I admit i came to this a bit late, but Michael Bérubé has written an article over at The Chronicle of Higher Education, entitled “What’s the Matter With Cultural Studies?” that has caused quite a stir.
Now I hate to make light of the article, which I think is actually very good and extremely important, especially for those of us who are upset at what’s going on at the University of California right now–the article is extremely good at reminding us, not to get to Battlestar Galactica on y’all, that all of this has happened before. Stuart Hall predicted Thatcherism before it happened, he reminds us, so looking back at how the academic left responded, what worked and what didn’t would probably be pretty helpful. It probably would be most helpful, I think, for those of us state-side concerned with privatization of the university to read Policing the Crisis: Mugging, the State, and Law and Order (1978) and then Audit cultures: anthropological studies in accountability, ethics and the academy (2000) and make sense of what did and did not happen over there in the UK in between.
Having said all that, Bérubé does have a knack for punchy sentences. My three favorite:
- “… you might as well be asking about the carbon footprint of unicorns.” A group of cultural studies graduate students at UC Davis have actually taken this one up.
- “False consciousness, after all, is what’s the matter with Kansas.” This is in reference to Thomas Frank’s book What the Matter With Kansas?
- “It’s the neoliberalism, stupid.”