EGO 126 The Gender of Literatures and the Literatures of Gender By Professor Vrinda Nabar, Visiting Research Professor, Kavivarya Bakibaab Borkar Chair in Comparative Literature (A one credit course under CBCS for Goa University PG students under Department of English)

  • Goa University

    Visiting Research Professors Programme

    Kavivarya Bakibaab Borkar Chair in Comparative Literature

    EGO 126 The Gender of Literatures and the Literatures of Gender


    Professor Vrinda Nabar, Visiting Research Professor, Kavivarya Bakibaab Borkar Chair in Comparative Literature

    (A one credit course under CBCS for Goa University PG students under Department of English)


    The course is open to PG students and Research Scholars of Goa University. Members of the general public are welcome to attend.

    Dates: 11 January 2016 to 21 January, 2016    

    Venue: Conference Hall, Main Building, Goa University


    Sessions will be held on 11, 12, 13, 14 January and 18, 19, 20, 21 January 2016

    Time: 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. (except 19 January, when the session will be from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the International Centre Goa, Dona Paula)

    Inclusive of the following two public lectures:

    •  14 January, 2:30 – 4:30 p.m., Conference Hall, Goa University:  “Heavy with History: From Memory to Memoir”
    •  19 January, 4:30 – 6:30, International Centre Goa, Dona Paula:  “Writing India Right: Indian Writing in English and the Global Literary Market”


    Maximum number of students: 25. Selection will be made if there are more than 25 registrations for the course. Only those who register online on the VRPP website will be considered for selection to the course.

    Course Coordinator: Professor Kiran Budkuley, Head, Department of English

     CLICK here for Online Registration

    Course Objective

    The Gender of Literatures and the Literatures of Gender

    This course would look at canonical “texts” and women’s writing across cultures to examine to what extent gender perceptions are universal, have impacted women’s lives, and how cultural contexts have reinvented or indigenized global manifestations.

    Twentieth century archival studies have documented the many ways in which women historically “wrote” their lives. The course would work at deconstructing this writing and analysing the subtexts therein.

    It would require students to read this writing and submit brief thought-out written responses for evaluation/grading by the end of Week 2 (21 January 2016).

    We would also look at other writing by women through the ages, using its universal and contextual priorities to formulate an understanding of the culture/gender dialectic. We would review the shifting concerns of women’s movements to try and define the complexities inherent in the milestones of so-called “achievements”.

    Contemporary global cultures have extended the meaning of “gender” and given it wider connotations. The class would be made aware of the changing meanings of terms like “sexuality” and “alternate sexuality” which are now generally accepted as inherent attributes of gender.

    Despite the growing national emphasis on South Asian Diasporas over the past several years, there has been very little serious study of how their social structures and practices influence their geographies of sexuality and gender. This course also attempts to address this omission. A study in transnational feminism/sexuality, it stresses the importance of the nation-transnational dialectic in the writers and filmmakers of the South Asian Diasporas. It would also encourage students to recognize the less obvious manifestations of neo-Orientalism in the depiction of gender and sexuality in South Asian literature and cinema and to examine to what extent the interplay of nation and transnational therein is grounded in the larger politics of First World/Third World discourse and representation.


    1. Virginia Woolf: A Room of One’s Own  (Chapter 3)
    2. Simone de Beauvoir: The Second Sex (Introduction; Part III: Dreams, Fears, Idols; The Myth of Woman in Five Authors (section on DH Lawrence); Part IV: Childhood)
    3. Germaine Greer: The Female Eunuch;
    4. Nandita Gandhi and Nandita Shah: The Issues at Stake: Theory and Practice in the Contemporary Women’s Movement in India (Chapter 2)
    5. Kalpana Kannabiran and Ritu Menon, ed.: From Mathura to Manorama: Resisting Violence Against Women in India  Chapter 3 Alternative Forms of Protest (War & Peace: Ideology and the Architecture of Performance)
    6. Ruth Vanita and Saleem Kidwai, ed.: Same-Sex Love in India: A Literary History
    7. Susi Tharu and K. Lalita, ed.: Women Writing in India, 600 B.C. to the Present (Volumes I and II);
    8. Indira Sant: Snake-Skin and Other Poems of Indira Sant
    9. Mahasweta Devi: Breast Stories
    10. Azar Nafisi: Reading Lolita in Tehran
    11. Simone de Beauvoir: Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter
    12. Maria Couto: Filomena’s Journeys
    13. Vrinda Nabar: Family Fables and Hidden Heresies: A Memoir of Mothers and More
    14.  Mrinal Pande: Devi: Tales of the Goddess in Our Time;
    15. Anjali Purohit: Ragi-Ragini: Chronicles from Aji’s Kitchen    
    16.  Chitra Banerji Divakaruni: Palace of Illusions;
    17.  Chitra Banerji Divakaruni: The Mistress of Spices     
    18.     Jhumpa Lahiri: The Namesake


    Evaluation Method:

    1. Brief written responses on an assigned topic to be handed in no later than noon on 21 January (20 marks).

    2. Regular participation in class discussions (5 marks).


    1. Attendance is mandatory. Marks will be deducted for continued or unauthorized absences.

    2. The written responses (hard copies) MUST be handed in at the office of the English Department before 12 noon on the due date. Soft/emailed copies will not be graded.  


    Bio of Professor Vrinda Nabar

    A former Chair of English at the University of Mumbai, Vrinda Nabar (b. 1948) studied at the universities of Mumbai and Oxford. She has been a Visiting Professor at Northwestern University (Illinois, USA) and at the Open University (Milton Keynes, UK). Her teaching and research interests have focused on postcolonial issues, Indian literature in English and in English translation, India and the Diaspora, and transnational feminisms. She has also made public presentations of her work at Northwestern University, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Loyola University (Chicago), West Chester University (PA, USA), the Open University (UK), the Sahitya Akademi, Xavier Institute of Communication, Mumbai, and various universities and colleges in India.

    In addition to academic papers and review articles, Vrinda Nabar’s published work includes: the academic bestseller Caste as Woman; Family Fables & Hidden Heresies: A Memoir of Mothers and More; The Bhagavadgita (Introduction and Translation); The Endless Female Hungers: A Study of Kamala Das; and Snake-Skin and Other Poems of Indira Sant (co-translated from the Marathi). She has co-edited Postcolonial Perspectives on the Raj and Its Literature, and Mapping Cultural Spaces: Postcolonial Indian Literature in English. She has also published translations from the poetry of Bakibaab Borkar, Sadanand Rege, Narayan Surve, Mangesh Padgaonkar and Jibanananda Das.

    Vrinda Nabar has freelanced extensively for Indian newspapers, radio and television since the 1970s. She wrote the monthly columns “Book Beat” (The Times of India), “First Person” (The Free Press Journal) and “View from My Window” (Harmony); a fortnightly column of arts and ideas for The Indian Post; and was Literary Editor (Fiction) for The Independent (Bombay). She conceptualised and compèred the monthly show “A Time For Books” for Bombay Doordarshan, and presented Marathi poets in translation as well as a series of literary magazines, “Writers of Tomorrow”, for All India Radio, Bombay. For a short while she also worked as a senior Consultant in Corporate Communications with the Tata Group. She lives in Mumbai, India.


    Please visit or email- [email protected] for further details


    Ramrao Wagh

    VRPP Coordinator, Goa University