Every year, federal and state funds are allocated to the academic field of cultural studies. This article evaluates the value of cultural studies and concludes that funding should be cut.
Every year, federal and state funds are allocated to the academic field of cultural studies. Besides general college funding allocated to cultural studies, students entering this field are eligible for federal FAFSA grants to pay for their degree. Students going into unrelated fields, such as engineering, can take cultural studies classes as part of their mandatory electives. The question which needs to be asked is whether this field's net contributions to our society are worth the government funds allocated and student time committed. I used a 300 level cultural studies class at University of Washington as a case study for the evaluation of cultural studies' contribution. I link to some of the class's assigned readings at the bottom.
From the name one might assume that the goal of cultural studies is to study and document the values of different cultures and societies. Such knowledge could have many benefits. International relations in business and government can be greatly assisted by an increased understanding of the values of foreign cultures. Alas, this is not the goal of cultural studies.
Cultural studies, as far as I can tell, is a distinct form of philosophy. This philosophy is often difficult to follow and often leads to the support of communist ideals. It is a philosophy of values. The values of people, except they pay no attention to the actual people if they can avoid it. All of the papers I have read make continual assertions about people's values but never substantiate a single one with a reliable statistic. When ideas are thrown around without any connection to reality it is philosophy at best.
This academic field is not just philosophical, but it is elitist as well. "Cultural Geographers" have developed their own language for communicating their ideas, not so much out of necessity but rather to obfuscate against the uninitiated. They have a large repertoire of words they conjured up just for this purpose. They consistently use non-standard definitions for common words and use the most obscure terms available regardless of how it damages their message. The damage of this practice is particularly prominent when they restate an idea and as far as you can tell the two explanations of the very same concept have no connection. Their sentence and paragraph structures are equally grievous. The structure is designed for complexity. The intricacies of much of Pickering's language structure borders on the absurd. When the object of communication is clarity, the best word to express an idea is used regardless of its commonness and the structure is kept simple when possible. I have yet to identify a reason for them to obfuscate their writing, other than elitist exclusivity.
Initially I had assumed that there may be sensible ideas in cultural studies but they have just been obscured through language and thought processes which I lack familiarity with. Now I have come to the conclusion that many of the minds of the people in cultural studies are broken on an essential level. Their thought processes are so disjointed and aimless that I continually wonder what they are trying to say. Most of their observations are neither substantiated nor shown to support their conclusions. Although it is obvious that their brains are high functioning, their brains are also strangely crippled. A child whose cognition is still immature may have trouble understanding difficult concepts but is proficient with simple ones. Cultural geographers can obviously understand difficult concepts yet are unable to process them properly resulting in copious quantities of complex meanderings which have no bearing on logic, reality, and certainly not sanity.
Returning to the initial question of whether cultural studies is sufficiently important to warrant government funding, I could not think of a more important subject to cut. Cultural studies provides no societal benefits and undoubtedly no economic benefits. By continuing to fund this field we not only waste government funds and students' time, but we damage the thought processes of students who are more mentally vulnerable. It is a self perpetuating vicious circle which enables professors and students to entrench themselves in damaging thought cycles. If I had not seen with my own eyes the extent of the cultural studies problem I would not have believed it. Most people do not know about cultural studies. Please help raise awareness of the cultural studies problem. Link to this article and talk to your family and friends about the dangers of cultural studies.
As an interesting continuation of this article, I was listening to Rush the morning after we posted it and he was discussing this exact topic! He was talking about the news that the Chinese Ministry of Education plans to evaluate college majors based on the economic contribution and remove funding from the worst of them. He said we ought to do something similar and I couldn't agree more.