chapter  10
19 Pages

'Interfacing' language and literature: with special reference to the teaching of British cultural studies

Theverytermliteratureconjuresupahostofcontradictionsand conflicts.Hereletme,firstofall,expressmydeepconcernoverthe declining(ifnottotallymarginalised)statusofEnglishLiteraturein universitycurricula.Sinceitisimpossibletoavoidthenotoriously bigdebateovertheCanonandAlternativeLiterature(s)ifwewant

170Language,Lite

What'smore,teachersofliteratureseemtobesufferingfrom an'identitycrisis'broughtaboutbyanarrayoffactors:thenewlygrantedhighprestigeofnaturalsciencesinoursocietyandthe government'stighteningofbudgetsforthehumanitiesandarts (particularlyforliterarystudies);theutilitarianwayofthinking andpracticeofoursocietywithitsquasi-Americandollar-chasing aestheticsandemphasisonemploymentprospectsamong students;andalsothesociallydominantpositionofaudiovisual massmedia.Toacertainextent,eventhedevelopmentsofculturalstudies,regionalstudiesandmediastudieshavehelpedin devaluingthelong-standingspecialstatusaccordedto'thegreat literarytradition'ortheCanon.