions as well and openly challenge the system that operates on the principle of discrimination.

Course Outcomes:

As students opting for this course, will be encouraged to explore the background and the context within which a speech is delivered or a writing written they will be exposed to various social and political contexts. This course will help the students broaden their perspective regarding literature and its social value.

Moreover on the successful completion of this course students will be able to:

  • Understand the socio political context in which a writer exists
  • Will be able to understand that literature does not exist in a vacuum
  • That literary writers and literature as a discipline is deeply engaged with the lives of people and is emancipatory in its core.
  • They will acquire the analytical and critical skills to read between the lines, and the critical ability to analyse speech and writing.
  • As the pedagogy of the course is mainly related to class discussions, the students will develop skills and confidence vis a vis their oral articulation
  • Through their assessments they will also acquire the ability to articulate and develop an academic argument.


Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

Module 1: Literature and the Political

This module will serve as an introductory module, it will introduce the students to the connection between literature and the political through three speeches that clearly state that the aim of literature is to intervene and alter the oppressive social systems. This module will also discuss the tools required for students to analyse political writings and speeches and will also define the notion of the political.

Module 2: Gender and Patriarchy

This module will focus on three writings by women writers that critically analyse patriarchy as a system that marginalizes women.

Module 3: Race and Decolonisation

This module will focus on the intervention of writers within the colonial discourse and the need to decolonize language and culture in order to attain emancipation. It will focus on the experience of racial discrimination, marginalization, and the colonial policies that perpetuate impoverishment of the subjugated people and the broader disillusionment of writers with this crisis in civilization.

Module 4: Critiquing Caste

This module will focus on writers critiquing caste discrimination in India and the need for them to join political movements as activists in order to abolish caste and gender oppression.

Module 5: Class and Capitalism

This module will focus on writers critiquing class hierarchy, bonded labour, capitalism and globalization, it will also focus on the way in which capitalism is leading to a complete devastation of environment and of indigenous societies and ways of being.

Assessment Details with weights:

Assessment structure (modes and frequency of assessments):

S. No.


Period in which the assessment will take place



Class Participation

Throughout the semester







Assignment related to the texts in the course.

Early semester



Class Presentation/Group presentation on a contemporary political/historical context preferably after engaging with a community effected by a critical political crisis

Mid semester



End-semester Exam

As per AUD academic calendar



Reading List:

  1. Muktibodh, Gajanan Madhav. “What is called People’s literature”. People’s Art in the Twentieth
  2. Century: Theory and Practice. Delhi: Jana Natya Manch, 2000. Print.
  3. Premchand. “The Aim of Literature”. People’s Art in the Twentieth Century: Theory and Practice.
  4. Delhi: Jana Natya Manch, 2000. Print.
  5. Walker, Alice. “The Unglamorous But Worthwhile Duties Of The Black Revolutionary Artist, Or Of The Black Writer Who Simply Works And Writes.” Web. 17 May. 2018.
  6. Beauvoir, Simone de. “Introduction”. The Second Sex. New York: Vintage Books, 1989. Print.
  7. Nightingale, Florence. Casandra. United States: The Feminist Press, 1979. Print.
  8. Woolf, Virginia. “Shakespeare’s Sister”. A Room of One's Own. New York: Harcourt, Brace and
  9. Company, 1929. print.
  10. Morrison, Toni. “Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech”. Web. 11 Feb. 2017.
  11. Marquez, Gabriel Garcia. “Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech”. Of Life and Times. Eds. V.P.
  12. Sharma and Ramesh K. Misra. Shimla: H.P. University, 2003.
  13. Ngugi wa Thing’o. “The Language of African Literature.” Decolonising the Mind. London:
  14. James Currey, 1981. Print.
  15. Swift, Jonathan. “A Modest Proposal”. Background Prose Readings. Delhi: Worldview, 2001. Print.
  16. Tagore, Rabindranath. “Crisis in Civilisation”. Of Life and Times. Eds. V.P. Sharma and
  17. Ramesh K. Misra. Shimla: H.P. University. 2003. Print.
  18. Dhasal, Namdeo. Andhale Shatak (Century of Blindness). 1997.
  19. Bama in conversation with Githa Hariharan. Writing & Feminism. Web. 11 Feb. 2017 |
  20. Dangle, Arjun. “Introduction”. Poisoned Bread. Web. 11 Feb. 2017
  21. Devi, Mahasweta.“The Bonded Labourers of Palamau”. Dust On The Road: The Activist Writings
  22. ofMahasweta Devi. Ed. Maitreya Ghatak. Calcutta: Seagull, 1997. Print.
  23. Grass, Gunter. “The Destruction of Mankind Has Begun”. Of Life and Times. Eds. V.P. Sharmaand Ramesh K. Misra. Shimla: H.P. University, 2003. Print.
  24. Roy, Arundathi. The Shape of the Beast: Conversations with Arundathi Roy. India: Penguin
  25. Books, 2008. Print.
  26. Heiss, Anita and Peter Mirtin McGill. Eds. Anthology of Australian Aboriginal Literature. London: Queen’s University Press, 2008.



Additional speeches:

  • Achebe, Chinua. Home and Exile. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. Print.
  • Arnold, Matthew. Culture and Anarchy: An Essay in Political and Social Criticism. NewYork: Macmillan, 1882. Print.
  • Balzac de, Honore. “Society as Historical Organism”. The Modern Tradition. Eds. Ellmann et.Al. Oxford: OUP, 1965. Print.
  • Césaire, Aimé. Discourse on Colonialism. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1972. Print.
  • Lamb, Charles. “Praise of Chimney Sweepers”. The Essays of Elia and Eliana. Ed. Barry
  • Cornwall. London: George Bell & Sons, 1890. Print.
  • Walker, Alice. In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens: Womanist Prose. San Diego:HarcourtBrace Jovanovich, 1983. Print.
  • Voltaire. Candide. New York: Random House, 1975. Print.