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English and Journalism Programme
English and Media Studies Programme

Ashoka’s interdisciplinary major in English and Media Studies takes seriously the effective communication that defines the ethos of our University. This effective communication pays attention, first and foremost, to issues of language and representation, both of which are central to the study of literature. Students will navigate through a series of courses on literatures from around the world and across periods of time in order to grasp the formal use of language and ideas. These courses will then lead into the various strands of journalism, including different media – newspaper and magazine journalism – as well as subjects – business and investigative journalism. Broadcast journalism and courses in the New Media will round out an effective introduction to the wide world of English and Media Studies. By the end of their major, students will be able to enter into a wide variety of conversations and careers in both fields.

Courses and Descriptions

In addition to the courses and descriptions listed below, the English department will also offer seminars in subjects like Travel WritingWomen’s WritingStudies in SexualityRenaissance Drama and British Modernism.

 

Introduction to English: Forms of Literature

This course will introduce English majors to the most important genres in English literature. These will range from the classical genres of poetry, prose and drama to the more recent developments in literary theory and new media. Students will receive an overview of the most important developments in genre over the last 2000 years, starting with Aristotle and culminating in hypertext.

 

Critical Methods

An intensive immersion in literary method, this course will complement the class on literary genre. Looking at how texts ask questions, and the assumptions that go into any discussion of life and literature, we will also examine what the most important of these questions have been over the last hundred years, and how theorists like Freud, Derrida, and Spivak, among others, have addressed them.

 

Early British Literature: 900-1660

Plotting the development of the literature of the British Isles over the centuries, this course will begin with the anonymous text of Beowulf. Moving across important texts and movements through medieval and Renaissance literature to John Milton’s Paradise Lost, this course will immerse students in the early history of British literature.

 

American Literature

From the beginnings of American literature in slave narratives and religious sermons to the current work of poets like Robert Lowell and graphic novelists like Alison Bechdel, this course will give students an overview of various modes and genres that have been explored in North America and Canada from the middle of the 18th century to the present.

 

Literature and Empire: 1660-1947

Starting with the consolidation of the East India Company in the 17th century, this course will examine the wide variety of pamphlets, travel narratives, poems, novels, and prose fictions that pivot on the idea of empire and travel, from Aphra Behn’s Oronooko to E. M. Forster’s A Passage to India. Moving across countries and centuries, this course will study literary and social formations that continue to affect us to this day.

 

The Novel

Perhaps the single-biggest literary development of the last 300 years has been the rise of the novel. Tied to the rise of literacy, industrialisation and globalisation, the novel is a polysemous genre that continues to be the most widely-read form of literature today. This course will look at the rise of the novel, its development through realism, modernism, post-modernism, magical realism and the postcolonial novel.

 

Postcolonial Literatures 

Expanding the canvas of literature to post-colonial productions of novels, poems and drama, this course will study Anglophone, Francophone and Lusophone literatures from Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific.

From magical realism to existential drama, students will cover rich traditions of literature have been written in response to the conditions of colonialism and post-colonialism.

 

Advanced Critical Theory

In many ways, the capstone course of the English major, advanced critical theory will focus on any one aspect of theory as it has developed over the last 100 years. Topics may include New Media Theory, Psychoanalysis, Marxism, Deconstruction, New Historicism and Queer Theory.

 

Fundamentals of Journalism

Apparently “born” in the 18th century, journalism is a mode of writing that reports the news. Such a description, of course, begs the question what constitutes “the news.” Fundamentals of Journalism will introduce students to the history and theory of this field of writing as a genre, as well as to the various sub-fields within journalism that are in use today.

 

Newspaper Journalism

By far the most popular form of journalism, newspapers are nonetheless facing a crisis today with competition from online news as well as new media. This course will examine the various forms of news reportage and analyse their relative merits and drawbacks.

 

Broadcast and TV Journalism

Television journalism commands the lion’s share of journalistic reach today. Equally, it has become the hotbed for questions about journalistic ethics, and modes of news analysis and presentations. This course will impart both practical skills of camera and sound management as well as theoretical skills of what constitutes a good broadcast report.

 

Magazine Journalism

Perhaps the journalistic genre most indebted to modes of narrative production, the course on magazine journalism will train students in modes of long-form writing. Ranging from social analysis to lifestyle trends to political history to literary reviews, this class will expose students to a variety of formal methods that inform good magazine writing.

 

Business Journalism

For long a vital part of our society, business journalism takes on board the best insights of economics and sociology in order to arrive at analyses of the ways in which money works in society. Business journalism will teach students how to write, blog, and produce reports that take on board a variety of perspectives around questions of the economy and business.

 

Investigative Journalism

Investigating social and political ills has been an integral part of journalism since its inception. Most countries in the world have developed their own traditions in which such investigations are carried out.

 

This course will provide an overview of the best practices in investigative journalism before training students on how to investigate issues and then report their findings in as clear and convincing a format as possible.

Major Requirement

To earn a Bachelor’s degree, each student will be required to complete a total of 28 courses over the programme period of 3 years of 2 semesters each. The programme will require 16 courses in the major papers/subjects. Foundational papers/subjects will constitute the remaining coursework for the student, adding up to 12 courses.

Sample Curriculum Structure

Please note that Major courses are marked in Red.

 

 

Semester I Semester II Semester III Semester IV Semester V Semester VI
Introduction to Critical Thinking Critical Thinking Seminar I Critical Thinking Seminar II Social and Political Formations Foundations of Economic Reasoning Indian Literatures in English
Great Books Trends in World History Principles of Science The Novel Early British Literature: 900-1700 American Literature
Introduction to Mathematical Thinking Indian Civilizations Mind and Behaviour Postcolonial Literatures Literature and Empire: 1660-1947 Broadcast and TV Journalism
Intro to English: Literary Genres Literature and the World Critical Methods Fundamentals of Journalism Newspaper Journalism Magazine Journalism
    Advanced Critical Theory New Media Theory Business Journalism Investigative Journalism

 

Faculty