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Dialogues on Cultural Studies
Interviews with Contemporary Critics

edited by Xie, Shaobo; Wang, Fengzhen
Publisher:  University of Calgary Press, Calgary, Canada
Year Published:  2002  
Pages:  280pp   Price:  $34.95   ISBN:  1-55238-074-2
Library of Congress Number:  HM623 D52 2002  

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Xie is a professor of English at the University of Calgary, while Wang is a research fellow in Beijing (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences). This book is a series of interviews with twelve academics, all American or working in the US (Pamela McCallum is at the University of Calgary). Thirty-three questions were asked (but not necessarily answered) of each participant, dealing with cultural studies, modernity, postmodernism, referentiality, ideology and history, post-colonialism, neo-orientalism, revolution and tragedy, intellectuals and universities (hah!), gender, Marxism, new communications technology - do I go on? Extremely difficult to read, unless you know something about the field. There is an extensive bibliography, but it seems to list only older works. It would be interesting to run this book through any fog indexes or other readability indicators, such as Flesch reading ease or Flesch-Kincaid grade levels. All in all, it appears to be mainly a polemic. Certainly, it is not a dialogue, since there seem to be no "supplementary" questions.

Audience or interest level: academics, Marxists.

Some interesting facts: "Difference or differentiation as the spirit and mood of the postmodern age has been celebrated on a global scale for three decades, whereas at the same time globalized capitalism is globally erasing difference, imposing sameness and standardization on consciousness, feeling, imagination, motivation, desire, and taste through cultural, social, and economic means."

What I don't like about this resource: too arcane for journalists, and even journalism educators. Certainly the dialogues are not interviews that journalists would do.

What I do like about this resource: a boldface index does manage to tie it all together. Many anthologies or collections are not indexed.

Quality-to-Price Ratio: what can I say? If you need it, read it: 85.

[Review by Dean Tudor]

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