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Cultural Studies in the Global Era

December 6th, 2011

Cultural studies as a domain is most fruitfully viewed as a set of critical approaches rather than a series of topics. It rose to prominence between the 1970s and 1990s because of dissatisfaction with the reigning paradigms in the social sciences. Cultural studies have proliferated, become dominant in certain fields (literature, history, cultural anthropology, visual culture), and now are in “crisis,” that is, have lost their cutting edge status. Why are they in crisis and how does the rise of interest in globalization over the last two decades change the prospects for cultural studies? Is globalization – hardly a new phenomenon but definitely a new intellectual concern – a Trojan horse for the reintroduction of the old paradigms in the social sciences that prioritized economic and social changes or is it a fundamentally new paradigm in itself? What is the future for cultural studies?

Born in Panama and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota, Professor Lynn Hunt has her B.A. from Carleton College (1967) and her M.A. (1968) and Ph.D. (1973) from Stanford University. Before coming to UCLA she taught at the University of Pennsylvania (1987-1998) and the University of California, Berkeley (1974-1987).

Prof. Hunt teaches French and European history and the history of history as an academic discipline. Her specialties include the French Revolution, gender history, cultural history and historiography. Her current research projects include a study of cultural history in the global era and another of the French Revolution in global context.

Prof. Hunt’s most recent books examine the origins of human rights in the eighteenth century, Inventing Human Rights (2007), the question of time and history writing, Measuring Time: Making History (2008), and early 18th century views of the world’s religions, Bernard Picart and the First Global Vision of Religion(with M. Jacob and W. Mijnhardt, 2010). She has written extensively on the French Revolution:Revolution and Urban Politics in Provincial France (1978); Politics, Culture, and Class in the French Revolution (1984); and The Family Romance of the French Revolution (1992). She has also written about historical method and epistemology: The New Cultural History (1989); with Joyce Appleby and Margaret Jacob, Telling the Truth about History (1994); with Jacques Revel, Histories: French Constructions of the Past (1995); and with Victoria Bonnell, Beyond the Cultural Turn (1999). In addition, she has edited collections on the history of eroticism, pornography, and on human rights; co-authored a western civilization textbook, The Making of the WestPeoples and Cultures (3rd ed. 2009); and with Jack Censer co-authored a textbook on the French Revolution which includes a cd-rom and companion website. Her books have been translated into French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Turkish, Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese, Polish and Czech.