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Michael Sprinker Graduate Writing Award


The Marxist Literary Group has established a Michael Sprinker Graduate Writing Award to be formally awarded at each year's Summer Institute on Culture and Society. The award will recognize an essay or dissertation chapter that engages with Marxist theory, scholarship, pedagogy and/or activism. Submissions are judged by a committee of MLG members. If you would like to contribute to this fund, please send your check, made out to:

"MLG" (with "Michael Sprinker Fund" noted in the bottom left-hand corner)
C/O Jamie Owen Daniel, President
English Department, m/c 162
The University of Illinois at Chicago
601 S. Morgan
Chicago, IL 60607-7120


Content Providers of the World Unite!
The Cultural Politics of Globalization
John Douglas Taylor Conference ~ Friday, October 26, 2001
Department of English ~ McMaster University
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Keynote speakers: Len Findlay ~ Naomi Klein ~ Dot Tuer

Depending on which accounts of globalization one reads, culture is either at the center of the new global economy or it has been totally eclipsed by it. On the one hand, cultural objects and practices now appear as absolutely constitutive of economic, political and social practices, to such a degree that analyses of the latter that do not take culture into account have to be treated as theoretically and empirically impoverished. On the other, as popular culture becomes reduced to mass culture on an intensified, global scale, the liberatory and resistant impulses once associated, if in different ways, with both high and low culture seem to have been almost fatally diminished.

The term "content providers" captures this paradoxical position of culture in globalization. In the new global economy, culture has become "content," and cultural workers and critics have become "content providers" whose work is more essential to the operations of the economy than ever before, but only as a content that does nothing to challenge the structure or form of the new world order. "Content Providers of the World Unite!" calls on critics and cultural workers to consider the challenges that globalization poses for an adequate understanding of cultural politics and the politics of culture at the present time. How do we make sense of a time in which culture seems to have become both more and less essential to the prevailing economic order, a time in which the (older) relationship between culture and politics seems both more difficult and necessary to maintain? Among the questions that we hope to
address at this conference are:

- In what ways is culture important to understanding globalization and politics in the global era? How is it related to other aspects of individual and social existence (health, economics, politics, ecology?) (How) has its meaning shifted in response to the processes of globalization?

- How does culture at the present time mediate between individuals and broader structures of power (the state, the nation, stock markets, TNCs, NGOs, etc.)? Do we need to develop new political models in order to comprehend new forms of mediation?

- How does race and ethnicity intersect with the new conditions for culture and politics in globalization? For example, in what ways has the concept of cultural difference contributed to the production of ethnic subjectivities and the ethnicization of the political?

- What new form or forms do/should cultural politics take at the present time?

- Is there any role left for an artistic or cultural avant-garde?

- What theoretical concepts do we need to abandon, invent or re-invent with respect to contemporary circumstances? Does it, for example, make sense to speak of ideology in a "post-political" era?

- In the global era, should we re-consider our suspicions about universalist or totalizing categories?

- What is the role of the university-and particularly of the humanities-in developing forms of cultural critique adequate to the process of globalization? Does the attenuation of the public sphere inhibit the production of culture in general, and politically progressive culture in
particular, or is it a necessary complement to the generation of new venues of critical cultural production (e.g., the streets of Seattle)?

- What constitutes an adequate pedagogy of culture? Can ideology critique continue to be the primary mode by which we teach students to be critical of culture?

- Is it still possible to imagine new forms of political community? How does/can culture help us to imagine new forms of political community? What might a global democracy or civil society look like?

Abstracts should be no longer than 300 words and should be mailed on or by MAY 31, 2001.

Send abstracts/queries/suggestions to:
Susie O'Brien and Imre Szeman
Department of English, McMaster University
1280 Main Street W., Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8S 4L9
Phone: (905) 525-9140 x23724 or x23725 / Fax: (905) 777-8316
E-mail: ~or~


Issue 3.2 (December 2000) of Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor
is now available at <>:

interview with barbara foley by leo parascondola

"breaking news" (edited by katherine wills): * strikes * conferences *
CFPs *

"the prison issue" (edited by bruce simon): * h. bruce franklin * joan
dayan * tony samara * robert gangi, vincent schiraldi, and jason
zeidenberg * nicole meyenberg and steve parks *

"the state of our unions": * ginny jones and jane hikel * ryan downing
and jennifer sherer * vicky smallman * robert bellerose * marsha
niemeijer and chris vance * james beaton * jeff shantz *

reviews (edited by courtney maloney): * the perpetual prisoner machine *
big george * literature, class and culture * the university in ruins"

issue 3.2 (december 2000) of *workplace: a journal for academic labor*
is now available at <>


--Bruce Simon
Co-General Editor, Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor
Assistant Professor, English, SUNY Fredonia

PSN, Progressive Sociologists Network ( and Monthly Review Press are pleased to announce a virtual seminar on:

Marx's Ecology: Materialism and Nature by John Bellamy Foster
that will run from November 11-18, 2000

To participate, please send an empty message to:

For more information on Marx's Ecology, or how to order, please visit:

Richard Levins on Marx's Ecology: Materialism and Nature:

"In the best tradition of Marxist scholarship, John Bellamy Foster uses the history of ideas not as a courtesy to the past but as an integral part of current issues. He demonstrates the centrality of ecology for a materialist conception of history, and of historical materialism for an ecological movement."

Progress requires the conquest of nature. Or does it? In Marx's Ecology: Materialism and Nature author John Bellamy Foster overturns conventional interpretations of Marx and in the process outlines a more rational approach to the current environmental crisis.

Marx it is often assumed, cared only about industrial growth and the development of economic forces. In Marx's Ecology: Materialism and Nature, John Bellamy Foster examines Marx's neglected writings on capitalist agriculture and soil ecology, philosophical naturalism and evolutionary theory. He shows that Marx was deeply concerned with the changing human relationship to nature.

"The argument of this book is based on a very simple premise: that in order to understand the origins of ecology, it is necessary to comprehend the new views of nature that arose with the development of of materialism and science from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries. Moreover, rather than simply picturing materialism and science as the enemies of earlier and supposedly preferable conceptions of nature, as is common in contemporary green theory, the emphasis here is on how the development of both materialism and science promoted-indeed made possible-ecological ways of thinking...

Although there is a long history of denouncing Marx for a lack of ecological concern, it is now abundantly clear, after decades of debate, that this view does not at all fit with the evidence. On the contrary, as the Italian geographer Massimo Quaini has observed, 'Marx ... denounced the spoilation of nature before a modern bourgeois ecological conscience was born.' From the start, Marx's notion of the alienation of human labor was connected to an understanding of the alienation of human beings from nature. It was this twofold alienation
which, above all, needed to be explained historically."

-- From the Introduction to Marx's Ecology: Materialism and Nature

John Bellamy Foster is professor of sociology at the University of Oregon and is co-editor of the journals Monthly Review and Organization and Environment. He is the author of The Vulnerable Planet (1999, 2nd Ed.) and co-editor of Hungry for Profit (2000), Capitalism and the Information Age (1998), and In Defense of History (1996).



"The Labor Theory of Masculinity"

We invite papers on theories of "masculinity" under capitalism from its early modern formation to its present global configuration for a forthcoming special issue of GENDERS. We would like to publish essays that intervene in contemporary thematizations of "masculinity" by investigating the historical and social conditions of these thematizations. That is, what are the material conditions of theories of masculinity? We would like essays that go beyond "describing" the masculine to explain why it is being represented as it is.

We are situating the issue in relation to "labor theory" as the site for critiquing and countering current theories of masculinity. At the moment, most theories of the masculine draw, to various degrees, on the concepts and interpretive strategies of post-theories: post-structuralism, post-modernism, post-colonialism, post-ideology. Such "post" theories, however, have frequently worked against the recognition of how theories of masculinity articulate, and are determined by, particular relations of labor and capital. We are especially interested in essays that critique "post" theories and essays that go beyond immanent studies of the masculine to engage the theoretical issues involved in why the masculine is being known and represented as it is in transnational capitalism.

Essays and inquiries should be sent to:
Special Issue Editor
PO Box 384
Dewitt, NY 13214

Deadline for submissions is mid-December 2000. The special issue will be published in fall 2001.




Cultural Logic, ISSN 1097-3087
Page updated March 15, 2001