Sunday, August 29, 2010


The experience in Rio was marvelous. I taught the graduate class "Recreating the Nation" in Spanish. A few students spoke Spanish well, all could understand it via Portunhol, and some used English as well. I didn't learn a great deal of Portuguese, but it was a wonderful experience. The students were so much more sophisticated intellectually and politically than I am used to, I could barely believe it. Puts my daily norms into perspective. Then we had a superb conference on the obligation to be happy--a marvelous critique of the psy-function from numerous perspectives. Again, to be amongst people for whom socialism is not a bad name; who all work in various languages; who all break down the barrier--when it exists--between the social sciences and the humanities--was extraordinary. As usual, people gave me copies of their books, invited me back, and so on. This is not special to me--it's about the way they operate as intellectuals.

I went via Miami to Mexico next, where I consulted with Promexico, which has a tripartite group on cultural policy and film, and gave another talk at the Cineteca Nacional on the history of cultural policy and how to reach the US-based hispano-hablante public with films from Latin America via TV and the internet. I also gave interviews to my favorite paper after the Guardian (La Jornada) and Concaculta's TV coverage.

Now I'm headed home after an amazing week. Why can't we do these things in California?

Sunday, August 22, 2010


I arrived in Rio de Janeiro this morning, my first day in Brazil. I'm here to teach a course called Recreating the Nation for graduate students in the school of communication. You can find the outline on this site, under the heading 'Espanol.' I can't speak Portuguese, so the class will be in Spanish, with perhaps some English, too. No-one will be operating in their first language.

I gave an interview today to a journalist from O Globo and also lunched with one of the symposium organizers. Then I was lucky enough to have time to catch some waves at Copacabana Beach, which is just a block or two from my hotel. Even though it's winter, the waters were warm as well as beautiful.

Now it's time to read over the syllabus and think about the clips of Ignacio Martin-Baro and Michel Foucault we'll be watching in class, in addition to nutting my way through Martin-Baro in Portuguese



I've re-edited the podcast interview with David Theo Goldberg, some of which was lost in translation between programs, wires, fingers, and ears. I have also added a second interview with Bill Grantham. Like my other guests, I think these chats are well worth hearing.


Sunday, August 15, 2010


Listen to my latest culturalstudies podcast here: It's with Bill Grantham. He discusses the law and film finance, relationships between literary and cultural studies, and the life of a journalist, inter alia.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


For folks who may be interested, I'll be giving three keynotes or plenaries in the next month:

at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro August 25, 2010 on happiness;

the Cineteca Nacional in Mexico City August 28, 2010 on film policy; and

the Universities of Westminster and Goldsmith's September 13, 2010 on media and terrorism


The latest pod entrant is Ellen Seiter, who speaks about the avant garde, film, soap opera, the law, and feminism. Hear her now by going to the iTunes store and looking up 'culturalstudies' or at

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Latest podcast is with Tiffany López--find it at or go to the iTunes store and look up 'culturalstudies'

Tiffany speaks compellingly about Latin@ culture, violence, theater, art, and academia

Friday, August 6, 2010


I've posted my first three podcasts in the last few days--one where I briefly adumbrate my views on cultural studies, and two hour-long interviews, with Douglas Kellner and Sarah Banet-Weiser respectively. The podcast has been accepted by iTunes and is also available through the host I am renting from, I'm recording them with Garage Band at my home, then Fetch transforms them into the appropriate file protocols for posting. Several more interviews are planned, with academics, artists, and activists. All the As

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Cognitariat

My latest account of cultural labor at David Ruccio's fabulous blog:

David's site is a superb one for those interested in progressive economic analysis with humor and brilliance. My wee words lower the tone, but...

Sunday, August 1, 2010


I'm loving the discourse of newness in British politics since Druggy Dave (AKA David Cameron) became Prime Minister in May. Just as Obama's notion of bipartisanship echoed the equally imperialistic Bush's 2000 rhetoric, so Cameron's assertion of a new politics is a restatement of the equally imperialistic Tony Blair's 1997 rhetoric. Each one argues for a post-political high ground of decency domestically. Each one lays claim to a newly ethical foreign policy. Each one bargains that the journalists covering them will be ignorant of history, and their publics gullible.

It's worth downloading the Guardian's weekly podcast of Prime Minister's Question Time to hear how nasty, personal, and obvious Druggy Dave is--an awful echo of Blair and Gordon Brown. Similarly, it's worth downloading the weekly radio appeals made by Obama and Bush as they promise to rule the world and distribute the benefits domestically. Plus ca change...


I grew up in the shadow of the Depression. For my parents, it was the defining event of their lives, rather than the Second World War. During their formative years in the 1930s and ’40s, no-one had invented what US TV anchors came to name “the Greatest Generation” (shorthand, I assume, for the twenty million Soviets who died in the War Against Fascism, and particularly those who passed away during the Battle of Stalingrad, which, last I looked, decided the War in Europe).

World War II saw my parents lose many people; but the Depression left a greater mark on them. My father was the only child in his elementary school who wore shoes, because his father worked in a bank and was not laid off. For her part, my mother left school at thirteen, never to return, because she could obtain work and hence support her family. Although my parents had class mobility in the 1950s, they never assumed it would last. My father was an agnostic social democrat, my mother an atheistic lapsed Communist. Between them they instilled in me what is of course a basic lesson of Marxism—guess what, capitalism breeds conflict and crisis as profits fall while the economy grows. I was forever being warned not about nuclear war, but about unemployment.

So when the oil crisis of 1973-74 met the coalminers’ class struggle in Britain, it almost seemed natural to live through a three-day work week, to have commodity shortages, for there to be no TV after the 10 o’clock news, to study by gaslight, to bathe weekly, and so on. This was what my parents had always told me would come to pass. When the global financial crisis hit in 2008, it again seemed almost inevitable. The actual timing and nature of the event surprised me, but like the attacks of September 11 2001, the chaos and destruction did not, so apparent were their triggers.