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Lecture and Seminar Diana Brydon University of Tromsø March 5 – 7


tromsoLecture Title: “Autonomy, Transnational Literacies, and Planetarity: Emergent Cultural Imaginaries of Research Engagement”

This paper will introduce my participation within cultural studies projects that have crossed borders and can be understood as interdisciplinary and collaborative activities devoted to understanding the various ways in which people make meanings within different cultural contexts under changing historical and economic pressures. I offer these three terms for cultural studies engagement because they have emerged in response to challenges posed by globalization and the growing need for global research and action. They offer alternative ways of framing some of cultural studies’ most persistent concerns. I will explain why these concepts matter and the work they can help us do as cultural studies continues to reinvent itself in interaction with our changing global climate of knowledge construction. I am responding to current debates within the North American/European nexus of cultural studies, and to make my case, will discuss some dimensions of the argument offered in Lawrence Grossberg’s Cultural Studies in the Future Tense (2010) and various texts by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, who has inspired further thinking about transnational literacy and planetarity across the disciplines.

The full text of the lecture may be read in this pdf online.

Works Cited

Alhassen, Amin. (2007). “The Canonic Economy of Communication and Culture: The Centrality of the Postcolonial Margins” Canadian Journal of Communication. 32. 103-118.

Appadurai, Arjun.

Bhambra, Gurminder K. (2007). “Sociology and Postcoloni8alism: Another ‘Missing’ Revolution?” Sociology. 41.5: 871-884.

Birns, Nicholas (2010). Theory After Theory: An Intellectual History of Literary Theory from 1950 to the Early Twenty-First Century. Peterborough: Broadvidew.

Boatca, Manuela, Sergio Costa and Encarnacion Gutierrez Rodriguez. “Introduction: Decolonizing European Sociology: Different Paths towards a Pending Project.” In Rodriguez, E.G., M. Boatca, and S. Costa, eds. Decolonizing European Sociology: Transdisciplinary Approaches. Farnham, Ashgate, 2010.

Brydon, Diana. “Competing Autonomy Claims and the Changing Grammar of Global Politics.” Globalizations. vol.6. no.3 (Sept 2009): 339-352.

—. “Critical Literacies for Globalizing Times.” Critical Literacy, Special Issue: Theories and Practices.  4:2, June 2010. 16-28.

“Earth, World, Planet:  Where does the Postcolonial Literary Critic Stand?” In Cultural Transformations: Perspectives on Translocation in a Global Age, ed. Chris Prentice, Henry Johnson, and Vijay Devadas. Rodopi, 2010. 3-29.

Brydon, Diana and W. D. Coleman, ed. (2008) Renegotiating Community: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, Global Contexts. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.

Cetina, Karin Knorr. (2007) “Culture in Global Knowledge Societies: Knowledge Cultures and Epistemic Cultures.” Interdisciplinary Science Reviews. 32.4: 361-75.

Clifford, “Indigenous Articulations” In Wilson, R and C.L Connery, eds. The Worlding Project: Doing Cultural Studies in the Era of Globalization. Berkeley:  North Atlantic Books, 2007. 13-38.

Code, Lorraine. (2000) “The Perversion of Autonomy and the Subjection of Women: discourses of social advocacy at century’s end,” in C. Mackenzie and N. Stoljar, eds. Relational Autonomy: Feminist Perspectives on Autonomy, Agency, and the Social Self. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 181-209.

Dimock, Wai Chee.(2006)  Through Other Continents. Princeton: Princeton UP.

During, Simon. (2005) Cultural Studies: A Critical Introduction. London: Routledge.

Featherstone, Simon. (2005) Postcolonial Cultures. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press and University Press of Mississippi.

Friedman, Susan Stanford. (2010)  “Planetarity: Musing Modernist Studies.” MODERNISM / modernity. 17.3: 471-99.

Gaonkar, Dilip Parameshwar (2002) “Toward New Imaginaries: An Introduction.” Public Culture. 14.1: 1-19.

Ghai, Yash. (2000) “Ethnicity and Autonomy: a framework for analysis” In Yash Gai, ed. Autonomy and Ethnicity: Negotiating Competing Claims in Multi-ethnic States. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 415-440.

Gilroy, Paul. (2005) “A New Cosmopolitanism” Interventions 7.3: 287-292.

Grossberg, Lawrence. (2010) Cultural Studies in the Future Tense. Durham & London: Duke University Press.

Gunkel, Ann Hetzel. (2011) “On Cultural Studies in the Future Tense: Pedagogy  and Political Work in Cultural Studies.” Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies. 8.3. 323-329.

Heise, Ursula K. (2008). Sense of Place and Sense of Planet: The Environmental Imagination of the Global. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Jefferess, David. (2008) Postcolonial Resistance: Culture, Liberation, and Transformation. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Lee, Ezra Yoo-Hyeok. (2011) “Globalization, Pedagogical Imagination, and Transnational Literacy,” CLC Web: Comparative Literature and Culture. 13.1. 1-12.

Levander, Caroline and Walter Mignolo. (2011) “Introduction: The Global South and World Dis/Order” The Global South. 5.1.1-11.

Morris, Rosalind C, ed. (2010) Can the Subaltern Speak? Reflections on an Idea. New York: Columbia University Press.

Moure, Erin and Forrest Gander. (2011) “Preface.” Andrés Ajens. Poetry after the Invention of América: Don’t Light the Flower. Trans. Michelle Gil-Montero. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Ostler, Nicholas. (2010) The Last Lingua Franca: English until the Return of Babel. New York: Walker & Co.

Pavan Kumar, Malreddy. (2011) “Postcolonialism: interdisciplinary or interdiscursive?” Third World Quarterly. 32.4. 653-672.

Reiss, Timothy J. Against Autonomy: (2002)  Global Dialectics of Cultural Exchange. Stanford University Press.

Rethmann, Petra, Imre Szeman, and William D. Coleman (2010) Cultural Autonomy: Frictions and Connections. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.

Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. (2003). Death of a Discipline. New York: Columbia University Press.

—. (1990) The Post-Colonial Critic: Interviews, Strategies, Dialogues, ed. Sarah Harasym. New York: Routledge.

—. (2006) “World Systems and the Creole.” Narrative. 14.6: 102-12.

—. (2010) Nationalism and the Imagination. London: Seagull Books.

—. (2011). “Response.” Parallax. 17.3: 98-104.

Staten, Henry (2005) “Tracking the ‘Native Informant’: Cultural Translation as the Horizon of Literary Translation” In Bermann, Sandra and Michael Wood, eds. Nation, Language, and the Ethics of Translation. P;rinceton: Princeton University Press. 111-126.

Young, Robert J.C. (2011). “The Right to Resist.” In Oboe, Annalisa and Shaul Bassi, eds. Experiences of Freedom in Postcolonial Literatures and Cultures. Abingdon: Routledge. 43-58.

Seminar title: “Taking Responsibility for the Human Sciences”

“Everybody talks about the crisis in the humanities but nobody takes responsibility for it” (Bernstein 78)

In making this claim, American poet Charles Bernstein issues a challenge to imagine ethical forms of teaching and research appropriate to the demands of our globalizing world. Bernstein proposes poetics “as the foundation for a realm of value that is neither scientistic nor moralistic.” Instead, “Poetics is the ethical engagement with the shifting conditions of everyday life” (78). Bernstein’s poetics offers one possible alternative with the flexibility to negotiate the combined fluidities and frictions of life in global times and the continuing need to decolonize the imagination, reinventing social imaginaries on more egalitarian and inclusive principles. What, then, might it mean to take responsibility for the human sciences today? I will discuss my preliminary answers to this question by drawing on three collaborative, interdisciplinary research activities: “Brazil/Canada Knowledge Exchange: Building Transnational Literacies,” “Globalization and Autonomy,” and “Building Global Democracy.”

Work Cited Bernstein, Charles. “The Practice of Poetics.” In Attack of the Difficult Poems. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011. 73-80.

Copies of Brydon’s paper for the seminar can be obtained from and will be available at the seminar.

Taking Bernstein’s challenge as its starting point, this paper considers the potential of Gayatri Spivak’s notions of planetarity and transnational literacies for reimagining humanities futures.

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