Monday, May 29, 2006

Open access



Recent figures suggest that research published as "open access" is between two and four times more likely to be read and cited than if it is published in print-on-paper form only.

With this in mind, Culture Machine is seeking contributions to an open access archive for cultural studies and related fields (communication and media studies, visual culture, literary, critical and cultural theory, post-colonial theory, women's studies, new media ...). The archive, called CSeARCH, which stands for Cultural Studies e-Archive, is
completely free to both download from and upload into.

You can find CSeARCH at:

This will let you browse the archive as well as read and download its contents for free. It already contains over 500 books, book chapters, journal issues, articles, interviews and lectures by everyone from Adorno, Agamben, Badiou, Baudrillard, Deleuze and Foucault, through Hebdige, Laclau, Latour, McRobbie and Mouffe, to Nancy, Negri, Poster, Stiegler, Virilio, Virno, Williams and Zizek, to mention just some of the most well known names.

To upload work into the archive go to the "Submit" page. Fill in the brief details and you'll then be sent a login name and password via e-mail together with a direct link. Click on the link and you'll be there--no need to login at that point the first time. (The password just ensures no one but you can edit your entries.) It's really quick and easy.

We realise it's going to take a little time to grow. But one of the ideas behind open access archives of this kind is that if everyone deposits a digital copy of their published material in the archive, then it means all the (in this case) cultural studies research is going to be available for students, teachers, lecturers and researchers to use anywhere in the world, for free, for ever (as opposed to being restricted solely to those individuals and institutions which can afford to pay for access to it in the form of journal subscriptions, book cover prices, interlibrary loans, photocopying charges etc.).

Obviously anything that is already in digital form, be it Word, pdf and so on, can be uploaded easily. If anyone does have early texts in cultural studies and related fields, including out of print books, book chapters, journal editions or articles they can scan in or otherwise make available, that would be great, too.

However, the idea of the archive is not just to preserve documents from the past but to make widely available recent and even current work: both that which is already published and that which is awaiting publication.

More information about CSeARCH, including how to include books, book chapters and journal articles which have already been published elsewhere, or which are due to be so in the future, without infringing copyright, is available in: "The Cultural Studies e-Archive Project (Original Pirate Copy)," Culture Machine 5, 2003.

If you have any questions or problems, just send me an email:

Thanks, Gary Hall

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


I'm saddened to report that James W. Carey, one of the most important contemporary figures in communication, media, and cultural studies, has died. He passed away on Monday, May 22nd in Rhode Island as a result of complications from emphysema. He was 71. You can read his complete obituary online at The Rhode Island News. Columbia University, where Carey was CBS Professor of International Journalism, also has set up a website and discussion forum for those wishing to share their thoughts about Professor Carey's life. You can access it by clicking here.

Carey taught for many years at the University of Illinois before moving on to Columbia. Titles and appointments, though, don't capture the depth of Carey's intellect, creativity, and passionate commitment to democracy. His writings on space, time, and communication have had an inestimable impact on my own work in media studies and communication theory, as I'm sure they have on the work of countless other people in these and related fields. He balanced history and theory as gracefully as could be, and never once let dogmatic commitments or intellectual trends cloud his vision of how this strange, modern world of ours worked communicatively. Always, the empirical led his writing and research, even as he was one of the most vociferous opponents of an unreconstructed empiricism. Carey's scholarship and mindful disposition are models for us to follow.

I had the good fortune of meeting Professor Carey twice--once when he gave a lecture at the University of North Carolina, and later on a panel I organized for the National Communication Association's annual convention a few years back. (There was a third time, when I stood behind him on a hotel registration line, though I didn't know him at the time and, to my regret, ended up not talking to him.) He was gracious, patient, and engaged, and if the testimonials of his many students are any indication, these and other qualities were precisely what made him such an extraordinary mentor.

He will be sorely missed, even by those who barely knew him.

Addendum: Here is a link to the Poynter Institute website, which has more to say about Carey's life, work, and passing.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Cracking the code

A confession: I'm obsessed with Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code. I haven't read it, to tell you the truth, or at least much of it (I bought the book for my sister and browsed the first few pages), but my work on book history and intellectual property has led me to develop what's fast becoming a compulsive interest in it. Mostly, I'm riveted by the recent court case in Britain, in which the authors of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail accused Brown of stealing key ideas and the "architecture" of their book. I won't burden you with the details, but a few weeks ago Justice Peter Smith found in Brown's favor.

Inasmuch as I'm excited by intellectual property law and jurisprudence, on their own they're usually not enough to get me this worked up. What's got me excited is the text of the judge's ruling, which evidently contains its own hidden code--"The Smithy Code." You can read about it by clicking this link to an article that ran recently in The New York Times.

You'll have to read The Da Vinci Code and The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail to crack The Smithy Code, and since I'm already behind in that department, I'm going to leave it to others to do so. For now, kudos to Justice Smith not only for handing down an intriguing decision, but more importantly, for embodying some of the principles and affects at stake in the case in the text of his ruling. I would, to be honest, like to see more scholarship--and jurisprudence, for that matter--adopt that kind of creative disposition. I've been trying to do this recently in my own work, specifically in my chapter-in-progress on Harry Potter counterfeits and knockoffs, for I find that letting the form of one's writing reflect that of its content can provide for a more engaging kind of academic discourse.

P.S. Read boldly.