I realize it's been awhile since I last posted. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm in the process of writing my book about changes in the US and global book industries. I "reward" myself for a good writing week with blogging. I know, I know--it sounds incredibly masochistic to reward intensive writing with more writing, but I guess that's what having a passion for writing means. Anyway, I'm here because I've made progress.
The January 6, 2006 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education contained a cartoon on p. B6 of the review section. I wish I could reproduce it here, but because of copyright considerations I'm sure I'd get my butt whupped (though it arguably could fall under the "criticism" proviso of the US fair use exception, but that's another story...). Anyway, it depicts two Sex & the City-ish women in what appears to be an upscale bistro, sipping martinis. Both look rather wealthy and aloof. The caption? "What happens in Cultural Studies stays in Cultural Studies."
I'm not sure what to do with this. On the one hand, I couldn't help but laugh, mainly because I cannot understand why people make such a big deal about why cultural studies (I don't use capital letters) has a specialized language. Doesn't anthropology? Mathematics? Physics? Literary studies? So why single out cultural studies--yet again--to suggest it's some kind of insular and exclusive (fight?) club? Given its pervasiveness in the humanities, why are these kinds of criticisms still circulating?
Maybe I'm just being too sensitive. At least the cartoon foregrounds two women, and as we all know women too often are under-represented at all levels of academe, in cultural studies or otherwise. On the other hand, there's a clear sense in which the cartoon seems to be suggesting that cultural studies is, at the end of the day, a martini-sipping, petit bourgeois discipline.
What do you think about this?