Creativity and Academic Activism

Instituting Cultural Studies


Edited by Meaghan Morris and Mette Hjort

ISBN : 978-988-8139-39-2

Cultural Studies, Gender Studies

September 2012

312 pages, 6″ x 9″, 2 b&w illus.; 1 table

Not for sale in Europe, North America, or South America

  • HK$395.00

Also available in Paperback HK$195.00

This work explores in detail how innovative academic activism can transform our everyday workplaces in contexts of considerable adversity. Personal essays by prominent scholars provide critical reflections on their institution-building triumphs and setbacks across a range of cultural institutions. Often adopting narrative approaches, the contributors examine how effective programmes and activities are built in varying local and national contexts within a common global regime of university management policy. Here they share experiences based on developing new undergraduate degrees, setting up research centers and postgraduate schools, editing field-shaping book series and journals, establishing international artist-in-residence programs and founding social activist networks.

This book also investigates the impact of managerialism, marketization and globalization on university cultures, asking what critical cultural scholarship can do in such increasingly adversarial conditions. Experiments in Asian universities are emphasized as exemplary of what can or could be achieved in other contexts of globalized university policy.

Contributors include Tony Bennett, Stephen Ching-Kiu Chan, Kuan-Hsing Chen, Douglas Crimp, Dai Jinhua, John Nguyet Erni, Josephine Ho, Koichi Iwabuchi, Tejaswini Niranjana, Wang Xiaoming, and Audrey Yue.

Meaghan Morris is Professor of Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney and Chair Professor of Cultural Studies at Lingnan University in Hong Kong. Mette Hjort is Chair Professor and Head of Visual Studies at Lingnan University in Hong Kong, where she is also Director of the Centre for Cinema Studies.

“Rather than sketching out wishful thinking or platitudinous ideas about cultural studies’ transformative potential, this book deals with very specific contexts in which cultural studies has built an institutional presence. The book is very up to date in engaging directly with the managerial ethos which has become part of university life around the world over the last decade—it does not treat universities as abstractly conceived sites of power or potential transformation. While the book has wide applicability, the emphasis on Asian institutions will de-familiarize for many our sense of cultural studies’ history and institutional fate, by showing what can be done in other kinds of contexts. The contributors all write as seasoned, institutionally savvy practitioners and administrators of cultural studies activity, and this gives the book a distinctive authority and maturity.” —Will Straw, McGill Institute for the Study of Canada

“This is an extremely valuable collection on the institutionalization of cultural studies. Whereas the discipline has largely disavowed its participation in institutionalization, its institutional success is fundamental to the way the field of study has developed. This book offers a rich and fascinating array of experiences and reflections upon this history. Its location primarily in Asia is also a highly valuable aspect—this is where the histories of institutionalization have been most contingent and interesting.” —Graeme Turner, University of Queensland

“A provocative and insightful engagement with the new landscape of the University. This book brings together a host of leading international scholars in the humanities and social sciences who have lived to tell the tale of the ‘enterprise university.’ Strategies for rethinking public purpose and innovative approaches to pedagogy are explored through diverse cultural locales. A must read for those who are committed to changing things from the inside out.” —Janine Marchessault, York University, Canada