Disciplining Innovations: New Pedagogies in Cultural Studies

full name / name of organization: 
Nicole Matthews


Special issue of 'Cultural Studies Review'

As a discipline heavily invested in making sense of the contemporary world, cultural studies is constantly engaging with new examples, new technologies, new political contexts and even new theoretical paradigms.  Cultural studies, as a relatively recent interdiscipline, does not have a canonical set of texts or all-conquering theoretical heroes or classic methodologies.  What we teach and how we teach shifts, in part, along with the evolving experiences and enthusiasms of our students and changes in the cultural landscape.

The progressive political ethos of many working in this field makes many of us sympathetic to pedagogical innovations that promise to shake up existing practices, hierarchies and conventions.  Cultural studies would seem to be a natural bedfellow for those who want university teachers to reflect on, research and transform cultures of teaching in the academy.  Many of us have taken up the opportunities and rewards offered by universities in their recent acknowledgement that academics are not just scholars and writers, but also teachers.

But many current innovations in university teaching repeat assumptions - instrumental progressivism, technological utopianism, the fetish of the new - that it has long been the business of cultural studies to deconstruct. Similarly, since the 1980s,universities have been constantly subject to uncertainty about funding policy, and whether it will be distributed equitably between campuses.  This uncertainty feeds the suspicions of academics about the purpose of repeated re-structures and the encouragement to innovate.

This issue of Cultural Studies Review will analyse the experience and future of pedagogical innovation in cultural studies.  Has technological innovation allowed flexibility and an extension of the curriculum, or merely been used to reduce face-to-face teaching hours?  Has the consistent demand to plan and report on teaching programs encouraged forward thinking or burdened academics with bureauratic demands?  Have universities truly internationalised their curriula or merely exploited upwardly mobile international students?  Has pedagogical innovation advanced or compromised the university's ethical commitments: to social justice, equal access, human rights and environmental sustainability?  What broader cultural development does the consistent call to innovate in the classroom reflect?

Cultural studies academics have long been committed to understanding cultural and institutional change, finding ways of assessing its programs, revealing its agendas and spreading its benefits.  The aim of this special issue is to bring a cultural studies methodology to bear on recent changes in the pedagogy of cultural studies, as an insight into changes in the historical role of the academic and educational sector more generally.

Deadline for abstracts of 250 words: December 1, 2009.  Please send to Nicole.matthews@mq.edu.au with the subject line 'Disciplining Innovation'

Deadline for full papers for peer review: May 15, 2010

Proposed publication date: September 2011

For further information, contact Nicole Matthews Nicole.Matthews@mq.edu.au or Nick.Mansfield Nick.Mansfield@mq.edu.au