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Cultural Studies

Broadly speaking, cultural studies is not one arm of the humanities so much as an attempt to use all of those arms at once. It emerged in England, in the nineteen-fifties and sixties, when scholars from working-class backgrounds, such as Richard Hoggart and Raymond Williams, began thinking about the distance between canonical cultural touchstones—the music or books that were supposed to teach you how to be civil and well-mannered—and their own upbringings.

These scholars believed that the rise of mass communications and popular forms were permanently changing our relationship to power and authority, and to one another. There was no longer consensus. Hall was interested in the experience of being alive during such disruptive times. He was interested in understanding the various political, economic, or social forces that converged in these media.

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I have found myself wondering what Hall would make of how cultural criticism of a sort that can read like ideological pattern-recognition has proliferated in the age of social media. Over the course of his lectures, Hall carefully wrestles with forebears, including the British scholar F. Instead, they try to show how far back these questions reach. Hall was born in , in Kingston.


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His father, Herman, was the first nonwhite person to hold a senior position with the Jamaican office of United Fruit, an American farming and agricultural corporation; his mother, Jessie, was mixed-race. In , Hall won a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford. Although Hall came from a different class than most of these migrants, he felt a connection to his countrymen.

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He clipped a newspaper photo of three Jamaicans who arrived around the time he did. Two of them are carpenters and one is an aspiring boxer; they are all dressed to the nines. They were on a mission, determined to be recognized as participants in the modern world and to make it theirs. Increase in-class engagement with the leading classroom response system. Interactive e-learning to help students develop the skills they need to succeed in their studies and prepare for life after university.

Sonya Barker is the Editor for Film, Media and Cultural Studies, publishing innovative textbooks across film, media, communication studies and journalism.


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UGC NTA NET NEW SYLLABUS "WHAT IS CULTURAL STUDIES" (UNIT 7). SPECIAL VIDEO ON NEW TOPICS.