Remembering our Future: A Practitioner’s Perspective on the ‘Crisis’ in Cultural Studies”
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I teach in something called an open university. Probably this would not be possible were it not for the ground-breaking work of the early practitioners of British Cultural Studies. From its inception, cultural studies was about democratising education, its first proponents were “scholarship boys,” and it drew its political force from the tension between the preoccupations of the academy and the problems of the “outside world.” I write in the spirit of our cultural studies forebears who spoke eloquently about “roads to renewal” and “resources of hope.” In my presentation I argue that, far from having outlived its usefulness, cultural studies --as such-- can be re-energized if we: 1. Re-think what it means to be interdisciplinary. Fragmentation is always a risk but it is doubtful whether matters of global import can be understood within the framework of a single discipline. 2. Renew our commitment to access. While universities are increasingly more cosmopolitan, they are, if anything, less egalitarian than they were thirty years ago. Ordinary people need to be able to equip themselves with the knowledge to critically understand, and hopefully change, their lives and our world.