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  • PhD Psychology

PhD Psychology

Programme Description

The modern discipline of psychology has a varied and rich past located in multiple sites of origin- from Wundt’s experimental labs to Sigmund Freud’s clinical explorations into the human psyche to the efforts of philosophically inclined thinkers in the introspective tradition.  In addition the history of Psychology also stands enriched by the effortful work of innumerable non-American and non-European scholars who were eager to establish a relationship between mind, pain, culture and the body.  However, in its pursuit to establish for itself a status akin to that of the “natural sciences”, it is evident that psychology lost its links with its subjective, intuitive, introspective, cultural and critical beginnings.  Within the discourse of the modern Western intellectual world it came to be identified as a study of “human behavior” and its effects.  A decontextualized and self seemingly autonomous individual became the object of psychological experimentation. Psychologists attended little to questions of context, culture, politics, body, class and gender.  The aim of most experimentally-driven psychological studies was to approximate the laws of science: attention was given to generalization, observational “neutrality” and predicting human and animal reactions in different behavioral situations.  As psychology struggled to stay within the currents of Enlightenment discourse, emphasizing reason and rationality, it lost touch with its own “night vision”, its self-reflexive and varied rich and potential origins.

Over the last three or four decades, like most other social scientists, psychologists too have experienced much creative tension.  This tension has been experienced as an opportunity for many psychological thinkers to reclaim their origins and to reexamine the traditional locations and the assumptions on which their work and practice are based.  Questions about the core of the discipline have led to proximal and heated debate.  What is relevant psychological knowledge?  How do we reach it?  What are the omissions in this process?  Who has been exiled from the pursuit of psychological work- both in terms of the data that psychologists generate as well as the methods which they employ?

A reclaiming of the subjective, the intuitive, the critical, the political, the cultural, the non-rational and the non-Eurocentric modes of being have expanded the scope of ongoing debates within the community of psychologists.  Works which depart from the experimental-scientific tradition do not necessarily disregard methodological principles; rather, they try to go beyond it, even as they struggle to establish the connections between the rational and the non-rational.  Of late, the endeavor has been to outline the dimensions of a psychological human science which is contextual, culturally sensitive, decolonized, and politically aware and which can relate to the intricacies of subjectivity, the complexities of the psyche, soma and the mind.  

The School of Human Studies at Ambedkar University Delhi is an explorative space where a self critical version of psychological enquiry is encouraged even as the psyche is kept in the forefront of engagement and empathic imagination. In keeping with the philosophy and central concerns for which the School of Human Studies stands, the doctoral programme in Psychosocial Studies too is guided by a vision.  Its method is to retain ethical engagement with forms of life and cultural modes of being that are rendered invisible and voiceless by the dominant discourses and politico-social structures and processes.  Moreover, a psychosocial framework of research is facilitated by a concern about relating to nuances of human subjectivity and an attempt to feel the psychic recesses, dilemmas, resilience, life choices and conflicts in the participant’s inner world.  Guided by a critical perspective that constantly seeks to question both knowledge and power--questioning given structures within the discipline of psychology as also outside, historicizing/sociologizing knowledge, and orienting towards an inter-subjective world view within which affects, feelings and the phenomenological flow of life are received—the programme seeks to generate in the participants a nuanced sensibility to facilitate their clinical-critical, participatory and dialogical work. 

In such research, the self of the researcher serves as an instrument through which processes of interpretation and meaning making are filtered, even as the momentum of work oscillates between recognition of self-reflexive moments (in the researcher and to an extent in also the participant) in which awareness of “sameness and otherness” leads to a deepening and poadening of human relatedness.  Research in this mode welcomes the possible avenues through which the unknown (often preserved as the ‘excess’ and the ‘initially incomprehensible’ in the data) gradually unfolds in significance within the relational space between the researcher and the researched.

Serving life and its struggles, and focusing on qualitative work wherein sustained engagement is valued and the transformative potentials in the self of the researcher and researched are opened up, the doctoral programme will acquaint students with thinkers and researchers whose efforts are in line with the above objectives.  It will also help to hone the skills of future practitioners to ask searching questions in clinical and cultural domains.  It shall teach them to read texts with a critical, clinical and political focus, to meditate on fieldwork and chosen methodological perspectives, and to situate their own work within a culturally relevant perspective.  Courses help participants enter into the layers of human subjectivity, the formation of the psyche, the body and the soma.  The participants shall appreciate the genesis of the psyche as emerging from ‘our ‘being babies and having ‘mothers and fathers’, to critiquing gender, interrogating cultures and empathically understanding the world of historical survivors.  In that sense, the programme will be a space for critical reflection on the triad critical-clinical-cultural.  In particular, a course on ‘Reading Texts’ from a methodological perspective will prepare candidates to develop their respective research proposals by acquainting them with research/writing which is not only  grounded in the empirical tradition but also animated by a searching theoretical perspective. Orientations from literature, history, politics, sociology and anthropology will be intricately interwoven into the curriculum, just as narratives, life histories, psycho-biographies and case studies will suggest directions for work to be undertaken.

Programme Structure

PROGRAMME DESCRIPTION

The modern discipline of psychology has a varied and rich past located in multiple sites of origin- from Wundt’s experimental labs to Sigmund Freud’s clinical explorations into the human psyche to the efforts of philosophically inclined thinkers in the introspective tradition. In addition the history of Psychology also stands enriched by the effortful work of innumerable non-American and non-European scholars who were eager to establish a relationship between mind, brain, culture and the body. However, in its pursuit to establish for itself a status akin to that of the “natural sciences”, it is evident that psychology lost its links with its subjective, intuitive, introspective, cultural and critical beginnings. Within the discourse of the modern Western intellectual world it came to be identified as a study of “human behavior” and its effects. A decontextualized and self seemingly autonomous individual became the object of psychological experimentation. Psychologists attended little to questions of context, culture, politics, body, class and gender. The aim of most experimentally-driven psychological studies was to approximate the laws of science: attention was given to generalization, observational “neutrality” and predicting human and animal reactions in different behavioral situations. As psychology struggled to stay within the currents of Enlightenment discourse, emphasizing reason and rationality, it lost touch with its own “night vision”, its self-reflexive and varied rich and potential origins.

Over the last three or four decades, like most other social scientists, psychologists too have experienced much creative tension. This tension has been experienced as an opportunity for many psychological thinkers to reclaim their origins and to reexamine the traditional locations and the assumptions on which their work and practice are based. Questions about the core of the discipline have led to proximal and heated debate. What is relevant psychological knowledge? How do we reach it? What are the omissions in this process? Who has been exiled from the pursuit of psychological work- both in terms of the data that psychologists generate as well as the methods which they employ?

A reclaiming of the subjective, the intuitive, the critical, the political, the cultural, the non-rational and the non-Eurocentric modes of being have expanded the scope of ongoing debates within the community of psychologists. Works which depart from the experimental-scientific tradition do not necessarily disregard methodological principles; rather, they try to go beyond it, even as they struggle to establish the connections between the rational and the non-rational. Of late, the endeavor has been to outline the dimensions of a psychological human science which is contextual, culturally sensitive, decolonized, and politically aware and which can relate to the intricacies of subjectivity, the complexities of the psyche, soma and the mind.

The School of Human Studies at Ambedkar University Delhi is an explorative space where a self critical version of psychological enquiry is encouraged even as the psyche is kept in the forefront of engagement and empathic imagination. In keeping with the philosophy and central concerns for which the School of Human Studies stands, the doctoral programme in Psychosocial Studies too is guided by a vision. Its method is to retain ethical engagement with forms of life and cultural modes of being that are rendered invisible and voiceless by the dominant discourses and politico-social structures and processes. Moreover, a psychosocial framework of research is facilitated by a concern about relating to nuances of human subjectivity and an attempt to feel the psychic recesses, dilemmas, resilience, life choices and conflicts in the participant’s inner world. Guided by a critical perspective that constantly seeks to question both knowledge and power--questioning given structures within the discipline of psychology as also outside, historicizing/sociologizing knowledge, and orienting towards an inter-subjective world view within which affects, feelings and the phenomenological flow of life are received—the programme seeks to generate in the participants a nuanced sensibility to facilitate their clinical-critical, participatory and dialogical work.

In such research, the self of the researcher serves as an instrument through which processes of interpretation and meaning making are filtered, even as the momentum of work oscillates between recognition of self-reflexive moments (in the researcher and to an extent in also the participant) in which awareness of “sameness and otherness” leads to a deepening and broadening of human relatedness. Research in this mode welcomes the possible avenues through which the unknown (often preserved as the ‘excess’ and the ‘initially incomprehensible’ in the data) gradually unfolds in significance within the relational space between the researcher and the researched.

Serving life and its struggles, and focusing on qualitative work wherein sustained engagement is valued and the transformative potentials in the self of the researcher and researched are opened up, the doctoral programme will acquaint students with thinkers and researchers whose efforts are in line with the above objectives. It will also help to hone the skills of future practitioners to ask searching questions in clinical and cultural domains. It shall teach them to read texts with a critical, clinical and political focus, to meditate on fieldwork and chosen methodological perspectives, and to situate their own work within a culturally relevant perspective. Courses help participants enter into the layers of human subjectivity, the formation of the psyche, the body and the soma. The participants shall appreciate the genesis of the psyche as emerging from ‘our ‘being babies and having ‘mothers and fathers’, to critiquing gender, interrogating cultures and empathically understanding the world of historical survivors. In that sense, the programme will be a space for critical reflection on the triad critical-clinical-cultural. In particular, a course on ‘Reading Texts’ from a methodological perspective will prepare candidates to develop their respective research proposals by acquainting them with research/writing which is not only grounded in the empirical tradition but also animated by a searching theoretical perspective. Orientations from literature, history, politics, sociology and anthropology will be intricately interwoven into the curriculum, just as narratives, life histories, psycho-biographies and case studies will suggest directions for work to be undertaken.

PROGRAMME STRUCTURE

The total pool of courses on offer for PhD Psychology (Psycho-Social Studies) is the following:

  • Reading Texts: A Methodological Focus (4 Credits)
  • Culture, Subjectivity and Psychoanalysis: The Politics of (Secret) Selves in Colonial India (4 Credits)
  • Critical Cultural Psychology (4 Credits)
  • Subjectivity, Life history and the Psyche: Researching into the world of survivors (4 credits).
  • On Mutuality in Research Thinking (4 credits)
  • An allied course from Anthropology, Sociology, Gender Studies, Literature, Film Studies, History, Philosophy or any other Discipline which meets the research interests of the candidate (4credits)
  • Guided Reading Course
  • Pro Seminar

Course work requirements:

  • Course No.1 Reading Texts: A Methodological Focus (4 credits) is compulsory.
  • A candidate may opt for any four (4) courses from amongst 2 to 6.
  • Course 7 is optional. If a candidate undertakes a Guided Reading course, it will be appropriately noted on their doctoral transcript but not counted in the overall calculation of the Grade Point Average (GPA).
  • Course 8 is also optional. Candidates will be encouraged to organize a non-credited pro seminar in consultation with the faculty. This shall serve as a forum for ongoing discussion of texts and questions emerging from the courses, with specific purpose of guiding each research scholar towards completion of a dissertation proposal.
  • As in the case of the Guided Reading Course, if the pro seminar is successfully run and completed, a candidate’s participation in the process will be noted in his or her final doctoral transcript.
  • Therefore, every candidate would have to successfully complete at least five, 4-credit courses (i.e. 20 credits in all). A candidate must earn minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of B to fulfill the course work requirements.

    The PhD course work is normally of two semesters’ duration. Students not obtaining grades of the required level will be required to repeat courses.

    Detailed Course Descriptions.

    I. Reading Texts: A Methodological Focus (4 credits)

    The aim of the course is two-fold. At one level, it is to see how a thinker comes across a question or an enquiry, where are the questions coming from, what are the personal/experiential, intellectual and cultural context of the questions, how the thinker tries to find answers, what he or she does to answer the question, what literature does he or she look at, how does he or she go about finding answers, what were the drawbacks, what were the surprises, what emerged as nodal points/coordinates of the work, what were the findings, how could the findings possibly affect or alter extant human thought. In other words, it is to see how a researcher has gone about doing his or her research. In that sense, it is a revisiting of the process of research. It is to make students read the work of three-four significant thinkers (for instance, in the 2012-13 course, it would be Marx, Freud and Gandhi amongst other thinkers who can be focused on) and appreciate how a text and an argument unfolds.

    A brief note on evaluation:

    As has already been mentioned the course, Reading Texts: A Methodological Focus, will be compulsory. Pro Seminar Course and Guided Reading Courses are optional and if undertaken are not to be subjected to processes of evaluation. An overall Grade Point Average of B would have to be earned for a candidate to have successfully completed the course work requirements.

    Upon successful completion of course work, every candidate is required to submit a detailed dissertation proposal, inclusive of literature review. There will follow a viva in which the proposal is discussed at length by the candidate with an advisory council; the latter shall include the candidate’s supervisor and other faculty members interested with expertise in the arena of proposed research.

    II. Culture, Subjectivity and Psychoanalysis: The Politics of (Secret) Selves in Colonial India (4 Credits).

    This course is designed to rethink the "politics of (secret) selves in colonial India". In that sense, the course will not only focus on ‘explicit selves’; but also on ‘secret selves’. It is not just about 'bounded-bonded selves' - about selves explicitly marked by a certain Christianizing of the pagan world. Instead it is also about 'elusive selves' - about selves not marked altogether by a (Christian) science of pagan practices. At this juncture the course will examine the question- was Girindrasekhar Bose such a self?

    In addition it hopes to highlight moments in European selves who could not accept either Christianity or its secularized fusion of morality and religion or its claim to provide a theoretical foundation of practices. Here a pertinent question may again be raised- was Freud such a self?

    Put in another way, this course is about the (failed) dialogue between Girindrasekhar Bose and Sigmund Freud. Why was there a dialogue in the first place? Why did the dialogue fail and where did it fail?

    Taking off from the Bose-Freud correspondence this course tries to see how Bose was "experimenting with a psychological method of treatment of mental patients which was akin to psychoanalysis". What was distinctive of Bose’s method and his research into the Indian psyche?

    On the other hand, who was Freud? What were his (cultural) moorings? Were they Judaic/Hellenic? Was Freud a critique of Christianity? Did Freud's critique of Christianity make possible the dialogue between Freud and Bose - dialogue between a 'Western self that was at the same time a critique of Christianity' and a (pagan) self, a 'non-Western self not tainted altogether by the Christianizing of the pagan world'?

    Some of the themes that the course will attempt to address are the following:

    The Origin of Psychoanalysis ‘in India’

    As the first theme to be explored this would help to carve out an outline for the overall structure of the course. We would discuss the reason for setting up an engagement with the question of ‘subjectivity’ and that too in a ‘colonial context’.

    Girindrasekhar Bose and a ‘New Theory’ of Mental Life

    This reading would attempt to track a few questions: what was the 'culture of psychoanalysis' that had evolved in India? How did such thinking inform the question of (colonial) subjectivity


    An ab-original/aboriginal philosophy of mind?

    What makes psychoanalysis aboriginal? What conceptual displacements are necessary to address aboriginality? Being merely ‘other than the western original’ does not necessarily make psychoanalysis aboriginal. Does psychoanalysis, as that approach/attitude that thinks the subject and culture in their mutual constitutivity, offer conceptual ground to think the aboriginal (not just the ab-original), think the aboriginal of culture and subject? But then, to think the (psycho)analysis of the aboriginal one first needs to aboriginalise psychoanalysis. What was Bose doing? Through the Yoga-Sutras, was he making a move towards an aboriginal philosophy of mind?)

    This theme hopes to invoke 'aboriginalization' in a two-fold manner. The first is about the now-known history of the 'aboriginalization of certain cultures' during the colonial era. The second is about a possible post-Orientalist episteme. Participation at this level will help students realize that in the writing of research, our objective is not to just make micro-changes in western theories, keeping its architechtonics intact; but to aboriginalize its very archi-texture.

    Putting Ab-Original/Aboriginal Thought in Context

    A few questions to be explored herein are: what was 'our' relation to Freudian psychoanalysis? What was the relation of 'our' understanding and invocation of psychoanalysis to what was or what emerged as 'our' (or as the 'Oriental') understanding of mind-self-subject? Does Freudian psychoanalysis colonize 'our' subjectivity? Does it colonize our ‘understanding’ of subjectivity?)


    Alternative sciences/Alternative selves


    We will endeavor to relate Bose’s work to another contemporary, Jagadish Chandra Bose, and try to understand how he too was thinking through the problem of the self of science and the science of the self.

    The Politics of (Secret) Selves in Colonial India

    Focusing on the research based writings of the well known contemporary thinker and writer Ashis Nandy, certain aspects of the Indian culture and psyche will be delved into.


    The Race of Psychoanalysis and an exploration into Psychoanalysis as a philosophy of sexual difference

    By returning to the writings of India’s Savage Freud Girindrasekhar Bose (1886-1953) and his ‘aboriginal theory of mental life’ (he called it A New Theory of Mental Life) we will attempt to grasp how he offers a different and distinctive understanding of sexual difference and sexed subjectivity. In that sense, reflection on this theme brings together (i) psychoanalysis (which marks its own difference with medicine, psychiatry and psychology), (ii) sexual difference (which marks its own difference with ‘feminisms of equality’ and generates its own kind of apposite positionality with respect to psychoanalysis) and (iii) cultural difference to overdetermination in a (post)colonial context.

    Whither Critical Psychology?

    What can India offer to the field of Critical Psychology? Can we evolve and offer our own critical reading (a critical reading premised on 'cultural difference') of the qualitative methodology? Moreover, can India can offer to the somewhat sedate and contractual clinical setting of the west, the wholly/holy Other – provisionally termed ‘faith healing’. What does faith healing do to the clinical setting that critical psychology wishes to re-form? How are relationships of suffering-healing organized in faith driven settings? What clues do they offer to a modern culture that now sees the clinic as the only site of cure, and that has stripped itself of all other resources and imaginations of healing?

    In this course, we would also like to suggest that the tradition of critical psychology in India cannot just rely on a critique of psychiatry or mainstream psychology. It has to be, simultaneously, a critique of Orientalism. Critical psychology in India is thus premised on a dual critique. It is critique of both the hegemonic Occident and the Occident’s hegemonic description of the Orient.

    List of Readings:

    Akhtar, S. (ed.). 2005. “Introduction” in Freud Along the Ganges: Psychoanalytic Reflections on the People and Culture of India, pp. 3-25 (Stanza: New Delhi).

    Basu, Amit Ranjan. 1999. 'The Coming of Psychoanalysis in Colonial India: The Bengali Writings of Dr. Girindrasekhar Bose' in Culture and the Disciplines: Papers from the Cultural Studies Workshops (ed. Tapati Guha Thakurta), pp. 36-54 – Enreca Occasional Papers Series (5) – Centre for the Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta.

    Bose G., Excerpts from Yoga-Sutras – Indian Psychoanalytic Society.

    Bose, Girindrasekhar (1921). Concept of Repression. Calcutta: Sri Gauranga Press and London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Troubner and Co.

    Bose, Girindrasekhar (1931). Gita. In Pravasi. Part 2(1), pp. 9-16.

    Bose, Girindrasekhar (1948). A New Theory of Mental Life. Samiksha, Vol 2, No

    Bose, Girindrasekhar (1949). Ambivalence. Samiksha, Vol 3, No 2.

    Bose, Girindrasekhar (1951). The Nature of the Wish. Samiksha, Vol 5, No 4.

    Bose, Girindrasekhar (1952). Analysis of Wish. Samiksha, Vol 6, No 1.

    Bose, Girindrasekhar (1952). Pleasure in Wish. Samiksha, Vol 6, No 2.

    Bose, Girindrasekhar (1952). Sex and Anxiety. Samiksha, Vol 6, No 3.

    Bose, Girindrasekhar (1966). The Yoga Sutras. Calcutta: The Indian Psychoanalytic Society.

    Bose, Girindrasekhar (1980). Svapna. Calcutta: Bangyia Sahitya Parisha.

    Bose, Girindrasekhar (2001). Agranthito Girindrasekhar: Girindrasekhar Boser Nirbachito Rachana. ed. Basu, Kolkata: A. Granthalay Pvt Ltd

    Bose, G. 1966. Excerpts from “A New theory of Mental Life” in Samiksha: Journal of the Indian Psychoanalytic Society (ed. T. C. Sinha), Volume 20, Number 1.

    Derrida, J. 1998. “Geopsychoanalysis: “ … and the rest of the world” in Christopher, L. (ed.) The Psychoanalysis of Race, pp. 65-90 (New York: Columbia University Press)

    Dhareshwar, V. 1996. “Trial of the Pagans” in Cultural Dynamics Vol. 8, No. 2.

    Freud, S. 1990 (1939 [1934-38]). 'Moses, His People and Monotheist Religion' in Moses and Monotheism: Three Essays in The Origins of Religion, pp. 295-386 (London: Penguin Books)

    Hartnack, C. 2001. 'The Use of Psychoanalysis in the Treatment of Indian Patients' in Psychoanalysis in Colonial India, pp. 120-162 (OUP).
     

    Nandy, A. 1995. 'Defiance and Conformity in Science: The World of Jagadish Chandra Bose' in Alternative Sciences: creativity and authenticity in two Indian scientists, pp. 17-87 (Delhi: OUP).

    Nandy, A. 2004. 'The Savage Freud: The First Non-Western Psychoanalyst and the Politics of Secret Selves in Colonial India' in Bonfire of Creeds: The Essential Ashis Nandy, pp. 339-393. OUP.
    Nandy, A. 2004. 'Towards an Alternative Politics of Psychology', in Bonfire of Creeds: The Essential Ashis Nandy, pp. 324-338. OUP.

    Said, E. 2003. Freud and the Non-European, pp. 13-55 (Verso: London and New York).
    Spivak, G. C. 1994. “Psychoanalysis in the Left Field and fieldworking: examples to fit the title” in Speculations after Freud: Psychoanalysis, philosophy and culture (ed. Sonu Shamdasani and Michael Munchow), pp. 41-75 (New York and London: Routledge).

    Vahali Oberoi, Honey. 2010. “Landscaping a Perspective: India and the Psychoanalytic Vista” – ICSSR.

    Vaidyanathan, T. G. and Kripal, J. K. (ed.). 1999. 'Psychoanalysis and Hinduism: Thinking Through Each Other' in Vishnu on Freud's Desk: A Reader in Psychoanalysis and Hinduism, pp. 438-452 (Delhi: OUP).

    Supplementary Readings (see http://www.samiksha.cusp.net.in/default.html):

    III. Critical Cultural Psychology (4 Credits).

    Psychological writing in the last few decades has become increasingly committed to recognizing its embeddedness in cultural contexts. The idea of a cultural psychology has seemed particularly relevant to scholars in India and South Asia given the rich repertoire of resources available in these cultures that account for selves and their miseries, healing traditions and spiritual possibilities. The work of psychoanalyst Sudhir Kakar along with a few others forms a psychoanalytical lens to cultural psychology that interrogates the possibility of a culture free rendering of psychoanalysis. Another turn to culture informs the writing of the ‘Indian Psychologists’ who search for alternative epistemologies through their return to earlier spiritual texts (Mishra) and pure conceptions of Indianness (Shweder). In so doing, one tradition continues with an allegiance to model of subjectivity that emerged in the West (psychoanalysis) albeit at its margins while the other returns us to an uncomplicated nostalgic relationship with a past that excludes the possibility of understanding ourselves within modernity. A critical analysis of the colonization of our selves forms a third strand in this writing manifested largely in the work of Ashis Nandy.

    The present course begins with a close reading of some relevant texts in each of these traditions with a view to examine a) the methodological and conceptual openings they create for Psychology b) the interrelationships between these works and their apparent failure to interrogate the differences in their epistemological locations even as they are all located within the umbrella of ‘cultural psychology’

    Further, the course will discuss the grounds on which these psychologies formulate their base. Why psychoanalysis and not other frameworks in Psychology (the phenomenological, social constructionist)?

    More significantly, on what grounds do we define the Indianness of the texts that frame our cultural psychologies? How do readings of the folk and engagement with the oral render our understanding of the politics within culture? In raising these questions the course will open out the possibilities of new research areas within the domain of cultural psychology while enabling a search for a wider repertoire of epistemological positions through which to make this engagement. We will draw upon some work in other non western contexts to derive alternative frameworks to reframe our concerns.

    On the front of method, the course will emphasize a) search for unheard narratives b) listening to narratives to hear multiple stands c) understanding subjectivities in particular contexts.

    Introduction: Debates around the Culture-Psychology Question

    The course will begin by retracing the frames within which the debates around the culture/psychology question have been framed. The relationship between the articulation of these debates in India and elsewhere will be foregrounded.

    Indian Psychology: A Critical Reading

    The predominant response to the culture question in India has been the construction of ‘Indian Psychology’. These sessions will focus on a critical reading of this approach to assess the possibilities and absences within this framework.

    Contemporary Psychoanalysis: Attempting to reach social margins

    We will move onto discuss the interface between contemporary psychoanalysis and India. Selected works by Sudhir Kakar will be read along with other texts that reflect on debates around a rendering of cultural psychoanalysis. The question of gender and communal violence will be foregrounded to examine how margins may be addresses through cultural psychoanalysis.

    Imagining Critico-Cultural Psychology: Engaging with Sudhir Kakar

    Indian psychology and cultural psychoanalysis sometimes seem to share a tendency to refer to Hindu mythology and spiritual traditions. From this session onwards the course will work towards a search for a process of researching margins in contemporary India from a cultural perspective. What are the possibilities of imagining a cultural psychology that can avoid both the traps of Orientalism and the resurrection of cultural orthodoxies? One fictional account and the autobiography of Sudhir Kakar will be read to formulate an understanding of the relationship between the genre of writing and the rendering of the relationship between culture and the subjective.

    Towards a politically aware rendering of Cultural Psychology: Reading selected works of Ashis Nandy

    This unit will look at the question of a political rendering of the problem of culture and psychology through some writing by Ashis Nandy. We will also return to the question of the relationship between psychoanalysis, cultural psychology and political psychology through an examination of Nandy’s analysis of Freud. What is the relationship of the experience of colonization to selfhood? A critical question developed here will be the relationship between rendering of subjectivity in contemporary psychoanalysis and the possible ‘othering’ of multiple cultural selves.

    Cultural Psychology: In Search of a Methodological Framework

    These sessions will consider some new writing in critical psychology to provide theoretical and methodological directions for formulating research within the framework of contemporary India.

    List of Readings:

    Boehmer,E. & Choudhari,R. (eds) (2010) The Indian Postcolonial: A critical reader. Routledge

    Cornelissen, R.M. Matthijs, Misra, G. and Verma,S. (2011) Foundations of Indian Psychology. Vols. 1&2. Pearson.

    Fanon, F. (1963/1986) Black skin, white masks. London: Pluto Press

    Gergen, K. ( ) The Self: Colonization in Psychology and society

    Henriques et al (1984) Changing the subject. Psychology, social regulation and subjectivity. London: Methuen

    Hook,D. (2011) A critical psychology of the post colonial. The mind of apartheid. Psychology Press. Francis and Taylor

    Kakar, S. (1996 ) Colours of violence. University of Chicago Press

    Kakar,S. (2011) The essential Sudhir Kakar. Oxford University Press.

    Kripal,J.J. (1995) Kali’s child. The mystical and the erotic in the life and teachings of Ramakrishna

    Mbembe,A. (2001 ) On the Postcolony. University of California Press.

    Memmi, A. (1974/2003) The colonizer and the colonized. Earthscan

    Nandy, A. (1998) Return from exile. Delhi: Oxford University Press

    Nandy, A. (2002) Time warps. The insistent politics of silent and evasive pasts. Delhi: Permanent Black

    Nandy, A. (2007) Time Treks: The uncertain future of old and new despotisms. Delhi: Permanent Black

    Paranjpe, A.C . (1998) Self and identity in modern psychology and Indian thought. Springer

    Shweder, R. A. (2003) Why do men barbecue? Recipes for cultural psychology. Cambridge: Harvard University Press

    Trawick. M. (1992) Notes on love in a Tamil family. University of California Press

    Vaidyanathan, T.G. & J.Kripal (1999) (eds) Vishnu on Freud’s desk. Delhi: Oxford University Press.

    IV. Subjectivity, Life history and the Psyche: Researching into the world of survivors (4 credits).

    This course will draw from traditions of psychodynamic and clinical research, even as it will prepare doctoral level students to appreciate the emergence and nuances of human subjectivity as they are consistently shaped by culture, politics and the excesses of history. A concern with the life historical, narrative based and psycho-biographical method will sensitize potential researchers to listen to the affects and rhythms through which voice; subjectivity and selfhood acquire some form as a researcher keenly and empathically lends one’s being to receive that of the participant. Thus, this course is guided by an orientation which some traditions of psychological research consider significant- that foundationally engaged research has a relational and transformative potential (for both the researcher as well as to a certain degree for the participant as well).

    A stress on forgotten and neglected narratives of human life, especially those weighed down by political and social marginalization will find a place in the curriculum. It will be the aim of facilitator to help doctoral candidates to link their topics of choice and processes of research to the deeper dynamics and issues in their personal life.

    Viewing Kurosava’s “Roshomon”

    The viewing of the film will be followed by a discussion on Roshomon with a focus on human subjectivity and the absence of truth. Some modal themes for generating discussion could be-“truth” as emanating from multiple subjective locations occupied by players of history and life history. We hope to arrive at the relationship between history, subjectivity culture and personal truth- what are we able to “see” and what all do we omit from our frames of reference? Is there ever a neutral and objective location that a researcher or participant occupies? Emergence of truth or its absence as embedded within the multiplicity of subject locations.

    Selected readings on truth and subjectivity to be focused during class discussion

    Viewing Alain Resnais’ “Hiroshima Mon Amour”

    The viewing of the film will be followed by a discussion from the perspective of listening to historical survivors. How can we listen from the standpoint of a growing relationship? What is the relationship between reaching one’s voice and recovering the forgotten past, becoming alive to one’s memories and lived pain? How is the unutterable in the psyche symbolized and given a form within the holding ambience of an empathic relationship? The discussion will hope to keep a place for themes such as life and death and their juxtaposition in psychological research.

    An introduction to Critical Participatory Research and Liberation Psychology with a special focus on research as relationship and the transformative potential of a critical and psychodynamically oriented research frame.

    Psychological research as a relationship between the meeting of human subjectivities.

    Along with other readings there will be a discussion on Robert Jay Lifton’s paper: “Is there a place for death in psychological research”. International Journal of Group Tensions, 31 (2/4). 2001.

    Psycho-history and life historical research

    Here we will focus on the frame of psycho-historical research by attempting to read either Erik Erikson’s Gandhi’s truth or Young Man Luther. Also, selected essays from Life history and the Historical Moment will be taken up for discussion. Readings will be drawn from the International Journal of Psychohistory. Papers by Roy Schafer and Weinstein Platt too are to be included as they remain informed by the psychodynamic perspective.

    Special methodological focus on survivors: Revisiting the work of Robert Jay Lifton. We will explore the life historical research tradition and its research implications with survivors of historical excesses. Reading Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima or reading another of Lifton’s book in accordance with the interest of the group

    An introduction to researching forgotten and neglected narratives.

    (Depending on the interest of the PhD scholars, a minimum of any two of the following themes will be explored in considerable depth and detail).

    Researching Caste in the Indian context:

    What are the intimate processes that we employ to create a divide between “Self and Other”? What are the psychological dynamics which propel Indians to create a caste based segregation? What is the experience of being and living as a Dalit in India?

    Listening to Women’s voices in Research.

    Women, Voice, autobiography and the struggles of expressing subjectivity: reading selected chapters from Adrienne Rich’s Of woman Born

    The displaced, exiled and refugees: Poems, narratives, research work and writings of exiled people. The group will read selected and pertinent literature and psychological research on refugees.

    Poverty and Psychological research: Revisiting psychological notions of identity, self and trauma from the stand point of lives existing at socio-economic margins. A focus on readings from literature would help in emphasizing the breaks in identity and self vis-à-vis the experience of the poor. Does the notion of cumulative trauma carry significance for lives at the margins? Generating methodological approaches and psychological questions for further exploration. Reading of selective texts and research essays.

    Clinical research: formulating a case study and listening to the unraveling of the psyche in clinical work. Focusing on the Core conflictual theme in the session material. Listening to dreams and the process of dreaming as a form of clinical research.

    Note: In addition to the special groups mentioned above, selected modules on research with transgender people, hermaphrodites and those identified as criminal tribes in India could be added to the list.

    List of Readings:

    Anand Mulk Raj, (1971) The Untouchable. New Delhi: Penguin.

    Erikson, E, H. (1968). Life History and the Historical Moment. New York: W.W.Norton & Company.

    Erikson, E.H., (1971), Gandhi’s Truth: The origins of Militant Non-violence. New York: W.W Norton & Company.

    Erikson, E.H., (1973) Young Man Luther. New York: W.W.Norton & Company.

    Greenspan. H (1998). On listening to Holocaust Survivors. Westport: Praeger Publishers.

    Guru, G. (2009) Humiliation. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

    Karlekar Malavika (2004). “Search for Women’s Voices: Reflections from Fieldwork”, 1968-93 in Srivastava, V.K. (ed.) Methodology and Fieldwork. New Delhi: Oxford. 371-388.

    Laub, Dori (1992) ‘Bearing Witness or the Vicissitudes of Listening’ in Shoshana Felman and Dori Laub, Testimony: Crises of Witnessing in Literature, Psychoanalysis and History.New York and London: Routledge.

    Lifton, R. J. (2001)“Is there a place for death in psychological research”. International Journal of group Tensions, 31 (2/4).

    Lifton, R.J. (1969). Death In Life: Survivors of Hiroshima. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

    Mulk Raj Anand’s The untouchable or selected short stories from the Poisoned Bread or Laxman Gaikward’s The Branded.

    Nandy, A. (2007) Time Treks. Permanent Black: New Delhi.

    Ogden,H. Thomas (2003). Conversations at the Frontiers of Dreaming. New York, London: Karnac.

    Ramaswamy Vijaya (ed.). (2003) Researching Indian Women. New Delhi: Manohar.

    Rich, Adrienne (1984) Of Woman Born. New York: W.W. Norton and Company

    Selected essays from Two birds and a crow- Alan Dudes

    Sonam Buchung (2006). Muses in Exile: A collection on Poems. New Delhi: Penguin.

    Srivastava, V.K. (2004). Methodology and Fieldwork (ed). New Delhi: Oxford University Press

    Tsundue Tenzin (2004). Kora: Stories and Poems. Dharmsala: Tibet Works.

    Watkins, M. and Shulman,H., (2008) Toward Psychologies of Liberation. New York: Palgrave

    Winnicott, D.W. (1974). Deprivation and Delinquency. New York: Inlacs Publishers.

    Apart from the two films mentioned above, the use of other films and literary narratives will help to enrich the scope of the themes taken up for discussion all through the semester long engagement with this particular course.

    V. On Mutuality in Research Thinking (4 credits)

    A not too familiar riddle that entails the discipline of Psychology can be located in two features- its elusiveness, its innerness and its sharp appearance through dense processes by which transformations distinctively appear. Close observers of social-psychological phenomena have succeeded in evolving that masterful stance of dreaming by which their subjective states simultaneously translate into directions where multitudes can experience inspiration and co-join dreaming.

    This course attempts to gain a foothold in psychosocial mutuality in dyads, groups, cultural imagination of erstwhile divided processes as well as in splits of the psyche. While upholding this objective, this endeavor will focus on various life-stages as well as plural terms to assemble such diversity as nonetheless is sought (as well as thought) into the realm of selfhood by individuating human beings.

    A researcher in psychosocial discipline also assumes responsibility toward reconciling the origins of human life with crucial movements that happen across the life in both creative moments as well as the necessary destruction that precedes it. The endeavor to be self-aware through the stream of associations, fantasies, and lived moments in crucial relationships (as created in the research field) cannot arrive at the committed sense towards psychological mindedness (and accompanying Oneness) that our discipline in Indian context seeks.

    The vision of this course then seeks to accomplish a sense of the Human Nature that some master thinkers have demonstrated in their works- Winnicott, Bion and Erikson will be exhaustively consulted to orient our thinking here. And to establish the relevance of this thinking to Indian society, Sudhir Kakar and Ashis Nandy’s works will be used. Some of the themes likely to be taken up during the course are the following:

    All by oneself: Seeking to think

    The distinctions between philosophical and clinical thinking are foregrounded to enter into the possibility of clinical research. Can thinking feelings happen in the absence of a clinical relationship?

    Experience and thinking

    Preconceptions: States of primary maternal preoccupation

    Primitive emotional development

    Revisiting Oedipus conceptions

    The Shadow of the object: Psychological in the culture of research

    “Two butterflies on my head”: psychoanalysis in the interdisciplinary scientific dialogues

    In the space of good illusion: going past ‘the western’ in psychoanalysis

    Embodied imperfections of sublimations, visions of the Universal, Topographies of psyche

    Analysis of ‘the end’

    The work of the Negative in constant duel with transmission and generation. Juxtaposing Erikson with Andre Green

    Renewing to face the Behind

    Maternal feminine: gropings within

    Chiasmatic relationship between the maternal and the feminine

    Joyousness, Solitude and Conviction

    List of Readings:

    Selected parts from the following works will be taken up for review and discussion.

    Alizade, M. A.(1999) Feminine Sensuality. London: Karnac Books

    Bion, W. R. (1965) Transformations. London: Heinemann

    Bion, W. R. (1970) Attention and Interpretation. London: Tavistock

    Bion, W. R. and F. Bion (1992) Cogitations. London: Karnac Books

    Bollas, C. (1999) The Mystery of Things. London: Routledge

    Botella, C. & Botella, S.(2005) The Work of Psychic Figurability. New York: Brunner-Routledge

    Kakar, S. (2010) The Crimson Throne. Delhi: Penguin

    Dimen,M.(2003) Sexuality, Intimacy, Power. London: The Analytic Press.

    Eigen, M (2009) Flames from the Unconscious. London: Karnac

    Erikson,H. Erik (1968) Identity: Youth and Crisis New York: Norton

    Erikson, Erik H. (1977) Toys and Reasons. New York: Norton

    Green, Andre (2000) Experience and Thinking in Analytical Practice. In Jan Abrams (ed) Andre Green at the Squiggle Foundation. London: Karnac

    Green, Andre (2005) Key ideas for a contemporary psychoanalysis. New York: Routledge

    Grotstein, J.S. (2007) A Beam of Intense Darkness. London: Karnac

    Kakar,S. & Ross, J.M. (1986) Tales of Love, Sex, and Danger. Delhi: Oxford University Press

    Kakar, S. (1992) Colours of Violence. Delhi: Oxford University Press

    Kakar,S. (2008) Mad and Divine: Spirit and Psyche in the Modern World. Penguin: New Delhi

    Kakar,S. (1999 ) The Analyst and the Mystic. Viking: New Delhi

    Kakar,S.(2011) Book of Memories. Oxford University Press: New Delhi

    Laplanche, J.(1989). New Foundations for Psychoanalysis. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

    Leuzinger-Bohleber, M, Schneider, H. & Pfeifer, R. (Eds) 1992 Two Butterflies on My Head … Psychoanalysis in the Interdisciplinary Scientific Dialogue. Berlin: Springer-Verlag

    Ogden, T. H. (1989) The Primitive Edge of Experience. London: Karnac

    Ogden, T. H. (1994) Subjects of Analysis. London: Karnac

    Phillips, A.(1999) Darwin’s Worms.: On Life Stories and Death Stories. London: Faber and Faber Ltd.

    Rayner, E.(1995) Unconscious Logic. London: Routledge

    Winnicott, Donald W. (1971) Playing and Reality. London: Tavistock

    Winnicott, Donald W. (1988) Human Nature. London: Free Association Books

    ELIGIBILITY

    Masters with 55% in Psychology and allied or related disciplines, such as philosophy, sociology, disability studies, literature, anthropology, gender studies, history, film studies, education, medicine etc. The prospective candidate must however be committed to acquiring in depth knowledge of the psychosocial perspective. An interest in the direction may be reflected in the candidate’s research proposal.

    Total Credits: 20 credits for taught courses and PhD thesis

    Medium of Instruction: English

    Nature of programme: Interdisciplinary (drawing from psychoanalysis, clinical psychology, psychohistory, sociology, political thought, anthropology, literature, cinema, arts and aesthetics, history and philosophy)

    Number of Seats: 10 (for 2017)

    Stipend: as per university norms

    Reservation of Seats: In accordance with Government of NCT Delhi rules

Eligibility

Masters with 55% in Psychology and allied or related disciplines, such as philosophy, sociology, disability studies, literature, anthropology, gender studies, history, film studies, education, medicine etc. The prospective candidate must however be committed to acquiring in depth knowledge of the psychosocial perspective. An interest in the direction may be reflected in the candidate’s research proposal.

Total Credits: 20 credits for taught courses and PhD thesis

Medium of Instruction: English

Nature of programme: Interdisciplinary (drawing from psychoanalysis, clinical psychology, psychohistory, sociology, political thought, anthropology, literature, cinema, arts and aesthetics, history and philosophy)

Number of Seats: 10 (for 2017)

Stipend: as per university norms

Reservation of Seats: In accordance with Government of NCT Delhi rules

Faculty

Faculty and eligible PhD Supervisors:
Prof. Ashok Nagpal,
Prof. Anita Ghai,
Prof. Honey Oberoi Vahali,
Prof. Rachana Johri,
Prof. Anup Dhar,
Dr. Mamatha Karollil,
Dr. Shifa Haq,
Dr. Pallavi Banerjee

(For research interests of faculty members, please see faculty profile on AUD website)

Fee Structure

As per university norms 2017

 

Admission Procedure

Admission procedure for PhD Psychology will comprise of three stages with the following weightage:

Written Test- 50% (readings for the same will be uploaded fifteen days in advance of the test)
Research Proposal- 25% (to be submitted by July 10th 2017 at SHS office, AuD. The proposal should be of approx. 2500 words
Interview-25%

 

Admission Updates

Online Application Form