Crossroads 2018 has an exciting line up
Publishing Cultural Studies, Now and in the Future
Ted Striphas, University of Colorado Boulder, USA
Janneke Adema, Coventry University, UK
Mehdi Semati, Northern Illinois University, USA
Gabriela Méndez Cota, Universidad Iberoamericana, Ciudad de México

Ted Striphas, University of Colorado Boulder, USA

Brief Introduction to Panelists:
1) Ted Striphas is Associate Professor in the College of Media, Communication, and Information at the University of Colorado Boulder, USA and co-editor of the journal Cultural Studies. He has written extensively about the history and politics of both academic and trade publishing, in addition to engaging in small-scale experiments in scholarly communication. His broader research program looks at the relationship between culture, communication, and technology. Ted’s forthcoming book, Algorithmic Culture, explores the conditions whereby culture, the conceptual sine-qua-non of the humanities, became practicable and intelligible in computations terms. Twitter: @striphas; Email:

2) Janneke Adema is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Postdigital Cultures at Coventry University. In her research she explores the future of scholarly communications and experimental forms of knowledge production, where her work incorporates processual and performative publishing, radical open access, scholarly poethics, media studies, book history, cultural studies, and critical theory. She explores these issues in depth in her forthcoming monograph Living Books: Experiments in Posthumanities. You can follow her research, as it develops, on Twitter: @openreflections; Email:

3) Mehdi Semati is Professor in the Department of Communication at Northern Illinois University. He has published on Iranian media, culture and society in various scholarly outlets. He has played a modest part in introducing and publishing major works of Cultural Studies in Iran over the last two decades, including works by Stuart Hall, Meaghan Morris, and Lawrence Grossberg. His current research includes a project devoted to the study of higher education and the business of humanities and social sciences research and publication in Iran in the shadow of global neoliberal order and privatization of university. Twitter: @m_semati; Email:

4) Gabriela Méndez Cota is full-time academic in the Philosophy Department at Universidad Iberoamericana, Ciudad de México. She holds an MA and a PhD in Media and Communications from Goldsmiths, University of London. Her work has explored technoscientific controversies from the theoretical perspectives that inform cultural studies, including deconstruction, post-Marxism and feminism. Her first single-authored academic monograph, Disrupting Maize: Food, Biotechnology and Nationalism in Contemporary Mexico (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016), focuses on the ethical challenges posed by corporate agricultural biotechnology to the Mexican national imaginary. In 2011 she contributed an edited book on agriculture and the humanities to the online project Living Books About Life (OHP). In 2014 she led a research project around quelites, or edible weeds, that resulted in a web-based recipe book ( She co-edits, with Rafico Ruiz, the journal Culture Machine. Email:
Publishing Cultural Studies, Now and in the Future

Spotlight Panel Abstract:

Publishing Cultural Studies, Now and in the Future

This panel is occasioned by a provocation from John Durham Peters (2015: 15): “media are our infrastructures of being, the habitats and materials through which we act and are.” What would it mean for Cultural Studies to imagine itself in this way? What would it mean, in other words, for the field and its practitioners to recognize books, journals, and other types of publications as a constitutive—even existential—force, rather than as conduits or supports for the transmission of our arguments and ideas? This is tantamount to asking: how does Cultural Studies’ “situation” depend, at any given place and time, on media? How should it? The panelists address these questions in an effort to think collectively about the present shape of, and possible futures for, our field. Themes include: translation and global knowledge flows; grey literature; iterative scholarship; copyright and Open Access; for-profit scholarly publishing; and digital technology/social media.

Paper 1: Caring for Cultural Studies (Ted Striphas)

Keywords: Care Structures, Publishing, Scholarly Communication, Cultural Studies, Infrastructure
This presentation introduces the spotlight session, advancing a series of provocations about publishing in Cultural Studies. It begins by challenging the instrumental view of scholarly communication, in which academic publications function primarily as conduits for the transmission of research. The presentation then develops the idea of infra-structuralism, before thinking through the concept of care as it relates to the everyday life of scholarly fields, and of Cultural Studies in particular. The purpose, here, is to develop a more robust understanding of how the ontology of academic formations hinges not only on “the literature,” but indeed on the materiality of the apparatuses of scholarly communication, and also then on the seemingly mundane acts by means of which those apparatuses are maintained. A brief case study concludes the presentation, focusing on a series of “gotcha” events designed to expose inadequacies in academic journals of varying legitimacy. Here the concept of care comes full-circle, becoming a touchstone for thinking through an ethics of Cultural Studies’ mediality.

Paper 2: Differential and Iterative Publishing (Janneke Adema)

Keywords: Iterative Scholarship, Processual Publishing, Media Forms, Relational Publishing
This paper explores the general trend towards the iterative and dynamic publishing of open, distributed, differential (Perloff) and versioned research. It examines how in these forms of publishing the distinction between doing research and publishing or communicating it, is eroding. These forms of processual and collaborative research have the potential to critique our essentialized and object-based scholarship, yet arguably their importance lies mainly in how they urge us to thoroughly rethink what scholarship and publishing are; to re-evaluate at what points and for what reasons we want, should or are required to cut down our ongoing research, and how we can guarantee that these closures do not bind down its further development. The non-linearity of processual research is key here, where different revisions, remixes, adaptations and readings of research do not flow into each other in a teleological way, but are rather remediations (Bolter) and deformations (McGann) of iterable publications.

Paper 3: The Business of Cultural Studies in Iran (Mehdi Semati)

Keywords: Global Cultural Studies, Iran, Publishing, Black Market, Entrepreneurial Culture
The circulation of Cultural Studies in Iran is a compelling story. One version of this story is a narrative of ideas and intellectual traditions. Another is a narrative of institutions and practices. To understand the state of Cultural Studies in Iran, I consider the intersection of these two stories in the practices and institutions of research and publishing, conceived as business practices and entrepreneurial activities. The growth of the for-profit “parallel academy” and that of the black market in paper mills and predatory publishing are examined as the articulation of local politics of translation and publishing in response to global standards and practices. The entanglement of Cultural Studies in this context, a paradoxical position in which it is a symptom and a critic, is instructive for what it tells us about intellectual labor in Iran and about how Cultural Studies might respond to conditions of its own production and circulation globally.

Paper 4: How Not to Institutionalize Cultural Studies in Mexico (Gabriela Méndez Cota)

Keywords: Global Cultural Studies, Mexico, Governmentality, Publishing, Infrastructuralism
In Mexico, Cultural Studies exists as a vague intellectual trend rather than as a discipline. It is associated with scholars trained abroad who bring fashionable ideas that seem unlikely to transform the disciplinary structures of the Mexican university unless they adopt the normalized form of high-impact publications. These are quantified and ranked by the National System of Researchers (SNI), a governmental technology that economically prizes fully-employed individual academics on the basis of their research output. Since SNI membership increasingly determines the very definition of a researcher, its neoliberal logic is rarely challenged in practice. Questions emerge as to whether CS should ever become institutionalized in this setting and whether it would be otherwise capable of challenging, in practice, the individualizing, productivist logic of SNI. I consider these questions alongside a variety of non-academic yet strongly politicized Mexican engagements with the digital medium, understood as infrastructure. These, I suggest, may be pointing towards singular post-academic futures for global Cultural Studies.