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FA YE PICK REM AND LINDA HUTCHEON Introduction 'Cultural studies' - What is it? Who does it? Is it the transformed postn1odern face of the Humanities for the 1990s? Or does it sound the death-knell for discrete disciplinary-knowledge as we have cmne to know it? Is it the primary example of the politicization of the academy? Or does it represent a depoliticized love affair with popular culture? Is it shnply the latest fad - an hnport, this time froIn Britain, not France? Or does its focus on interdisciplinarity and Inass culture position it on the cutting edge of exciting and important new thinking about the academy and the role of those who teach and learn in it? As a way into these and other questions this issue of the University of Toronto Quarterly hopes to address (though not answer), let us start with an analogy, one dressed in the legal tenninology of the 'reasonable man.' In England, he is 'the common lnan on the Clapham omnibus.' Yet when the reasonable man moves to North America, he is transformed into 'the Inall mowing his lawn in his shirtsleeves, who takes the Inagazines at home.' This shift in legal definition may initially appear as an odd comparison, but the issues it raises are directly related to those of the definition of cultural studies in Canada today, for this ~reasonable Ulan' is very falniliar in another set of clothes - as the 'corrunon man,' the object of cultural study in 'everyday life.' This reasonable man also carries with him much of the same baggage as does 'cultural studies,' at least when they travel across the ocean and land on another continent. Packed in their luggage is a series of debates, queries, and tensions that arguably becon1e even more open-ended when they land in Canada. Nestled in al110ng the comfortable assumptions and uncomfortable contairunent of tenns like 'cultural studies' and the 'reasonable man' is a set of issues that demands to be unpacked, stopped at the border, and examined - not with a view to censorship or state control, as in the recent case of Little Sisters Bookshop and Canadian Customs, but more in ways that might allow cultural studies to be what Alice Jardine, speaking of felninism, refers to as ~a philosophy of questions.' In current legal debates, it is precisely questions as to the iU1plied nonns concealed in the concept of the reasonable man that are being raised. This ostensible everyman who either 'rides the omnibus' or 'takes the magazines ' is now generally understood to represent a limited (white, lnale, [JNIVERSITY OF TORONTO QUARTERLY, VOLUME 64, NUMDER 4, FALL 1995 482 FAYE P[CKREM AND LINDA HUTCHEON heterosexual) idea of the individual. Similarly, notions of what is reasonable and according to whom are being taken into consideration. Yet even legal definitions cannot quite contain the reasonable man, for when he hnmigrates from the worku1g-dass suburbs of London to North Alnerica, he also moves class ever so subtly - from an indistinguishable omnibus-rider to a Inodest honle-owner, manfully rolling up his sleeves to do the manual labour of marking out his territory with lawn-mowing. Let's move hhn again, this tiIne finnly onto the son1ewhat overgrown lawns of cultural studies, and specifically cultural studies in Canada. What does cultural studies want with hitn? For one thing, it wants to know where the reasonable women, Native, African, or Asian Canadians are (although, to some degree, these questions are latecomers to traditional cultural studies debates), It is interested in their class, their historical construction, their 'hailing' or erasure as subjects. It wants to know their ethllicity, their sexual orientation, and what happens when an individual (or a concept like 'cultural studies') is seelningly effortlessly transposed frolll the cultural logic and illogicalities of a specific time and place to those of another context. Yet these questions can be turned back on themselves as well. Whose version of cultural studies, for example, is being referred to here? Is cultural studies merely a voyeuristic, self-indulgent, relevance-seeking enterprise? Or is it a profoundly engaged Inodel of political intervention? Is its ideal location within the academy, on its margins, or outside it? And what is 'cultural...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 481-484
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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