Out of Context: Thinking Cultural Studies Diasporically

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Grant Farred


This essay on cultural studies and the African Diaspora argues for a rethinking of cultural studies in two critical ways: firstly, that cultural studies, from its founding institutional and conceptual moment, cannot but be thought diasporically; and, secondly, that cultural studies be thought ‘out of’, or, against, context—that is, cultural studies is most revealing in its political and literary articulation when it is not read, as many of its advocates claim, contextually. This essay offers a broad critique of cultural studies and the (African) diaspora but derives its most cogent and creative argument from its ability to read together the work of two diasporic authors, deracinated South African and Australian writers, J. M. Coetzee and David Malouf.

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Author Biography

Grant Farred, Cornell University

Grant Farred is Professor of Africana Studies and English at Cornell University. He is the general editor of the journal The South Atlantic Quarterly. His most recent books include, What’s My Name? Black Vernacular Intellectuals (2003), Phantom Calls: Race and the Globalization of the NBA (2006) and Long Distance Love: A Passion for Football (2008).