Press Releases

Statement on Traveling to Cultural Studies Association (CSA) Annual Meeting 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 3, 2017

Press Contact: media@culturalstudiesassociation.org    

Chicago, IL (April 3, 2017) – The Executive Committee and the Governing Board of the Cultural Studies Association (CSA), the largest network of Cultural Studies scholars, educators and practitioners in the United States and North America, would like to address concerns about traveling to the 2017 CSA conference in May.

Most members of the CSA have been and are appalled by the intolerant, racist and xenophobic rhetoric upon which the Trump administration’s immigration policies float; and it is very likely that most members are adamantly opposed to those policies, especially the so-called ‘travel ban’ on visitors from select majority Muslim countries. For some of our members there is a real prospect that traveling to the United States for our annual meetings in May in Washington DC will be at best a frustrating and at worst a perilous experience. I don’t discount those fears. That said, we would like to remind members that the current legal situation is that there is no travel ban in effect. Both of Trump’s executive orders on this issue have been stayed by federal courts; although the administration has an appeal in the works, there is no ban currently in place (as of April 2nd). 

Of course, that does not mean that nothing has changed at the border, and we are particularly sensitive to the ways in which immigration policies and rules, under any US administration, can be and chronically have been differentially applied with apparent impunity. We would love to be able to offer CSA resources if anyone turns out to be materially affected by issues at the border, but we have neither the personnel nor the financial resources of bigger organizations. All we can do is offer words of solidarity to anyone traveling to our conference in May and hope that if necessary they will consult with a lawyer before starting their travel, and will take any other precautions that seem sensible. It might also be useful to consult the ACLU’s information page about the current circumstances: https://www.aclu.org/know-your-rights/what-do-when-encountering-law-enforcement-airports-and-other-ports-entry-us. 

We are looking forward to seeing everyone in May.

Paul Smith, President

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Joint Statement on Threats to Academic Freedom and Higher Education in Turkey

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 29, 2016

Press Contact: media@culturalstudiesassociation.org

Chicago, IL (July 29, 2016) – The Executive Committee and the Governing Board of the Cultural Studies Association (CSA), the largest network of Cultural Studies scholars, educators and practitioners in the United States and North America, hereby express grave concerns over the recent developments in Turkey and add the CSA’s endorsement to the following statement, which was drafted by the Middle East Studies Association and endorsed by twenty-two other scholarly associations. 

The organizations listed below collectively note with profound concern the apparent moves to dismantle much of the structure of Turkish higher education through purges, restrictions, and assertions of central control, a process begun earlier this year and accelerating now with alarming speed. 

As scholarly associations, we are committed to the principles of academic freedom and freedom of expression. The recent moves in Turkey herald a massive and virtually unprecedented assault on those principles. One of the Middle East region’s leading systems of higher education is under severe threat as a result, as are the careers and livelihoods of many of its faculty members and academic administrators.

Our concern about the situation in Turkish universities has been mounting over the past year, as Turkish authorities have moved to retaliate against academics for expressing their political views—some merely signing an “Academics for Peace” petition criticizing human rights violations. 

Yet the threat to academic freedom and higher education has recently worsened in a dramatic fashion. In the aftermath of the failed coup attempt of July 15–16, 2016, the Turkish government has moved to purge government officials in the Ministry of Education and has called for the resignation of all university deans across the country’s public and private universities. As of this writing, it appears that more than 15,000 employees at the education ministry have been fired and nearly 1,600 deans—1,176 from public universities and 401 from private universities—have been asked to resign. In addition, 21,000 private school teachers have had their teaching licenses cancelled. Further, reports suggest that travel restrictions have been imposed on academics at public universities and that Turkish academics abroad were required to return to Turkey. The scale of the travel restrictions, suspensions, and imposed resignations in the education sector seemingly go much farther than the targeting of individuals who might have had any connection to the attempted coup.

The crackdown on the education sector creates the appearance of a purge of those deemed inadequately loyal to the current government. Moreover, the removal of all of the deans across the country represents a direct assault on the institutional autonomy of Turkey’s universities. The replacement of every university’s administration simultaneously by the executive-controlled Higher Education Council would give the government direct administrative control of all Turkish universities. Such concentration and centralization of power over all universities is clearly inimical to academic freedom. Moreover, the government’s existing record of requiring university administrators to undertake sweeping disciplinary actions against perceived opponents—as was the case against the “Academics for Peace” petition signatories—lends credence to fears that the change in university administrations will be the first step in an even broader purge against academics in Turkey.

Earlier this year, it was already clear that the Turkish government, in a matter of months, had amassed a staggering record of violations of academic freedom and freedom of expression. The aftermath of the attempted coup may have accelerated those attacks on academic freedom in even more alarming ways.

As scholarly organizations, we collectively call for respect for academic freedom—including freedom of expression, opinion, association, and travel—and the autonomy of universities in Turkey, offer our support to our Turkish colleagues, second the Middle East Studies Association’s “call for action” of January 15, request that Turkey’s diplomatic interlocutors (both states and international organizations) advocate vigorously for the rights of Turkish scholars and the autonomy of Turkish universities, suggest other scholarly organizations speak forcefully about the threat to the Turkish academy, and alert academic institutions throughout the world that Turkish colleagues are likely to need moral and substantive support in the days ahead.

American Anthropological Association
Executive Committee of the American Comparative Literature Association
American Council of Learned Societies
American Sociological Association
American Studies Association
Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies
British Society for Middle Eastern Studies
Cultural Studies Association
Executive Committee of the California Scholars for Academic Freedom
European Association for Middle Eastern Studies
European Association of Social Anthropologists
European Network for Cinema and Media Studies (NECS)
Executive Board of the European Society for Translation Studies
German Middle East Studies Association (DAVO)
German Studies Association
International Center for Medieval Art
Italian American Studies Association
Italian Society for Middle Eastern Studies (SeSaMo)
Latin American Studies Association
Linguistic Society of America
The Medieval Academy of America
Middle East Studies Association
Modern Language Association
National Communication Association
Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association

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THE CSA ANNOUNCES NEW AWARD TO COMMEMORATE RANDY MARTIN

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 1, 2015

Press Contact: media@culturalstudiesassociation.org

Chicago, IL (March 1, 2015) – The Cultural Studies Association (CSA) is pleased to announce the creation of the Randy Martin Prize for the Best Student Paper or other contribution presented at its annual meetings.  The inaugural award will be presented at this year’s CSA Conference, to be held May 22-24, 2015 in Riverside, California. 

The Prize commemorates the late Cultural Studies scholar and practitioner and past CSA President Randy Martin. It honors his unique achievements and profound contributions to contemporary cultural studies.  The prize consists of a $500 award and a certificate. The Prize will be presented annually during the meetings of the CSA. For the inaugural year, papers and other contributions accepted for presentation at the 2015 CSA Conference are eligible for nomination.

“Randy Martin was committed member, leader, ally and advocate of the Association, and his loss must not go unmarked at the CSA and in cultural studies circles more broadly,” said Jaafar Aksikas, President of the CSA and Associate Professor of Cultural Studies at Columbia College Chicago.  “He was not only a renowned scholar who achieved milestones in his field including significant contributions to cultural studies, art theory and politics, performance studies, social and political activism, and Marxism,” continued Aksikas, “but also an amazing human being who touched everyone around him with his unique humility, generous spirit, optimistic intellect, and, above all, his unwavering commitment to make the world a better place.  We are proud to name this award in his honor as a small step towards recognizing his many contributions to the Association and the field.  Randy will always be missed but will never be forgotten!  His legacy lives on at the CSA and elsewhere!” 

"Randy embodied continuity and change,” said Toby Miller, a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of California, Riverside and past CSA Board member, who collaborated with Randy Martin on several scholarly projects. “On the one hand,” added Miller, “he appreciated the importance of history and solidity. He understood the past and was reliable. On the other, he valued the instability and innovation of possibility. Randy was mercurial and he identified and embraced newness. It is fitting that the Association, which prizes those very qualities, should name this award in his honor.”

“Randy was a longtime friend and colleague who epitomized what it meant to be a committed scholar and activist intellectual,” said Paul Smith, CSA Vice President and Professor of Cultural Studies at George Mason University. “But he was committed not just to his intellectual agenda and its political project, but perhaps even more to his community—to his colleagues and his co-workers, his students and his friends,” Smith added.

“I can think of no better way to recognize and honor Randy’s life and work with the CSA,” said Bruce Burgett, Dean of the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington Bothell and past CSA President.  “He consistently and enthusiastically committed himself to mentoring and facilitating the success of others in the association – at all ranks and across a wide variety of career and life trajectories.  This commitment was central to his way of being in the world, both professionally and ethically.” 

ABOUT RANDY MARTIN

Randy Martin was President of the Cultural Studies Association (2010-2012).  He was also Professor of Art and Public Policy and Founder of the Program in Arts Politics at New York University and the author of several books including Performance as Political Act: The Embodied Self; Socialist Ensembles: Theater and State in Cuba and Nicaragua; Critical Moves: Dance Studies in Theory and Politics; On Your Marx: Relinking Socialism and the Left; Financialization of Daily Life; and Empire of Indifference: American War and the Financial Logic of Risk Management. He also edited several collections, on U.S. Communism, sport, and academic labor and, most recently, The Routledge Companion to Art and Politics; Artistic Citizenship: A Public Voice for the Arts (with Mary Schmidt Campbell) and The Returns of Alwin Nikolais: Bodies, Boundaries, and the Dance Canon (with Claudia Gitelman).  

Martin held degrees in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and the City University of New York. He studied, taught, and performed in dance, theater, and clowning in the United States and abroad. He previously served as Professor and Chair of social science at Pratt Institute, Associate Dean of faculty at Tisch School of the Arts, Chair of the Department of Art and Public Policy, both at New York University, and as an editor of the the CSA journal Lateral and the journal Social Text.  

More information about the Prize and the application/nomination process can be found at: http://www.culturalstudiesassociation.org/prizesandgrants

ABOUT THE CSA:

Founded in 2003, the CSA is largest network of Cultural Studies scholars, educators and practitioners in the United States. It is a non-profit association for scholarly purposes in the field of Cultural Studies.  Its primary objectives are to create and promote an effective community of cultural studies practitioners and scholars and to produce and disseminate useful knowledge about important cultural, political and social issues of the day.  For more information about the CSA, please check: www.culturalstudiesassociation.org

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CSA EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE STATEMENT ON THE CASE OF PROFESSOR STEVEN SALAITA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 1, 2014

Press Contact: media@culturalstudiesassociation.org

The Executive Committee of the Cultural Studies Association (CSA), the largest network of Cultural Studies scholars, educators and practitioners in the United States and North America, hereby expresses grave concern over the decision of University of Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise to revoke the offer of a tenured associate professorship position in American Indian Studies to Professor Steven Salaita.  The process followed by Chancellor Wise marks a serious intrusion into the basic norms of shared faculty governance.

The Executive Committee is further concerned by the rationale for these actions set out in the August 22 2014 statement by Chancellor Wise.  The statement clearly indicates that the primary cause for rescinding the employment offer was Dr. Salaita’s public expressions on his twitter feed.  The stated rationale substantially erodes the already shrinking space for academic freedom.  Further, it uses speech from the public sphere of social media as a substitute for actual teaching records in making assessments about professional competence while seeking to justify the violation of shared faculty governance and due process.

We therefore urge Chancellor Wise and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the strongest terms possible to reverse their course of action by immediately reinstating Professor Steven Salaita as a tenured associate professor of American Indian Studies at UIUC.  We also urge them to adhere to and uphold the protocols of shared faculty governance and the principles of academic freedom in this case and in the future.

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CSA Executive Committee Condemns Israel’s Attacks on Palestinian Universities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 8, 2014

Press Contact: media@culturalstudiesassociation.org

The Cultural Studies Association (CSA) Executive Committee strongly condemns the continuing attacks on Palestinian universities, colleges, and schools by the Israeli government, including most recently the June 2014 invasion of Birzeit University, and the August 2014 decimation of the Islamic University in Gaza City.

Israel’s continuing attacks targeting identifiable schools, colleges, and universities are part of its campaign of the collective massacre and punishment of the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip since Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge” was launched on July 8, 2014.  The campaign has so far claimed more than 1,800 lives, including 300 children, and wounded more than 10,000 Palestinians.  This goes well beyond and above Israel’s long-standing practice of denying academic freedom to Palestinian faculty and students to include the outright denial of the basic necessitates and rights of human life, including the right to education.

The CSA Executive Committee therefore calls upon the United States government to withdraw its political, financial, and military support from the state of Israel immediately. As long as government support continues to flow to Israel, the U.S. government shall remain complicit in the ongoing siege of Gaza, Israeli war crimes and violations of international law, and the collective suffering of the Palestinian people.