|Course Type||Course Code||No. Of Credits|
Semester and Year Offered: 6th Semester/ 3rd year of the BA Honors with a Major in Psychology
Course Coordinator and Team: Anshumita Pandey
Email of course coordinator: anshumita[at]aud[dot]ac[dot]in
Pre-requisites: Students should have successfully completed the course on Understanding Personality (SUS1PS701).
Aim: Premised on the limits of a universal psychology, the course on Psychology for India aims to circumscribe what passes off as the discipline of psychology into a culturally located form: it’s primarily Western origin and environ. Foregrounding the need for situated knowledge, the course questions the relevance of a psychology emanating primarily from West/Europe to Non-western and Non-European cultures, experiences and psyches and attempts to look for resources for a culturally sensitive psychology. What are the conceptual and pragmatic tools needed for such an engagement? Does Psychology need to be liberated from complacent and complicit foundational biases if it is to work towards its emancipatory potential? In re-apprehending the story of global psychology as a ‘glocal’ psychology, the course hopes to create an opportunity for an active and affirmative understanding of other(ed) locations - of other(ed) cultures - as sites of active knowledge production. How have practitioners of Psychology and allied fields in India understood questions of selfhood, identity and healing? Does this situated lens carry a potential to re-define critical ideas within psychological corpus? Through this bivalent critical engagement, with the received discipline of psychology and its Indian counterpart, the course aims to create a space for the practice of a critical cultural psychology, a Psychology (relevant) for India.
Course Outcomes: By the end of the course, the student will be able to:
Brief description of modules/ Main modules:
Unit 1: Do we need a Cultural Psychology?
Is the discipline of psychology a ‘global’ or a ‘glocal’ affair? What are its inclusions? What remains on the outside? What insights does it offer us about experiences of an ‘Indian’ psyche? Routed through writings in the field of Critical and Liberation psychology, tracing the impact of post-modern scholarship and the paradigmatic shifts it entails, the introductory unit hopes to start a dialogue about the need for a culturally sensitive psychology.
Unit 2: ‘Indian’ Psychology or Psychology for India?
What are the constitutive assumptions on which a cultural perspective bases itself? Can there be an essential model of an Indian psyche? Is there ‘an Indian way of thinking’? How does Psychology as a discipline render itself relevant in Indian soil scents? The unit opens up the need for a self – reflexive praxis of Psychology in India.
Unit 3: Notions of Self and Identity
Self and its intimacies form the leitmotif of this unit as we begin to explore psychic structures in India. What are the theories of personhood, consciousness, motivations and aesthetics that shape psyches? What forms of representation have these found in the discipline of psychology? We proceed through a close reading of writings by psychologists, psychoanalysts and social theorists on notions of self and identity.
Unit 4: Mental Health in Indian traditions
The unit traces the departures from western notions of mental health and chronicles indigenous approaches to classification and treatment. Sites of cultural healing, a key emphasis, open up alternative discourses of cure, notions of self and modalities of ‘being-in-the-world’ as one sets up a dialogue and between healing practices in culture(s) and psychology.
Unit 5: Gendered Stories
The question of feminine identity is the primary emphasis of this unit. Routing itself through a critical reading of the lived realities of Woman in India, the unit attempts to explore notions of identity, of masculinity and femininity, questions of motherhood and daughterhood as they inform self-experience.
Unit 6: Caste in India
The unit attempts to bring together ‘the subject’ and ‘the abject’ as it discusses Caste in India, it’s rootedness in psyches and psychosocial reality and the ‘ontological trauma’ of being born an ‘other’. Stories of oppression, resilience and critique, these life narratives become lenses to look at ‘situatedness’ anew as they de-center entrenched locations of the normative.
Assessment Details with weights: