Disciplining Cultural Studies
Joyce E. Canaan and Debbie Epstein
When we talk about the institutional position of cultural studies, we often fail to talk about the questions of teaching and pedagogy. We talk about intellectual practice as if it is the practice of intellectuals in the library, reading the right canonical texts or consulting other intellectuals at conferences. . . . But the ongoing work of an intellectual practice for most of us, insofar as we get our material sustenance, or modes of reproduction, from doing our academic work, is indeed to teach. ( Hall, 1992: 290)
Reluctant as we are to begin this book, as ever so many books do begin, with words of wisdom from a 'founding father', we believe that the above epigraph by Stuart Hall aptly captures the intention of this book. We are well aware that in Cultural Studies, as in most other (inter)disciplines and, indeed, in disciplined university departments, teaching has been considered merely the means of material reproduction which enables us to do what we 'really" want to do -- that is, research. It is research and its material results in the form of publications which are generally rewarded in the academy. It is largely by our publications that we are measured in the race for jobs, especially those prime jobs in the most prestigious institutions, which are also often the richest ones, able to offer their favoured faculty the best conditions of labour. And the best conditions of labour in the culture of the academy are those which provide us with the least teaching and the most time for research. 1 Teaching may also be devalued for another reason; it is a key activity that we share with our primary/elementary and secondary school colleagues. Our focus as academics tends to be mainly on those activities which distinguish us from our primary and secondary school counterparts, and we tend to view teaching as merely the means to our loftier end of doing research.