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Digital Passageways

of Critical Humanities

The field of humanities is a discourse that traditionally addressed the questions of what is proper to man, rights of man, crimes against humanity, human creativity and innovation, human reflection and performance, human utterance and artefact, this European humanistic legacy barely received any questioning from cultures that faced colonialism. If there were to be a future to the humanities, it is contingent upon the risky task of configuring cultural difference from the singularity of cultural provenance of heterogeneous communities (without community – without ecclesia) that compose our planetary existence. Such a task is inescapable and urgently needed among the cultures of the South that survived colonialism. It is precisely in such a context that Critical Humanities affirms the urgency of collective reflection and innovative research across the traditional disciplinary and institutional borders and communication systems in the Indian context today.

Critical Humanities are at one level little more than communities on the verge (critical) but whose centuries long survival and resilient creations of cultural (and /as natural) habitats are of deeply critical significance to affirm the biocultural diversities that compose the planet.

» The Critical Humanities work advances a double programme: i. Critical theoretical ii. Practical institutional.

» Practically Oriented Critical Researches on:

Cultures of Memory

Visual Traditions of India

Images of India

Images in India

Rhythms of the folk

Rights to Culture

Jāti Cultures

Song Cultures

Technics of culture

Performing Traditions

Itihasa-kavya-purana-natya

 

» The goals of Critical Humanities work are to focus on the least represented and fast receding oral, narrative and visual-performative cultural memories of divergent communities of India and develop Mnemocultural researches and teaching. The emerging research converges theoretical-practical interests to contribute to:

  • 1) Creation of a digital map of Mnemocultures. (A proto version of mnemocultural India has been prepared. Some others pertaining to the North-Eastern region are in the making.)
  • 2) Developed a Hypermedia Panchatantra project. Based on this to develop other Digital Narrative Projects.
  • 3) Projects on Epistemic Comparison of Cultures are in progress.
  • 4) Develop courses and programmes from Undergraduate to Research level. Over 25 courses are already developed and offered at Masters’ and Research level.

These new researches aim at reconfiguring the teaching and research in the field of the humanities from the Indian cultural locations. The cultural forms of divergent communities provide scope for developing bigdata digital cultural projects: strategic traversal across digital passageways is necessary for the sustenance of critical humanities.

Digital Technology in Humanities University: EFLU initiative

The Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India has announced ‘Digital India’ which is a programme to initiate a paradigm shift to transform India into a digitally empowered society and Knowledge economy.

Precisely in responding to the new challenges posed by the digital technologies, the EFL University has been developing new teaching and research activities in the broader area of culture and technology over a decade now. Although well known in the West in the name of Digital Humanities, EFLU’s initiatives aim at exploring “Digital Passageways” in the Indian cultural context under the caption Critical Humanities.

Cultures manifest in communication; cultural forms are unthinkable without the communication mediums they emerge in. As is well known cultural forms like songs, novels, and films are deeply shaped by oral, writing and audio-visual technologies respectively. Today digital technologies are throwing up new challenges for creating and thinking about cultural forms. Knowledge and creativity cannot ignore the demands and opportunities that the new technologies pose.

In order to make available public access to the ongoing work, Prof.Sunaina Singh, the Vice Chancellor will launch a website on 6 August at 10.45 am. The launch of the site will be followed by a talk by Prof. Shiv Vishwanathan on “Traditions of Technology and Imagination.”