Cool Theories of Badness

An Online Weekend Course



Course Dates

19th, 20th and 27th March, 2022


INR 4,000


11:00 AM to 1:00 PM

Course Faculty

Arindam Chakrabarti

Arindam Chakrabarti is an internationally-renowned scholar in Indian Philosophy, Aesthetics, Philosophy of Art, Buddhism, and Philosophy of Language. He is Visiting Professor of Philosophy at Ashoka University and Lenney Distinguished Professor of Comparative Philosophy of Mind at University of Hawaii Manoa.

Guest Speaker

Amrita Narayanan

Amrita Narayanan is a practicing clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst and a visiting professor at KREA University. She earned her doctorate in clinical psychology in 2007 at the Pacific-Stanford University Psy.D. consortium. She is the editor of The Parrots of Desire: 3000 years of Erotica in India (Aleph Books, 2018) and contributing essayist in Psychoanalysis in the Indian Terroir: Emerging Themes in Culture, Family and Childhood (Lexington Books, 2018) and Pha(bu)llus: a cultural history of the Phallus (Harper Collins, 2021). She has been visiting faculty at Ashoka University and at Ambedkar University. Her book on the psychodynamics of women’s sexuality in India is forthcoming from Oxford University Press in July.

About The Course

It seems easier to agree on what is really bad than on what is objectively good. At least we have plenty of bad stuff all around us! Disease is bad, poverty is bad, pain is bad, corruption is bad, cacophonous out-of-tune music is bad, a disgusting picture of a mother eating her own baby is bad, going mad is bad. But why? Are they all bad in the same sense? This short but daring course in the philosophy of badness will explore cutting-edge research on cruelty, ugliness, and madness to raise the basic but never boring question: What is badness?

March 19, Saturday

Moral Badness: Wickedness, Cruelty, Hypocrisy and Ingratitude 
(Judith Shklar “Ordinary Vices” and short Mahabharata selections, etc)
March 20, Sunday

Aesthetic Badness:  The Ugly and the Disgusting 
(Indian Aesthetics of Disgust, Rosencranz and selections from “Yuck!: The Nature and Moral Significance of Disgust (Life and Mind: Philosophical Issues in Biology and Psychology) by Daniel Kelly)
March 27, Sunday

Psychopathological Badness: What exactly is Bad about Madness?  
(Kant, Hegel, Philippe Pinel, Michel Foucault, and Matthew Blakeway (Logic of Madness) on Madness.)

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    Course Objectives

    Experience New Learning & Mental Models on Important Topics

    Gain Exposure to Diverse Readings, Research and Resources

    Learn to Engage in Critical Debate & Discussion

    Expand your Perspective across Disciplinary Boundaries

    Develop Analytical & Critical Thinking Faculties

    Madhavi Menon

    Professor of English, Ashoka University

    Director, Centre for Studies in Gender & Sexuality

    Director of the PhD Programme in English

    Ph.D. Tufts University

    Madhavi Menon is an eminent theorist and scholar of gender, sexuality, politics, and identity. 

    She joined Ashoka University in 2013 as one of its founding faculty members. She went on to establish the university’s Centre for Gender & Sexuality Studies (CSGS), which is the first of its kind in India. Previously, she was a professor at Ithaca College and American University

    Most prominently known for her work on queer theory and Shakespeare, she has also edited the collection Shakesqueer and written three books on Shakespeare and sexuality. She is also most recently the author of Infinite Varieties: A History of Desire in India and Law of Desire: Rulings on Sex & Sexuality in India. 

    In addition to being Director of CSGS, she is the Director of the Ph.D. programme in English and Professor of English at Ashoka University.