Thursday, September 15, 2011

CSRG Resumes Meetings, New Participants Welcome!

As the Cultural Studies Reading Group at McMaster University's Department of English and Cultural Studies enters its third year of existence, we would like to invite any and all interested students, alumni, and forward thinking citizens to our first meeting of the academic year, to be held on Thursday, September 22 at 4:30 in CNH 332. At this meeting we will do some general introductions, and will be discussing the introduction and first chapter of Paul Smith's new collection of essays "The Renewal of Cultural Studies" (2011).

Meetings will be held every subsequent second Thursday until Christmas, during which time we hope to cover the entirety of the book. By investigating the relationship of cultural studies as a discipline to such topics as feminism, ideology critique, post-colonial literature, the culture industry, elitism, economics and environmentalism (among many others), this collection promises to offer an opportunity for informed discussion about the role of cultural studies within the university and larger society.

For more information on readings and CSRG events, please contact us at

Monday, April 18, 2011

CSRG Spring Reading Series

Given the history of "actually existing socialism" in the twentieth century, is communism an outmoded idea better relegated to "the dustbin of history," or does the communist vision still offer a productive and critical exterior to the dominant capitalist order? What is the relation between Utopian vision and political practice? Can Marxian and communist discourse still inform leftist politics, both within academia and in larger political projects of transformation?

The essays collected in "The Idea of Communism" (eds. Costas Douzinas & Slavoj Žižek; Verso, 2010) address the question of "whether 'communism' is still the name to be used to designate a radical emancipatory politics" (vii). Gathered from a 2009 conference orginized by the Birbeck Institute for the Humanities, this collection of short, conference-style essays by such scholars as Alian Badiou, Susan Buck-Morss, Micheal Hardt and Jacques Rancière addresses the question of communism's continued relevance to contemporary political thought and practice.

The Cultural Studies Reading Group will be discussing several of the essays from the this collection in our next few gatherings. Our first meeting will be on Wednesday, April, 20, at 4:30 (location TBD). Please e-mail us at if you would like further details about this or future meeting times, or check back with the blog for updates.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Lawrence Grossberg Interview

This week, the CSRG will be discussing an interview with Lawrence Grossberg featured on the Critical Lede podcast. In this interview, Dr. Grossberg discusses his new book Cultural Studies in the Future Tense which makes a critical evaluation of contemporary cultural studies practices and suggests ways in which the discipline might develop to address the challenge of framing a leftist politics and the project of imagining alternatives to what Grossberg calls the dominant Euro-modernity.

The reading group will meet this Thursday, April 7 at 4:30 in CNH 332. We will also be deciding which chapters of the collection The Idea of Communism we will be discussing in upcoming sessions.  Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Reading Sara Ahmed: February 17, 4:30pm

In prep for Sara Ahmed's upcoming visit to McMaster, the csrg is reading a couple of excerpts from The Promise of Happiness. If you've had a chance to read the introduction or conclusion, or just feel like chatting about Ahmed's work, drop by for this week's meeting.

Thursday, February 17, 4:30pm
CNH 332

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wendy Brown at McMaster - Thursday, February 10, 2011

All are welcome to join us in taking advantage of the opportunity to see and hear Wendy Brown speak at McMaster this Thursday.

The Graduate Program in Gender Studies and Feminist Research Presents:

Wendy Brown
Heller Professor of Political Science, Berkeley
Thursday, 1:30 pm Council Chambers (Gilmour Hall 111)

Civilizational Delusions:  Equality, Secularism, Tolerance

"Burka bans"—restrictions on Islamic female dress in public—have been established in France, Belgium, and the German state of Hesse.  They have been proposed in Denmark, the Netherlands, French Canada and parts of Spain.   What are the assumptions in Western secularism that make such bans possible and legitimate, despite their patent affront to principles of cultural pluralism, individual choice and religious freedom?   Revisiting certain legacies of the Protestant Reformation in Locke and Marx, and examining the ways that the secular West is depicted by thinkers such as Samuel Huntington, this lecture challenges the conceits of cultural, religious, gender and civilizational neutrality at the heart of Western secular discourse.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

reading more Wendy Brown

Our winter schedule continues with two more chapters by Wendy Brown from Edgework - chapters six and seven.

Join us Thursday, February 3 in CNH 332 at 4.30pm. Any and all are welcome.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

New term, new meeting time and place, new readings

After much deliberation the Cultural Studies Reading Group has determined our winter schedule, which will be focused around works that make the most of the exciting scholars visiting the university this semester. To this end we will be begin by tackling work by Wendy Brown and Sara Ahmed, before (probably) engaging with the new anthology The Idea of Communism nearer the end of semester.

More specifically, we will be beginning with selections from Wendy Brown's Edgework - chapters two and five - which we will be addressing in our first meeting scheduled for Thursday January 27 in CNH 332 at 4.30pm. Any and all are welcome, and if you need to get your hands on a copy of the reading, please get in touch. Also, if you are interested in maybe dropping in later in the semester, you can email us at readingculturalstudies [at] for further information about times and readings, or check out back here at the blog.

Cultural Studies Reading Group folk