[csaa-forum] Cultural studies in Australia

Simon During simond at jhu.edu
Sat Aug 27 08:00:45 CST 2005

Hi y'all:
Could I just say that as far as I am concerned it's great to see that quote
from my book serve as the beginning of a discussion about creative
industries and cultural studies etc.. But if anyone wants to get a real
sense of where it stands on issues like populism,  Hartley, creative
industries, the cultural studies discipline etc they probably need to read
the whole thing through. And I don't think people will find it coming from
where they'd anticipate if all they've read is those few sentences (which
isn't all it gets to say about cultural studies in Australia either‹and
while I am at it let me give a plug here and now for The Cultural Studies
Review which obviously belongs to a whole other world than the one gestured
at in those remarks.).  By the by: Cultural Studies: a critical introduction
was written as a textbook, not an introductory one, with a very strict word
limit and it's a bit unusual in that it doesn't so much try neutrally to
explain stuff to students and readers as to engage them head on.
But maybe I can try to move the discussion forward in a slightly different
direction.  I remember going to the first CSAA meeting, I don't recall the
exact year (1991?) but I think it was held at the campus of Western Sydney.
Pretty much everyone who had been involved in getting the field going in
Australia were there, and at its centre was the group of people who had done
most to get it off the ground and who were recognised as having made the
strongest intellectual contributions up to that point: people like Meaghan
Morris, John Frow, Tony Bennett, Graeme Turner, Stephen Muecke, John
Hartley....  And as soon as I recall that event I begin to wonder about what
has happened to all those people and about the kinds of work they do now. Am
I right in saying that, while all are still academically active, only John
and Graeme work today in anything like mainstream cultural studies in
Australia, and neither of them (I think they'd agree) are involved in the
more theoretical (or philisophical), critical, politically engaged strands
of the field?  Does that matter?  Is it a sign of anything?   If so, what's
it a sign of?

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