Spectres of culture [with a capital C]

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Department of Cultural Studies, Lingnan University; Kwan Fong Cultural Research and Development Programme, Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences, Lingnan University

Event Title

KFCRD Cultural Studies Seminar & Cultural Magazine Series, 2005-06

Document Type

Public Seminar




5:30 p.m. -- 7:00 p.m.


GE101, 1/F, B.Y. Lam Building, Lingnan University


The fortunes of the word ‘culture’ have been taking a bumpy ride over the past centuries ever since it surged to its prominence. By making itself distinctive from ‘nature’ and ‘reason’, ‘culture’ always carries mission(s) impossible in different local or national contexts exciting intellectual, aesthetic and political energies in various tasks including, most spectacularly, the redemption of human souls from the relentlessly advancing mechanical and materialistic civilization – which, in Weber’s view, has resulted only in the disenchantment of the human world. However, such heroic endeavors are not without their problems. Recent emergence of cultural studies, by stressing ‘the cultural’, is another attempt to redress the problematic notion of ‘culture’. In our pedagogical context, cultural studies is sometimes received as defined by juxtaposing two approaches: one adheres to ‘Culture’ (with a capital C) and another to ‘culture’ (in small letters). A tendency is to augment their differences by implicitly exorcising the former in favor of the latter. The presentation is a reflection upon the usefulness of such a distinction by drawing upon my experiences of encountering as well as teaching ‘culture/cultural studies’ in Hong Kong over the past decades. The discussion will focus on the danger of disenchanting ‘culture’ and, perhaps, the necessity of ‘re-enchanting’ the teaching of cultural studies in the present circumstances.



Additional Information


Dr. Law Wing-sang is Assistant Professor of Department of Cultural Studies, Lingnan University. Having earned his first and second degree in sociology from CUHK, he finished his doctoral work in cultural studies at University of Technology, Sydney in 2002. His research interests range from historical cultural studies of colonialism, comparative social thought, Hong Kong cultural formation to cultural and social theory. His doctoral dissertation Collaborative Colonialism: A Genealogy of Competing Chineseness in Hong Kong is going to be published by Hong Kong University Press next year. He also published articles in journals such as Positions. East Asian Culture Critique, Traces: A Multilingual Series of Cultural Theory and Translation and Inter-Asia Cultural Studies. He is also the editor of a number of cultural studies collection and translation works.

Recommended Citation

Law, W. S. (2006, May 15). Spectres of culture [with a capital C] [Video podcast]. Retrieved from http://commons.ln.edu.hk/videos/236