Cultural Studies >> Newsletters >> Spring 2002 Newsletter

Cultural Studies
Newsletter, Vol. 7
   Spring 2002


Issue Contents

Cultural Studies/American Studies Conference

CS Program Review

Upcoming Events

Recent Work

Recent Events

New Cultural Studies Adjuncts
 
 
 

 

Neo-Nationalisms
     Cultural Studies is joining with the American Studies Program this year to co-organize a conference on “Neo-Nationalisms.”  The topic of "Neo-Nationalisms" is intended to raise two related questions:  to what extent is nationalism still a significant explanatory framework for contemporary cultural, social, and economic practices, despite the pressures put on the idea of the nation by globalization?  Second, how have these pressures transformed the idea of the nation-state? In short, what are the values and limitations of nationalist frameworks?  To what extent do those frameworks continue to inform academic inquiry in our various disciplines, and what alternate frameworks are emerging?  Invited speakers, Donald Pease, Avalon Professor of Humanities and Professor of English at Dartmouth College, and Rachel Lee, Associate Professor of English at the University of California, Los Angeles, will join IU faculty and graduate students in addressing these issues.  The conference will be held on Saturday, February 16th from 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. at the University Club in the Indiana Memorial Union. 
     With a format similar to previous Cultural Studies conferences, “Neo-Nationalisms” will be organized around two panels.  The morning panel, “Nation and State,” moderated by Eva Cherniavsky, will feature invited speaker, Donald Pease, and Jeannine Bell (Law), Nick Cullather (History), Joan Hawkins (CMCL), Sarah Knott (History), and Roopali Mukherjee (CMCL) as panelists.  The panel will address this hyphenated formation with attention to the present and historical (dis)articulations of the nation (as imagined community) and the state (as administrative apparatus).  What are the conjugations of nation and state in our own historical moment?  What forms and practices of dissent do they impose or enable? 
 

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Neo-Nationalisms Conference (continued
Much of the U.S.-focused scholarship posits the abiding continuity of nation and state, so that, the agents of the state are identified through their reactionary articulations of nationalist sentiment while, conversely, alternative avenues of nationalist identification (alternate stylings of citizenship) are read as critical interventions in state power.  At the same time, the state comes to be seen as largely irrelevant to national life, displaced into the arena of commodity culture where matters of identity are mediated.  In the context of the present crisis, for example, one might argue that nationalist sentiment constitutes only the most cynical of diversionary tactics, a smokescreen for the operations of a freelance state, become service-provider for multinational capital.  To what extent does such an analysis hold in the U.S.?  To what extent does it hold in the other regions, or "worlds," of an unevenly integrated global order?  More generally, can we still understand the workings of the state through the categories of the national imaginary?  What is the relation of nation to state where the national public sphere has become largely indistinguishable from the "infotainment" industry?  How do non-state nationalisms (both intra- and supra-state state neo-nationalisms, such as Aztlan, Queer Nation, or pan-Arab nationalism) articulate with state power? 
        The afternoon panel, “Nation and Culture,” moderated by Tom Foster, will feature invited speaker, Rachel Lee, and Bill Rasch (Germanic Studies), Yeidy Rivero (CMCL & Latino Studies),  Janet Sorensen (English), and Daniel Walker (History) as panelists.  The panel will focus on the historical equation of culture with nation that characterizes the period of European modernity, and will ask to what extent this equation still informs and determines Cultural Studies today.  Theorists like Benedict Anderson have defined how the rise of the modern nation-state in Europe and the U.S. coincided with and depended upon the emergence of vernacular cultures and the standardization of national languages, supported primarily by print technology and its dominant cultural forms:  the book and the newspaper.  In The University and Its Ruins, Bill Reading traced the crisis of the humanities to the increasing obsolescence of the nation-state as an organizing category for knowledge production, thereby emptying out the category of "culture," whose fortunes are inextricably linked to those of the nation.  For Readings, Cultural Studies only emerges as an academic formation when "culture" starts to lose its relevance 
within the late-capitalist world more generally.  At the same time, many of the challenges to the idea of the "nation" seem to define the boundaries of "culture" in a different way.  In The Nation and Its Fragments, Partha Chatterjee offers a concept of "bad" or resistant nationalisms, which use nationalist models against the universalizing aspirations of Western nation-states.  But these “bad” nationalisms distinguish themselves from the administrative structures of Western colonialism only by drawing upon indigenous cultural resources, including religion.  Similarly, Paul Gilroy's model of the African diaspora, the black atlantic, defines a cultural formation that emerges within and against the dominant model of the nation-state.  To what extent is the current crisis of the nation-state and the increasing shift to transnationalism or globalization also a crisis in the definition of "culture" as an object of study?  To what extent does Cultural Studies need the idea of the "nation," and in what ways does that idea limit the analysis of culture?  What alternatives to the nationalist framework emerge from Cultural Studies itself, and to what extent does Cultural Studies need to turn to work like Chatterjee and Gilroy's?  For instance, in what ways has the development of mass media disrupted the nationalist framework Anderson associates with print culture and the ideal of the public sphere? 
     Addressing the topic of “Neo-Nationalisms” with a focus on these and related issues surrounding “Nation and State” and “Nation and Culture,” respectively,  each panel will begin with brief opening statements by the featured panelists and, following these initial comments, the moderators will open up the session to general discussion. 

Reviewing the Cultural Studies Program and Directorship
During spring semester, a review of Tom Foster’s three year term as Director of Cultural Studies will be conducted by a review committee comprised of Cultural Studies Adjuncts: Pat Brantlinger, Stephanie Kane, and Beverly Stoeltje.  Faculty and graduate students will be asked to respond to a survey requesting feedback on the directorship and the program, in general.  If you are not on the Cultural Studies mailing list, you can contact Laura Shackelford, Graduate Assistant for Cultural Studies, at cstudies@indiana.edu, to receive a copy of the survey.

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Upcoming Events 
     This Spring, the Cultural Studies Program is joining the departments of French and Italian, Comparative Literature, History, English, Communication and Culture, as well as International Programs and Horizons of Knowledge in co-sponsoring a lecture by Dr. Susan Harrow, Senior Lecturer at the University of Wales, Swansea.  Dr Harrow will speak on “Visual Theory/Narrative Practice: Some Reflections on Zola’s Modernity.”  Supported by slide illustration, the lecture will analyze descriptions of architecture, interior décor, fashion, and the body to argue for the political and cultural critique at work in the narrative practice of French nineteenth-century author Emile Zola.  Organized by Margaret Gray (French & Italian), the lecture is tentatively scheduled for Friday, April 5th.
     Cultural Studies is also co-sponsoring a weekend symposium on the role of narrative and interpretation in modern history-writing.  Organized by George M. Wilson (History/East Asian Languages and Cultures), the symposium will feature the distinguished scholars, Harry Harootunian, Professor of History and Director of the East Asian Studies Program at New York University, and Hayden White, Professor Emeritus of the History of Consciousness Program at the University of California, Santa-Cruz.  Harootunian and White will join the Cultural History Workshop on April 11th, addressing the question, “Can History Predict the Future?”  Later that afternoon, Harootunian will lead a roundtable on “The New Inequalities in Central Europe and East Asia,” and at 7:30 p.m. that evening, White will give a Horizons of Knowledge lecture on “The Illusion of Historical Perspective.”  On April 12th, Harootunian will lecture on “The Future of Japanese Modernity” and both Harootunian and White will participate in a graduate student and faculty symposium focusing on the question, “Is Representation Relative?  The Ethics of Narrative in History.” 
     During spring semester, the Department of Gender Studies will be holding a series of research workshops featuring faculty work in progress.  These workshops will take place on Wednesdays at 12:30 p.m. in the Kinsey Institute Seminar Room, Morrison Hall 228.  The next research workshop, on February 13th, features Anne Pyburn, who will present on the topic of  “Un-Gendering ‘Civilization.’”  The subsequent research workshop, on February 27th, features Judith A. Allen, who will address the question, “Did Men Give Women ‘The Curse’? Darwinists Debate the Rise of Androcentric Culture.”  On March 20th,  J. Scott Long will address “Gender Differences in the Careers of Doctoral Scientists:  The Recent Report from the National Academy of Scientists” and the following week, on March 27th, Bill Yarber will present on the topic of “Differences in Condom Use Errors Among College Women and Men.”  Susan Williams will consider “Feminist Models of Autonomy and Freedom of Speech” at 12:00 on April 3rd, and Radhika Parameswaran will conclude the series, on April 24th, presenting her work on “Local Cultures in Global Media:  Deconstructing Orientalisms.” 
     “Meet the New Right: ‘Compassionate Conservatism,’ Free Market, and State Policy” is the topic of this year’s American Studies lecture series, which will include three lectures on Thursdays at 4:00 p.m.  The series will feature Eric Lott, Professor of English at the University of Virginia, who will present a piece titled, “The First Boomer: Bill Clinton, George W., and Fictions of  State,” on February 7th in Ballantine Hall 109.  On February 28th, Robert McChesney, Professor of Communications at the University of Illinois,Urbana-Champaign, will give a lecture on “The Sheer, Utter, and Total Bankruptcy of Contemporary U.S. Conservatism,” which will be held in Ballantine Hall 228.  The series will conclude on April 4th with a lecture by Cynthia Patton, Professor in the Institute of Liberal Arts at Emory University.  Her lecture is titled, “What is Political Capital? Using Bordieu to Understand the New Right,” and will be held Ballantine 228.
Recent Work
     Pat Brantlinger, Rudy Professor of English, was named COAS Alumni Association Distinguished Professor for 2001. His latest book, Who Killed Shakespeare? What’s Happened To English Since The Radical Sixties appeared from Routledge last August. It’s about more than English: cultural studies, poststructuralisms, postcolonial studies, informatics,  the state of “the university in ruins,” and posthistory. Maria Bucur-Deckard has a book on Eugenics and Modernization in Interwar Romania forthcoming from Pittsburgh University Press this year.  She presented a paper on “Fascism and Modernity in Twentieth Century Romania” at the conference, “Fascism and its Legacies,” held at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in September, and a paper titled,”Women’s Stories as Sites of Memory:  Remembering Romania’s World Wars,” at International University Week, in Munchen, Tutzing in October.  She has also received a Collaborative Research Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities for the summer of 2002.  Tom Foster has published several pieces recently: "Cyber-Aztecs and Cholo-Punks: Guillermo Gomez Pena's Five Worlds Theory" appeared in PMLA 117.1 (January 2002); a review essay on "The Reappearing Body in Postmodern Technoculture" was published in Contemporary Literature 42.3 (fall 2001); and an article titled, "The Postproduction of the Human Heart': Desire, Identification, and Virtual Embodiment in Feminist Narratives of Cyberspace" is forthcoming in Reload: Rethinking Women + Cyberculture, edited by Mary Flanagan and Austin Booth, which will be published by MIT Press in April 2002. Helen Gremillion, who joined Indiana University in 1998 as the first holder of the Peg Zeglin Brand Chair in Gender Studies and the first full-time faculty in the unit, has a book forthcoming through Duke University Press entitled In Fitness and in Health: A Cultural Analysis of Psychiatric Treatments for Anorexia Nervosa.  The book shows that therapies for anorexia participate unwittingly in cultural ideals of gender, physical fitness, individualism, and family life that help cause the problem.  A related essay will appear in a winter 2002 issue of Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society.  Her current research examines poststructuralist theories of identity formation within “narrative therapy.” Stephanie Kane recently published an article titled “Mythic Prostitutes, AIDS and Criminal Law” in Ethnologies 23 (1) and co-authored with Theresa Mason a piece on “AIDS and Criminal Justice” that appeared in the Annual Review of Anthropology 30 in 2001. This June and July, she will serve as the Director of IU’s Overseas Study program in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Angela Pao published a piece on "Changing Face:  Recasting National Identity in All-Asian American Dramas" in Theatre Journal (53) 2001 and she presented a paper titled, "Operatic Odysseys: Modernization, Postmodernism and Two Peony Pavilions" at the annual conference of the International Federation for Theatre Research in Sydney, Australia this past July. Radhika Parameswaran’s monograph, “Global media events in India: Contests over Beauty, Gender, and Nation,” which explores the Indian culture industry’s motives in hosting and supporting the staging of Miss World in India, was published in Journalism & Communication Monographs (summer 2001).  She also secured a summer 2001 grant-in-aid from the Indiana University Research and Graduate School to complete the next phase of her research on the 1996 Miss World contest in Bangalore.  The second phase of the project is based on textual analysis of Times of India’s news coverage of protests against the pageant.  Her research paper, “Reading fictions of romance: Gender, sexuality, and nationalism in postcolonial India,” is forthcoming in Journal of CommunicationDror Wahrman’s co-edited volume, The Age of Cultural Revolutions: Britain and France, 1750-1820, was published in January (in hardback and paperback) by California University Press. 
 

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Recent Work (continued)
     Richard Wilk published and edited with Kelly Askew a collection titled, The Anthropology of Media:  A Reader, published by Blackwell and his article, “Food and Nationalism:  The Origins of “Belizean Food,” was published in Food Nations: Selling Taste in Consumer Societies, a collection edited by Warren Bellasco and Philip Scranton and published by Routledge.  Wilk also presented several papers recently: a paper on “The Binge Economy” given at the Eighth Conference on Consumption at the Université de Paris, la Sorbonne, in July 2001; a paper on “Gender and the Origins of Consumer Culture in Belize” given as an invited speaker in the lecture series, “The Modern Girl around the World,” organized by the Taylor Institute and Women’s Studies department at the University of Washington, Seattle, in February of last year; and a paper titled, “Consumption and Mass Media,” given as an invited lecturer at the Oxford Workshop on Sustainable Consumption and the Media held in Oxford last January.  Jeff Wasserstrom has recently published several short pieces of cultural analysis: “Flagging Standards: Patriotism and Public Life” in the November 16, 2001, issue of the Re/view magazine of the Australian Financial Review; “Letter from ... Chicago” in the same day’s issue of the Times Literary Supplement; “Two Battles to Save Civilization” in the Far Eastern Economic Review, January 10, 2002; and “The Ends of History: The Case of the Murdered Muse” in the January 2002 issue of the online journal Common-place.   In addition, an interdisciplinary reader he co-edited with anthropologist Susan Brownell, Chinese Femininities/Chinese Masculinities, has just been published by University of California Press.

Recent Events
     Early this fall, the Cultural Studies Program co-sponsored a conference on "Visual Rhetoric" co-organized by the departments of Communication and Culture at Indiana University and Communication Studies at the University of Iowa.  The international, interdisciplinary conference, organized by John Lucaites, Barbara Biesecker, Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Communication Studies at the University of Iowa, explored the symbolic and performative dimensions of visual culture, including everything from cartography to photography and from architecture and landscape design to public memorials and museums. Barbie Zelizer, Professor of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, opened the conference ith a keynote lecture on "The 'As If' of Visual Rhetoric" and W. J. T. Mitchell, distinguished Professor in English Language and Literature and Art History at the University of Chicago, concluded it with his keynote lecture, "Why Rhetoric Isn't Enough," or the Surplus Value of Images."  The conference featured Carole Blair (University of California, Davis), Hanno Hardt (University of Iowa), Steven Mailloux (University of California, Irvine), and Ramona Liera Schwictenberg (Wichita State University) as plenary speakers and included a series of panel presentations and seminar sessions on the relationship between visual rhetoric and collective memory, social controversy and dissent, political style and representation, postmodern media communities, and race, gender, and identity politics.

New Cultural Studies Adjuncts
  Please join us in welcoming two new adjuncts to the Cultural Studies Program. Yeidy Rivero joined the departments of Communication and Culture and Latino Studies this fall.  She received her doctoral degree from the University of Texas at Austin Radio-TV-Film Department in May 2000.  With research interests in the areas of television studies, racial construction in media, and international communication, her current research project is on the construction of 'blackness' in Puerto Rico's commercial television entertainment programming.  Recent publications include: "Beyond U.S. Dominance: Cuban and Local Influences on the Origins of Puerto Rican Commercial Television," published in Centro Journal (spring 2001) and "Erasing Blackness: Media Construction of 'Race' in Mi Familia, The First Puerto Rican Situation Comedy with a Black Family," which is forthcoming in  Media, Culture, and Society in June 2002.  Rivero also presented a paper on "The Performance and Reception of Televisual 'Ugliness' in Yo soy Betty la fea" at the 2001 Global Fusion Conference in St. Louis, Missouri.
   Nicola Evans is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication and Culture, where she teaches courses on identity, gender and queer theory and counter-cultural activity.  Currently, she is completing a book focusing on the emergence in popular culture of subjects who do not fit the categories we use to talk about identity.  She notes that in the 1990's mainstream film and literature featured straight women who love gay men, men passing as women, white parents who fantasize about black sons, and a series of man-child stars crossing prematurely into adulthood.  The same period witnessed a theoretical turn, in which hybrid figures such as the drag queen or the mulatto were newly embraced as icons of the poststructuralist assault on the hegemonic imagination.  Her book, entitled, The Fag Hag, the Man-Child, the Drag Queen, and the Taxi Driver: Border figures in contemporary culture, explores the implications of these shifts in the identity landscape, arguing in part that while such figures signal that a border is under threat, movement across boundaries often works to refortify rather than to dismantle the discursive categories through which we map the world.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Invited Speaker, Bill Maurer, University of California, Irvine, and panelists, Eva Cherniavsky, Beverly Stoeltje, John Hanson, and Steve Watt (from left to right) consider the "Future of the University" at last year's Cultural Studies Conference on "Flexible Knowledges: Interdisciplinarity, Globalization, and the Future of the University."

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