Delores B. Phillips
Associate Professor, Department of English
Old Dominion University
I research and teach postcolonial literature and theory at ODU with a focus on food and waste. I think about consumption in all its forms and my view is that our wastes tattle on us. This makes waste a potent ethical litmus: our trash, our excrement, the stuff we don’t want, what we embrace or render abject literally and figurative force us to assess the full measure of our virtue as individuals and as collectives. I apply this litmus to culinary writing to determine how we put our values where our mouth is. A kind colleague once described my work as “rambunctious” in perhaps the most generous compliment I’ve ever received. Another with whom I enjoy a deep and lasting friendship and who read an early draft of my essay on the first two installments of The Human Centipede trilogy vowed never to read for me again.
My engagement with CSA began in its first or second year. As a graduate student, I was tasked by Sangeeta Ray to help with one of the earlier phases of organizing its conference by processing responses to the CFP. Since then, it’s been a pleasure to serve the conference as a participant, then a Governing Board member charged with leading the formulation of policy to protect our members. I’ve also enjoyed a brief stint as a member of the Executive Committee.
In 2020 and in response to the abrupt need to switch the modality of our conference, I applied the lessons in event organization that I learned at ODU as a member of the steering committee that organized ODU’s Shakespeare 400 Years After in 2016 and as conference organizer for CEPE’s and ISSM’s annual meetings. Because ODU has invested in robust digital infrastructure for instruction (and because I’m a gamer), our technical needs were clear to me and so I was able to help us with our online pivot. I hope to help the organization with its 2022 conference because I actually welcome the challenge of anticipating the minutiae of logistics and I like to build things.
The discussions about our hybrid format have been on my mind for several years now and, when I approached the organization’s leadership in 2018 to express my interest in serving the organization in an administrative capacity, it was with an eye toward bridging digital divides. I am committed to expanding our outreach to embrace international scholars whose visa requirements and currency exchange rates make conference attendance difficult. My understanding of the affordances a hybrid format offers us was cemented in 2020 when slashed budgets and travel restrictions made it difficult for vulnerable faculty and graduate students to attend the conference: an amplification of already-present inequities that complicate access to our venue. Questions of inclusion, access, and internationalization would be the major focus of my attention. We have the means and can match it with the will and inventiveness that makes all of our annual gatherings successful.
My broader experience is that I currently serve as the graduate program director for our PhD program in English that offers distance and in-person instruction in a hybrid format to a unified cohort of around 100 students. I am a member of the Graduate Studies subcommittee of our Faculty Senate and Advisory Board Member of our Diversity Institute. I enjoy an informal leadership role assisting the Director of our Game Studies program at ODU and innovations I’ve introduced include our Minecraft server that houses student research, other infrastructural resources for instruction and for congregating students, and leadership of our Diversity Institute series titled “Gaming Diversity” that is currently ongoing. My community engagement service includes building a mobile app for our recently-disbanded chapter of Buy Fresh Buy Local, and part of our winddown was to sell the app to the national organization to close out our expenses.
It would perhaps be cliché to remark upon my passion, but it’s there and has been proven. I like to build and make things. I love working collaboratively on difficult problems—which is why I am a melee DPS raider in the video games I play—and some of my deepest pleasures are found in watching our results unfurl and then appear effortless in their execution. I would encourage our capacity to imagine bravely, dangerously, and ambitiously. While I would continue to serve the CSA as I have in any capacity that I can whether or not I become vice president, the position would give me the tools to expand our reach and continue our mission of intervention and advocacy. It would therefore be my pleasure and my privilege to serve.
Robert F. Carley
Associate Professor of International Studies
Texas A&M University, College Station
I’m currently running for the office of Vice President. I’ve been a member of the CSA for over a decade. Currently, I’m one of the editors of Lateral: Journal of the Cultural Studies Association and was its first book review editor. I co-chair the Theories of Cultural Studies Working Group and serve on the Governing Board of the CSA. I’ve been an active member of the CSA for 10 years, beginning in 2013, but was also in attendance at meetings, prior to 2013 too.
The CSA is a unique space for many scholars doing progressive work at the margins of disciplines and I want to make the CSA experience richer for its current members while, at the same time, expanding its reach. I think that there are three ways to do this: 1. Offering more services to members, especially services geared toward greater equity, inclusion, and social justice for underrepresented groups, first-generation faculty, contingent faculty, and graduate students; 2. More recognition and awards for members, including members engaged in non-academic and activist work; 3. Fostering new relationships within the CSA and, at the same time, active partnerships with other organizations to enrich and expand the CSA.
As a member of the governing board, I am working to increase the visibility of scholarship in cultural studies and, in particular, at the CSA. I contributed with the current president, Helen Kapstein to introduce a series of awards that recognize the exemplary books and service of CSA members and I plan to introduce at least three more awards, one based on teaching, another publications award to recognize contributions across the entire membership, and, also, I’d like to be able to recognize the social and political activism of our members.
At future meetings of the CSA, I would like to increase the presence of and participation of publishers (not only as publishers but, also, as cultural producers and as activists) in the CSA who are active in, and allied with, cultural studies, especially open access publishers. As it concerns the latter, these, initially, would include Minor Compositions, Punctum Books, our flagship journal, Lateral, along with the journals Mediation, Fast Capitalism, and Democratic Communiqué.
Additionally, I will work to maintain the presence of the Lateral Workshop, Job-seekers Workshop and would like to add one or more workshops to assist graduate students, early in their career, with the development of research agendas and scholarly writing, preparation for the academic job-market, and opportunities to form relationships with established scholars in their fields. To the extent that the current CSA membership is comprised of scholars who have some experience and wisdom navigating different institutional experiences, I want to put graduate students, early career, and, especially first-generation scholars, into regular contact with long-time members who may be able to, at a minimum, answer practical questions, offer advice, and, in time, substantial mentorship.
Increasing membership and participation is a necessary step in offering existing members more opportunities to build relationships. Finally, I’m interested in convening a membership review or study group to find ways to increase membership and participation in the CSA aimed, specifically, at promoting greater equity, inclusion, and social justice. In addition, fostering partnerships for future conferences is a direct and immediate way to expand participation and potentially increase CSA membership. My term as coordinator and chair of the Union for Democratic Communications (UDC) ended in 2021. I remain active with the organization and its partner organizations and hope to organize a future joint conference with the UDC that would include media studies scholars, journalists, media activists, and other cultural workers associated with the UDC’s broad mission of media-participatory and media focused scholarship. Additionally, I intend to reach out to The Center for Place, Culture and Politics at the CUNY Graduate Center, and other groups whose mission is strongly allied with the work that the CSA already does.
The CSA holds a unique place in the landscape of scholarly associations and its main activities involve putting on its annual conference and publishing Lateral. By focusing on the annual meeting and the role of cultural workers in the organization my main goal is to recognize and strengthen the relationships within the organization, with cultural workers that can add substantially to the quality of the organization, and with others by building relationships with other organizations. Thanks for reading!