Stuart Hall conceptualized his time at the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies as a series of interruptions. It was this fluidity that gave rise to Hall’s conception of cultural studies as a ‘moving target’, a fusion of a range of disciplinary approaches that was uniquely influenced by politics in the world beyond the academy. The political commitments of those at the Centre were wide-ranging and, from its embrace of collective ways of research and decision-making to its deployment of various strands of European Marxist theory, had a critical impact on the Centre’s working practices. Yet as the diverse work of many of these same scholars has shown, the political climate of the present-day is almost unrecognizable from that of the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s, arguably the most productive period in the Centre’s history.
Cultural Studies 50 Years On explores how the political, social and cultural contexts of the early 21st century influenced the object and method of doing cultural studies. In bringing together a historical reassessment of the Centre with present-day questions regarding the future of the field the aim is not to reduce cultural studies to the work of a single, now-defunct institution. Instead it aims to utilize what is a critical moment in the trajectory of the field in order to take stock of where it has come from and to explore where it might be going.
Introduction: Cultural Studies 50 Years on, Kieran Connell and Matthew Hilton / Part I: Situating the Centre / 1. The Lost World of Cultural Studies: An Intellectual History, Dennis Dworkin / 2. Conjuncture and the Politics of Knowledge – CCCS, 1968-1984, Geoff Eley / 3. Cultural Studies at Birmingham 1985-2002 – The Last Decade, Ann Gray / 4. Cultural Studies on the Margins: the CCCS in Birmingham and Beyond, Kieran Connell and Matthew Hilton / Part II: Pedagogy and Practices / 5. 'Reading for tone'; Searching for Method and Meaning , Ros Brunt / 6. Hierarchies and Beyond? Staff, Students and the Making of Cultural Studies in Birmingham, John Clarke / 7. Theory, Politics and Practice: Then and Now, Tony Jefferson / 8. Seeking Interdisciplinarity: The Promise and Premise of Cultural Studies, Larry Grossberg / Part III: Politics / 9. The Centre’s Marxism(s): ‘A little Modest Work of Reconstruction’?, Gregor McLennan / 10. CCCS and the Disturbance that was Feminism, Maureen McNeil / 11. Feminism and Cultural Studies: 50 Years On, Jackie Stacey / 12. CCCS – a Political Legacy?, Richard Johnson / Part IV: Trajectories and Boundaries / 13. Disciplinary Crimes Under the Volcano, Iain Chambers and Lidia Curti / 14. “To Tell a Better Story”: The Curious Incidence of Conjunctural Analysis, Mikko Lehtonen / 15. Cultural Studies Untamed and Re-imagined, Keyan Tomaselli /16. Entering into the Expressway of Cultural Studies: Practices in China’, Huang Zhuo-yue/ Part V: Dialogues and Practices / 17. Action Not Words: Neighbourhood Activism and Cultural Studies , Chas Critcher / 18. Cultural Studies and Channel 4 Television: A Moment of Conjuncture, Dorothy Hobson / 19. Cultural Studies Conquered the Midwest and Took me to London Fashion History, Becky Conekin / 20. On Not Being at CCCS, Jo Littler / Part VI: Interview with Stuart Hall / 21. Stuart Hall interviewed by Kieran Connell / Index
In this thoughtful and wide-ranging collection, Kieran Connell and Matthew Hilton have brought together leading practitioners and first-rate scholars in the field of cultural studies to reflect on and chart the important histories, legacies, practices, and politics of the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies and with it the whole radical intellectual project of cultural studies. The outcome is a vital, illuminating, and robust intervention that no scholar or student interested in the past, present, and future of cultural studies can afford to ignore!
If you care about the history of cultural studies, then you need this book.
If you care about the current state of cultural studies, then you need this book.
If you care about the future of cultural studies, then you need this book.
Kieran Connell is a Lecturer in Contemporary British History at Queen’s University Belfast. He has published on subjects including race, immigration, photography and the New Left in post-war Britain and has co-curated exhibitions on the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies and the photographs of Janet Mendelsohn. Previously he worked at the Open University and the University of Birmingham.
Matthew Hilton is Professor of Social History at the University of Birmingham. He is the author of several books including Smoking in British Popular Culture (Manchester, 2000), Prosperity for All: Consumer Activism in an Era of Globalisation (Cornell, 2009) and The Politics of Expertise: How NGOs Shaped Modern Britain (Oxford, 2013). He is an editor of Past and Present and is currently researching the history of humanitarianism and international aid and development.