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Cultural Critique

No. 47 (2001) through current issue

Cultural Critique provides a forum for creative and provocative scholarship in the theoretical humanities and humanistic social sciences. Transnational in scope and transdisciplinary in orientation, the journal strives to spark and galvanize intellectual debates as well as to attract and foster critical investigations regarding any aspect of culture as it expresses itself in words, images, and sounds, across both time and space. The journal is especially keen to support scholarship that engages the ways in which cultural production, cultural practices, and cultural forms constitute and manifest the nexus between the aesthetic, the psychic, the economic, the political, and the ethical intended in their widest senses. While informed by the diverse traditions of historical materialism as well as by the numerous critiques of such traditions from various parts of the globe, the journal welcomes contributions based on a variety of theoretical-methodological paradigms.

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Cultural Pluralism, Identity Politics, and the Law

Austin Sarat and Thomas R. Kearns, Editors

We are witnessing in the last decade of the twentieth century more frequent demands by racial and ethnic groups for recognition of their distinctive histories and traditions as well as opportunities to develop and maintain the institutional infrastructure necessary to preserve them. Where it once seemed that the ideal of American citizenship was found in the promise of integration and in the hope that none of us would be singled out for, let alone judged by, our race or ethnicity, today integration, often taken to mean a denial of identity and history for subordinated racial, gender, sexual or ethnic groups, is often rejected, and new terms of inclusion are sought. The essays in Cultural Pluralism, Identity Politics, and the Law ask us to examine carefully the relation of cultural struggle and material transformation and law's role in both. Written by scholars from a variety of disciplines and theoretical inclinations, the essays challenge orthodox understandings of the nature of identity politics and contemporary debates about separatism and assimilation. They ask us to think seriously about the ways law has been, and is, implicated in these debates. The essays address questions such as the challenges posed for notions of legal justice and procedural fairness by cultural pluralism and identity politics, the role played by law in structuring the terms on which recognition, accommodation, and inclusion are accorded to groups in the United States, and how much of accepted notions of law are defined by an ideal of integration and assimilation. The contributors are Elizabeth Clark, Lauren Berlant, Dorothy Roberts, Georg Lipsitz, and Kenneth Karst.

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Cultural Politics

Vol. 8 (2012) through current issue

Cultural Politics is a welcome and innovative addition. In an academic universe already well populated with journals, it is carving out its own unique place—broad and a bit quirky. It likes to leap between the theoretical and the concrete, so that it is never boring and often filled with illuminating glimpses into the intellectual and cultural worlds.” Lawrence Grossberg, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Moving beyond the boundaries of race, gender, and class, Cultural Politics examines the political ramifications of global cultural productions across artistic and academic disciplines. The journal explores precisely what is cultural about politics and what is political about culture by bringing together text and visual art that offer diverse modes of engagement with theory, cultural production, and politics.

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The Culture of the Body

Genealogies of Modernity

Dalia Judovitz

What is the body? How was it culturally constructed, conceived, and cultivated before and after the advent of rationalism and modern science? This interdisciplinary study elaborates a cultural genealogy of the body and its legacies to modernity by tracing its crucial redefinition from a live anatomical entity to disembodied, mechanical and virtual analogs. The study ranges from Baroque, pre-Cartesian interpretations of body and embodiment, to the Cartesian elaboration of ontological difference and mind-body dualism, and it concludes with the parodic and violent aftermath of this legacy to the French Enlightenment. It engages work by philosophical authors such as Montaigne, Descartes and La Mettrie, as well as literary works by d'Urf+, Corneille and the Marquis de Sade. The examination of sexuality and the emergence of sexual difference as a dominant mode of embodiment are central to the book's overall design. The work is informed by philosophical accounts of the body (Nietzsche, Foucault, Merleau-Ponty), by feminist theory (Butler, Irigaray, Bordo), as well as by literary and cultural historians (Scarry, Stewart, Bynum, etc.) and historians of science (Canguilhem, Pagel, and Temkin), among others. It will appeal to scholars of literature, philosophy, French studies, critical theory, feminist theory, cultural historians and historians of science and technology. Dalia Judovitz is Professor of French, Emory University. She is also author of Unpacking Duchamp: Art in Transit and Subjectivity and Representation in Decartes: The Origins of Modernity.

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Culture Works

The Political Economy of Culture

Richard Maxwell

When we read best-selling books, go to movies, visit art museums, go dancing, take in a game, we customarily ignore the political economy that hammers these features of culture into shape; normally, at such times, we’re not thinking about corporate board room votes, lobbyists, public funding for the arts, the end of the Cold War, stock swaps, intellectual property, or the class divisions of public space. This book aims to change that by offering readers a number of ways to link cultural experience to political economy-to become aware of the ways in which political and economic realities and decisions determine the outlines of spaces and activities in everyday life. Unsettling and provocative, Culture Works tears down the imaginary walls separating culture, economics, and politics. Writing across the established borders between anthropology, sociology, art history, economics, communication and media studies, political theory, and performance, the authors seek to show how particular economies and power relations work in familiar and central cultural experiences: art, beer, advertising, dance, sport, shopping, the Web, and media. Their essays provide a series of lucid, critical accounts of various aspects of the political economy of culture and its attendant issues of production, consumption, corporatization, and the struggle for meaning. A refreshing example of a politics of writing and critical thinking that cultural studies and political economic analysis can produce when working together, the result will change the ways in which readers experience, consider, and understand culture works. Contributors: David L. Andrews, U of Maryland; Michael Curtin, Indiana U; Susan G. Davis, U of Illinois; Danielle Fox; Chad Raphael, Santa Clara U; Anna Beatrice Scott, U of California, Riverside; Ben Scott; Inger L. Stole, U of Illinois; Thomas Streeter, U of Vermont. Cultural Politics Series, volume 18

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Curators and Culture

The Museum Movement in America, 1740-1870

Written by Joel Orosz

This volume argues that a small, loosely connected group of men constituted an informal museum movement in America from about 1740 to 1870.

As they formed their pioneer museums, these men were guided not so much by European examples, but rather by the imperatives of the American democratic culture, including the Enlightenment, the simultaneous decline of the respectability and rise of the middle classes, the Age of Egalitarianism, and the advent of professionalism in the sciences. Thus the pre-1870 American museum was neither the frivolous sideshow some critics have imagined, nor the enclave for elitists that others have charged. Instead, the proprietors displayed serious motives and egalitarian aspirations.

The conflicting demands for popular education on the one hand and professionalism on the other were a continuing source of tension in American museums after about 1835, but by 1870 the two claims had synthesized into a rough parity. This synthesis, the "American Compromise," has remained the basic model of museums in America down to the present. Thus, by 1870, the form of the modern American museum as an institution which simultaneously provides popular education and promotes scholarly research was completely developed.

 

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Daisy Bates

Civil Rights Crusader from Arkansas

Daisy Bates (1914-1999) is renowned as the mentor of the Little Rock Nine, the first African Americans to attend Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. For guiding the Nine through one of the most tumultuous civil rights crises of the 1950s, she was selected as Woman of the Year in Education by the Associated Press in 1957 and was the only woman invited to speak at the Lincoln Memorial ceremony in the March on Washington in 1963. But her importance as a historical figure has been overlooked by scholars of the civil rights movement. Daisy Bates: Civil Rights Crusader from Arkansas chronicles her life and political advocacy before, during, and well after the Central High School crisis. An orphan from the Arkansas mill town of Huttig, she eventually rose to the zenith of civil rights action. In 1952, she was elected president of the NAACP in Arkansas and traveled the country speaking on political issues. During the 1960s, she worked as a field organizer for presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson to get out the black vote. Even after a series of strokes, she continued to orchestrate self-help and economic initiatives in Arkansas. Using interviews, archival records, contemporary news-paper accounts, and other materials, author Grif Stockley reconstructs Bates's life and career, revealing her to be a complex, contrary leader of the civil rights movement. Ultimately, Daisy Bates paints a vivid portrait of an ardent, overlooked advocate of social justice. Grif Stockley is a staff attorney of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas. He is the author of several books, including Blood in Their Eyes: The Elaine Race Massacres of 1919, Blind Judgment, Probable Cause, and Expert Testimony. He lives in Little Rock, Arkansas.

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Dancing In The Distraction Factory

Music Television and Popular Culture

Andrew Goodwin

Cultural Studies “Entertaining proof that good sense means good theory, this book is the first to treat music TV as vision and sound. Academically, I had most fun applauding Andrew Goodwin’s elegant skewering of postmodernists; as a rock fan I was constantly startled by Goodwin’s exposes of my most deeply held prejudices. I’m now convinced; there’s much more to MTV than meets the eye.” Simon Frith The John Logie Baird Centre “Dancing in the Distraction Factory is the best study of MTV I have read. At a time when many critics dismiss music videos either as advertisements for interchangeable commodities or as tiny, soundless movies, Goodwin manages both to analyze the business components of this new medium and also to take videos seriously as complex cultural texts involving music, visuals, stars, and much else. Dancing in the Distraction Factory is a smart book; it will have an impact on the debates surrounding popular culture, and also offers a great deal that will interest the pop music fan.” Susan McClary McGill University

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Day of the Dead in the USA

The Migration and Transformation of a Cultural Phenomenon

Regina M. Marchi

The tribute, "el Dia de los Muertos," has become popular since the 1970s when Latino activists and artists in America began expanding "Day of the Dead" north of the border with public, and often artistic, expressions. Regina M. Marchi combines ethnography, historical research, oral history, and cultural analysis to explore the transformations that occur when the tradition is embraced by the mainstream. Day of the Dead in the USA provides insight into the power of ritual to create community, transmit oppositional messages, and advance educational, political, and economic goals.

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Dead Ringers

The Remake in Theory and Practice

Addresses the important role of remakes in film culture, from early cinema to contemporary Hollywood. While the popular press has criticized movie remakes as signs of Hollywood’s collective lack of imagination, the essays in Dead Ringers reveal the centrality and staying power of remakes as a formative genre in filmmaking. The contributors show that the practice of remaking films dates back to the origins of cinema and the evolution of film markets. In fact, remakes were never so prevalent as during the Classic Hollywood period, when filmmaking had achieved its greatest degree of industrialization, and they continue to play a crucial role in the development of film genres generally. Offering a variety of historical, commercial, theoretical, and cultural perspectives on the remake, Dead Ringers is a valuable resource for students of film history and theory, as well as those interested in the cultural politics of the late twentieth century.

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