Exploring Subjectivity: Mind, Body, Action


Baidik Bhattacharya, Udaya Kumar, V. Sanil

Essential Readings:

Clarifying Concepts

Dan Zahavi, ‘Subjectivity and the First-Person Perspective,’ Southern Journal of Philosophy, 45: S1(2007), pp. 66-84.

David Carr, ‘The Question of the Subject: Heidegger and the Transcendental Tradition,’ Human Studies, Vol. 17, No. 4 (1994/1995), pp. 403-418.

Paul Ricoeur, ‘Narrative Identity,’ Philosophy Today, 35: 1 (1991), pp. 73-81.

Vincent Descombes, ‘Apropos of the “Critique of the Subject” and the Critique of this Critique,’ in Who Comes after the Subject? Ed. Eduardo Cadava et al (London: Routledge, 1991), pp. 120-34.


Jenny Chamarette, Phenomenology and the Future of Film: Rethinking Subjectivity beyond French Cinema (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), Chapter 1: ‘Time and Matter: Temporality, Embodied Subjectivity and Film Phenomenology,’ pp. 21-67.

Martha C. Nussbaum , Hiding from Humanity: Disgust, Shame, and the Law (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004): ‘Introduction’ (pp. 1-18) and Chapter 4: ‘Inscribing the Face: Shame and Stigma’ (pp. 172-221).

Timothy Bewes, The Event of Postcolonial Shame (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 2011), Chapter 1: ‘Shame as Form,’ pp. 11-48.


Michel de Certeau, ‘General Introduction’ and ‘Walking in the City’, The Practice of Everyday Life (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 2002), pp. xi-xxiv, 91-110.

Michel Foucault, ‘The Body of the Condemned,’ Discipline and Punish, tr. Alan Sheridan (New York: Vintage, 1995), pp. 3-31.

Susie Tharu, ‘The Impossible Subject: Caste in the Scene of Desire,” in Embodiment: Essays on Gender and Identity, ed. Meenakshi Thapan (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1997), pp. 256-270.

Talal Asad, ‘Thinking About Agency and Pain,’ Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam and Modernity (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003), pp. 67-99.

The Body and Subjectivity

Kathleen Canning. “The Body as Method?: Reflections on the Body in Gender History,” Gender & History, 11: 3 (1999), pp. 499-513.

Michel Foucault, “We ‘Other Victorians’” and “The Repressive Hypothesis,” in The History of Sexuality, Vol 1. Trans by Robert Hurley (New York: Vintage, 1990), pp. 1-14, 15-50.

Rajeswari Sunder Rajan, “The Prostitution Question(s): Female Agency, Sexuality, and Work,” in The Scandal of the State: Women, Law, and Citizenship in Postcolonial India (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003), 117-46.

Saidiya V. Hartman, ‘Innocent Amusements: The Stage of Sufferance,’ Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery and Self-Making in Nineteenth-Century America (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1997), pp. 18-48.

 Further Readings:

Ann Laura Stoler, “Sexual Affronts and Racial Frontiers,” from Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power: Race and the Intimate in Colonial Rule (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 2002), pp. 79-111.

Arnold, David, “Colonial Enclaves: The Army and the Jail,” from Colonizing the Body: State Medicine and Epidemic Disease in Nineteenth Century India (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1993), pp. 116-158.

Caroline Bynum, “Why all the Fuss about the Body? A Medievalist’s Perspective”, in Beyond the Cultural Turn: New Directions in the Study of Society and Culture, eds. Victoria Bonnell and Lynn Hunt (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999), pp. 241-80.

Dan Zahavi, Self and Other: Exploring Subjectivity, Empathy, and Shame (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2014), Chapter 14: ‘Shame,’ pp. 208-240.

Donna Haraway, “A Cyborg Manifesto,” from Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature (New York: Routledge, 1999), pp. 149-181.

Etienne Balibar, “Citizen Subject,” in Who Comes after the Subject? Ed. Eduardo Cadava et al (London: Routledge, 1991), 33-57.

Gopal Guru, “Dalit Women Talk Differently,” Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 30, No. 41/42 (Oct. 14-21, 1995), pp. 2548-2550.

Henrich, Dieter, 1967, “Fichte’s Original Insight”, translated by David R. Lachterman, in Kristin Gjesdal (ed.), Debates in Nineteenth Century European Philosophy: Essential Readings and Contemporary Responses (New York: Routledge, 2015), pp. 35–44.

Howard Caygill, On Resistance: A Philosophy of Defiance (London: Bloomsbury, 2013), Chapter 3: ‘Resistant Subjectivities’, pp. 97-135.

Judith Butler, Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex” (London: Routledge, 1993): ‘Introduction,’ pp. xi-xxx.

K.C Bhattacharya, The Subject as Freedom (Bombay: G. R. Malkani, 1930), esp. Chapter X: ‘The Subject as Freedom,’ pp. 193-206.

Nancy Armstrong, How Novels Think: The Limits of British Individualism from 1719-1900 (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 2005).

M. Coetzee and Arabella Kurtz, The Good Story: Exchanges on Truth, Fiction and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (London: Harville Secker, 2015).

Richard Shusterman, Thinking Through the Body: Essays in Somaesthetics (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2012), Chapter 7: ‘Somaesthetics and Burke’s Sublime,’ pp. 145-65.

Sianne Ngai, Ugly Feelings (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 2005): ‘Introduction,’ pp. 1-37.

Stephen Frosh, ‘Melancholy Without the Other,’ Gender and Sexuality, 7: 4 (2006), 363-78.

Vicki Kirby, Telling Flesh: The Substance of the Corporeal (London: Routledge, 1997).

For those with a taste for foundational philosophical texts:

Rene Descartes, A Discourse on the Method, tr. Ian Maclean (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 2006).

Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgement, tr. James Creed Meredith (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2007): ‘Analytic of the Sublime’ (pp. 75-164), esp. §23-§29 (pp. 75-96).

From the workshop faculty:

Baidik Bhattacharya, “Somapolitics: A Biohermeneutic Paradigm in the Era of Empire,” boundary 2, 45: 4 (2018), pp. 127-59.

Udaya Kumar, ‘The Strange Homeliness of the Night: Spectral Speech and the Dalit Present in C. Ayyappan’s Writings,’ Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences, XVII: 1 and 2 (2010, pub. 2013) pp. 177-91.

V. Sanil, ‘Self Portrait: With Whose Eyes?’, Journal of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research, XXVIII: 4 (2011).

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