Listening, Communicating and Relating

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSHS2017412

Semester and Year Offered: 4th Semester, 2nd year

Course Coordinator and Team: Honey Oberoi Vahali

Email of course coordinator: honey[at]aud[dot]ac[dot]in


Aim: To learn the art of communication and to hone in the skills and sensibility of empathetic and deep listening

Course Outcomes:

  1. Appreciating the storied and narrativized nature of human life.
  2. Learning to listen to the articulations of the dynamic and receptive unconscious
  3. Honing in the skill and sensibility for empathetic listening and working through blocks in communication; capacity to bear witness to trauma.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

  1. Reading and listening to the storied nature of human life and to the depths of psyche through Literature, especially short stories and novellas: Suggestive readings of stories- Anton Chekov’s Grief; D. H. Lawrence’s The Rocking Horse Winner; Dostoevsky’s-White Nights/ The Underground Man: In this module students will focus on listening to narratives of grief, loss, longing and to the complexities of the human psyche.
  2. Four Models of Psychoanalytic Listening: Objective, Interpersonal, Subjective and Empathetic – In this module, students will be acquainted with different, though interrelated perspectives through which a psychoanalytic scholar and practitioner is trained to listen and receive human communication.
  3. Listening from the standpoint of the Dynamic and Receptive Unconscious: Reflecting on the historical developments in the understanding of the unconscious, in this section an emphasis will be made on how articulations from the dynamic, receptive and cultural unconscious are appreciated and apprehended
  4. Bearing Witness and the vicissitudes of Listening: Listening to historical survivors and testimonies of trauma
  5. Listening to lives at social peripheries and margins: Special considerations while relating to narratives of disability, old age, child hood, queer sexuality, economic and social marginalization, among others.
  6. Focusing on blocks, failures and limits of relating and communicating: The attempt here is to initiate thinking and feeling in students to reflect on the blocks, misunderstandings and limits of communication
  7. Self, other and the world: In this module the relationship of the human to nature and non-human beings will be meditated on.

Assessment Details with weights:

  • Reflective and critical writing on any one of the literary narratives -40%
  • Ongoing class participation- 20%
  • Viva- 40%

Reading List:

  1. Akhtar, Salman (2014). Psychoanalytic Listening. London: Karnac
  2. Bollas, C. (2009) The Evocative Object World. Routledge: USA
  3. Bollas, Christopher (2005). The Infinite Question. London: Routledge
  4. Chekov, A (1954). Short Stories. New Delhi: Penguin
  5. Dostoevsky, F. (1960). The Underground Man. U.K. : Penguin
  6. Laub, Dori (1992) ‘Bearing Witness or the Vicissitudes of Listening’ in Shoshana Felman and Dori Laub, Testimony: Crises of Witnessing in Literature, Psychoanalysis and History.New York and London: Routledge.
  7. Hanh, T.N. (1995) Teachings on love. New Delhi: Full Circle
  8. Lawrence, D.H. (2003) The Rocking Horse Winner. In Once Upon A Time (Ed. Charu Sharma and Diamond Oberoi Vahali). Delhi: Cambridge Books
  9. Ogden , T. (1989). The Primitive Edge of Experience.Northvale. NJ: Jason Aronson
  10. Watkins, M and Shulman, H. (2008).Toward Psychologies of Liberation. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillian


  1. Jain, J. & Jain T. (2012) Bridge Across the Rivers: Tales of Partition from Either Side of the Border. New Delhi: Niyogi Books