Cultural Studies as Praxis by Dr. Handel Wright, an H.M. Tory Chair in Cultural Studies Invited Lecture Presentation 

Cultural Studies as Praxis by Dr. Handel Wright

H.M. Tory Chair in Cultural Studies Invited Lecture Presentation – University of Alberta (Edmonton), October 2005.




In this lecture, entitled “Cultural Studies as Praxis,” Dr. Handel Wright ‘takes cultural studies personally’, drawing on experience, identity and the personal to indicate how and why the author is proponent of and is working on developing a model of cultural studies as social justice praxis despite the constraints academia in general and of the university as an institution in particular. The paper travels roughly from the author’s student and teacher days in Sierra Leone through his graduate student days in Canada to his current role as university teacher in the USA. He selectively concentrates on his experience as a teacher of literature (and African multi-role utilitarianism), education and cultural studies (using one of his cultural studies courses and students’ questions about the utility of cultural studies as example), his shifting and overlapping racial/ethnic identities (African/black) and the politics of identity, and his thoughts on the place of theory in cultural studies and a black approach to theory (black ambivalent elaboration) as contributory factors. While this account acts in its own way as an argument for conceptualizing cultural studies as praxis, the primary focus is more modestly on my own autobiographical account as a specific case. In fact, an autobiographical approach is employed precisely to be specific and in the attempt to avoid the pitfalls of over generalization and the authority of authenticity.

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