Although neither a cultural philosophy nor a political theory, the concept of cultural politics emerged, as we conceive it, decades ago in a time when it was often argued that the study of culture and the academic discipline of cultural studies were unavoidably political because of questions of value, ideology, and power this study entails. This article by the editors of the journal Cultural Politics provides a short survey of the field, its emergence, issues of interest, and its relationship to cultural studies. To do so within an era of full-blown globalization, with all its attendant laudatory dimensions and many burdens and discontents, because of the unavoidable intercultural tensions and stresses around identity, belonging, and power these processes produce, we address several pressing questions about politics, culture, and textual engagement. How can we theorize cultural politics and the political goals of cultural theory and analysis in the English-speaking world and beyond when uncertainty around identity is the driving force of the project itself? What do a contemporary politics of culture and a cultural politics look like now, and how might that terrain be shifting? How can we theorize culture as a political issue and politics as a cultural field?

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