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Cultural Studies: Past, Present and Future
A symposium on the state of Cultural Studies

Thursday 3 September 2009
Social Sciences and Humanities Library Conference Room, The University of Queensland



Professor Graeme Turner (University of Queensland): Introduction - 'What's Become of Cultural Studies?'

Professor Chris Rojek (Brunel University, London): 'Stuart Hall and the Birmingham School'

Abstract: In the Anglo-Australian tradition of Cultural Studies, the British Birmingham School was a key intervention. Encoding/decoding, resistance, hegemony, homology, style - these and other concepts were either invented or popularized by Stuart Hall (the Director of the School in its decisive period of intervention) and his students. The students now read like a roll call of the great and the good in Cultural Studies: Dick Hebdige, Larry Grossberg, Angela McRobbie, Paul Willis, Paul Gilroy, Greg McLennan, David Morley, Chas Critcher and many others. It was a heady moment in the birth of a new field which we now call Cultural Studies. Its influence has been immense and is ongoing, since many of the Birmingham graduates are Professors who continue to lecture and write about culture.This lecture aims to provide a critical  assessment of Hall and the Birmingham School. It will exploit and develop arguments set out in my book 'Stuart Hall' (Polity 2003), as well as reactions to the book from the Birmingham circle and others.

Associate Professor Frances Bonner (University of Queensland): 'These are a few of my favourite things'

Abstract: This presentation addresses the comparatively recent Cultural Studies concern with using approaches through Material Culture Studies to gain insights into the use and circulation of objects, or, in what is now a technical term, ‘things’. Their roles as technologies of attachment and in memory studies will be considered, especially in a digitised age. The principal things being drawn on for the presentation are spin-off products linked to television presenters.

Professor John Hartley (Queensland University of Technology): 'From cultural studies to cultural science'

Abstract: This paper traces disciplinary changes in the study of culture from the perspective of ‘cultural science,’ a term that was used by some of the earliest practitioners of cultural studies, including Raymond Williams. The paper goes on to describe some problems with cultural studies as it has become institutionalised. It suggests that some of the concerns of the present moment, including work on the creative industries, show that a new version of cultural science is needed, based on evolutionary principles, in dialogue with the evolutionary approach in economics that was called for a century ago by Thorstein Veblen. This evolutionary turn, or ‘cultural science 2.0,’ it is argued, offers a radical and challenging future for cultural studies.

Dr Melissa Gregg (University of Sydney): Discussant

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