Cultural Studies | Special Topics in Cultural Studies: Everyday Life and Cultural Studies
C701 | 29765 | Striphas


This graduate seminar is about everyday life as both problem and
possibility for cultural politics.  On the one hand, the humdrum
routines associated with everyday life—waking, bathing, working,
eating, consuming, playing, and resting every single day—may stifle
human creativity and foster complacency.  On the other hand, as Michel
de Certeau, Henri Lefebvre, and others affirm, these very same
routines also can be resources from which innovation might flow, to
the extent that they present opportunities for doing the same thing
all over again . . . but differently.  This course will address this
tension through four principal questions: what is everyday life? how
does everyday life enable and constrain social and political action?
in what ways has cultural studies engaged everyday life? and how might
it continue to do so in ways that resist the field’s becoming
intellectually and politically unimaginative—its becoming, in the
banal sense, everyday?

Roughly the first half to two-thirds of this seminar will be dedicated
to exploring specific theories and practices of everyday life.
Thereafter, we’ll investigate how the field of cultural studies can
find itself subjected to everyday life’s deadening routines.
Specifically, we’ll focus on everyday problems stemming from cultural
studies’ institutionalization and internationalization.  Our aim in
this course, ultimately, is to think through the conditions necessary
to reinvent the project of cultural studies for the 21st century—a
more imaginative, effective, and globally relevant cultural studies
which, with any luck, might help to reinvigorate everyday life as both
theoretical category and domain of human practice.

Books are likely to include: Michel de Certeau, The Practice of
Everyday Life, vol. I; Michael E. Gardiner, Critiques of Everyday
Life; Erving Goffman, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life; Agnes
Heller, Everyday Life; Gary Hall, Digitize This Book!; Henri Lefebvre,
Critique of Everyday Life, vol. II; Henri Lefebvre, Rhythmanalysis;
Meaghan Morris, Identity Anecdotes: Translation and Media Culture; and
Kathleen Stewart, Ordinary Affects.

We also will read essays by Mikhail Bakhtin, Rita Felski, Melissa
Gregg, Lawrence Grossberg, Martin Heidegger, Michèle Mattelart,
Meaghan Morris, Naoki Sakai, Gregory J. Seigworth, Dorothy Smith,
Carolyn Steedman, and Raymond Williams, among possible others.