What Matters for Cultural Studies?
Co-presented with the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies and the Cultural Studies Association of Australia
This panel of distinguished figures in Cultural Studies have all directed critical attention to this question – what matters for Cultural Studies? We have brought them together to focus on reinvigorating what cultural studies can do today, and to discuss what matters for cultural studies, now and into the future? Cultural studies has a long history of investigating material practices – indeed it was a founding tenet of British cultural studies – but recently a new turn or return to materialism seems to be emerging in the field. What this materiality now means is still open, but we suggest that it flags a renewed interest in questions of how to study cultural objects, institutions and practices (methods), what constitutes matter and materiality (empiricism), and how things (humans and non-humans) are being reworked at a time of global economic, environmental and cultural flux.
Elspeth Probyn has taught media studies, sociology, and literature in Canada and the US, and is now the Professor of Gender & Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney. She serves on the editorial boards of seventeen international journals across the fields of geography, cultural theory, media, cultural and gender studies, and the sociology of agriculture. Her work focuses on questions of identity, material, and cultural practices. Her current research brings together her interests in a new way – focusing on questions of food security, she is bridging paradigms of production and consumption through the study of fish, fishing and fishers globally and in regional Australia
Ien Ang is Distinguished Professor of Cultural Studies and the Founding Director of the Institute for Culture and Society (formerly Centre for Cultural Research) at the University of Western Sydney. Among her books are Watching Dallas (1985), Desperately Seeking the Audience (1991) and On Not Speaking Chinese: Living Between Asia and the West (2001). In the past decade she has conducted a range of collaborative projects in partnership with cultural institutions and government agencies, which has resulted, most recently, in the edited collection The Art of Engagement: Culture, Collaboration, Innovation (2011). She is an elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.
Tony Bennett is Research Professor in Social and Cultural Theory and Research Director in the Institute for Culture and Society at the University of Western Sydney. He is a Visiting Research Professor at the Open University, and a member of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. His recent books include Critical Trajectories: Culture, Society, Intellectuals (2007), Culture, Class, Distinction (2009 [co-author]) and Material Powers (2010, co-editor).
Stuart Cunningham is Distinguished Professor of Media and Communications, Queensland University of Technology, and Director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation. He is one of Australia’s most prominent media and cultural policy scholars. His recent work includes the single-authored What Price a Creative Economy? (2006); In the Vernacular: A Generation of Cultural Criticism and Controversy (2008); and Hidden Innovation: Policy, Industry and the Creative Sector (forthcoming, 2013). It also includes co-authored and co-edited work such as Digital Disruption: Cinema Moves Online (2012); Key Concepts in Creative Industries (2012); The Media and Communications in Australia (4th ed forthcoming 2014); and Media Economics (forthcoming).
John Frow is Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Melbourne; from 2013 he will be an an ARC Professorial Fellow at the University of Sydney. He is the author of Marxism and Literary History (1986), Cultural Studies and Cultural Value (1995), Time and Commodity Culture (1997), Accounting for Tastes: Australian Everyday Cultures (with Tony Bennett and Michael Emmison, 1999), and Genre (2006). He co-edited Australian Cultural Studies: A Reader (1993) with Meaghan Morris, and the Handbook of Cultural Analysis (2008) with Tony Bennett. A collection of essays, The Practice of Value, will appear this year from UWA Press.
Meaghan Morris is Professor of Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney, and Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Cultural Studies at Lingnan University, Hong Kong. Her books include Too Soon, Too Late: History in Popular Culture (1998); Hong Kong Connections: Transnational Imagination in Action Cinema (co-ed. 2005); Identity Anecdotes: Translation and Media Culture (2006) and Creativity and Academic Activism: Instituting Cultural Studies (co-ed. 2012). A former Chair of the international Association for Cultural Studies, Professor Morris is currently Chair of the Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Society
Stephen Muecke is Professor of Writing at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. He works in the experimental humanities, with Indigenous groups in Broome and on intercoloniality in the Indian Ocean. Reading the Country won the Non-fiction prize for the West Australian Week Literary Awards (1985), and his books have been shortlisted for a number of other literary prizes. Joe in the Andamans and Other Fictocritical Stories, (2008) was shortlisted for the 2010 Adelaide Festival Awards in the Innovation Category. Contingency in Madagascar, with photographer Max Pam, appeared in 2012 with Intellect Books’ Critical Photography Series.
Tom O'Regan is Professor of Cultural and Media Studies in the School of English, Media Studies and Art History at the University of Queensland, Australia. He is the co-author of Local Hollywood (with Susan Ward and Ben Goldsmith 2010), The Film Studio (with Goldsmith) and Rating the Audience (with Mark Balnaves and Goldsmith 2011). He is also the author of Australian National Cinema (1996) and Australian Television Culture (1992). He is currently researching the changing environments of Australian film and television production and transformations in audience measurement.
Graeme Turner FAHA is Professor of Cultural Studies, in the Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies at the University of Queensland. Graeme is one of the founding figures of cultural studies in Australia and has played leading institutional roles – establishing the Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies, convening the ARC Cultural Research Network, and serving a term as President of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, as well as numerous advisory, policy, and advocacy engagements with government. He has worked on television, film, radio, literary studies, cultural and media studies theory, and popular culture; he has published 22 books which have been translated into 9 languages. His most recent publications include What’s Become of Cultural Studies? ( 2012), and Ordinary People and the Media: The Demotic Turn (2010).