Savage Minds Around the Web.

Cultural Studies at the Crossroads: Michael Bérubé writes a very convincing analysis of the challenges facing cultural studies, from both structural/institutional and theoretical standpoints. Perhaps the best moment (or my favorite, since I’m a bit snarky) is Bérubé’s quote of Stuart Hall: “I really cannot read another cultural-studies analysis of Madonna or The Sopranos.”

Everywhere are Signs: Over at Material World, Poltical Science PhD candidate Jeremy Menchik posted a photoessay on the signs of pluralism at an Indonesian political rally.

Conspicuous Data Collection: Maximilian Forte at Open Anthropology posted a paper given last year on the publicity that HTS generates and how “it was created above all for domestic consumption, as part of a domestic propaganda effort and a public relations war conducted through the mainstream media.”

Situated Television Knowledges: For your viewing pleasure… Robert D. Kaplan writes a short but punchy plug for watching Al Jazeera’s international channel. Forget Lehrer, Kaplan writes, Al Jazeera “is what the internationally minded elite class really yearns for.” Kaplan describes Al Jazeera’s slant on international politics as having a forgivable bias towards the disempowered, but one that might well represent the middle-of-the-road view from developing nations.

What to Say to that Someone Who Knows Everything: Have a problem with your dissertation advisor? Kristen Hoggatt at the Smart Set shows how to turn your dissatisfaction into a poem.

7 thoughts on “Savage Minds Around the Web.

  1. Reading the Bérubé original, the response to Bérubé, and then Bérubé’s response to the response, i’d say Bérubé missed twice and got scored on once making it 0-1 even though hockey-loving Bérubé had the powerplay.

  2. Dylan, would you be so good as to enlighten the rest of us about your scoring scheme?

    By my count, Bérubé makes a case that cultural studies has not lived up to its early promise. The rejoinder includes a few interesting points, e.g., the connection between 1920-30s film studies and the Birmingham School, but, as Bérubé points out in his rebuttal, sloppily misread what he, in fact, said and come across, on the whole, as people with an ox that is gored, saying, in effect “Pity us for the lousy decisions we made and the fix we find ourselves in now that taxpayers are no longer willing to pay for our hobbies.”

    My takeaway from Bérubé’s rebuttal is that cultural studies is now in the peculiar fix of claiming on the one hand to unmask and understand the operations of power while, at the same time, having made no inroads at all in the academic disciplines to which powers-that-be turn for expertise. As a result, its adherents turn out to be powerless when times are tough and hard decisions are made. All of which makes the original claim to understand the workings of power more than a little dubious…or am I missing something here?

  3. Hello Jay,

    Thanks for the links as always. I know that you ask people for recommendations about new sites, stories, etc., and I thought I should plug two anthropology blogs that I find particularly interesting:

    _Anthropological Reflections on Society and Culture_

    The Prism is a new group blog and it’s off to a great start.

    I also have been following for a few months the following blog by American University anthropologist _Adrienne Pine_, an expert on Honduras (she has done research in many other countries as well), who has been intensively and thoroughly blogging about the ongoing coup regime in Honduras at


  4. Hmm I kind of thought that Bérubé was tipped to win, but got in foul trouble early and ended up giving a lot of points away at the free throw line.

  5. Isn’t the whole notion of a “foul” a sign of a certain tender-mindedness that whimpers about lack of sympathy and respect to cover weak arguments? I still want to know why people who claim to understand power don’t have any or, if Bérubé is right, have had very little influence on those who influence those who do. Crass, I know, but….

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