A question to Fredric Jameson UoW 7 Dec

Jameson presented a public lecture as part of the “Telling Truths: Crime Fiction & National Allegory” conference. Below is an expanded version of the notes I wrote on my question I asked him during the question time:

Speaking as an enthusiast rather than an expert. FJ described terrorists and serial killers as boring villains. I asked a question in defence of the serial killer (this got a massive laugh!) as a defence of time (which pique everyone’s interest, audience went silent, due to FJ’s focus on questions of space) through the concept of ‘seriality’

1. FJ spoke of dual layer character of crime novel, past narrative of crime in context of ‘current narrative’ of detection. Using villain of serial killer there is actually a triple layer narrative: past crimes, present detection, plus the virtuality of future crimes. The first two narratives feed into the conditions of possibility of the third. This is expressed through content or articulated at a structural level through a certain tension and a sense of dread. It represents two sets of agency in competition for the ‘future’.
2. A second dimension of this tension, particularly evident in the generic constraints of contemporary procedural television shows. This is the level of the bureaucratic within policing, where the police case now has a temporal context, so the detective ensemble has to clear a certain number of cases within a given timeframe. The ‘case’ is not only determined by the force of will & intellect of the detective (ensemble), now it is constraint by a project-based mode of governance.
Do you think this can be thought of in terms of reclaiming a sense of the future? If so, how this does relate to your concern for space?
He agreed, and said “Yes, this is the way you’d do it.” He then related it to space. The essence of his reply was that temporality is always spatialised, and he gave the example of the ‘map’ and the way past crimes are mapped in terms of where murders/bodies are found in terms of a pattern. He ended with, “I wish I had thought it.”

CSAA Conference Final Plenary Panel

My ‘mobile phone’ notes on the final plenary panel session of the 2012 CSAA conference  http://www.csaa2012.org/ All panelists addressed the question: What matters for cultural studies?


Few would describe it as a discipline.

Training in a disciplinarity

Teaching downgraded.
Conduct in everyday life.
Don’t believe surrendering the space to solving problems of business.
Critical pedagogic in everyday life.
Creative industries, narcissism of small differences.
Thin notion of cultural value in creative industries.
Lack of an economics suitable to their circumstances
Neomarxist political economy needs updating
Cultural economics is languishing in FOR Codes
Core values?
Studied Bruno Latour’s recent book
“Idealism of materialism”
Matter understood in its particularism not its potential universalism.
Beyond nature culture divide. Ecologize rather than modernize.
Human is not a special mode of existence.
Materialism between reproduction & reference.
Myths & poetry exist in real worlds.
Core values should be concerned with truth & beauty.
The nature of its mattering has changed over time.
Cultural Studies loose association of interests in how cultural operates, with an intellectual commitment to change.
Teaching category and ARC funding category serve as conditions of possibility/existence.
In UK took form of an ideological politics, then in pedagogy, practical areas of engagement — these no longer linked to policy debates(?)
Does it matter? Yes it does. Meeting place for heterogeneous modes of engagement.
These different approaches are often incubated somewhere else, Cultural Studies now catching up.
Other kinds of challenges, rise of business & management studies.
Not focusing on intellectual content challenges, the context of these challenges more important.
1. Should be embracing in a serious ways, of deep cultural way, diversity. Broader question of the humanities? Cosmopolitan engagement missing, focus on materiality, means abandoning difference?
2. The bureaucracy of it all. Cultural studies an FOR code. ARC assessed based on this code.
What is relation to other disciplines, they’ve had ‘cultural turns’.
3. Being assessed as an FOR code? Danger of being assessed in conservative purely academic ways.
Perceptible shift at this conference, things that wouldnt normally be talked about. Plus all the elders of CS all appeared in one place.
Papers that move outward new topics (extensive), papers that move inward to discuss methodology (intensive).
CS discipline traditionally moved outwards (extensive), stepped into areas where it hasn’t been welcome.
Inherent parasitism has been a weakness.
What is the coherent, focused body of knowledge being shaped?
Marked by the radical character of pedagogy, students know as much about the topics as teachers.
Many things matter for CS.
CS mutated in new ways.
Focus on the present, history of the present, needs a sense of history.
CS pursues things that don’t quite fit.
1. Fracture. Two books on future of CS. Institutional shift towards practical education, ‘how to do’ rather than ‘what to know’.
2. ERA requires a CS readership previously imagined as a political orientation, but now think of as negotiating between different knowledges.
3. Ian Hunter academy of humanities, intellectual history, social epistemology
Exhilaration and energy required to do all these things, this is what matters in CS.
My goal is show people that are freer than they feel.
D&G’s notion of the diagonal (transversal) where they are not meant to be.
“The geezer’s panel.” In Maclaurin Room, all men on the walls.
Vivid reminder how much work has been done.
Exhilaration required to keep going.
Ross Chambers calls room to manoeuvre.
CS peculiar for being formed in an era almost wholly dominated by neoliberalism.
Beyond bitterness and critique?
My question: Graeme’s focus on the future, Tom’s point about epistemology, Meaghan’s point about energy, all in the context of the general point about pedagogy and a tension with the category of the economic: do we need to reclaim for our students a critical sense of the ‘aspirational’?
MM: Radiate back a positive sense of what is good in students’ work. They need to develop their own critical sense of the future. More interested in TOR “what to do”.
GT: Cultural Studies 101, set of hard readings, teacher performed exegesis, wrote essay. But CS originally about generating agency, aspirational comes from that.
JF: Re neoliberalism, CS takes a differentiated approach to the economy.

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