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Ryan P. Randall

Instruction & Outreach Librarian at the College of Western Idaho ∴ Literary, media & cultural studies ∴ Web Editor at In the Library with the Lead Pipe ∴ Sous les pavés, la plage ∴ We are, as always, stubborn, stoked, and petrified - GY!BE

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Recommended Reading

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Just like our world and societies, these “recommended readings” pages remain continually under construction.
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Overview

I’m inspired by April Hathcock’s and Jessica Schomberg’s lists and want to share something similar. I plan to have a range of things here, eventually including links to my own posts that deal with cultural studies & critical theory, particularly as it pertains to LIS. I’m also planning to organize and annotate these recommendations more along the way.

The below certainly isn’t my attempt at an “intro to #critlib” or “intro to critical theory”—these are just readings that I profoundly appreciate and recommend to anyone interested. My motivation is that I’m working toward having a quick answer to what I mean by “cultural studies,” and these are some of the readings that are helping me develop that kind of elevator speech about what critical theory means to me.

I’ll start working on a more “intro to #critlib” section soon enough and some of these will reappear there.

More Detailed Lists

Books

More towards Cultural Studies / Critical Theory

More towards Critical Pedagogy / Critical Information Literacy

Articles

More towards Cultural Studies / Critical Theory

On top of being about disco and downtown NYC art music, this article made me stop judging Deleuze & Guattari based on their fanboys and instead appreciate how assemblage theory can help us avoid adopting Great Men approaches to history. Lawrence also writes superbly, even when harnessing academic language. And he’s considerate enough to have put this in Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies, an open access, peer-reviewed journal.

Jonathan Sterne writes, thinks, and speaks wonderfully. Check out his repository as well as his blog. You’ll find some other great stuff like “Keyword: Journal”, “Pedagogy of the Job Market”, and “Communication as Techné”, not to mention an entire page stuffed full of advice for those venturing into academe. Can you imagine a world where all scholars and thinkers were routinely this generous?

It’s unfortunate that this reading isn’t more widely accessible—although he does touch on a lot of similar topics in a few of the many articles he has on Academia.edu, which I feel vaguely dirty even linking to since it’s far from a substitute for an actual institutional repository.

Across this and some similar essays (“Wandering Audiences, Nomadic Critics,” “Cultural Studies and/in New Worlds,” “The Formations of Cultural Studies: An American in Birmingham,” “On the Political Responsibilities of Cultural Studies,” & “History, Politics, and Postmodernism: Stuart Hall and cultural studies”)1 Grossberg does a stellar job of showing how cultural studies has evolved from a group of scholars primarily from working class backgrounds interested in adult education & labor concerns to a more intentionally decolonial, feminist, and queer undertaking. He does a great job of explaining Stuart Hall, Angela McRobbie, and other Cultural Studies touchstones, as well as showing how the cultural studies approach that he advocates for focuses on a materialist study of the effects of practices and how they are articulated, an approach that is simultaneously both anti-essentialist and not relativistic, basing a claim’s truthfulness on its ability to give the thinker purchase on effects in the world.

More towards Critical Pedagogy / Critical Information Literacy

Blog Posts

Blog Roll

Futher Blog Roll

  1. I also really like Grossberg’s “The Ideology of Communication: Post-Structuralism and the Limits of Communication,” which is on that non-IR site. It’s definitely not an introductory reading, but it’s a good one.