Cultural Studies
Ankety
“‘Cultural Studies can undermine political power, and that’s good’. Short Dialogs about Cultural Studies and slavic World with Evgeny Dobrenko e Vladimir Papernyj”
by Gian Piero Piretto
eSamizdat 2005 (III) 2-3, pp. 27-29
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[Dall'incipit dell'anketa]
Gian Piero Piretto
Do you consider yourself a Cultural Studies scholar?

Evgeny Dobrenko
Not really. First of all, because I am interested in particular aspects of culture such as literature, film, cultural policies and so on. Each field has its own methodology. Cultural Studies is something very vague.

Vladimir Papernyj
I was when I was writing my PhD thesis Culture 2 and when I was teaching at University of Southern California. Now that I spend 50% of my time on design, I am 50% of a Cultural Studies scholar. I was always interested in the 1930-40s. First, it was the time when my parents met, got married and had me. Second, architecture of the 1930-40s was the environment I grew up in. I wanted to understand how it came about. Traditional architectural theory (columns, orders, tectonics, structures) did not explain much to me. I thought the answers should come from culture.

Gian Piero Piretto
What's your own definition of Cultural Studies?

Evgeny Dobrenko
Cultural Studies is neither a subject nor a field. It is grey area, which covers basically the whole spectrum of Humanities and includes history and philosophy, film and literature. For many, Cultural Studies is something very superficial, and rightly so. If you work on _lm, for example, and do it professionally and in depth, this is “film studies”, but if you write on film in conjunction with history or politics, it's already Cultural Studies. If you write on Eisenstein it is “film studies”, if on Pyr’ev it's Cultural Studies. If you write on Mandel’štam it is literaturovedenie, but if you write about Mikhalkov - it's more Cultural Studies. I think people sometimes think that Cultural Studies is some “junk”. What is not a “serious” subject, is “Cultural Studies”. I think that Cultural Studies is a response to the separation of subjects, fields, and research disciplines. Nevertheless, it doesn't make it a discipline.

Vladimir Papernyj
To me, culture is something that is “playing”, as Arnold Hauser put it, “with people's motivations and interests and giving them a sense of freedom”.

Gian Piero Piretto
Do you think Cultural Studies can develop only in western or capitalistic countries?

Evgeny Dobrenko
Not at all. In Russia, for instance, it is a subject that covers all “bad”, middle-brow literature, film, kitsch, in a word. Also, it covers all the lacunas “between” disciplines and fields.

Vladimir Papernyj
No, my thesis was written entirely in the Soviet Union, before I ever visited any western capitalistic country.
[...]
 
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