the following write up on Introduction: Theorising Culture, Reading ourselves is by Panom Kaewphadee
Introduction: Theorising Culture, Reading ourselves is an essay written by Kenneth Womack from an anthology of essays on cultural Studies called Literary Theory: A Reader and Guide.
In Introduction: Theorising Culture, Reading Ourselves Womack traces the development of cultural studies as a discipline through the ages by referring to works by eminent writers and thinkers of that particular time. At the beginning of the essay, Womack puts forth his ideas that cultural studies not only urges us to look at the “social, artistic, political, economic and linguistic mélange”, but also to look inside of ourselves in order to understand how the norms in the society have shaped us. Womack goes on to talk about the postwar stance of cultural studies which no longer deals with social norms and values but criticizes cultural relations and intellectual domination.
Womack emphasizes on works by J. Hillis Miller which “demonstrate the interdisciplinary possibilities of cultural studies”. In works such as Cultural Studies and Reading (1997), The Ethics of Reading: Kant de Man, Eliot, Trollope, James, and Benjamin (1987), and Version of Pygmalion (1990), Miller tries to explain the reflexive process that occurs between the text and the reader. Such a process, Says Miller, allows readers to give conclusive ideas about the properties of literary texts and its “sensibilities of their theoretical premises.”
What is clearly portrayed in the essay is its emphasis on the shift that takes cultural studies from its dealing with a reading of the Great Traditions to its intersecting with literary criticism and popular cultures.