Newsletter, Vol. 6
Knowledges: Interdisciplinarity, Globalization, and the Future of the University
The topic of the cultural studies conference this year is Flexible Knowledges: Interdisciplinarity, Globalization, and the Future of the University - a series of inquiries into the status of cultural studies' interdisciplinary methods at a time when a similar logic of boundary-crossing informs universities' institutional practices and the economic logic of global capitalism, more generally. Arif Dirlik, a specialist in the history of Modern China, postcolonial criticism, and global capitalism from Duke University; Bill Maurer, University of California, Irvine, who does ethnographic work on global capital, anthropological work on law as well as finance, and has a book on offshore banking in the Caribbean; and Robyn Wiegman, Director of Women's Studies at Duke University, who engages with feminist theory, sexuality studies, American cultural studies, and race studies, will join IU faculty and graduate students in addressing the question of 'flexible knowledges' from several perspectives.
The conference will be held on Saturday, March 3rd from 10:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. at the University Club in the Indiana Memorial Union. To receive a brief packet of exemplary inquiries into these issues, please complete the registration form (on page five of the newsletter), the electronic registration page on our web site, or e-mail this info to firstname.lastname@example.org before February 27th.
From its origins, cultural studies has defined its interdisciplinary impulse as a necessity derived from the nature of its object of study. Stuart Hall locates the origin of cultural studies in the refusal to allow "culture" to be distinguished from the social and historical totality of human practices. This totalizing impulse does not reflect a desire for closure or an exhaustive inventory of cultural forms and practices; instead, it is a practice of remapping knowledge that necessarily leads the analyst to cross the boundaries of existing academic disciplines since, "cultural processes do not correspond to the contours of academic knowledges, as they are," to quote Richard Johnson's "What Is Cultural Studies Anyway?"
Cultural studies also has a long history of skepticism and self-critique directed at its own institutionalization. The logic of epistemological mobility and boundary-crossing that cultural studies shares with its definition of culture is supposed to provide an inherent resistance to disciplinary formation, the traditional mode of academic legitimation. One of the key questions this conference poses is whether we have now entered a new moment in the institutionalization of cultural studies and interdisciplinary work more generally. What if it is precisely the logic of interdisciplinary boundary-crossing that universities now find it in their own economic interests to support - that is, what if the precondition for institutionalization is no longer disciplinary formation and departmentalization but instead a willingness to bypass existing departments?
Knowledges Conference (continued)
These kinds of questions emerge most urgently from work on globalization, transnationalism, and post-Fordist economic organizations, as well as from projects rethinking racial and gender formations within transnational frameworks. David Harvey defines decentralization and flexible accumulation as the central economic logic of late capitalism, with post-Fordism characterized in terms of the paradox that decentralization, which might seem to make it harder to impose authority, actually promotes greater control and greater economic efficiency. To what extent are universities moving toward their own specific versions of such economic models? Is cultural studies' interdisciplinary impulse in danger of being assimilated to what Masao Miyoshi has defined as the new norm for transnational corporate elites: the ability to translate across the boundaries of cultural differences? How can we work toward what Arif Dirlik has called "critical localism," at the level of our own institutional structures of knowledge production, without simply revalidating traditional disciplinary formations? Each of the three panels will address these questions from a slightly different vantage.
New Cultural Studies Adjuncts
Please join us in welcoming several new adjuncts to the Cultural Studies Program. Nicholas Cullather (History) specializes in U.S. foreign relations and Southeast Asia. Jane Goodman (Communication & Culture) has worked in North Africa and France on Berber world music. Her research centers on colonialism and postcolonial identity. Currently on sabbatical, Helen Gremillion holds the Peg Zeglin Brand Chair in Gender Studies. Her research and teaching interests include gender and scientific knowledges, the anthropology of the body, feminist ethnography, medical anthropology and consumer culture. Candida Jaquez (Folklore and Ethnomusicology) conducts research on Chicano popular music, Mexico, and the United States. Her recent work centers on Mariachi culture and performance. Angela Pao (Comparative Literature) is on leave this year with an NEH fellowship to conduct research for a book on non-traditional casting practices in relation to theories of race and ethnicity. Dror Wahrman (History) is currently working on his book, now titled A Cultural History of the Modern Self. He is the chair of the new Cultural History Double Major Phd, a program that he helped initiate. For more details on this program see
The Cultural Studies Program co-sponsored a number of events this fall. In September, Cultural Studies joined the Victorian Studies Graduate Student Organization, the Department of English, and others for the first lectures in a series entitled "The 19th Century in the 21st," focusing on trends in literary studies, cultural studies, and cultural history. The first event featured Catherine Gallagher, Eggers Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley, and Christopher Herbert, Professor of English at Northwestern University. (see 'Upcoming Lectures' for details on the next installment of this lecture series)
Cultural Studies also co-sponsored the Department of Communication and Culture's Fall Lecture, which was given by Carol J. Clover, University of California, Berkeley. Clover's paper, "Trials, Movies, and the Paranoid Imagination," drew from her current research on the relation between Anglo-American legal and entertainment systems (film and television). In conjunction with a seminar in black cultural studies, Roopali Mukherjee (Communication & Culture) organized a weekend event showcasing films from the Los Angeles School of Cinema. The event included screenings of Ashes and Embers (Haile Gerima), Bless Their Little Hearts (Billy Woodberry), To Sleep with Anger (Charles Burnett) and Daughters of the Dust (Julie Dash). Another film screening co-sponsored by Cultural Studies and organized by the Department of Communication and Culture and the Union Board, featured the film, The Wind Will Carry Us, by the Iranian director, Abbas Kiarostami. The film was introduced by Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago film critic and scholar, who is currently writing a book on Kiarostami. "The History and Development of Salsa Music" was the focus of this year's CUBAFEST, a yearly event organized by the student organization, Latinos Unidos, which also received support from Cultural Studies.
The next installment in the 2000-2001 Victorian Studies Lecture Series, "The 19th Century in the 21st," will take place on Saturday, March 31, 2001. Julie Ellison, University of Michigan, will be presenting a paper on British and American literary works (and performance artists) with names beginning with the letter Z from between roughly 1790 and 1870. Ellison will be joined by Audrey Jaffe, Ohio State, who will present a paper on money, feeling, and value in Trollope and in our own discourse about the stock market. Morning lectures will be followed by an afternoon discussion considering the present and future state of literary studies (for details, consult the Victorian Graduate Studies web site at http://www.iub.edu/~victgrad/). The topic of this year's American Studies Lecture Series is "The Futures of American Studies: Intellectual Work in the Post-Nation." Subsequent to Laura Kipnis's lecture on "Scandalous Americans" at 4:00 on February 15th in Ballantine 103, the series will feature a lecture on "Media, Black Cultural Politics, and Difference" by Herman Gray, Professor of Sociology at the University of Santa Cruz, which will be held at 4:00 on Thursday, March 22nd in Ballantine 006. Michael Denning, Professor of American Studies at Yale University, will conclude the series with his lecture, "A Global Left? Social Movements in the Age of Three Worlds," at 4:00 on Thursday, April 12th in Ballantine 103.
Pat Brantlinger, who was recently named Rudy Professor of English, will be teaching ENG L743, Victorian Literature, on the topic of "Theories of History, Then and Now" in Fall 2001. His new book, Who Killed Shakespeare? What Happened To English Since The Radical Sixties, should be available in August (through Routledge). Though not exactly a sequel to Crusoe's Footprints: Cultural Studies in Britain and America (Routledge, 1990), it contains several chapters on cultural studies, and one - "Informania U"- is based partly on the new "virtual" School of Informatics here at IU. Eva Cherniavsky has an article on "Tribalism, Globalism, and Eskimo Television in Leslie Marmon Silko's Almanac of the Dead," which is forthcoming (Spring 2001) in a special issue of Angelaki: A Theoretical Journal of the Humanities on "Subaltern Affect" edited by Alberto Moreiras and Jon Beasley-Murray. Tom Foster has an essay entitled "'The Postproduction of the Human Heart': Desire, Identification, and Virtual Embodiment in Feminist Narratives of Cyberspace" in Reload: Rethinking Women + Cyberculture, eds. Mary Flanagan and Austin Booth, forthcoming this year from MIT Press. His essay "'Trapped by the Body?': Tele-presence Technologies and Trans-gendered Performance in Feminist and Lesbian Rewritings of Cyberpunk Fiction" was reprinted in The Cybercultures Reader, eds. David Bell and Barbara M. Kennedy, published in 2000 by Routledge. Joan Hawkins's book, Cutting Edge: Art-Horror and the Horrific Avant-garde was published in May 2000 by the University of Minnesota Press (above). Candida Jaquez has an article titled, "Relearning to Learn: Communal Memory, Musical Transcription and the Politics of Ethnicity in Mariachi Conference Workshops," in Musical Migration: Transnationalism and Cultural Hybridity in Latin/o America, a book she co-edited with Frances Aparicio and Maria Elena Zepeda, which was published by Temple University Press in 2000. She also presented a paper titled, "Web Jefes- Performing La Mujer in Mariachi (Web 'Bosses' Performing Women in Mariachi)," at the Society for Ethnomusicology's National Meeting in November. Roopali Mukherjee published two pieces recently; "Regulating race in the California Civil Rights Initiative: Enemies, allies, and alibis" appeared in the Journal of Communication last spring and "Now you see it, now you don't: Naming privacy, framing policy" was published in Critical Studies in Media Communication.
Angela Pao is conducting research in New York, Washington DC and other cities with major regional theatre companies for her book on non-traditional casting practices in relation to theories of race and ethnicity. An article titled, "Recasting Race: Casting Practices and Racial Formations," which will be part of the book, appeared in the November 2000 issue of Theatre Survey. In addition, she presented a paper on "Producing the Exotic: Cross-cultural Stagings of Turandot and The Peony Pavilion" at the annual convention of the Modern Language Association in December. The paper dealt with the internationalization of the performing arts with a focus on the two operas. Janet Sorensen's new book, The Grammar of Empire in Eighteenth-Century British Writing, has recently been published by Cambridge University Press (above). Dror Wahrman has two publications forthcoming this year; a volume of essays titled The Age of Cultural Revolutions, which he edited with Colin Jones (Warwick); and an essay titled "The English Problem of Identity in the American Revolution" in a Forum in the American Historical Review on Identities in the Age of Revolutions.
in Cultural Studies
Conference at IU
The Department of
Communication and Culture, Indiana University and the Department of Communication
Studies, University of Iowa will co-host a conference on "Visual Rhetorics"
at the Indiana Memorial Union on September 6-8, 2001. The organizers
for the conference are John Lucaites (Communication and Culture) and Barbara
Biesecker (Univ. of Iowa), who also collaborated this past summer on a
“Workshop on Visual Rhetoric” at the University of Iowa’s Obermann Center.
Scholars have been focusing a great deal of attention recently on the symbolic
and performative dimensions of visual and material culture, including everything
from cartography to photography and from architecture and interior design
to public memorials and museums. "Visual rhetorics" is an emergent
term being used to describe such work, and under its rubric attention has
been directed to a wide range of themes and topics, including the relationship
between visual culture and collective memory, social controversy, political
styles and representation, technology, epistemology, and argumentation.
Belle Epoque" Symposium
The Department of French and Italian, Horizons of Knowledge, the Jewish Studies Program, and the Comparative Literature Department will be holding a symposium titled, “Beyond the Belle Epoque,” to be held on April 10th from 3:30-5:30 p.m. in the Dogwood Room at the Union. The period of the "Belle Epoque" in France, from roughly 1900-1914, is generally viewed with nostalgia as a golden moment of prosperity, harmony and insouciance. This symposium will explore issues that go "beyond" this myth to focus on the gritty behind-the-scenes struggles of various cultures, including those of class, gender, race, and ethnicity. With reference to a range of canonical and non-canonical authors (Colette, Anna de Noailles, Porto-Riche, Dabit and Guilloux) writing around the time of the First World War and in the 'entre-deux-guerres' period, the symposium will explore forms of social hierarchy, containment, and contestation. Working on the interrelated notions of drawing and crossing the line, the four panelists will reflect on ways in which social boundaries are established, policed, manipulated, and transgressed, and will work across the genres of memoir, theatre, novel, and poetry. To Jewish dramatist Porto-Riche's desire for social integration and artistic confirmation in a French context can be added the economic and social marginalization of the performing music-hall artists in Colette, the resistance of male critics to the innovative poetics of Anna de Noailles, and the prison of social class in Dabit and Guilloux. While the specificities of each of these cases need to be respected, notions of orthodoxy and order are inferred and contested in all of them. The panel will additionally reflect on issues of cultural value, the interface between public and private spaces, and the workings of transgression and recuperation. Featured panelists include: Catherine Perry, University of Notre Dame; M. Martin Guiney, Kenyon College, Ohio; Edward J. Hughes, Royal Holloway, University of London; and Margaret E. Gray (French & Italian), Indiana University, Bloomington. For detailed information about the symposium or to receive abstracts of the panelists’ papers, contact Margaret E. Gray via e-mail (email@example.com).