Literary and Cultural Disability Studies: An Exploration

By Prof. Hemachandran Karah   |   IIT Madras
Learners enrolled: 382
Like other human conditions, disability offers a unique vantage position in the understanding of cultural expressions such as literature, folklore, and film. Such a vantage position derives from disability’s capacity to offer novel frameworks for interpreting academic institutions such as literary criticism. Why that should be the case? 

Human capacities, abilities, vulnerabilities, and a spectrum of sentiments determine how long, and in what direction an idea travels. Likewise, conditions such as madness may instill newer narrative dispersions that one can ill afford to ignore. Literary and Cultural Disability Studies (LCDS) is the most appropriate forum for examining such narrative maneuverings. That said, LCDS is much more than that. For example, as a lens for exploring literary and cultural arrangements, LCDS may aid us in addressing the following questions differently:

1 The canon question.
2 The art of interpretation involving text and contexts.
3 The multilingual question. To comprehend the enduring connect between disability politics and the multilingual question, we have an elaborate workshop on Indian Sign Language (ISL). And 
4 Interdisciplinarity and the problem of accommodation. 

An engagement with these questions renders LCDS as a sequel to my introductory course on Disability Studies. Students pursuing masters in literature, culture, and social sciences broadly may appreciate the diversity of content in this course. For those who are pursuing doctoral and postdoctoral research, this course may come handy too. It hosts lectures and conversations on methods, frameworks, and approaches concerning culture, language, and politics. In sum, students from humanities and social sciences may relish myriad cultural debates surrounding disability, as much as its treatment as an interpretative method. 

  1. Students pursuing Masters in Humanities and Social Sciences;
  2. Scholars engaged in doctoral and postdoctoral research in Literature and Cultural Studies

Course Status : Completed
Course Type : Elective
Duration : 12 weeks
Category :
  • Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit Points : 3
Level : Postgraduate
Start Date : 25 Jul 2022
End Date : 14 Oct 2022
Enrollment Ends : 08 Aug 2022
Exam Date : 29 Oct 2022 IST

Note: This exam date is subjected to change based on seat availability. You can check final exam date on your hall ticket.

Page Visits

Course layout

Weeks 1 and 2 : Disability and the Problem of Canon
Weeks 3 to 5 : Disability and Literary Criticism
Weeks 6 to 9 : Disability and the Multilingual Question
Weeks 10 and 11 : Disability and Interdisciplinarity
Week 12 : Conclusion

CLICK HERE to view the Week Wise Schedule

Teaching Assistants:
1. Sanket Sakar
2. Shivangi Singh
3. Krishna Payeng

Books and references

  • Barker, Clare. The Cambridge Companion to Literature and Disability. Cambridge University Press, 2018. 
  • Davis, Lennard J. The Disability Studies Reader. Routledge, 2013. 
  • Goodley, Dan. Disability Studies: An Interdisciplinary Introduction. SAGE, 2011. 
  • Markotić, Nicole. Disability in Film and Literature. McFarland, 2016.

Instructor bio

Prof. Hemachandran Karah

IIT Madras
Dr Hemachandran Karah teaches English Literature at the Humanities and Social sciences faculty. He is interested in researching on themes such as disability, health, the language question, literary criticism, and musicology.

Course certificate

The course is free to enroll and learn from. But if you want a certificate, you have to register and write the proctored exam conducted by us in person at any of the designated exam centres.
The exam is optional for a fee of Rs 1000/- (Rupees one thousand only).
Date and Time of Exams: 29 October 2022 Morning session 9am to 12 noon; Afternoon Session 2pm to 5pm.
Registration url: Announcements will be made when the registration form is open for registrations.
The online registration form has to be filled and the certification exam fee needs to be paid. More details will be made available when the exam registration form is published. If there are any changes, it will be mentioned then.
Please check the form for more details on the cities where the exams will be held, the conditions you agree to when you fill the form etc.


Average assignment score = 25% of average of best 8 assignments out of the total 12 assignments given in the course.
Exam score = 75% of the proctored certification exam score out of 100

Final score = Average assignment score + Exam score

YOU WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR A CERTIFICATE ONLY IF AVERAGE ASSIGNMENT SCORE >=10/25 AND EXAM SCORE >= 30/75. If one of the 2 criteria is not met, you will not get the certificate even if the Final score >= 40/100.

Certificate will have your name, photograph and the score in the final exam with the breakup.It will have the logos of NPTEL and IIT Madras .It will be e-verifiable at nptel.ac.in/noc.

Only the e-certificate will be made available. Hard copies will not be dispatched.

Once again, thanks for your interest in our online courses and certification. Happy learning.

- NPTEL team

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