Cultural Studies >> Newsletters >> Spring 2003 Newsletter

Cultural Studies
Newsletter, Vol. 8
   Spring 2003


Issue Contents

Cultural Studies Conference

New Cultural Studies Adjuncts

Upcoming Events

Recent Events

Recent Work

New Cultural Studies Journal at IU
 
 
 

 

"Spaces of Identity"
     This year’s Cultural Studies conference, “Spaces of Identity,” will explore the relevance of new theories of social space to various cultural studies projects, while also reflecting on this new self-consciousness about the spatial assumptions and metaphors that have informed and still circulate within cultural studies, its intellectual traditions and disciplinary sites.  Invited speaker, Jennifer DeVere Brody, Professor of English and Performance Studies at Northwestern University, will join IU faculty and graduate students in two roundtable sessions.  The first session, “Metacultures: Transnational Flows,” will include  Jennifer Brody, Claudia Breger (Germanic Studies), Angela Pao (Comparative Literature), John Stanfield (Chair, African American and African Diaspora Studies), and Laura Shackelford (English) as panelists.  The second session, “Subcultures: Local Resistances,” will include Barbara Klinger (Communication & Culture), Joanne Meyerowitz (History), Beverly Stoeltje (Anthropology), and Tyrone Simpson (English; currently Woodson Institute Fellow at Univ. of Virginia) as panelists.  The conference will be held on Saturday, March 29th from 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. at the University Club’s Faculty Room in the Indiana Memorial Union.  If you plan to attend, please complete the registration form (on page five), the electronic registration page on our web site, or e-mail this info to cstudies@indiana.edu before March 22nd.  

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"Spaces of Identity" Conference (continued
    The conference will take the “spatial turn” within cultural studies – the emergence of both a new, interdisciplinary object of study and a new conceptual tool for social and cultural analysis – as its point of departure.  Within the social sciences, the postmodern geography movement (David Harvey, Edward Soja, Doreen Massey) has returned to Henri Lefebvre’s work to define “the production of space” – that is, the ways that specific constructions of social space play constitutive roles in the production and reproduction of social relations, rather than merely serving as neutral settings within which more properly historical processes of struggle, transformation, and reaction play out.  That separation of time or history and space has come to be understood as an increasingly problematic assumption of modernity, in contrast to postmodernity’s characteristic forms of “time-space compression,” and the revaluing of spatial practices has been central to the cultural studies project of revaluing everyday life as a site of tactical agency capable of introducing some change and play into its determining structures or strategic constraints, to use the terminology introduced by Michel de Certeau.
     On a more practical level, rethinking the nature of space and its relation to cultural identities becomes more urgent in an age dominated by new experiences of space.  Today, processes of globalization emphasize transnational cultural flows and diasporic affiliations over national boundaries and traditional models of citizenship, and new communications technologies make possible more highly mediated forms of social interaction within cyberspace computer networks.  As David Morley and Kevin Robins put it, in their book Spaces of Identity, “it is now not so much physical boundaries . . . that define a community of nation’s ‘natural limits.’  Increasingly we must think in terms of communications and transport networks and of the symbolic boundaries of language and culture . . . as providing the crucial, and permeable, boundaries of our age” (1; my emphasis).
The conference will consider what happens to identity in an age when all boundaries tend to become permeable and the assumption that there are no longer any “natural limits” or “essential architectures” becomes normative, a shift that Donna Haraway uses to define the cultural logic of “the informatics of domination” within late capitalist or post-industrial information economies.  To what extent have we moved beyond the metaphor of space as container, to cultural logics in which there are no absolute boundaries, no clear “insides” and “outsides?”  To what extent are reconfigurations of social space accompanied by redefinitions of the space of subjectivity, of the “inner world” of the individual defined by its opposition to the public and the social?  Do such redefinitions facilitate new forms of coalitional politics or contact zones, and if so what happens to identity politics and cultural autonomy?  What is the fate of nationalism in a diasporic or transnationalized context?  To what extent do new concepts of space and new geographies of identity make possible the kind of interdisciplinary project Edward Soja defines in Thirdspace, projects that combine the material, sociological or ethnographic analysis of actual lived spaces and built environments with textual analyses of imagined or figurative spaces?  How is this spatial turn in postmodern cultural studies inflected by different histories and mappings of social relations, such as the ideological definition of home and marketplace as separate gendered spheres, or forms of racial segregation and urban ghettoes or ethnic enclaves?  In the spirit of David Harvey’s observation that globalization’s disruption of national boundaries produces both new transnational formations and relations and also new, fragmented forms of enforced localism and neo-ethnicism, the first session will focus on “Metacultures: Transnational Flows” and the second session will consider “Subcultures: Local Resistances.” 


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New Cultural Studies Adjuncts 
     Please join us in welcoming several new adjuncts to the Cultural Studies Program this year. Paula Amad joined the department of Communication and Culture in fall 2002, receiving her doctoral degree in English from the University of Chicago in August 2002.  Her research and teaching interests include early film history, theory and practice; globalization studies; colonial and postcolonial literature, film and theory; and feminist theory.  Recent publications include: “Cinema’s ‘sanctuary’: From pre-documentary to documentary film in Albert Kahn’s Archives de la Planète (1908-1931),” published in Film History 13.2 (2001); and “‘Where on earth would you like to be?’: Benetton Advertising, the Utopian Popular and Everyday Theory,” to be published in the collection, Knowing Mass Culture/Mediating Knowledge, edited by Lynne Joyrich and forthcoming from Indiana University Press. 
     Phaedra Pezzullo also joined the department of Communication & Culture in fall 2002, receiving her doctoral degree from the department of Communications Studies at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in May 2002.  Her research, teaching, and service interests include environmental advocacy, social movements, feminist rhetoric, and tourism.  Her current book project is on advocacy tourism in the United States as a tactic of resistance.  She has recently published an article, “Resisting ‘National Breast Cancer Awareness Month’: The Rhetoric of Counterpublics and their Cultural Performances,” in Quarterly Journal of Speech; and “Toxic Tours: Communicating the ‘Presence’ of Chemical Contamination,” a chapter forthcoming in the 2003 text, Communication and Public Participation in Environmental Decision-Making
     Joanne Meyerowitz is Professor of History and editor of the Journal of American History.  Her new book,  How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States, was published by Harvard University Press in fall 2002.  It uses the social, cultural and medical history of transsexuality as a window into changing definitions of biological sex, gender, and sexuality in the twentieth century.  This recent work builds on earlier research into the history of women in Women Adrift: Independent Wage Earners in Chicago, 1880-1930 and in her edited volume, Not June Cleaver: Women and Gender in Postwar American, 1945-1960
Meyerowitz is currently teaching an undergraduate seminar on the history of sexuality and also teaches courses on twentieth-century US history and women's and gender history.
     Eric Sandweiss joined the department of History and took over as editor of the Indiana Magazine of History (IMH) last June.  In the past decade, he has taught on an adjunct basis in American Studies, history, and architecture programs while also holding a full-time position as Director of Research at the Missouri Historical Society in St. Louis where he supervised exhibition research and oral-history studies, as well as generally trying to engage a formerly traditional institution in the process of understanding and implementing community change.  His interest in how the experience of self and culture is mediated by space and place has borne itself out in the study of everyday urban spaces and what are more broadly termed “vernacular landscapes.”  He is currently developing courses on the history of American cities and landscapes, on spatial theory and history, and on the theory and practice of public history.  At the same time, he is seeking to maintain the IMH as a vital center for the consideration of history and culture in Indiana and, more generally, in its surrounding regions.
     John Stanfield, newly appointed as Chair of the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies at Indiana University, was Avalon Professor of Sociology and Director of the Morehouse Research Institute at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia and former Chair of the Department of Sociology and formerly on the Yale, UC-Davis, and College of William and Mary faculties prior to joining IU.  His research focuses heavily on developing strategies whereby social science research (most specifically, the epistemologies, theories, and methods employed in such research) can be used to empower disenfranchised communities.  His specialties are the sociology of knowledge, university-community partnerships, racial inequality in healthcare and medicine, comparative studies of the sociology of racism and antiracism, civic engagement in plural communities and societies, comparative historical sociology of race and human sciences, the academic achievement of the oppressed and urban action research.

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Upcoming Events
   The Second Annual Bloomington Eighteenth-Century Workshop, organized by Dror Wahrman (History), will focus on the topic of “Death in the Eighteenth Century: Theory and Practice” this year.  The workshop, to be held from May 21st -24,th features a series of intense, cross-disciplinary discussions of participants’ papers.  (details available at www.indiana.edu/~voltaire/workshop.html).  On March 27,th the “Cultural History Series,” organized by Maria Bucur-Deckard (History), will feature a lecture on “Democracy and the Cultural Memory of WWII in America” by John Bodnar, Chancellor’s Professor of History.  The lecture will be held from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. in Ballantine 004.  Dyan Elliott, Professor of History and Director of Medieval Studies, will conclude the spring series on April 24th.  Her lecture, “The Prostitute, the Mystic, the Inquisitor, and the Law: ‘Daughters of Sin’ and their Judges in Late Medieval France” will be held from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. in Ballantine Hall 004.  The “Seminar on Translation,” organized by Breon Mitchell (Lilly Library) and Sumie Jones (CMLT), will include a lecture by Jay Rubin, Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University, on “Translating Haruki Murakami,” to be held in the Lilly Library Lounge from 4:00 - 5:30 p.m. on April 3rd.  The subsequent day, Rubin will discuss “How NOT to Write a Book on Haruki Murakami” from 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. in BH 004. 
     Later in April, Cultural Studies will join Gender Studies and American Studies in sponsoring a lecture by Purnima Mankekar, Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Stanford University.  Her work explores the affective bases of nationalism and the ways in which the politics of gender, sexuality, family, and ethnicity shape people's ideas about the nation and themselves as citizens.  Her lecture topic, “changing notions of the erotic in post-liberalization India,” will draw from recent  research that focuses on transnational flows within the Third World and the production of South Asian American public cultures.  The lecture will be held on Monday, April 14th from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the Oak Room at the Indiana Memorial Union.  The following day, the American Studies lecture series, “Methods of Engagement: The Political Work of American Studies,” will feature Troy Duster, Professor of Sociology at New York University.  His lecture, “Human Molecular Genetics and the Subject of Race: Contrasting the Rhetoric with the Practice in Medicine and Law,” will be held on Tuesday, April 15th at 4:00 p.m. in Ballantine 005.

Recent Events
     The Cultural Studies program has co-sponsored a number of events since last spring.  It joined the Bloomington Cultural History Workshop to present “FILM/History: A Colloquium” last April.  Organized by Deidre Lynch (English), Dror Wahrman (History), and Jeff Wasserstrom (History), this interdisciplinary colloquium considered the competitions and collaborations that have linked film to history and history to film over the last half-century, interrogating the impact of film on historical 

Recent Events (continued)
discourse.  The colloquium featured papers by James Chandler, Professor of English at the University of Chicago, Tom Keirstead (History and East Asian Languages and Cultures), Deidre Lynch (English), Joss Marsh (English), and Jeff Wasserstrom (History).  This fall, the program co-sponsored a colloquium on “New Paradigms in Asian American Studies” organized by Angela Pao (Comparative Literature); Melanie Castillo-Cullather (director, Asian Culture Center); and Indermohan Virk, a visiting scholar in Sociology.  The invited speakers: Gary Okihiro, Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University; Nancy Abelmann, Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Anthropology, and Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Martin F. Manalansan IV, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; and Lavina Shankar, Professor of English at Bates College, addressed questions of race, ethnicity, gender, and cultural identity that are raised by diasporic and immigrant communities and by transnational perspectives. 
     Cultural Studies also co-sponsored a reading and discussion by the drama critic, performance artist, and novelist, Laurie Stone, this fall.  Author of the novel, Starting with Serge, and the memoir collection, Close to the Bone, Laughing in the Dark, a collection of her writing on comic performance, Stone is also a longtime writer for the Village Voice.  Her visit was organized in conjunction with Joan Hawkins’ (Communication & Culture) course on experimental film, theater and performance art.  In honor of Sylvia Plath’s 70th birthday, the Cultural Studies program joined the School of Fine Arts, the School of Music, the department of English, and other sponsors in commemorating “The Art of Sylvia Plath.”  This international event, organized by Kathleen Connor (English), included: “Eye Rhymes,” the first major exhibition of Plath’s visual art; a 70th year commemoration ceremony featuring a concert with music based on Plath’s Ariel poems; and a literary symposium with Susan Van Dyne, Professor and Chair of Women’s Studies at Smith College, and Diane Middlebrook, writer and Professor of English Emeritus at Stanford University, as keynote speakers.  The Cultural Studies program also participated in the Kinsey Institute’s 2003 series on “Women’s Sexualities: Portrayals and Perspectives” by co-sponsoring a lecture by Linda Williams, chair of Film Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.  Williams’ lecture, “‘White Slavery’ or the ‘Ethnography of Sex Workers’: Women in Stag Films at the Kinsey Archive,” which included a screening of historic stag films from the Kinsey collection and drew a standing-room only crowd, was held in conjunction with the film festival, “Under the Radar: Women in Cinema in the Kinsey Era,” organized by Joan Hawkins.

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Recent Work
    Tom Foster (English) had his book, Transformations of Domesticity in Modern Women’s Writing: Homlessness at Home published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2002.  The book identifies a coherent tradition of women’s writing that transforms domestic ideologies of ‘woman’s place’ by redefining the ideas about space which underlie that ideology, and deconstructing the binary opposition between public and private spheres.  In March, Margaret E. Gray (French & Italian) presented a lecture, “‘Vive la grève!’ Performance, Gender and Labor Practice in Colette’s Music Halls,” at the University of London’s Institute for Romance Studies. Robert Ivie (Communication and Culture) has been selected as the founding editor of Communication and Critical Cultural Studies (see “New Cultural Studies Journal” on this page for more details).  Stephanie Kane (Criminal Justice/Gender Studies) is one of five American scholars invited to participate in the First International Conference on Cultural Criminology, which will be held at the University of London in May.  She will also be traveling to Amsterdam to organize a new Overseas Study Course on “Social Justice International” for undergraduate students in Criminal Justice, Gender Studies, and Anthropology.
     Joanne Meyerowitz (History) has a new book, How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States, published by Harvard University Press in fall 2002.  Her book uses the social, cultural and medical history of transsexuality to re-examine definitions of sex, gender, and sexuality (see “New Cultural Studies Adjuncts” on page two for a brief profile of Meyerowitz).  An article by Radhika Parameswaran (Journalism), “Local Culture in Global Media,” appeared in Communication Theory’s August 2002 issue.  Forthcoming work includes two book chapters titled, “Resuscitating Audience Studies” in Blackwell Research Companion to Media Studies, and “Reading Nancy Drew Books in Urban India” in Defining Print Culture for Youth.  Her article, “Reading Fictions of Romance,” is scheduled to appear in the winter issue of Journal of Communication.  Parameswaran is also working on several projects at the moment.  One project examines Indian beauty queen narratives of success in the media, another focuses on the politics of gender and skin color in Indian media, and the third paper examines journalists’ memories of Sept. 11th. 
     Phaedra Pezzulo (Communication & Culture) is organizing a panel for this year’s NCA Convention titled: “Frightening Food, Sexy Stars, and Indigestion: Essays on Environmental Communication and Popular Culture” (see “New Cultural Studies Adjuncts” on page two for a brief profile of Pezzulo). 
Recent Work (continued)
     William Rasch, Henry H. H. Remak Professor of Germanic Studies, has edited a volume of Niklas Luhmann’s work titled, Theories of Distinction: Redescribing the Descriptions of Modernity, published by Stanford University Press in 2002.  His article, “Human Rights as Geopolitics: Carl Schmitt and the Legal Form of American Supremacy,” is forthcoming this year in Issue #54 of Cultural Critique.  He will also be a Guest Scholar at the Zentrum für Literaturforschung (Center for Research on Literature) in Berlin this June.  Beverly J.  Stoeltje (Anthropology) has recently published a piece titled “Performing Litigation at the Queen Mother’s Court” in Access To Justice: The Role of Court Administrators and Lay Adjudicators in the African and Islamic Contexts, edited by Christina Jones-Pauly and Stefanie Elbern and published by Kluwer Law International.
 

New Cultural Studies Journal at IU
     Robert Ivie (Communication and Culture) will serve as the founding editor of Communication and Critical Cultural Studies, a new cultural studies journal owned by the National Communication Association and published by Routledge.  The journal will feature critical inquiry that cuts across academic boundaries to focus on social, political, and cultural practices from the standpoint of communication.  Promoting critical reflection on the requirements of a more democratic culture by giving attention to subjects such as, but not limited to, class, race, ethnicity, gender, ability, sexuality, polity, public sphere, nation, environment, and globalization, the journal’s editorial board includes Douglas Kellner, Chantal Mouffe, Tony Bennett, Wendy Brown, Stuart Cunningham, Henry Giroux, John Hartley, George Lipsitz, Lynn Spiegel, Robyn Wiegman and others.  The first issue of the journal will appear in March 2004.
 

Cultural Studies Program Review
     A review of the Cultural Studies Program and directorship was completed last spring, which resulted in the re-appointment of Tom Foster as Director of Cultural Studies for another three year term and a modest budget increase for the program.  These funds will be devoted to bringing in an additional lecturer each year.  In fall 2003, the Cultural Studies Program will join American Studies in co-sponsoring a lecture by José Muñoz, Professor of Performance Studies at New York University, who is well-known for his work on the performance artist, Vaginal Davis.  Thanks to those of you who provided the cultural studies review committee with thorough and thoughtful  feedback on the program.

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