Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

High and Popular Culture to Meet in New Postcolonial Studies Centre

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

High and Popular Culture to Meet in New Postcolonial Studies Centre

Article excerpt

More football, less theory, says heroin scholar at the head of new hub. Matthew Reisz reports

Andrew Hussey may be fresh from research on radicalisation inside French prisons and planning a cultural history of heroin, but he has still found time to take over as the first director of the Centre for Post-Colonial Studies (CPCS).

Although Professor Hussey believes that no discipline is more important to the 21st century than postcolonial studies, he claims they have often been "too textual and too theorised". As he takes over at the CPCS - part of the University of London's School of Advanced Study - he is determined to "let research proceed out of experience, engagement, activity with people rather than imposing a template of theory".

He also expects it to focus as much on popular culture such as North African raï music or even football as on the novelists who have often hitherto been central to postcolonial studies.

Dean of the University of London Institute in Paris (ULIP) since 2006, Professor Hussey has long practised what he preaches. His recent book The French Intifada: The Long War Between France and Its Arabs, for example, was published to great acclaim and debate earlier this year and included extensive research in French prisons, which he calls "the engine room of radicalisation".

"The French authorities have been very welcoming", he said, "because at the level of the [prison] directorates they know that things are going wrong and are interested in the British and Dutch model, and researchers like us who come from the outside have a certain carte blanche to construct our critiques. …

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