The Dangerous Blog for Grad Students

A How-To Tale

“Cultural Studies and Composition” Precis September 23, 2008

Filed under: Precis — deduvick @ 4:02 am
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Diana George and John Trimbur

The beginnings, as you might say, of cultural studies were in the late ‘50s, early ‘60s with new works being published that emphasized restructuring our thinking about history, literature and culture.  This began in Britain as a link from everyday life and happenings to the academia. It was largely an interdisciplinary movement, cooperating with mass communication and history to gage what was going on in the world and how that connected to the work going on in the universities with the students.

Cultural studies did not so much belong to one thing – political, cultural or otherwise – as it explored the difference, contrasts and tensions between everything.  One force behind the study, Stuart Hall, talked about a “Marxism without guarantees” and how it would realize that people were shaping their own history, regardless of their societal standing or any other factor, and that understanding this prospect needed to consider all the components that went into making that history – the time, the politics, the world affairs, the area, etc.

Everything was to be regarding with everything else in mind – nothing was to be taken simply as it stood.  The components had to be combine and then examined to get a full picture – every element “in light of the others” (George and Trimbur, 77).

Cultural studies combined with composition to bring in a lot of modern cultural aspects, meeting the studies where they were at with what they knew of the world and asking them to examine, through close reading, the images and text that they were faced with daily.  However, the mistake should not be made in assuming students are fooled so easily by culture – it is important to show them how to analyze so that they can go out and create their own culture.

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