• The Impossibility of Teaching Cultural Studies

    Gil Rodman (see profile)
    Cultural Studies
    Teaching, Critical pedagogy
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    Book chapter
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    "When I said that part of what the Centre was about was trying to produce organic intellectual work, I of course had the question of pedagogy essentially in mind." -- Stuart Hall, "Cultural Studies and Its Theoretical Legacies" Those of us in the academy who call cultural studies "home" often claim that one of the main things we do is to teach cultural studies to other people. And, the vast majority of the time, that claim is simply wrong. As its title suggests, this essay is a polemic on the impossibility of teaching cultural studies. While recognizing that critical pedagogy is one of cultural studies' most important tasks, I argue that cultural studies itself is not something that people can be taught to do. Among other things, this essay examines: * the structural and institutional barriers that prevent us from teaching undergraduates what cultural studies is in any meaningful way, * the logistical and definitional problems that undercut our ability to teach graduate students how to do cultural studies themselves, and * the pedagogical and political issues that stand in the way of teaching anyone to become cultural studies practitioners. As a project that changes its shape dramatically across both space and time, cultural studies resists our efforts to squeeze it into traditional syllabi or lesson plans. As both an intellectual and a political project, cultural studies defies even the sharpest teacher's ability to train other people in its practice.
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    Last Updated:
    4 years ago
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