MA in English

Programme Description

The Masters Programme in English proposes to dismantle the hierarchy between British Literature and other literatures in English, including literatures in translation. It seeks to bring into focus the significance of literatures belonging to lesser known languages and regions. Strengthening the overall vision of Ambedkar University, this programme hopes to orient students towards engaged and reflective scholarship. A concern with social and literary margins will consistently guide the programme’s overall vision, philosophy and content. It is hoped that the programme’s ethical concern with linking education to the lives and struggles of individuals and communities will enable the students to form a holistic understanding of literature. It will also help them to develop deeper psychic, social and creative sensibilities. It is further envisaged that through this programme the students will develop a critical sensibility towards the larger politics of culture, society and state so that they actively and artistically interrogate and intervene within the givens of the hegemonic political and cultural order.

The programme integrates interdisciplinary paradigms to facilitate a greater amalgamation between various literatures, theory and practice on the one hand, and between music, dance, theatre, cinema, literature and visual arts, on the other. Students will be offered a wide range of interdisciplinary courses which will help them situate literature in the context of other disciplines.

In order to enable critical thinking, intervention and praxis, the programme will encourage communityoriented research work and an engagement with lesser known literatures and cultures existing in India and elsewhere. This programme, through its research projects, hopes to document, as much as it can, the undocumented literary wealth of India. Besides creating a resource for Indian literature, this would help the students in developing a deep insight into Indian reality.

Course Design and Evaluation

The Masters programme in English will comprise 16 courses of 4 credits each, amounting to a total of 64 credits. Each course will be of 16 weeks duration.

In keeping with AUD’s emphasis on interdisciplinary studies, students will be encouraged to opt for up to four optional courses from any other programme within the School of Liberal Studies or from any other School of the University. The programme hopes to integrate an internship component to guide the students to develop skills according to their aptitude. By the end of the programme, it will be mandatory for all students to write a dissertation.

Assessment will include term papers, class presentations, class discussions, class participation, workshops, group work, tests and assignments. Students will be provided with a detailed reading list for each course. Students are expected to attend and participate in all class discussions.

Areas of Study

The general Areas of Study designed by the English Faculty are based on the assumption that no literary canon or tradition can be fixed once and for all. It has to be rediscovered and recreated by each new generation of students, readers and critics in response to their own historical or cultural location. Indeed, even the definition of text or literature itself has to be debated continuously. A literary and textual culture is, therefore, part of an on-going critical dialogue in a society about those civilisational, social, political and philosophical concernswhich matter at a particular historical juncture. It is in this belief that the wide range of Areas of Study in this programme invite students and teachers to become participants in an adventure of ideas; questors who understand that written texts, theatrical presentations, oral songs, folklores, paintings, films and music exist beside each other and are equally important components in a continuous tradition of thinking and knowledgemaking. 
The Areas of Study, indicating an open field of exploration, are further marked by some of the possible Courses of Study which the Faculty of English shall offer from time to time. The Courses of Study shall change from semester to semester and will depend upon the availability of faculty members, the current scholarly interests of the faculty and the changing debates around questions of literary function, critical tasks, the Self and its experiences in the surrounding world, discourses on religions and their role, peace and reconciliation in a world threatened by violence or war, crime and justice, caste and gender, notions of beauty and aesthetic pleasure, childhood and identity, genres and myths, oral narratives and written cultures, etc. The Areas and Courses of study may be reformulated by the instructor concerned and announced at the beginning of each academic year. Though the current Areas of Study are listed yet the categories are not exclusive and there may be overlaps as well as interfaces across categories. The Areas of Study for the current English programme are as follows:

Literatures of North America and the British Isles

Courses in this category will deal with literatures from Britain, Scotland, Ireland and North America written in all possible genres over the ages. While some of these courses would explore works of specific writers and their influence on the times in which they lived and wrote, some other courses will approach specific ages and examine their impact on the writers and their work. Yet another category of courses would analyse the literary and historical ages and authors through the lens of themes that unite varied and yet inter-related literary, journalistic, artistic and cinematic productions. There may also be some survey courses that provide an overview of the representative literary works of a region over several centuries to understand the changes that literary styles go through with changing times. The following courses may be included in this category: Shakespeare and his Contemporaries, Seventeenth Century British Poetry, Renaissance in America, Restoration Comedy, Jacobean Tragedy, The Gothic Novel, The Age of Enlightenment, The Modern Novel, Twentieth Century British Poetry and Drama, Victorian Literature, Blake and the Romantics, Nineteenth Century American Literature, Twentieth Century American Drama and Poetry, African-American Literature.

Forms in Literature

Varied forms of literature that developed through the ages also reflect on the specific social and political perspective of a particular period. Courses under this broad area would thus look into the many associations, responses, specificities, challenges, experimentation and evolution with regard to a particular literary form. 
The courses will examine literary and oral forms such as Epic, Novel, Lyric, Drama, Comedy, Tragedy, Satire, Poetry, Realism and Magic Realism, Romance, Folklore. Some of the courses under this category will be related to the Indian Novel, Shakespeare’s Tragedies, Indigenous Narrative Traditions and Cultures, Historical Fiction, Science Fiction, Autobiography, etc.

Literature and the Other Arts

The convergences, parallels and overlaps between literature and cinema, visual and performing arts will be explored through various courses in this category. These courses will study the written word in relation to other creative forms. Courses in this category may include Understanding Cinema, Fiction into Film, Problems of Identity in Modern European Cinema and Literature, Drama: Text and Performance, Literature and Architecture, Literature and the Visual Arts, Science Fiction and Cinema, Literature and Music, Cinema as Visual History.

Themes in Literature

The courses under this category will analyse ways in which literature has been shaped and in return shapes political, psychoanalytical, sexual, social and cultural movements and ideas; how a correspondence between literature and other forms of meaning-making enables literature to become a discourse, a willing and productive participant in the history of ideas. The courses would concern literature’s syncretic and complex engagement with marginality, dissent, war and resistance, race, gender, sexuality, class and caste imperatives, adventures and exiles, ecology and the environment, memory and the psyche, modernity and post-coloniality, etc. The courses offered under this category may be Literature of the Marginalised, Slave Narratives, Literature of Dissent, Women’s Writings, History and Literature, Debates around Caste in India, Literature and the Human Psyche, Literatures of Resistance, Adventure Literature, Environment and Literature, Modernity and its Discontents, Literature of Conflict and Reconciliation, Literature and the Holocaust, The (Post)-Colonial City, Literature and the Political, Exile and Literature, Literatures of Childhood, Interrogating Morality in Literature.

Colonial and Postcolonial Literatures

This category will focus on literatures emerging from colonial and postcolonial contexts either in English or in translation. The courses will address themes like empire, language, hybridity and mimicry, indigeneity,race, gender, caste, ethnicity, subalternity, cultural identity and diaspora, globalisation, representation and resistance. Texts for study may be drawn from literatures written in Latin America, the Caribbean Islands, Australia and New Zealand, Africa and Asia.

World Literature in Translation

This category will study literature in translation from the dawn of the European and non-European intellectual traditions to the many complex and discursive practices in literature and the arts in the contemporary period. Courses in this category will centre around translations of significant literary texts from across the globe. Students may study the canonical greats of Western European Literature like Homer, Virgil, Dante Cervantes and Goethe or may study ancient Indian literature in translation as well as literature from across various continents. Courses under this category may include European Modernist Poetry, African Literature, Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Fiction across Continents, Literature of the Americas, Literature and the Holocaust, Contemporary World Poetry, Literatures of the Indian Sub-continent, the European Novel in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century, Australian Aborigine Literature, World Drama, Modern South Asian 
Literature, Modern South East Asian Literature.

Literary and Cultural Theory

This category is designed with the understanding that theory helps in questioning easy assumptions and problematises accepted categories. This category of courses comprising literary, cultural and aesthetic theories also assumes that theory enriches and deepens our understanding of the world in which we live. It aims to introduce students to various strategies of reading, comprehending and engaging with literary and cultural texts. Courses in this category may include: Literary Criticism, Contemporary Literary and Cultural theory, Theories of Translation, Theories from the Global South, Theories of Marginalities and Culture, Theories of Popular and Counter Culture.

English Language Education

A comprehensive understanding of English Language Education will equip students with skills in English language teaching, technical writing, content writing, instructional designing and soft skills training. These components will make students aware of research in language teaching and get a hands-on experience in using this knowledge in the classroom. It will also allow students to understand the differences between teaching literature and language. Courses in English Language Education (ELE) will focus on the following areas: Introduction to ELE, Approaches and Theories of Language Learning, English as a Second Language, Second Language Acquisition, Bi/Multilingualism, English for Specific Purposes, Pedagogic Practices, Developments in Language Teaching, Material Development, Educational Technology, Classroom based Assessment and 
methods of Evaluation.

Each student is required to complete 4 courses per semester. The following courses will be offered in the Monsoon Semester for both the present and incoming MA English students.

Theories of Marginality and Culture With the gradual shift within literary theory from the text to the subject and meaning to representation, there has also been a shift of focus from the Euro-American to the ‘Third World’. With the marginalised people voicing their lived realities, the orientation of literary theory has undergone a seismic change. This course recognises this significant shift and will help the students in comprehending the dynamics of oppression, negligence and even erasure in the world they inhabit. It will therefore trace the trajectory of literary theory from the ‘first world’ to the ‘third world’ (Asia, Africa, Latin America and the third worlds within the first world) vis-à-vis the divisive categories of race, caste, class, gender and disability, and study the theories of subalternity. It will also investigate the role of the State in propagating, reinforcing and in some cases, even interrogating representation of the marginalised. The theories that may be included in this paper are Feminism, Gender and Queer theory, Post-colonial Theory, Disability Studies and theories related to Deep Ecology.

Contemporary Indian English Fiction

Indian English fiction has undeniably attained a grand stature among the literatures of the world. The postSalman Rushdie era has brought in so much of commercial and critical success to Indian English fiction that it has spurred great ambition and prolific literary activities, with many Indians aspiring to write English fiction! Outside India, Indian English fiction is taken as representative writings from India, though at home the ‘Indianness’ of Indian English fiction is almost always questioned. A course in contemporary Indian English fiction will briefly review the history of Indian English fiction tracing it from its colonial origins to the postcolonial times to look at the latest trends, and how they paint the larger picture of India. Themes of nation, culture, politics, identity and gender will be taken up for in-depth analysis and discussions through representative texts. The aim will also be to understand and assess the cross-cultural impact of these writings.

Drama: Text and Performance

This course looks at drama through literary texts and their depiction in performance. Both the literary and the performance texts are open to the ‘politics of interpretation’. The public rendition of a play makes the dramatist, the actor, the director, the dramaturge and the spectator open to theorisation. The course will look at classical, Western as well as Indian traditions in drama and performance, move on to the folk tradition, and then span across various dramatic styles and movements down the ages and across cultures. The course will involve a study of the strategies, techniques and theories of writing and performance with emphasis on the elements of music, dance, language and the body in performance. Other aspects of the dramatic in performance such as ritual, spectacle, carnival, and magic will also be discussed within a cultural framework. The course will thus try to juxtapose the literary with the visual, the word with the act.

Postcolonial Theory and Practice

This course takes note of the powerful postcolonial turn in literary studies and aims at studying the new and emerging literatures and theory that have emanated from the once colonised cultures across the world. 
The course aims to introduce students to some of the major issues and themes of postcolonial theory and also makes them examine various literary and cultural texts using these critical concepts. A range of literary, cultural and theoretical texts from the post-colonial regions will be included in addition to canonical English texts which are to be studied under the lens of postcolonial theory.

Shakespeare’s Many Adaptations

Much of the appeal of Shakespeare’s seemingly inexhaustible power as a playwright lies in some of the most astonishing adaptations of his plays. The course will discuss how his plays have travelled across culture, language and medium, territories, cities and, most importantly, languages and how the inherent potency of a Shakespeare play is unlocked in cultures and languages so removed from the original. This course will look into four of the most widely read plays written by Shakespeare adapted for the screen and stage. The first module will look at Macbeth, along with its adaptations by Orson Welles, Akira Kurasawa, Roman Polanski and Vishal Bhardwaj. Module two will take up Othello and its adaptations by Orson Welles, George Cukor, Oliver Parker and Jayaraaj. Module three will study King Lear with notable adaptations by Jean-Luc Godard and Akira Kurasawa while Module four will discuss the various stage adaptations of The Tempest from the seventeenth century to the present times. It will also discuss in detail John Fowles’ The Collector, and Iris Murdoch’s The Sea, The Sea as novels that offer a postcolonial reading of the play.

Adventure Literature

This course seeks to explore the nexus between colonial enterprise, rise of the middle class readership and the corresponding clamour for narratives about the ‘unknown’ and the ‘unheard of ’. A trend that was set in 1719 with the publication of Robinson Crusoe gave rise to newer expectations among readers tied down to their home turfs, from writings that showed them a slice of the exotic elsewhere which seemed real due to the sprinkling of factual and ‘scientific’ descriptions influenced by the new knowledge created in the Age of Reason. By the mid-nineteenth century, most of the adventure narratives were exploring newer ways of touching increasingly fantastic territories with uncanny similarities to real life colonialist endeavours. In this context, the course will critically analyse adventure writings, chiefly of the nineteenth century, by focusing on novels beginning with Robinson Crusoe (1719) and meandering through some representative nineteenth century Euro-American adventure narratives. The reading list may include writings of Jules Verne, Mark Twain, Johann David Wyss, R.M. Ballantyne, H. Rider Haggard, John Hanning Speke, Henry M. Stanley and R.L. Stevenson along with a host of secondary readings linking different ideological pegs that hold the course together.


Seminars and Workshops will be conducted throughout the programme.

Research Project

Each student will take up a research project at the end of the second semester. This research project will lead to a dissertation which will be submitted at the end of the fourth semester.


Programme Structure


Eligibility: Bachelor’s degree with 45% marks (or an equivalent grade) from a recognised University. Relaxation of 5% marks for candidates belonging to SC, ST and PD categories.

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


Fee Structure

Content Awaited

Admission Procedure

The admission test will comprise a written test and an interview. The written test will have two sections. In the first section, candidates will be required to write an essay as a response to a passage and also critically appreciate a short literary text. These questions will assess their aptitude for literature, and their analytical and critical abilities. In the second section, candidates will be evaluated on their language skills.


Admission Updates

Online Application Form