Why Cultural Studies in South London

(Note to self for Centre research blurb draft): Stitching between the local and the global in a way that is more than rhetorical, our projects find a geopolitical significance in a South London sensibility. This part of the world has always been global, since the Romans at least. We understand issues – colonial and Maritime history (Greenwich), militarism (Imperial War Museum), race and migration (Stephen Lawrence Centre), commercial and art industry led regeneration/gentrification (Deptford, Tate Modern etc) as examples of a local instanciation of globally significant patterns and events. As modes of production shift, they often shift first in South London. But this does not mean we think this is the centre of the world – our research interests reach out to the global and find patterns of interest in Kolkata, Canton, Niger, Lusaka, Vanuatu, Gabon. More quietly, perhaps, we are also, and maybe even more interested in a planetary ethic than you get in the usual priorities of global (global finance, global trade, global arms sales). Here, we are acutely aware of the planetary or globe girdling movements of protest, creativity, sensibility, meaning. Yet, we see how the planet will eventually make a mockery of all ‘culture’, when we are dust, and a perspective that recalls this terrifying and humbling reality might put our little theatricals into perspective.

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