Gender in the Disciplinary Contact Zone

Dr. Rebecca Faery
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In her 1991 article 'Arts of the Contact Zone,' Mary Louise Pratt argues that cultures encountering each other in the scene of colonization, cultures of both colonized and colonizer, are mutually transformed in that contact zone where they meet and interact. In the paper I propose, I will ask whether Cultural Studies is a disciplinary contact zone, one where traditional academic disciplines meet and, in the resulting mergers and frictions, are likewise mutually transformed. Have the various streams of Cultural Studies-feminist, post-colonial, Afro-American, Native American, Asian-American, queer studies, critical race studies, and others, all of them embedded in the Cultural Studies paradigm-facilitated an increasing permeability of disciplinary boundaries? Does the contemporary obsession with interdisciplinarity, multidisciplinarity, even anti-disciplinarity, offer the most potent challenge yet to current configurations of the traditional disciplines in the academy? And what will be the likely effect of Cultural Studies scholarship on the traditional disciplinary fields of inquiry?

To illustrate, I will discuss how my own work as a feminist literary scholar who studies and writes about gender through a Cultural Studies lens has led me not only into another humanities discipline, history, but also into social sciences such as anthropology, ethnography, sociology, politics-disciplines which my feminist Cultural Studies scholarly practice has required me to engage. What are the benefits of work that operates at sites of the convergence of disciplines? What risks do scholars working at such junctures face?

Keywords: Cultural Studies, Interdisciplinarity, Academic Disciplines
Stream: Anthropology, Archaeology, Cultural Studies and Humanities
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Dr. Rebecca Faery

Director of First Year Writing, Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Rebecca Faery is the author of "Cartographies of Desire: Captivity, Race, and Sex in the Shaping of an American Nation" (Oklahoma UP, 1999). She directs the First Year Writing Program at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she teaches introductory and advanced courses in race, popular culture, the essay, and creative non-fiction.

Ref: I06P0106