English | Special Topics in Literary Study and Theory
L680 | 15900 | Bose

L680/C601  15900  BOSE (#6)
Special Topics in Literary Study and Theory

9:30a – 10:45a TR

Cross-listed in the English Department and the Cultural Studies
Program, this course meets the core requirement for the Cultural
Studies Ph.D. minor, but it is also open to any other interested
students. This version of the course will trace the historical
trajectory of Cultural Studies from its founding in 1963 by Richard
Hoggart, the first director of the Birmingham Centre for Cultural
Studies, to its contemporary manifestations. Hoggart initially
conceptualized Cultural Studies as a response to the conservatism of
British literary studies. Cultural Studies was to be an
interdisciplinary venture, combining sociology, anthropology,
history, and, crucially, literary analysis. Over the course of the
next several decades, the discipline became more theoretical and
overtly political, concerned with the role of the state in policing
communities, the relationship between hegemony and mass media, and
on aspects of working class and other resistant
As an interdisciplinary venture, Cultural Studies necessarily has
many associations. For some, it immediately conjures the Birmingham
School, outlined above, which revitalized British Marxism through
its pioneering studies of everyday life, cultural criticism, and
post-industrial Britain. For anthropologists, Cultural Studies is
associated with ethnographies, fieldwork, and the study of
collective life. For those in Fine Arts, Cultural Studies has
articulated visual culture with postmodern and historicist readings.
In History, Cultural Studies has shaped the ways in which scholars
study ideological changes in race, gender, and ethnicity over time.
For media critics and sociologists, Cultural Studies has resulted in
sustained attention to mass culture. These intellectual developments
suggest that an account of the field should consider Cultural
Studies, in the words of Stuart Hall, as “a set of unstable
formations” and methodologies rather than as a unified theoretical
Taking Hall’s formulation as a guide, we will explore what the
term “culture” has meant for scholars, asking what it means to say
that we study a particular text or object (a work of literature, a
political speech, a visual icon, a legal code, a built environment)
as an artifact of culture, as a key to social and/or cognitive ways
of knowing or seeing or behaving. Our course readings, then, will be
eclectic: drawing upon cultural criticism, literary history, Marxist
theory, studies of popular culture and political insurgency, and
even contemporary journalism.   But all of these works broach issues
common to contemporary cultural studies in their concern with: the
forces behind the production and circulation of cultural artifacts
(e.g. films, television programs, romance novels, advertising) and
their meanings; the creation or maintenance of cultural hierarchy
and distinctions of taste and value; the cultural construction of
race, ethnicity, and gender; the visual and spatial dimensions of
everyday experience; and the relationship of private and public
Students should expect to write short weekly essays, make one oral
presentation, and write an 18-20 page seminar paper.		
A tentative list of topics and readings follows:	
"This desire called cultural studies" :Stuart Hall, "Cultural
Studies and Its Theoretical Legacies"; Ang & Stratton, "On the
Impossibility of a Global Cultural Studies; Fredric Jameson, "On
Cultural Studies"; Norma Schulman, “Conditions of their Own Making:
An Intellectual History of the Centre for Contemporary Cultural
Studies at the University of Birmingham,”
Early Influences: Selections from Raymond Williams The Country and
the City, Culture, Marxism and Literature; E. P. Thompson, selection
from The Making of the English Working Class.
Culture and Ideology: Louis Althusser, "Ideology and the
Ideological State Apparatuses"; Karl Marx, selections from The
Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, and Capital; Antonio
Gramsci, selections from The Prison Notebooks; Stuart
Hall, "Gramsci's Relevance for the Study of Race and Ethnicity,"
and "The Problem of Ideology:  Marxism Without Guarantees."
Culture and Anti-colonial Nationalism: Frantz Fanon, selections from
Wretched of the Earth; Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Decolonising the Mind
(suggested reading:  Handel Kashope Wright, “Take Birmingham to the
Curb, Here Comes African Cultural Studies: An Exercise in
Revisionist Historiography,” University of Toronto Quarterly) BCCS,
The Empire Strikes Back: Race and Racism in 70s Britain
"Everyday Life" and the Popular: Dick Hebdige, Subculture:  The
Meaning of StyleMichel de Certeau, selections from The Practice of
Everyday Life ;John Fiske, "Cultural Studies and the Culture of
Everyday Life"; Meaghan Morris, "The Banality of Cultural Studies"
Feminist Critiques and the Politics of Consumption: Janice
Radway, "Mail Order Culture and Its Critics: The Book of the Month
Club, Commodification and Consumption, and the Problem of Cultural
Authority"; Rossalind Brunt, "Engaging with the Popular:  Audiences
for Mass Culture and What to Say About Them"; Laura Kipnis, "(Male)
Desire and (Female) Disgust:  Reading Hustler";
Questions of Race and Nation in Popular Music: Simon Frith, "The
Cultural Study of Popular Music" CS, "Art, Ideology, and Pop
Practice"; Fernando Reyes Matta, "The 'New Song' and Its
Confrontation in Latin America"; Louise Meintjes,"Paul Simon's
Graceland and the Mediation of Musical Meaning".

Space and Cultural Production: Fredric Jameson, "Cognitive
Mapping," "Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism";
Edward Soja, "History, Geography, and Space"; Jody Berland, "Angels
Dancing: Cultural Technologies and the Production of 	Space"; Don
Mitchell, “The People’s Geography Project”

Neo-liberalism and Globalization: Miyoshi Masao, "A Borderless
World: From Colonialism  to Transnationalism and the Decline of the
Nation State"; Arjun Appadurai, “Disjuncture and Difference in
Global Cultural Economy"; George Marcus, “Ethnography in/of the
World System: The Emergence of Multi-Sited Ethnography.”
Annette Fuentes & Barbara Ehrenreich, Women in the Global Factory ;
Jeremy Brecher, Tim Costello, Brendan Smith, Globalization from Below

Cultural Studies Around the World: Ian Ang and Jon Stratton, “On the
Impossibility of a Global Cultural Studies: ‘British Cultural
Studies in an ‘International” Frame”;
Stuart Hall and Kuan-Hsing Chen, “Cultural Studies and the Politics
of Internationalization: An Interview”; Leela Gandhi, “One World:
The Vision of Postnationalism”; John Frow and Meghan
Morris, “Australian Cultural Studies”;	
Keyan Tomaselli, “Reading Stuart Hall in South Africa” .

Case Studies of Indian and Irish Cultural Studies: Vijay
Mishra, 'Towards a Theoretical Critique of Bombay Cinema,'; Rosie
Thomas, 'Sanctity and Scandal: The Mythologization of Mother India,'
and 'Indian Cinema: Pleasures and Popularity,' Purnima Mankekar,
selections from Screening Culture, Viewing Politics; David Lloyd,
Ireland After History; Laura Lyons, “Feminist Articulations of the
Nation: The ‘Dirty’ Women of Armagh and the Discourse of Mother
Ireland”; Liz Curtis, Ireland: The Propaganda War: The British Media
and the Battle for Hearts and Minds.