Go to Content
Columbia College Chicago
Spring 2010
Print this PageEmail this Page

Intersections Spring 2010

March 2010: "Postmodern Polish Ethnicity: Polish Roots Music & the Post-Communist Recovery of Folk"

April 2010: "On Cultural Studies and the Economic Crisis Today
May 2010: "Not Yo' Mama's Travel Course: Genuis, Contradiction and the Future of History in South Africa"

March 3, 2010
"Postmodern Polish Ethnicity: Polish Roots Music & the Post-Communist Recovery of Folk"

The Communist regime of the 20th Century co-opted Polish folk culture as part of its own ideology, creating state sponsored folk music ensembles that sanitized folk traditions almost to irrelevance. But the past twenty years have seen a resurgence of Polish roots music called anti-folk or hardcore folk. This multimedia lecture explores several groups in this new genre, including: Zakopower, Lao Che, and Warsaw Village Band. The project presents Polish folk music and ethnic formation in a postmodern, postcolonial, post-communist world and explores the interface of the old, the traditional, and the reified with the new, the modern, and the global.

Ann Hetzel Gunkel, a Fulbright scholar, is the Director of Cultural Studies at Columbia College Chicago. She has lectured widely in North America and Europe on ethnic studies, new media, and postmodernism. She has been awarded the Joseph V. Swastek and Creative Arts Prizes in the field of Polish American Studies and serves as a Board Member of the Polish American Historical Association and the PIAST Institute.

April 7, 2010
"On Cultural Studies and the Economic Crisis Today"

This presentation addresses the following question: How does Cultural Studies account for and engage with the specificities of the current historical and social conjuncture? This question becomes especially urgent at a moment characterized by a deep economic crisis that has brought to the surface once more and more than ever before (at least in our lifetime) not only the realities of material inequality and their consequences in people's everyday lives, but also (re)new(ed) discourses and possibilities of collective resistance and struggle in the political and cultural realms. Here, Aksikas explores some of the ways that Cultural Studies can help us better understand and help change what's going on right now and reassert itself as the radical and critical practice it desires to be.

Jaafar Aksikas
teaches Cultural Studies at Columbia College Chicago. He is the author of several books, including the forthcoming Practicing Cultural Studies (2010); Arab Modernities (Peter Lang, 2009); and The Sirah of Antar: An Islamic Interpretation of Arab-Islamic History. He is also the founding editor of Cultural Landscapes.

May 5, 2010
"Not Yo' Mama's Travel Course: Genuis, Contradiction and the Future of History in South Africa"

In June of 2009, 13 students and three professors from Columbia College Chicago engaged in a five-week summer/travel course entitled: The Future of History: Memory in Post Apartheid South Africa. From standing in Mandela's cell with Mandela's comrade and co-prisoner, Ahmed Kathrada, to being told by the chief archivist that "contestation is the oxygen of memory-work" to hearing poetry by South Africa's National Poet Laureate Willie Kgogitsile, the course was unlike any other, encountering genius at every step along the way! Still, there were contradictions both in South Africa (racism and sexism persist) and the ways students were received by associates upon their return: "Were you on safari?" "How did the 'natives' treat you?" "Did you go to 'help?'" Dr. Lisa Brock will talk about this course as well as its pedagogical and political implications for educational "tourism" and study abroad courses.


Lisa Brock is chairperson of the Humanities, History, and Social Sciences Department and professor of African history and Diaspora Studies at Columbia College Chicago. Since the early 1990s, Brock has joined a host of other intellectuals and scholars who focus on the "Black Atlantic" or African Diaspora Studies. Her book, Between Race and Empire: African-Americans and Cubans Before the Cuban Revolution, was published in 1998 and she is working on a new book entitled Black in Two Americas: Comparative Identity, History and Struggle in Cuba and in the United States. She continues to write about and teach South African history and was founder of the Chicago-Anti-Apartheid Movement Collection at Columbia College Chicago.