Teaching': Some Versions
of Teaching Cultural Studies
I didn't want to write this chapter. It was drafted during a period in which I was not teaching Cultural Studies and when I was apprehensive about returning to this activity. 1 Moreover, I have always been wary of codifications of Cultural Studies, be they in its theory, its methods, or its pedagogy. 2 The ambiguity and the vagueness associated with Cultural Studies I have relished as appealing and useful characteristics. My dissatisfaction with most writing about pedagogy (even radical writing about radical pedagogy), which in my reading too often becomes either a catalogue of techniques or a rhetorical flourish about aspirations, is a further obstacle. Since my career as a teacher in Cultural Studies has been mainly at the Cultural Studies Department (formerly the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies -- CCCS) at the University of Birmingham, I have the further problem that the practices at this location have been peculiarly susceptible to idealisations or condemnations, even if some have now come to note 'the fragile and marginalized conditions for intellectual work' at this institution. 3 In writing out of my experience as a teacher in that location, I run the risk of contributing to this pattern.
The fact that you are reading this indicates that my desire to explore my dilemmas about teaching Cultural Studies has counteracted my hesitations. The first section of this chapter reviews the circumstances of my recent unease. These doubts propelled my search for reflections on Cultural Studies pedagogy. My encounters on this quest inform the second section of this chapter where I sketch three related but distinct approaches to Cultural Studies teaching which have emerged in the writings of Cultural Studies teachers in the United States. This carries me into a review of the most distinctive and specific pedagogic strategy currently