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Our theoretical interests include critical theory, postmodernist and poststructuralist theories, feminist and queer theories, critical race theory, disability theory, postcolonial theory, avant-garde theory, and of course literary theory. Many of us are involved in theory-driven intra- and interdepartmental initiatives. I work in a number of different areas that fall under this heading: Past courses I have taught and may teach again include a doctoral seminar on "Feminist Theory of the '60s and '70s," and a doctoral seminar on "Gender and Science: For spring my English graduate seminar is in Comics Studies, with a specific focus on "Graphic Medicine.

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Recent Grad Courses Studies in Theory: Foucault Studies in Theory: Liberalism and Cultural Theory Theory v. Most of the issues addressed by contributors also apply to other traditional arts, though not, I will argue below, to many contemporary forms of popular cultural experience.

Project MUSE - The Aesthetics of Cultural Studies (review)

Contributors are especially concerned to defend themselves against charges that, in Rorty's view, cultural studies equates to "expressions of political resentment clothed in jargon," or in George Levine's characterization of this position, as "seeing the text as a kind of enemy to be arrested," where the text is reduced to context and the truth of art is denied in favor of the truth of politics as cited in Rita Felski's chapter.

For such critics, cultural studies equates with ideology critique and represents the death of aesthetics. Not so, according to each of these authors.

Cultural Studies First Year Courses

John Frow, for example, argues that from its inception it was not aesthetics per se that cultural studies objected to but the then normative discourse of aesthetics that was positioned above politics. Several authors are concerned to establish the credentials of cultural studies as a unique way of approaching culture and not just any running together of culture and politics.

Felski complains of a "semantic drift," which sees cultural studies mischaracterized and condemned for sins that rightly belong to other fields. Complicating a search for the uniqueness of cultural studies, however, is Jonathan Sterne's contribution in what seems a significantly revisionist position.

Aesthetics and Culture Studies

He claims that in cultural studies culture has had to carry too heavy a burden. Culture has been a conduit to politics, he argues; studying culture has been a way of studying politics by other means, and he suggests that sometimes culture can simply be enjoyed for its own sake and not subject to analysis.

David Shumway, too, at times just wants to enjoy culture. In the everyday course of living this is surely right, though it is hardly at the center of the scholarly cultural studies' enterprise.

As other contributors argue, cultural studies has always seen the need for striking a balance between aesthetics and [End Page ] ideology. Sterne's unease with cultural studies for seeing aesthetics primarily in instrumental terms—a way of getting at politics—nevertheless serves as a corrective to the idea that cultural studies scholars have a hard time understanding pleasure.

Most contributors acknowledge the influence of Raymond Williams—as well they might—and several cite, even at length, from the chapter "Aesthetic and Other Situations" from his book Marxism and Literature.