CIC: Critical Approaches to the Study of Advertising

New post up at Culture In Conversation.

Critical Approaches to the Study of Advertising

From conversation organizer, Jay Hamilton, University of Georgia

Critical studies of advertising seem to have hit a crossroads. I’m no longer convinced that traditional critical perspectives (Critical Theory, semiotic/structuralist, political-economic) can simply be mechanically applied to the current times. Advertising practice and the hyper-extension of consumer culture into the digital realm has changed so much since the formulation of these “classic” critical positions. Is this just me? Or do you also see the same problems with applying existing critical positions to today’s practice?

CFP: Remembering Stuart Hall – Trajectories and Permutations

Remembering Stuart Hall: Trajectories and Permutations

The recent passing of Stuart Hall has occasioned reflections and remembrances across academe. Casting a long shadow across the world of Cultural Studies, Hall’s personality and gracious spirit have been excellently catalogued and eulogized in the pages of sundry other publications. In the collaborative spirit that underlies our project, Culture in Conversation instead offers scholars and researchers a space to converse and compare their intellectual trajectories, excavating the traces and deep marks bearing Stuart Hall’s influence.

We are not asking for fully crafted essays or research studies. Instead, we seek the kind of open engagement engendered by scholarly conversation.

Specifically, we seek conversations and contributions that are reflexive in scope, yet also point the way to new possibilities. Using Hall’s texts, concepts, methods, or practices as an originating point, we seek contributors interested in revealing to others how they’ve made his work useful in their own lines of inquiry. We seek conversations and contributions that retread and capture intellectual cartographies, leaving maps for those who may come later. We offer the following suggestions as a starting point, and welcome other, overlooked topics.

  • The possibility of contemporary conjectural analysis.
  • “Encoding/decoding” in a digital world
  • The Atlantic-sized gulf between British and American Cultural Studies
  • Continued negotiations of identity
  • The evolving politics of image and representation
  • Doing things with Marx and Gramsci no one has seen before
  • Deconstructing the contemporary popular
  • The ever-widening circuit of culture
  • The legacy of Policing the Crisis
  • Contesting the politics to come

Interested individuals should consult our style guidelines below and familiarize themselves with prior conversations published on this site.

Deadline April 15, 2014. Submissions may be e-mailed to

Culture in Conversation

Culture in Conversation is a side interest of mine, offering a digital platform for scholars of all stripes to discuss issue related to the study of culture. It has been an exciting project so far, and we are always seeking new participants willing to share their thoughts and work.

From CIC’s statement of purpose: 

Culture in Conversation (CIC) is an online scholarly forum that seeks to reveal to its readers the work of scholarly exchange. CIC publishes conversations that are an “in-between” product—not as informal as a blog post, not as complex as a journal article, and not as one-sided as a formal commentary. The topics addressed speak to the broad scope of the cultural studies project: from media studies to literary theory, ethnology and anthropology to the digital humanities, film studies to musicology, science and technology studies, cultural history, and beyond.

In our eyes, the conversation format reveals the value of collaborative thought-in-action. The give-and-take nature of our curated topics provide a place for unique perspectives and alternate approaches to scholarly inquiry that might not find a foothold in traditional outlets. CIC’s open approach values polished academic presentations alongside more raw, less definitive pieces that are “in the works,” preserving a process of exploration, discovery and learning. It is our hope that by placing various projects and perspectives “in conversation” with one another, the resultant interactions lay bare the process by which new thoughts and ideas are formed.

CIC thrives on participants willing to put themselves out there, without pretense, accepting the idea that we are all students, continually learning through a collaborative process of exploration. By publishing conversations between scholars as the evidence of these explorations, we further hope that CIC fulfills a necessary performative aspect, revealing that ideas do not emerge fully-formed, but are worked over and polished as they are brought into contact with other perspectives. It is our hope to make public one of the more fundamental truths of our own education: in the life of a scholar, there are few experiences more exciting than the moment when ideas begin rubbing against one another and turn into something else entirely.

Visitors to the CIC site benefit from a growing database of conversations and can participate in the discussion by commenting on postings and interacting with the curator, conversationalists and other visitors. The publishing of scholarly conversations is not a new concept—they appear in the mainstream press, professional and academic journals, and in the records of public forums, among other sources. We hope this forum will fill some gaps for readers and participants, and make this work freely available and accessible for a diverse audience.