"By involving the readers visually with the information, Sardar and Loon present an interesting cultural view of not only the cultures they are presenting in the book, but their own cultural background as well."

Borin Van Loon: Introducing Cultural StudiesIntroducing Cultural StudiesI just thought...

Icon Books (UK), Totem Books (USA). Republished 1999
Written by Ziauddin Sardar, Illustrated / designed by Borin Van Loon
Cultural Sudies signals a major academic revolution as we move into the new millennium. But what exactly is it and how is it applied? It is a discipline which claims not to be a discipline - a radical critical approach for understanding racial, national, social and gender identities.

Introducing Cultural Studies provides an incisive tour through the minefield of this complex subject, charting its origins in Britain and its migration to the USA, Canada, france, Australia and Southern Asia, examining the ideas of its leading exponents and providing a flavour of its use around the world. Covering the ground from Gramcsi to Raymond Williams, postcolonial discourse to the politics of diaspora, feminism to queer theory, technoculture and the media to globalization, itserves as an insightful guide to the essential concepts of this fascinating area of study. It is essential reading for all those concerned with the quickening pulse of old, new and emerging cultures.

The pages contains lots of grids and frames to contain and provide background for visuals and text - this made a lot of extra work, but I think it was worth it. The whole thing is held together by frequent appearances of a little character I invented whom we came to call 'Cultural Studies Woman'. Yes, she does appear to be little rotund but I don't think she's pregnant, just nicely spherical.

The Permeable Self

Three illustrations from Introducing Cultural Studies
were selected by the judges in 1999's Images Exhibition and book (organized by the
Association of Illustrators) and toured the U.K....
Ashis Nandy (brush & fingerprint) / Postmodern Girl (brush & paper-print) / Antonio Gramsci (dip pen)

Reviews

Review in Cultural Studies 12(4) 1998, pp. 595-597:-
Borin Van Loon: Cult Studies Wise review
                                                                                                                                                   
     at this point, the reviewer laid down his pen (and not before time).

Good and although British centered, easy to read introduction
to the different lenses through which historians view history and culture. As stated, the book is oriented to England and the British colonies, particularly India but most of the heavy hitters theories are covered. However, as the field began in France with DeSaussure and later, Jacques Lacan and the interpretations that led to the field of semiotics, I feel the authors allowed the innate and historical disdain for France and all things French deprived the rest of us. There was no mention of Lacan, a seminal figure in semiotics, nothing about Julia Kristeva and Lucy Orrigarry and little regarding Roland Barthes and Michel Foucault, highly influential French philosophers. Women were not totally ignored, but the only Americans worthy of acknowledgment were Cornel West and Henry Louis Gates, whose work is deserving of mention. Surprisingly, there was no mention of Dipesh Chakrabarty, a Univ. of Chicago historian who has consistently offered brilliant insights into the culture of SE Asia and empire. So I quibble a bit, but it really is a good intro to the topic and the authors do thoroughly understand cultural studies and introduced me to some writers I look forward to reading.
Joyce (Oct 23 2010). www.goodreads.com

A good book for a vague subject. I don't really understand how cultural studies is a subject distinguished from cultural anthro, or sociology, but whatever. It was interesting and informative even if the subjects name may or may not really exist.
Naxa (Dec 01, 2009). www.goodreads.com

One of the most boring books I have ever read. If I could have given it negative stars I would have. Boo!
Chris Johnson (Feb 18, 2011). www.goodreads.com

This book completely changed my life.
Jack Harrison (July 27 2010). www.goodreads.com

As a basic overview of cultural studies, this does its job. But as a comic book, I think it's an epic failure; the text is pretty standard issue criticism in terms of its tone and level of excitement (read: little to none) and rather than helping to simplify or clarify the concepts, the comic aspects make this more jumbled, confusing, and difficult to read.
Phoebe (Sep 06, 2008). www.goodreads.com

So the outside of the book says that "Introducing's gift has been to raise the precis to the level of an art form" - and I absolutely agree. This a great summary on Cultural Studies - and now I want to read more about it - which is exactly what an introductory book should do. It's a great overview, and I highly recommend it to everyone.
Zahreen (Aug 05, 2007).  www.goodreads.com

Introducing Cultural Studies by Ziauddin Sardar & Borin van Loon
Note: 1) digital read 2) this is in comic book style (pretty awesome) 3) those new to reading radical literature, who are confused with some of the terms should check out this book...
About the book: Cultural Studies signals a major academic revolution as we begin the new millennium. But what exactly is it, and how is it applied? it is a discipline that claims not to be discipline- a radical critical approach for understanding racial, national, social, and gender identities.
Introducing Cultural Studies provides an incisive tour through the minefield of this complex subject, charting its origins in Britain and its migration to the USA, Canada, France, Australia and South Asia, examining the ideas of its leading exponents and providing a flavor of its use around the world. Covering the ground from Gramsci to Raymond Williams, postcolonial discourse to politics of diaspora, feminism to queer theory, technoculture and the media to globalization, it serves as an insightful guide to the essential concepts of this fascinating area of study. It is essential reading for all those concerned with the quickening pulse of old, new and emerging cultures.  (http://fuckyeahradicalliterature.tumblr.com)

Transcultural Experiments Russian and American Models of Creative Communication by Ellen E. Berry and Mikhail N. Epstein (1999).
"Culturology and Cultural Studies
The best way to introduce Russian culturology to an American audience is to juxtapose it point by point with what is known in the English- speaking world as "cultural studies."9 We will take as a point of reference Introducing Cultural Studies, Ziauddin Sardar and Borin Van Loon's lucid summary of characteristic trends in the field. Five definitions that apply to cultural studies also reveal its parallels and contrasts with culturology...." (http://www.pitt.edu/~cultural/documents/Mikhail_Epstein_Part_1.pdf)

WITTY REVIEW BY THE KIND FOLKS AT MICROCOSM PUBLISHING:
"Seriously, if you haven't checked out books from this series ("Introducing") before, you really ought to - and this book is a good, cheap place to start.
What authors Ziauddin Sardar and Borin Van Loon do is to take the most important cultural studies theorists and make them accessible in everyday, conversational language. And the book looks good while doing it! The aesthetic of the book is really zine-like with short cartoons, short comics and cut-and-paste style graphics. Many of the radical critiques of gender, culture, media and economics found in the other political books (think CrimethInc.) we read and sell a lot of come out of the writing and activism of these theorists.
Read this if you're curious what happened in philosophy after Marxism. Read this so that next time that hottie at the coffeeshop is reading Gramsci, you can wow her with your smarts. Read this if you like bell hooks, and want to know more."
R6XX.com: for psychonauts and curious minds...  (http://r6xx.com/books/knowledge/cultural-studies/introducing-cultural-studies/prod_731.html)

Don't be put-off by the comic book format.
This beginner's guide is peppered with names and ideas essential for understanding cultural studies. "Cultural studies started as a dissenting intellectual tradition outside academia, dedicated to exposing power in all its cultural forms...it has now become...a part of the academic establishment". (http://www.bridactive.org/booklist.html (East Yorkshire College Library))

...Of course, one reason cultural studies' history is currently being pored over is that it now has a past to revisit. It is this history that is depicted and retold in Sardar and Van Loon's "Cultural Studies for Beginners". Unlike Sedgwick's methodical alphabetical listing of definitions, this is a text telling a story with a narrative. With its liberally illustrated form containing pictures a-plenty it also radically differs from Edgar and Sedgwick's straight text layout. Sardar and Van Loon's effort is in fact the latest volume in the Icon series, which, itself paralleling the late 20th century popular culture fad of the graphic novel (i.e. comics for grown-ups), explains sometimes dense academic subjects in pictorial-strip style. From the outset the series, like the Guardian's cult Biff cartoons, has had a vaguely cultural studies bent with previous titles on postmodernism, semiotics, Foucault, Baudrillard and the like. This particular title thus plugs a glaring and long-standing gap. Fittingly enough, it is reviewed in Cultural Studies 12(4) by J. Macgregor Wise.

It seems we have come a long way from early manifestations of the subject which drew together critics including E. P. Thompson (1959), Raymond Williams (1958) and, most trenchantly, Richard Hoggart (1958; 1995) in a negative cultural consensus against a backdrop of Britain's declining status as a world power, where the end of its empire and a general fear of the deluge of lowbrow US trash are all seen as threatening to erode Britain's cultural identity. All of the above are pictured, although Orwell's (1937) fear of the insidiousness of mass culture and its attendant hidden agenda of class oppression and subjugation is absent; as is, even more oddly, the similarly oriented pre-war Frankfurt school critique (e.g. Adorno and Horkheimer, 1979) of the supposed manipulative powers and negative homogenising effects of popular culture. Lots of what Sardar and Van Loon seem to be communicating to us is the axiomatic truth that many of these arguments are cyclical. Thus whilst Hoggart's (1958) attacks on the 'levelling down' process through which working class purity was under threat from mass culture may now appear quaint in form (e.g. railing against 'canned and packeted provision' and the 'juke box boys' as the 'rich full life' gives way to 'the immediate, the present, the cheerful'), parts of the analysis have been repeated with regularity since, although the targets have of course shifted: violent videos, McDonalds, Sony Playstation and the Internet being modern substitutes. As David Morley points out, cultural studies is attacked because much of what it says is common sense, but, importantly, in some ways it is the inexorable rise of cultural studies that has made this so. (from 'Culture Shock' by Rupa Huq) (http://culturemachine.tees.ac.uk/Reviews/rev7.htm)

This is a great, short introduction to Cultural Studies in comic book form (along the lines of Freud for Beginners) written by a fairly heavy-hitter in the field. An impressive overview. Some professors have had trouble ordering it locally, but it can be ordered from amazon.com for only $8.76.
(http://www.sou.edu/English/IDTC/Issues/CultStud/cultstud.htm (Southern Oregon University))

You know, I love this series. I have the book on Mathematics and the book on Chaos. You can read them in one sitting, they're in comic book format, and they give the basic info you don't seem to get in university. I don't know why that is. Maybe because you spend all your time reading the original texts. And because survey courses, which give you an overview of the field, have died out for various reasons... (Caterina Fake from caterina.net)

... The discipline of cultural studies must have a new paradigm for the common analysis of canonical as well as non-canonical texts. Ziauddin Sardar and Borin Van Loon in their recent book "Introducing Cultural Studies" have tried to show the presence of this exciting field of study in academic work within the arts, the humanities, the social sciences and even science and technology. They take a fleeting, though rather interesting, view of the contribution of Raymond Williams, Richard Hoggart, Stuart Hall and E.P. Thompson to the whole enterprise of cultural studies. Interestingly, all these pioneers came from a working- class background and tried to understand the role of culture at a critical point in a deeply class-ridden English society. Culture to them was more of a commodity that is constucted with the sole purpose of class struggle for cultural domination, a war for legitimacy and social status waged by the elites...
(Shelley Walia in the on-line edition of 'The Hindu', India's national newspaper) (http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/2001/07/15/stories/1315017v.htm)

Cultural Studies is now a hot field of study, but actually what is it about? What is culture? What is Cultural Studies? This book tells where cultural studies originates and how it spreads all over the world. This book also serves as a guide to the essential concepts that are covered in Cultural Studies that gives a clear basic concept on the subject. (http://zerosbook.org)

LIGHT ESSAY OF CULTURAL STUDIES. Ziauddin Sardar's "Introduction to Cultural Studies" is nothing more than the title indicates. This lenghty essay merely presents basic concepts that are prevalent in a postmodern discourse between societal values, power relations, and the value placed on cultural "norms" given in various communities. Sardar presents the history of Cultural Studies as a discipline, which begins in a social context, but the analysis of which, takes place by various sociologists, philosophers (primarily Freud, Nietzche, and Hegel), and literary minds. Overall, the essay is enlightening as an introduction, a good preface to the discourse(s) one finds in most disciplines today. Rating: 4 . [No mention of the illustrations, then...]
(http://www.anybook4less.com/detail/1840460768.html)

Recommended Text. We won't be making direct reference to this book in the course, but I recommend it as an accessible introduction to key theories in comic-book format. (http://www.ucfv.bc.ca/scms/MACS_courses.htm)

Culture is unto itself a topic of vague proportions and definitions. Dictionaries define culture as “the sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to another” (culture); the ways people live vary and thus what one views as an element of culture may not be as culturally relevant to someone else living in a similar cultural environment. Introducing Cultural Studies, by Ziauddin Sardar and Borin Van Loon attempts to explain some of the broader views of culture (with heavy British flavor) and explain the theories and science behind cultural study by immersing the reader in a book of cultural images and ideas.

The element of cultural diversity was an area I found to be quite interesting. The sections provided an interesting insight to a multitude of cultural backgrounds that I might have otherwise not been apt to study or read about. While Introducing Cultural Studies primarily focuses on European nations, it was interesting to see how those cultural diversities translate to my American way of thinking. I believe sometimes, as Americans, we are often rutted into a particular way of thought and a particular style of learning; often overlooking the methods and process and progress of nations other than ourselves. Sardar and Loon’s approach helped bring a new element of progress to the learning process, a process that would not necessarily be used in a traditional American-style book. Through something as simple as the book’s stylized content, I learned that even methods of learning can take on cultural aspects; something that I find to be very important given my future as an educator in today’s global society.

Being an Art Education Major, I found the illustrations of Introducing Cultural Studies to be an interesting insight to cultural aspects that would otherwise not be portrayed in a standard text-driven book or essay. By involving the readers visually with the information, Sardar and Loon present an interesting cultural view of not only the cultures they are presenting in the book, but their own cultural background as well. Art is often looked at as a keystone element of a culture’s background and identity; offering a way for generations to come to look back at not only the artist’s view of a culture but the entire culture as a whole, as the culture surrounding the artist influences the very views the artist is trying to portray. In this way, art carries a unique weight in representing a culture’s identity in terms of passing information down to the generations to follow us. Whether it is a painting, a hip-hop song, a movie, or anything in between, art helps define a culture as much as the individuals who create it.

Reading Introducing Cultural Studies reinforced by views on the importance of cultural studies and how culture impacts nearly everything we do and the ways in which we present our culture to other people. And as our culture speeds toward the global culture of tomorrow due to our ever changing and constantly shrinking global landscape, it was refreshing to see a take on explaining cultural studies by using culture itself instead of the cookie-cutter textbook soup we are force-fed in today’s modern classroom environment. One can only hope we are able to preserve some of our unique culture before it is lost in the jungle we call “cultural progress.”
Justin Brunick / Dan Workman / Amanda Reeder. IDEA: Introduction to Arts & Identity. 29 September 2007
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