CFP: [Cultural-Historical] Disciplining innovation: new learning and teaching in media and cultural studies

full name / name of organization: 
Nicole Matthews

Department of Critical & Cultural Studies, Macquarie University
Friday November 21, 2008

Keynote speaker: Prof. Meaghan Morris, Lingnan University

As disciplines heavily invested in making sense of the contemporary world, media and cultural
studies are constantly engaging with new examples, new technologies, new political contexts and
even new theoretical paradigms. Neither media nor cultural studies, as relatively recent
interdisciplines, has 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. Media and cultural studies seem to be natural bedfellows to 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.

However, the new offers threats as well as opportunities to our disciplines. Innovative
pedagogies and educational technologies don’t always present the best opportunities for
learning. Much of what constitutes engaging teaching takes place at a micro-political level, the
tone and tempo of everyday interchanges in encounters between learners, and between learners
and teachers. These relationships and practices are hard to document, turn into grant
applications or incorporate into promotion bids. In a sector in the thrall of audit culture, what
counts as good teaching can become what it is possible to document rather than what actually
takes place in the lives of students.

   In this colloquium we want to make a space to talk about innovative ways of learning and
teaching in media and cultural studies in a way that acknowledges these tensions and conflicts
around “new pedagogies”. We want to hear about curriculum innovations that address how we
can best teach media and cultural studies in a changing world: a world of environmental crisis;
globalisation; continuing demands for social justice; rapidly changing communications
technologies and practices. As part of our discussion of the principles and practicalities of
innovative teaching in our field we want to frame our considerations with other questions:

• Is there a space in contemporary universities for innovative teaching beyond the horizon of
what Robins and Webster in Times of the Technoculture call “instrumental progressivism”?
• How do we avoid being drawn into the hyperbolic claims of newness we use in our own
learning grant applications â€" and continue to acknowledge the role of collaboration in developing
innovative curricula?
• How can we use educational technologies without falling prey to utopianism or technological
• Can the “soft” money of learning and teaching initiatives and pilots be used to compensate
for the long-term under-funding of Australian higher education?
• How do we recognise and reward excellence in teaching practices that are not new?
• How do we connect our educational innovations to our interest in social justice?

Deadline for abstracts: October 6, 2008

Please send your abstract or direct enquiries to: Dr Nicole Matthews

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Received on Thu Sep 11 2008 - 01:50:22 EDT