The most ambitious and broadly international collection on cultural studies ever published, this book is destined to shape research and teaching through the 1990s and beyond. It arrives at a time of high visibility for cultural studies but a time as well when cultural studies' long oppositional history is in danger--particularly in the United States-- of being taken up and assimilated into the ongoing, apolitical, academic enterprise. In an effort to disrupt this process, "Cultural Studies" interrogates the contemporary commitments of the field: its historical and intellectual positions, political and scholarly preoccupations, and the kinds of interventions it aims for now and in the future.
Featuring essays by such prominent cultural theorists as Tony Bennett, Homi Bhaba, Donna Haraway, bell hooks, Constance Penley, Janice Radway, Andrew Ross, and Cornel West, "Cultural Studies" offers numerous specific cultural analyses while simultaneously defining and debating the common body of assumptions, questions, and concerns that have helped create the field. The topics addressed include race and minority discourses; ethnicity and postcolonialism; postmodernism; feminism; cultural policy; the place of history in cultural studies; the politics of representation; popular culture; aesthetics; ethics; and technology. At the same time "Cultural Studies" explores the cultural work performed by such diverse forms of cultural production as rock music, Chicano art, detective novels, African-American writing, the AIDS epidemic, architecture, reproductive freedom, "sati" Star Trek fandom, and New Age technology. Numerous contributors interrogate their own theoretical and methodological commitments, examining the place of representation, narrative, identity, language, and textual criticism in their work.
"Cultural Studies" demonstrates that while the discipline remains fluid and even postdisciplinary, and while many of its practices remain academically marginalized and stubbornly resistant to institutionalization, cultural studies does have common commitments. In seeking to map the ways in which reality is socially constructed, and to understand and evaluate the conditions of social life, the contributors share a belief in the significance of struggles around gender, race, class, nation, and sexuality. And they share as well an interest in the conjuction between activist and academic projects. Many of the contributors, moreover, share a commitment to the history of cultural studies that this book aims to illuminate and postion for the future.
Based in part on an extraordinary five-day conference at the University of Illinois, the collection supplements and comments on the essays themselves by transcribing extended discussions between participants. A landmark of cultural criticism intended for both general and academic readers, this collection is essential reading for students, scholars, and all contemporary practitioners of cultural production.
..."the publication of Cultural Studies is an event no serious (or curious) reader can afford to ignore. Make no mistake: in American intellectual life, the "undisciplines" of cultural studies will very likely be the single most controversial and contested terrain of the 1990s, and Cultural Studies the most capacious text in the fray."
"If you plan to continue living in America, read this book."
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