A Question of Discipline: Pedagogy, Power, and the Teaching of Cultural Studies

By Joyce E. Canaan; Debbie Epstein | Go to book overview

tures -- by turning to 'culture' as the 'other' of metadiscourses -- they would be able to overturn existing boundaries of knowledge production that, in fact, continue to define and dictate their own discourses. Questions of authority, and with them hegemony, representation, and right, can be dealt with adequately only if we insist on the careful analyses of texts, on responsibly engaged rather than facilely dismissive judgements, and on deconstructing the ideological assumptions in discourses of 'opposition' and 'resistance' as well as in discourses of mainstream power. Most of all, as a form of exercise in 'cultural literacy', we need to continue to train our students to read -- to read arguments on their own terms rather than discarding them perfunctorily and prematurely -- not in order to find out about authors' original intent but in order to ask, Under what circumstances would such an argument -- no matter how preposterous -- make sense? With what assumptions does it produce meanings? In what ways and to what extent does it legitimize certain kinds of cultures while subordinating or outlawing others? Such are the questions of power and domination as they relate to the dissemination of knowledge. Old-fashioned questions of pedagogy as they are, they nonetheless demand frequent reiteration in the climate of Cultural Studies.


Notes
1.
This is a point made by Gabriele Schwab in her presentation in the forum 'Why "Comparative Literature"?' at the University of California -- Irvine, April 1994. For those who are less familiar with the controversies of 'theory' in the United States, the term has been used generally to refer to the debates about language, signification, and discourse in literary and humanistic studies that began in the 1960s with the introduction of French poststructuralist thinkers such as Jacques Derrida, Jacques Lacan, Roland Barthes, and Michel Foucault into the English-speaking world. Over the decades, even though those who attack 'theory' invariably speak from specific theoretical positions -- in other words, even though there are no positions, not even anti-theory ones, which are not implicitly theoretical -- the term 'theory' continues to be used more or less exclusively to refer to poststructuralist theory and deconstruction. During the 1970s and 1980s, Yale University was one of the research institutions which pioneered the rigorous pursuit of 'theory' in the United States, and Harold Bloom was one of the major critical figures associated with Yale. ( Bloom's work has since then taken off in very different directions.) For a glimpse of Bloom's voluminous publishing record, readers can consult any major research library catalogue.
2.
See, for instance, the introductions in. Grossberg, Nelson, and Treichler ( 1992), During ( 1993). See also the historical and critical accounts in Inglis ( 1993), which discusses, in addition to the British background, the significance of certain continental European thinkers for the conception of Cultural Studies.
3.
See my discussion of Spivak's essay in the chapter 'Where Have All the Natvies Gone?' in Chow ( 1993: 27-54).

-23-

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A Question of Discipline: Pedagogy, Power, and the Teaching of Cultural Studies
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • 1 - Questions of Discipline/ Disciplining Cultural Studies 1
  • Notes 9
  • References 10
  • 2 - Theory, Area Studies, Cultural Studies: Issues of Pedagogy in Multiculturalism 11
  • Notes 23
  • References 25
  • 3 - Doing Cultural Studies in Colleges of Education 27
  • Notes 39
  • References 40
  • 4 - Teaching Without Guarantees: Cultural Studies, Pedagogy, and Identity 42
  • Notes 69
  • References 71
  • 5 - 'It Ain't like Any Other Teaching': Some Versions of Teaching Cultural Studies 74
  • Notes 93
  • References 95
  • 6 - Mediating Desire: Visual Representation, Power, and Informed Consent in Teaching Feminist Cultural Studies 97
  • Notes 115
  • References 115
  • 7 - Teaching/Cultural Studies (or Pedagogy for 'World'-Travellers/ 'World'-Travelling Pedagogy) 117
  • Notes 128
  • References 128
  • 8 - Mirrors, Paintings, and Romances 131
  • Notes 151
  • References 154
  • 9 - Examining the Examination: Tracing the Effects of Pedagogic Authority on Cultural Studies Lecturers and Students 157
  • Notes 175
  • References 177
  • 10 - The Voice of Authority: on Lecturing in Cultural Studies 178
  • Notes 189
  • References 191
  • 11 - All Roads Lead to . . . Problems with Discipline 192
  • Notes 201
  • References 203
  • About the Book and Editors 205
  • About the Contributors 206
  • Index 208
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