Does it make sense to speak of a global cultural studies? This review essay examines the apparent critical aversion to such a category by exploring the approaches taken by two books that consider the state of cultural studies in the global era. Ackbar Abbas and John Nguyet Erni's collection Internationalizing Cultural Studies: An Anthology (2005) is designed to open up North Atlantic–dominated cultural studies to approaches to the study of culture from other parts of the world. “Internationalizing” names a process (motivated by epistemic and political caution) that the editors see as essential to preserving the critical energy of cultural studies as its concepts and methodologies spread around the globe. In Culture in the Age of Three Worlds (2004), Michael Denning claims that the era of cultural studies has come to an end with the sociopolitical paradigm shift that moves us from the period of the Cold War to that of globalization. Through an interlinked series of essays published separately over fifteen years, he argues that the “cultural turn” that redefined the study of culture in the first world was mirrored by similar changes in the second and third worlds. The circumstances in which culture now exists are very different from those in the period that gave rise to cultural studies, necessitating new approaches to culture and politics. Taken together, these two books offer us important insights into how we examine culture in the context of globalization.
Imre Szeman; Global Cultural Studies?. the minnesota review 1 May 2011; 2011 (76): 141–155. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00265667-1222101
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