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

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

university exchange programme, was accepted. 23 But neither could we dispense with valorizing criteria, as proposed by the postmodern relativism that these northernist voices use to legitimate their ethnocentrism. On the contrary, we collectively constructed criticisms of the ethnocentric academic literary criticism that rendered hegemonic dominant interpretations of literature and classified as deficient those that came from the south or from those with a 'low academic level', such as the participants in the literary circle.

We believe that the European university exchange programmes have much to learn from these situations generated by popular culture. We think that we would learn much if we were to forego the teleological action in the service of ethnocentrism favoured by northernist voices (and frequently legitimated by postmodern relativism) in favour of egalitarian communicative action among all cultures. The intellectual quality of all participating universities would be strengthened if the exchange were based on a dialogue guided by the best arguments and not by the prestige and material power of the originating institution or country. We do not believe it would be possible to transfer a communicative, popular-culture model such as that of the literary circle into the current European interuniversity dynamic. But we do believe that it is necessary to develop practices of resistance and transformation within these programmes, fomented by the utopian motivation of creating situations such as those achieved in the literary circle, where voices such as those of Carmen and Julio are not from the outset considered inferior to those of any professor or literary critic, where people from the north and south, gypsies and nongypsies, are considered not only different but also equal.


Notes
1.
By 'northernist voices' we mean those voices that tend to view and valorize southern cultures through the prism of the ethnocentrism of northern cultures. Fortunately, some professors and many students in northern universities do not share and even criticize these voices. Those who do hold these 'northernist' attitudes are often very understanding toward people on a personal level but are brought to these postures through the institutional dynamic by which they find themselves surrounded.
2.
The majority of participants from the University of Barcelona completed the course with a contradictory feeling: on the one hand, the desire to leave a programme that had a strong tendency to exclude their culture; on the other hand, the feeling of having learned a great deal during the three months of living with people from other universities and cultures as part of the anti-hegemonic work that they felt themselves obligated to engage in and also the feeling that this is necessary work in the construction of positive north-south relations. In the end, the scales were tipped by the satisfaction of the students from Barcelona with the

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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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