Unpacking Knowledge


Abstract: For two decades now, what goes by the name of Cultural Studies (CS) has been in the business of repackaging knowledge. One way of assessing CS’s strategic position in the current geopolitics of knowledge is to say: With its emergence as the latest ideology of PC comprehensiveness that rushes to bless too many things, like phenomenology autrefois, previously attested interdisciplinary fields, such as critical theory, comparative literature, cultural anthropology, and others, have seen themselves squeezed between this fifth column of globalization and the “malignant alignment” of disciplinary thought. Three decades and more ago, these fields were at the forefront of academic (and) publishing endeavors, where they enjoyed the crisp freedom granted to spearheading drills; they now see themselves squeezed unto self‐justificatory exercises and resented cutbacks. CS seems to be “disciplining” comparative literature, critical theory and the others at the speed of fashion change. The game in town might be, “show me your interdisciplinarity and I’ll show you mine,” but what has emerged as regularity is that yesteryear’s interdisciplinarity tends to become today’s (more enlightened?) disciplinarity.

Keywords: Cultural Studies, Comparative Literature, Critical Theory, globalization, interdisciplinarity