Post-Punk and Cultural Studies

Post-Punk and Cultural Studies examines the two parallel interdisciplinary fields in its title, both of which took hold in late-1970s England. The former, largely based around the London record label Rough Trade and influenced by new ideas in feminism and poststructuralism, channeled punk rock’s rebellious energy into multimedia projects that were positioned against the UK’s sagging economy, its increasing conservatism, and race and gender inequality. The latter, largely based around CCCS at University of Birmingham (founded earlier, in 1964), facilitated a diverse field of cultural analysis, rooted variously in Marxism, structuralism, sociology, and critical race and gender theory, often with urban society and popular culture as its object(s) of inquiry. These two fields often intersected, both in the subcultural studies offered by scholars such as Dick Hebdige and Stuart Hall (and later, Paul Gilroy and Mark Fisher), and in the neo-Marxist, self-reflexive lyrics and lifestyles demonstrated by post-punk practitioners such as The Raincoats and Gang of Four. In this reading group we will immerse ourselves in this era and location of cultural and scholarly production, breaking down the analytical and creative methodologies put forth by post-punk and cultural studies, as well as thinking more broadly about the relationship between artistic and scholarly practices (not to mention, their relative political implications and efficacy). The group’s syllabus will include written as well as musical texts, and will remain light and flexible to leave room for participants to suggest additional or replacement texts.

Contact: Joe Bucciero