chapter  49
20 Pages


These two quotations are intended to draw the reader’s attention to two important perspectives in current debates about literature and its relation to ‘popular culture’ inside academic institutions and among cultural workers. Both Hall and Donnell are concerned with how we read, engage, critique and, ultimately, make meaning of our cultural landscapes. The effectiveness, privileging of certain modes of cultural representation, and the political gains and losses that emerge through these representations, are some of the concerns shared by cultural critics, teachers, cultural practitioners and students alike. These concerns are particularly relevant to discussions about what we teach in academic institutions and to what ends, particularly as cultures that have been historically marginalized begin to inform how ‘the center’ not only imagines itself, but also its relationships to the ‘Other’. More importantly, the struggle to control which modes of representation will form ‘authentic’ or authoritative accounts of culture is being even more hotly contested due to the expansive access to technologies that make it possible for so many people to produce their own versions and visions of themselves through art. Traditional conversations about ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture are being radically re-imagined and rethought and in so doing, new spaces for negotiating authority, power, representation, visibility and authenticity through popular culture are emerging.