After the Disciplines: The Emergence of Cultural Studies

After the Disciplines: The Emergence of Cultural Studies

After the Disciplines: The Emergence of Cultural Studies

After the Disciplines: The Emergence of Cultural Studies

Synopsis

Since the late 1960s, both internationally and locally, we have witnessed the growth of subject areas outside the traditional liberal arts curriculum and disciplinary structure of the university curriculum: Black Studies (or Indigenous Studies), Feminist or Women's Studies, Critical Legal Studies, Film & Media Studies, Gay Studies, and Cultural Studies are some of the most popular. The principles underlying a global neo-liberalism and managerialism were responsible for restructuring universities during the 1980s. Some thought that such developments imperiled the humanities, while others believed that the context of globalization and the development of new communications technologies offered new hope for both interdisciplinary work and the emergence of a critical approach.

Excerpt

Educational reform has fallen upon hard times. The traditional assumption that schooling is fundamentally tied to the imperatives of citizenship designed to educate students to exercise civic leadership and public service has been eroded. The schools are now the key institution for producing professional, technically trained, credentialized workers for whom the demands of citizenship are subordinated to the vicissitudes of the marketplace and the commercial public sphere. Given the current corporate and right wing assault on public and higher education, coupled with the emergence of a moral and political climate that has shifted to a new Social Darwinism, the issues which framed the democratic meaning, purpose, and use to which education might aspire have been displaced by more vocational and narrowly ideological considerations.

The war waged against the possibilities of an education wedded to the precepts of a real democracy is not merely ideological. Against the backdrop of reduced funding for public schooling, the call for privatization, vouchers, cultural uniformity, and choice, there are the often ignored larger social realities of material power and oppression. On the national level, there has been a vast resurgence of racism. This is evident in the passing of antiimmigration laws such as Proposition 187 in California, the dismantling of the welfare state, the demonization of black youth that is taking place in the popular media, and the remarkable attention provided by the media to forms of race talk that argue for the intellectual inferiority of blacks or dismiss calls for racial justice as simply a holdover from the "morally bankrupt" legacy of the 1960s.

Poverty is on the rise among children in the United States, with 20 percent of all children under the age of eighteen living below the poverty line.

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