- Start date: 2005
- End date: Ongoing
The Popular Cultures Research Group is a gathering of academic staff and postgraduates at Leeds and elsewhere who have teaching and research interests in popular culture. We are based in the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies but our membership extends beyond Languages, beyond Arts disciplines generally, and indeed beyond Leeds.
We promote an open, pluralistic and evolving sense of what is meant by 'popular culture'. We also encourage dialogue between modern languages disciplines and the well-established perspectives of Anglophone cultural studies.
Since our inception in 2005, we have promoted an open, pluralistic and evolving sense of what is meant by 'popular culture'. Hence, in part, the plural, 'popular cultures'.
The plural also underlines both the network's roots in modern-languages disciplines, and the need for dialogue between those disciplines and the well-established perspectives of Anglophone cultural studies. Research in the SLCS often 'locates' cultural phenomena in various ways, rather than approaching popular culture as a 'stateless', global phenomenon. And it focuses particularly on dynamic relationships with places and spaces, in the form of nations, regions, localities and other communities with specific linguistic and cultural histories. We do not, then, privilege the Anglophone world in the way cultural studies has sometimes done.
However, far from simply ignoring that world and the vital processes of globalisation associated with it, the network promotes a 'polycentric', inclusive conception of popular cultures. Anglophone cultures therefore figure very strongly among the 'located' cultures the network is interested in but in a creative and unassimilated exchange, which allows us to bring together diverse cultural histories and imaginations in the form of dynamic interdisciplinary encounters. The substantial presence in the network of academics and postgraduates from disciplines beyond modern languages, including English, Music, Film and Media Studies, Philosophy, Sociology, Design and so on, is therefore vital, as well as distinctive.
This very wide membership also allows us to explore popular cultures in relation to the major preoccupations of cutting-edge research in the arts and humanities, the social sciences, and cultural studies.