Report of Activities
International and Local Collaborative Programmes:
Toni McLaughlan (University of Delaware, USA) was visiting faculty with the department for the 2015-2016 academic year, as part of a collaboration with the English Language Fellow (ELF) programme of the Regional English Language Office (RELO, American Embassy). The department offered a specialised Academic Writing Certificate Course (January-May 2016) for English (Honours) students with Amrita Singh facilitating the January segment dealing with ‘Writing about Literature’ and Toni McLaughlan working with students on the processes of essay and research paper writing for the rest of the term. Toni McLaughlan also facilitated a
Basic Workshop on Applying to American Universities and Writing a Statement of Purpose (SoP) for KNC undergraduate students on 25 April 2016.
A Faculty Development Programmeon the second year English HonoursSkill Enhancement Course (SEC) option under the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) ‘English Language Teaching’ (3-5 May 2016) was organised with Toni McLaughlan as resource person.The 3-day FDP addressed the 6 core topics in the ELT syllabus ‘Knowing the Learner’, ‘Methods’, ‘Structures of English Language’, Materials’, ‘Assessment’ and‘Using Technology’. The FDP was attended by 35 participants from 15 collegesof Delhi University. A follow-up FDP on ‘Teaching Language Skills’ (27-28 June 2016) was facilitated by RELO English Language Specialist, Dr. Julie Ciancio.Over two days of interactive workshops, 25 participants from Delhi University, IIT Delhi and Aligarh Muslim University examined the new recommended ‘Apple’ book for the Delhi University CBCS English Language Teaching course: Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language by Celce-Murcia, Brinton, and Snow. A subsidized Indian edition of this book is slated for release later this year as a result of KNC-RELO intervention. Dr. Ciancio,the Dean of the College of Education at Westcliff University, California,covered the pedagogical history of ELT, the main segments of the ‘Apple’ book relevant for the syllabus and presented several practical options for delivering the content to students. In the third FDP in this ELT series slated for 31 September-3 October 2016, Senior RELO English Language Specialists Donna Brinton and David Bohlke will approach the paper through Jeremy Harmer's How to Teach English (2007), which characterizes itself as a text for "early stage teachers".
This collaboration resulted in 6 faculty scholarships beingawarded by RELO for online courses on ‘Fundamentals of TESOL’, ‘Teaching English Communicatively’, ‘Professional Writing’, ‘Teaching English to Teens’, and ‘Critical Thinking’. Two faculty members were awarded the Professional Development Travel Grant for Practicing ESL/EFL Teachers and Toni McLaughlan was awarded the TESOL Leadership Mentoring Programme Scholarship by TESOL International enabling them to attend the 50th Anniversary TESOL Convention (6-8 April 2016) at Baltimore.
Heather Mehrtens (University of Maryland, USA) is visiting faculty with the department under the ELF programme for the 2016-17 academic session. She will be facilitating remedial English, academic writing and TOEFL classes for the English (Honours) students as well teacher training.
Katha-KNC Translation and Media Certificate Course
The English department of Kamala Nehru College collaborated with Katha India to conduct a Certificate Course on Translation and Media (January-March 2016). This 32-hour course was conceptualised by Sukrita Paul Kumar (Advisor for Katha’s project ‘Translating India: Understanding Diversity’ and Aruna Asaf Ali Chair at the Cluster Innovation Centre, University of Delhi) and Anandana Kapur (Filmmaker and Social Scientist), and coordinated by Amrita Singh and Namita Paul of the English department. The course was attended by 37 participants representing 11 institutions. The students were exposed to the challenges of translation in various media such as Broadcast, Advertising, Cinema and the Web. Each session was mentored by experts from the field like Ravikant (CSDS), Alka Malhotra (UNICEF), Marya Shakil (CNN-IBN) and Sayema Rehman (Radio Mirchi). These sessions pushed the idea of translation from merely linguistic transfer to seeing translation as an activity across media forms. A bilingual glossary of terms across these media forms has been created by the participants and is in the process of being collated for publication.
Literary Society Academic Enrichment Programmes:
‘LitLuminous 2016 : Into The Darkness, Relooking the Overlooked’, the annual event of the Literary Society opened with a panel discussion re-evaluating underanalysed figures and villains in literary, cinematic and popular culture on 25 February 2016.Dr. Anjana Neira Dev (Gargi College) moderated the presentations by Dr. Debashree Dattaray (Jadavpur University) on ‘‘Silenced’ Characters as a Subversive Space: A Comparative Study of Madame Bovary and Pather Panchali’ and Dr. Swati Pal (Janki Devi College) on ‘Bollywood Baddies Bante Kaise Hain: Mapping the Bad Guys’. The student paper presentations and other competitive events that followed explored the notion that villains are constructed as the ideological other – "Every search for a hero must begin with something which every hero requires – a villain".
The Introduction to Culture Studies Certificate Course(February-April 2016) was facilitated by Dr. Prithvi Raj and Neha Singh of the English department. The sessions covered topics like ‘The Inception of Culture Studies’, ‘Popular Culture and Subculture Studies’, Media Studies’ and ‘Postmodernism’. The second edition of this course started in August 2016 on popular student demand.
A. P. Payal conducted a Workshop onComics: Methods and Histories on 15 February 2016. The workshop offered a brief history of sequential art through the ages so that students could understand the genealogy of “comics” today. Students were shown images of different styles of comics to acquaint them with the visual vocabulary of graphic narratives. Students went on to create their own 1-page comics on a range of themes and ideas. The workshop enabled students to understand the process of text production while also helping them to expand their notions of what constitutes a “text”. Three of the completed comics are being published in the May edition of the department's newsletter White Noise which had a range of creative, graphic, art, translation and academic pieces.
The English Literary Society organized a poetry reading and talk by Charles Wallace Scholarship recipient Mihir Vatsa on 11 August 2016.‘The Difficulty with Mixing Two Languages Together’, ‘My Mother Visits a Beauty Parlour’, ‘English: A Personal Essay’ were among the pieces shared with the audience. Mihir Vatsa is a poet, writer, and heritage archivist who grew up in Hazaribagh, Jharkhand, before moving to Delhi for higher studies. Winner of the Srinivas Rayaprol Poetry Prize and an award in Writing from Toto Funds the Arts, he was the writer-in-residence at University of Stirling as its youngest Charles Wallace Fellow. His first collection of poems, Painting That Red Circle White, appeared in 2014 and was termed a "must-read" by The Sunday Guardian. He gives an annual guest lecture on Hazaribagh at Department of Archaeology, Durham University.
A commemorative meeting for Mahashweta Devi was organized on 4 August, 2016. Her corpus of empathetic, subversive narratives from zones of conflict was discussed andan extract was read out from Devi's iconic short fiction ‘Draupadi’.
Lit Soc Screenings:
The French Lieutenant's Woman was screened on 30thJanuary and the BBC Mini Series Version of Crime and Punishment on 13th February to enhance the students’ understanding these prescribed texts.On 22nd July, Breath (2007-2008 theatrical production based on Samuel Beckett's play by the same name) produced by the National Theatre School of Canada was screened, followed by Waiting for Godot (2001) directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, starring Barry McGovern, Johnny Murphy, Alan Stanford and Stephen Brennan. These screenings were organized to introduce students to the formal experimentation of modernism, and were envisioned as an entry-point to the course. Students were shown Sita Sings the Blues(2008) directed by Nina Paley and featuring Annette Hanshaw's music on 26 July in order to discuss contemporary reappropriations of Indian myth and American pop culture.
The Literary Society and Book Club also organized a book reading and interactive session with Anjum Hasan and Anil Menon to showcase their latest books – The Cosmopolitansand Half of What I Say– on 18 January 2016 as a precursor to student and faculty participation at the Jaipur Literature Festival. On 13 April, the Book Club coordinated with WDC to host a traditional performative oral storytelling of ‘Dastaan Goopi Bagha Ki’by dastangos Valentina and Fouzia. The latter is modern India’s first female dastango.