Bangalore: Language, Media, Culture

Exploring the texts that make up the city of Bangalore. 

The idea of the city has found a clear place in literary and media traditions – What does a city do to your sense of identity? How does a city change cultural practices and beliefs? Is the city a space of limitless potential and limitless danger? Is the city the definition of a modern” life? What kinds of movement and transaction take place in an urban setting? What formal techniques and aesthetic choices have been used to capture the city?

This core course sits at the intersection of literature, media studies and cultural studies and will teach students how to study a single urban site (Bangalore) through a range of disciplinary approaches and texts. Students will engage dynamically with the city they live in – its literature and language traditions, layered cultural practices, and the ways in which the city lives in and through media practices. 

As a city, Bangalore of the 21st century is a fascinating site, with its multilingual population, histories of migration, unfixed boundaries, and older cultural sites layered with new cosmopolitan rituals. The objective of the course is to render the city a text, or rather a series of texts and forms of textuality, that students can critically study through different methods. 

The curriculum for the course will situate the city on a grid of questions around language, media and culture, drawing on literary narratives, media texts and practices, and cultural memories or stories of transformation. Students will also meet the city in real time” and in real life”, entering the past through the present, seeing it both online and offline, and understanding it as fiction and fact.