Cultural Studies >> Newsletters >> Spring 2004 Newsletter

Cultural Studies
Newsletter, Vol. 9
   Spring 2004

Issue Contents

Cultural Studies/American Studies Conference

Upcoming Events

Recent Work

CS Graduate Assistant

CCCS Journal at IU

Recent Events


     The Cultural Studies Program and the American Studies Program are co-sponsoring a conference on “Empire” from April 9-10th.  The conference will think through the organization and practices of empire, historically and comparatively, focusing in on specific issues that are raised by the present historical moment.  Cynthia Enloe, Research Professor in the Government Department at Clark University, will open the conference on Friday evening with a keynote address, “Feminists Explore How Empires are Created and Sustained: Shedding Light on the U.S. Occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.”  Professor Enloe specializes in the politics of globalization with a particular eye to processes of militarization and the forms of masculinity they privilege.  The conference will continue on Saturday, April 10th with two roundtable discussions featuring several invited speakers and Indiana University faculty members as panelists.  The first session, “Imperial Projects,” will feature invited speakers, Stephanie Foote, Professor of English, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Cris Mayo, Professor of Educational Policy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Pat Brantlinger (English), Radhika Parameswaran (Journalism), and Nazif Shahrani (Near Eastern Languages & Cultures and Islamic Studies) as panelists.  The second session, “Thinking Empire,” will feature invited speaker Barbara Foley, Professor of English at Rutger’s University at Newark, and Purnima Bose (English), Nick Cullather (History), and Christiana Ochoa (School of Law) as panelists. 

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"Empire" Conference (continued
     The conference will begin on Friday, April 9th. At 6:45 p.m., just prior to the keynote address, there will be a short reception (including beverages and hors-d’oeuvres) in Ballantine 004.  The keynote address by Cynthia Enloe will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Ballantine Hall 109.  Then, on Saturday, April 10th, two roundtable sessions will be held at the President’s Room in the University Club at the Indiana Memorial Union.  These sessions will begin at 9:30 a.m. and continue until 4:00 p.m. (with a break for a complimentary buffet lunch).  If you plan to attend, please complete the electronic registration page on our web site (, the registration form (on page five), or e-mail this info to before April 2nd. 
     The topic of this year’s conference registers a growing sense of intellectual and political urgency in thinking the organization and practices of empire, historically, comparatively, and with respect to the vision of a "New American Century" that now governs the Bush administration's policies.  Today we arguably confront a novel situation, in which an unrivaled U.S. imperial power aspires to the domination of a post-Cold War, "unipolar" world.  The conference will emphasize some of the specific issues raised by the present historical circumstances, as well as the lines of historical inquiry (and the modes of historiography) that are, in various ways, urged or informed by the dangers of the contemporary moment. 
     The first panel, Imperial Projects, will focus on the diverse practices and forms within which global power is instantiated.  This diversity acknowledges the displacement of imperialism away from direct occupation and settlement onto more indirect forms of neoimperial economic exploitation or cultural marketing, influence, and appropriation, but it also foregrounds the continuing linkages between such contemporary practices and colonial histories, which form the necessary precondition for the present moment and which survive in often suprising ways, including ethnic conflicts or global/local struggles within the United States and other first-world countries. 
          The second panel, Thinking Imperialism, will focus on conceptual challenges posed by the historical displacements imperialism has undergone and the 
circuitous and indirect routes that lead from the history of colonialism to the present moment, in the aftermath of decolonization movements, the collapse of Cold War oppositions and the three worlds model, the emergence of global economic institutions like the IMF to mediate the gap between over- and underdeveloped nations, and the increasing dominance of transnational informational and monetary flows.  In what ways can these developments be related under the rubric of "empire," and do they mark a structural shift in the nature of both imperialism and capitalism that requires us to rethink the intellectual traditions of Marxism and post-colonial theory, as Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri suggest?  How can we think the totality of a decentralized new world system?  What is the relation between globalization's deterritorialized forms and the territorial sovereignty of state power? 
     The conference papers and commentary are likely to engage a wide array of topics within these two areas, including the interplay of neoconservative and neoliberal policies; the relation of the state and of state functionaries to multinational capital and to the military industrial complex; transformations in the political culture of the U.S. (e.g., the crisis of electoral politics and of the two-party system); the United Nations, NGOs, and the status of multilateralism; cultural diplomacy as an arm of U.S. foreign policy; legacies of earlier imperial and colonial formations (e.g., enforced uneven development); counter-imperial formations (diasporic culture; new ethnicities; solidarity movements; alternative globalization; temporary autonomous zones); academic knowledge production and the state (e.g., Cold-War era area studies; House Bill 3077); information technologies and global division of labor; the relation between late capitalism's decentralized, "disorganized organization" and concentrations of state power.  We hope you will join keynote speaker, Cynthia Enloe; invited speakers, Barbara Foley, Stephanie Foote, and Cris Mayo; and Indiana University faculty and graduate students in addressing these issues.

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Professor Ranu Samantrai to teach C601 Intro to Cultural Studies in Fall 
     Professor Ranu Samantrai, newly hired by the English Department, will be teaching C601, Introduction to Cultural Studies, a survey of main issues, theories, and methods in cultural studies when she joins IU in fall 2004.  Prof. Samantrai is currently Chair and Associate Professor of Cultural Studies at Claremont Graduate University.  She specializes in diaspora cultures, immigration, nationalism; twentieth-century intellectual history; feminist theory and gender studies; postcolonial theory and Anglophone literature; post-war British literature and culture; and American ethnic literatures and cultures.  Her recently published AlterNatives: Feminism in Post-Imperial England is an examination of the conflicts between feminist and minority cultural communities in plural societies.  Prof. Samantrai’s version of C601 will introduce students to the history of twentieth-century cultural theory and some of the breadth of contemporary cultural studies, examining both the methods and objects of cultural studies scholarship.  A required course for the cultural studies minor, C601 is taught by cultural studies adjuncts from a number of departments and is offered each semester.  This semester, C601 is being taught by Tom Foster, Director of the Cultural Studies Program and Associate Professor of English.

Upcoming Events
      The Cultural Studies Program will join the Department of French & Italian and others in co-sponsoring a lecture by Lawrence Schehr, Professor of French, Comparative Literature, Gender and Women’s Studies, and Theory and Interpretive Criticism at the University of Illinois at Urbana.  His lecture, titled  "Gay Pride and The Mo(u)rning of September 11th," will focus on reactions in the international gay press, including the French and Italian, to the terrorist attacks on American soil.  It will be held on Wednesday, April 7th at 5:00 p.m. in Woodburn Hall 121.  His visit is being organized by Margaret E. Gray (French & Italian). 

Upcoming Events (continued)
    On Monday, April 12th, we will join the Department of Spanish and Portuguese in co-sponsoring a lecture by Jordi Marí, Associate Professor at North Carolina State University.  A scholar of 20th- century Spanish literature, film and culture, Marí is currently at work on an interdisciplinary project on the cultural politics of the “destape”, the sexual revolution that took place in the early years of Spain’s transition to democracy.  His lecture topic,“Eroticism and Ideology in the Spanish Transition” grows out of this new project.  The lecture will be held at 5:15 p.m. in Ballantine Hall 004 on the 12th. 
     The IU Department of Communication and Culture, the American Studies Program, and the Cultural Studies Program will be sponsoring a visit by Professor Dick Hebdige on Monday, April 19 and Tuesday, April 20, 2004.  Dick Hebdige, Director of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center and a professor in the Art and Film Studies Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara, will be doing two multimedia presentations while he's visiting (exact times and places to be announced).  The first is entitled, "Becoming Animal: Race, Terror, and the American Roots."  The lecture considers the role and significance of animal references and animal impersonation in early 20th century burlesque, 1970s punk, and, most especially, 1950s country, R&B and rockabilly recordings.  Country and rockabilly are interpreted as peculiarly American forms of vernacular modernism that bring together black and white musical and cultural traditions at a particularly explosive time in the history of U.S. race relations, immediately prior to the rise of the civil rights movement.  The second is entitled, "Even Unto Death: Improvisation, Edging, and Enframement" and explores the role of improvisation in American life from mid-20th century jazz, religious expression, and action painting to free-style rap, the contemporary anti-globalization movement, and the "Eureka" moment in scientific discovery.  The ability to improvise and innovate is one of the most commonly noted signs of creative intelligence, but what exactly is it, how does it function, and can it be taught?  For further information on his visit, contact Barbara Klinger (Communication & Culture/Film Studies).

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Recent Work
   Patrick Brantlinger (English) taught CULS C601, Introduction to Cultural Studies, last fall with an emphasis on a couple of emergent areas in Cultural Studies: so-called "science studies," including "informatics," and globalization.  His latest book, Dark Vanishings: Discourse on the Extinction of Primitive Races, 1800-1930, is now out from Cornell University Press.  He also co-edited, with former Indiana University Ph.D., William Thesing, the Blackwell Companion to the Victorian Novel.  In December, Brantlinger gave a keynote lecture at a conference on "benevolence" (or humanitarianism) and empire, sponsored by the Postcolonial Studies Unit at the University of Queensland in Australia. 
   Joan Hawkins (Communication & Culture) published an article, "Midnight Sex-Horror Movies and the Downtown Avant-garde," in Defining Cult Movies: The Cultural Politics of Oppositional Taste, a collection edited by Mark Jancovich, Antonio Lazaro Reboll, Julian Stringer and Andrew Willis and published by Manchester University Press in 2003.  She presented a conference paper on "Trash and Transgression: Gross-Out Aesthetics and the Late 70s Avant-garde," at the MLA Conference in San Diego in December and a paper on "American Studies as Area Studies: The State Dept. American Writers Website" at the American Studies Association Annual Conference in Hartford in October.  Hawkins is currently working on a book on Todd Haynes. 
   Robert Ivie (Communication & Culture) was invited to present a paper on democratic dissent at the international colloquium on democracy and censorship, held in Piran, Slovenia, April 15-17 this year.  The conference is sponsored by the European Institute for Communication and Culture.  Ivie is one of six Americans among the twenty scholars invited to participate in the colloquium.  The others are from Germany, Finland, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Estonia, Sweden, Peru, India, Cuba, Slovenia, Netherlands, and England. 
   Angela Pao (Comparative Literature) has an article titled, "False Accents: Embodied Dialects and the Characterization of Ethnicity and Nationality,” forthcoming in the March 2004 issue of Theatre TopicsRadhika Parameswaran's book chapters, "Resuscitating feminist audience studies: The politics of representation and resistance" and "Reading Nancy Drew in urban India: Nostalgia, gender, and postcolonialism" were published in
Recent Work (continued)
early fall 2003. Her paper "Global queens, national celebrities: Tales of feminine triumph in post-liberalization India" won a first place faculty paper award (Cultural Studies Division) at the August 2003 annual convention of the Association for Educators in Journalism and Mass Communication. 
     Phaedra Pezzullo (Communication & Culture) is a session leader at this year’s “Crossroads in Cultural Studies” Conference to be held at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign June 25th-28th.  Her panel, “The Popularity of Nature,” will examine the intersections of popular culture and “nature,” considering why some representations of “nature” and environmental struggles become popular and also evaluating the effects of this popularity on environmental activism.  Eric Sandweiss (History) received a research grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts for his project, "America in Color:  Charles Cushman's Journey through the Twentieth-Century Landscape."  You can visit the Charles Cushman website (a searchable archive of more than 14,000 color photographs, created by the IU Archives and IU Digital Library) at

Opening for Graduate Assistant with Cultural Studies Program
      The Cultural Studies Program is currently accepting applications for the position of Graduate Assistant for the 2004-5 academic year.  The Graduate Assistant is paid a yearly stipend through the graduate work study program for approximately 10 hours per week (25% FTE).  Primary duties include: administrative upkeep for the Cultural Studies Program (e-mail, campus mail, and program web site); generating course listings as the Cultural Studies scheduling officer; organizing annual conference (travel and lodging arrangements for invited speakers, catering and room set-up, publicity); and composing and publishing the annual newsletter.  Interested graduate students should submit a cover letter explaining their interest in, and qualifications for, the position (including academic interests); and a resume to the Cultural Studies Program, 419 Ballantine Hall, by April 20th.  If you have further questions about the position, contact Laura Shackelford, the program’s current Graduate Assistant, at 

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Communication & Critical/Cultural Studies Journal Publishes First Issue 
    Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, the new interterdisciplinary and international quarterly journal, edited by Robert Ivie, Professor of Communication & Culture at Indiana University, published its first issue this March.  Among the authors appearing in its initial issue are John Lucaites (Communication & Culture ), Douglas Kellner, Henry Giroux, and Barbie Zelizer.  CCCS features critical inquiry that cuts across academic boundaries to focus on social, political, and cultural practices reflecting on the requirements of a more democratic culture.  Information about its editorial policies and board, submission procedures, and subscription is available from Routledge at

"Crossroads in Cultural Studies" Conference
     The fifth international “Crossroads in Cultural Studies” conference, sponsored by the Association for Cultural Studies, will be held at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign between June 25th and 28th this year.  The conference will feature Lawrence Grossberg, Morris Davis Professor of Communications and Cultural Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Meaghan Morris, Professor and Chair of the Department of Cultural Studies at Lingnan University in Hong Kong, as keynote speakers.  Cultural Studies adjunct, Phaedra Pezzullo (Communication & Culture) is session leader for a panel on “The Popularity of Nature” this year.  A full conference schedule and registration information are available on the conference web site at

Two New Hires in CMCL
     The Department of Communication and Culture has recently hired Mary Gray to start in fall 2004.  She received her doctoral degree in Communication from the University of California at San Diego.  Her dissertation focused on "Coming of Age in a Digital Era: Youth Queering Technologies in the Rural U.S."  She is also the author of In Your Face: Stories From the Lives of Queer Youth, published by Haworth Press in 1999.  Ted Striphas, currently teaching at Ohio State University, will also be joining the department of Communication and Culture next Fall.  His research and teaching interests include work on the media ranging from the history of the book to new media such as the internet.  He has published articles on Oprah's Book Club and the impact of Borders and Barnes and Noble on consumer culture among other topics.

Recent Events
     Last April, the Cultural Studies Program joined the departments of Anthropology, Religious Studies, History, Art History, Horizons of  Knowledge, and others in co-sponsoring a lecture by Professor Lucette Valensi, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris).  Professor Emerita Lucette Valensi is an internationally known scholar with an expertise in the social history of Muslim societies.  In her lecture, "The Flight Into Egypt: Christian and Muslim Traditions," Prof. Valensi discussed her most recent book, The Flight Into Egypt, a comparative cultural analysis of the myth of the Holy Family's flight into Egypt, and the episode of Jesus' infancy.  The episode, briefly mentioned in the Gospels, became popular in both Christian and Muslim literary and artistic traditions over the centuries.  Prof. Valensi’s visit was organized by Cultural Studies adjunct, Joelle Bahloul (Anthropology). 
     In the fall, the Cultural Studies Program joined the Department of Spanish & Portuguese, Horizons of Knowledge and others in bringing Jo Labanyi, Professor of Spanish and Cultural Studies and Director of the Centre for Transnational Studies at the University of Southampton, to speak.  A pioneer of Spanish Cultural Studies, Professor Labanyi lectured on “Memory, Things, and the Limits of Subjectivity” on Tuesday, September 16th.  Her visit was organized by Melissa Dinverno (Spanish & Portuguese) and Maryellen Bieder (Spanish & Portuguese). 
     Cultural Studies also contributed to a lecture, on October 17th, by Professor Manuela Ribeiro Sanches of the University of Lisbon, a visiting scholar in the Department of Comparative Literature this year.  Her lecture, “‘Where’ is the Post-Colonial? In-Betweenness, Identity, and “Lusophonia” in Trans/National Contexts,” examined theories of the post-colonial from the vantage of Portugal, thinking through the ways in which the postcolonial is understood in contemporary Portugal and the influence these understandings have on the reception of post-colonial studies in "Lusophone" contexts. 
    Later in the fall, the Cultural Studies Program joined American Studies in co-sponsoring a visit by José Muñoz, Professor of Performance Studies at New York University, on October 23rd.  In in his lecture, “Cruising Utopia: Notes on Queer Futurity,” Muñoz considered the utopian kernal in queer art and public culture in New York City before the “official” birth of the lesbian and gay movement.


Thomas Foster, Dir., Cultural Studies Program, 468 Ballantine Hall (855-5546), e-mail: 
web site: 
Cultural Studies Office, 419 Ballantine Hall (855-0088), 
e-mail: Laura Shackelford, Graduate Assistant

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