This essay is a contribution to the debate around cultural studies’ relation to disciplinarity. It makes the case that that debate has failed fully to take into account global shifts in university management which have meant that the health and reproduction of disciplines is no longer regarded as a key mission for academic administrators outside the circle of elite research universities, most centered in the US. It also provides a summary longue duree genealogy for cultural studies and argues that the project we now name cultural studies developed on terrain upon which the politics of disciplinarity was irrelevant.

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