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[ecrea] Call for Participants: 2013 CSA Seminar What Is/Should Be the Place of Theory in Teaching Cultural Studies?

Tue Mar 12 04:07:47 GMT 2013

2013 Cultural Studies Association
Chicago, May 23-26, 2013

For information about all 2013 CSA seminars, please visit:

Seminar Invitation Open to all Scholars of all Levels:

Title: What Is/Should Be the Place of Theory in Teaching Cultural Studies?

Seminar Directors
Jaafar­ Aksikas
Associate Professor and Director,­ Cultural Studies Program
Columbia College Chicago

Don­ Hedrick
Professor and Director,­ Cultural Studies Program
Kansas State University

Seminar Description
As part of its desire to produce­ “useful knowledge­” (Hall and Grossberg­),­ “organic intellectuals­” (Hall­),­ and­ “intellectual activists­” (Ross­),­ Cultural Studies has been committed to theoretical work,­ not to theory for theory's sake.­ Stuart Hall,­ and Marx before him,­ describes this as a­ “detour through theory­” necessarily moving across multiple levels of abstraction while always grounded in concrete actual historical conjunctures and real social formations.

This seminar will ask how the field­’s relationship to­ “theory­” plays out in the classroom.­  In this light,­ we will look at some common objects of study,­ “theories­” to be applied to these,­ teaching practices and assignments,­ institutional constraints and opportunities,­ of course all in relation to and in the context of our current historical conjuncture.­  We will look for exemplary practices as well as challenges in the classroom,­ not for a competition of theories or paradigms,­ but to produce useful understanding in and useful research from and with our students.­

Below are some prompt questions for us,­ not intended to be limiting or exclusive:­

    Should Cultural Studies acknowledge a dominant or foundational theoretical paradigm in teaching­?
    What should be the place of­ “political­” theories and approaches,­ such as Marxism,­ feminism,­ queer theory,­ postcolonialism,­ disability studies,­ or environmentalism?
    What should be the place of more­ “philosophical­” theories and approaches,­ such as semiotics,­ phenomenology,­ hermeneutics,­ pragmatism,­ deconstruction,­ structuralism and poststructuralism­?
    What should be the place of traditional institutional disciplines,­ such as literature,­ philosophy,­ sociology,­ anthropology,­ history,­ and other fields­?  Is there a need to go beyond such disciplines,­ promoting ìinterdisciplinarity­?
    What is the need for "coverage­” or representation,­ whether of theoreticians,­ approaches,­ or specific readings­?
    To what extent and how do we introduce the­ “concepts­” of theory­?
    What is the place of theory for different levels:­ non-major,­ undergraduate,­ and graduate­?
    What resources do we have for teaching theory­?
    Why take a detour at all­?  What would it be like to­ “skip­” theory­?

Selected participants will be requested to send a­ 1-2­ page position paper describing their specific interest,­ position on a question,­ or relevant classroom practice to both co-directors,­ by May­ 15,­ 2013.­ To keep the conversation focused,­ we will only consider common questions and approaches emerging from the position papers.
Application Process

For inclusion in the group,­ interested scholars should email both co-directors­ ((Jaksikas /at/­ and­(hedrick /at/­) with a short­ (100­ word max­) statement about themselves and their particular interest or focus in the seminar.

Jaafar Aksikas, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Director,
Cultural Studies Program
Humanities, History,&  Social Sciences
Vice President, Cultural Studies Association (USA)
Editor, _Cultural Landscapes_
Columbia College Chicago
624 S Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60605, USA

p. 312-369-8667
f. 312-369-8061

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