Cultural Studies 101: Canonical, Mystificatory and Elitist?

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Graeme Turner


This article draws on the contributions and responses to a panel on teaching presented at the 2007 conference of the Cultural Studies Association of Australasia in order to raise some questions about the current state of the teaching of cultural studies in Australia. It presents an, admittedly personal, account which suggests that cultural studies is in danger of becoming the kind of discipline it was originally developed to displace: one that reproduces a canon of privileged sources, that presents its knowledges in ways which foreground their discursive complexity rather than their usefulness, and that appears not to sufficiently value the experiences its students bring with them to the classroom. Locating these as grounded within larger institutional shifts as well as within a particular disciplinary history, the article sets out to initiate a conversation about something that has been pushed to the background in recent years: how we teach cultural studies.

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Author Biography

Graeme Turner, University of Queensland

Graeme Turner is ARC Federation Fellow, Professor of Cultural Studies and Director of the Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies at the University of Queensland. He is also the convenor of the ARC Cultural Research Network. His most recent publications include articles in Cultural Politics, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies and Media International Australia. He is currently co-editing, with Jinna Tay, Television Studies after TV: Understanding Television in the Post-broadcast Era, for publication in 2009, and working on a book titled The Demotic Turn: Changing Modes of Media Consumption and Production also to be published in 2009.