Stanley Aronowitz: On the Origins of Cultural Studies (1998)

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Stanley Aronowitz, Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center and one of the important figures in the rise of Cultural Studies in the United States, held a series of talks with the faculty during the Fall of 1998. This is a video of his first talk in which he describes the origins of Cultural Studies, its reception in the United States during the 1980s and 1990s, the founding of the Center for Cultural Studies at CUNY and now Center for Work, Technology & Culture, the key role of study groups, and the risks in the acceptance of Cultural Studies by American academia.

Stanley Aronowitz --- On the Origins of Cultural Studies

Faculty Seminar, Department of Social Science & Cultural Studies, School of Liberal Arts and Sciences,
Pratt Institute, 1998.
To be sure, there is no doubt that the development of cultural studies has been influenced by both the impetus to depart from traditional disciplinary demarcations and, especially recently, by the imperative of institutionalization that is perceived by proponents of cultural studies to oblige them to integrate themselves more securely within the disciplines, specifically the humanities.  And, particularly in English and, to a lesser degree, comparative literature, cultural studies tends to become a weapon in internecine wars, especially of those who wish to practice studies of popular culture and what has been described as 'theory.'  Of course, these confinements subvert the whole project of cultural studies, which, as I will argue, seeks to transgress the boundaries between humanities and the sciences, and even to transcend the boundaries of formal academic sites.  At its best, cultural studies is not interdisciplinary; it is anti-disciplinary. --- Aronowitz, Roll Over Beethoven: The Return of Cultural Strife, p. 7-8.


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