[csaa-forum] CFP: Cultural Typhoon conference, 3-5 July 2009

Jean Burgess je.burgess at qut.edu.au
Sat Nov 22 08:56:04 CST 2008

Dear colleagues,

Please find below and attached a call for papers for a panel at Cultural Typhoon, Tokyo, July 2009, forwarded by request.


Panel title:

Teaching/producing/designing/analyzing Cultural Studies in the midst of a Global Economic Crisis

The current global financial crisis driven by neoliberal policies, triggered by the subprime mortgage problem in the US has led governments, and consumers to re-think how un-regulated processes of production and consumption have structured our lives and economies. While teaching an introductory cultural studies course to predominantly Australian students in Canberra this year and discussing their consumption patterns informally, it became evident that these students were experiencing budgetary constraints their parents or for that matter, students from a decade ago, did not experience. University students were working to pay for their tertiary education, rent, groceries and gas. There was little to spend on branded goods, and their weekend leisure time was compromised by the necessity to do paid work. Most hardly had time to watch television or read books outside of coursework. As for buying cds, the existence of iTunes and new technologies allowed them to download music for free or next to nothing. Dawdling and socialising on Facebook provided some leisure-time but youth subcultures, at least, judging by students in a middle-class town like Canberra in the new millennium, had become quite tame and boring by comparison to youth subcultures forty years ago. By comparison, the international Asian students in the course who did not have to work part-time, had a different pattern of lifestyle (and consumption) and experienced a richer campus life.

My experience teaching this course led me to ask a few perplexing questions which I pose as possible topics for papers on this panel.

1. du Gay's analysis of the Walkman using Hall's circuit of culture as a cultural studies tool is a useful concept of understanding how representation, identity, production, consumption and regulation are articulated. Yet are cultural studies programs not merely producing more sophisticated future marketers and advertising executives armed with semiotics and psychoanalysis? What happens when consumers are not consuming as much? How does cultural studies, specifically the focus on consumption studies, stay relevant?

2. What is the role of cultural studies particularly in a time when globalisation no longer merely signifies global branding and the issues of sweatshop labour, but also contributes to massive environmental devastation, pollution and economic recession? How do we produce and consume differently?

3. How have or will the effects of the global economic crisis play out in various countries in Asia in terms of its impact on consumption and youth cultures? What possible new or alternative identities can form as a result of learning from the failures of neoliberal economics?
4. Lastly, this panel invites various approaches to these issues: pedagogy, curricula development, theoretical directions and analytical strategies. How do we formulate courses on cultural studies, how do we teach it, produce it in a political fashion that is pertinent to our region, society and era.

Please submit your 500-word abstracts to the panel organiser, gaikcheng.khoo at anu.edu.au. Do include a title, a short biography and email.
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