Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Don’t load up on neo-Arnoldians or exclusive historicists or cognitivists

Department of Everything Studies (Expressive Culture Division) Timothy Burke
I meant to comment earlier in July on this excellent discussion at the Valve on Mark Bauerlein’s suggestions for specific “conservative voices” to be included in courses of literary theory.
I want to go in the opposite direction: I want to collapse all departments concerned with the interpretation and practice of expressive culture into a single large departmental unit. I’d call it Cultural Studies, but I don’t want it to be Cultural Studies as that term is now understood in the American academy. Call it Department of the Humanities, or of Interpretation, or something more elegant and self-explanatory if you can think of it. I want English, Modern Languages, Dance, Theater, Art History, Music, the hermeneutical portions of philosophy, cultural and media studies, some strands of anthropology, history and sociology, and even a smattering of cognitive science all under one roof. I want what John is calling Everything Studies, except that I want its domain limited to expressive culture...
If I had to boil it down to what the normative selective principles of my new megadepartment ought to be, I’d say that the only things I really care about are:
1) be smart;
2) be interesting;
3) be communicative and
4) try to keep the ecosystem of cultural criticism as varied as possible.
Don’t load up on neo-Arnoldians or exclusive historicists or cognitivists or anything else besides. Stay invested in as many media and as many historical settings and contexts as possible. Don’t let anyone categorically say that the Department of Everything Studies (Expressive Culture Division) doesn’t deal with popular culture or doesn’t concern itself with aesthetics or regards actually trying to produce culture as some kind of riffraff vocational thing suitable for the lower orders and capitalist hegemons.
This entry was posted on Thursday, August 2nd, 2007 at 2:19 pm and is filed under Academia, Popular Culture. Easily Distracted Culture, Politics, Academia and Other Shiny Objects 12 Responses to “Department of Everything Studies (Expressive Culture Division)”

No comments:

Post a Comment