The Centre for Critical Studies was incorporated in the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities in August 2015.

The information in this website is therefore out of date but retained for archival and staff purposes.

Below is an archive of CCCS Public Seminars delivered in 2000, along with their original abstracts. For further information on any of these seminars, please contact CCCS Admin.


Professor John Hartley: 'Towards a "Republican" Television Studies: Or, Why TV is Too Like Irish Dancing', 11 May 2000

TV Studies may 'discipline' television in contrasting ways. One way is to 'discipline' TV's potential unruliness; the other is to organise television's university of knowledge into 'disciplinary' order. Historically, critical discourses have preferred to control TV rather than order it, and this is why TV looks the way it does--too much like Irish dancing.

The paper compares television historically with print-media. It argues that just as print literacy evolved into the 'republic of letters', and the 'reading public' evolved into the political public of modernity, so television may be evolving a disciplinary order in which textuality and citizenship are mutually sustaining.

The paper argues that concepts such as 'writing' and 'authorship' need to be revisited in this context, and focuses on the extension of 'writing' into television 'literacy'. It shows how the so-called 'ironclad order of video' of TV's early period has transformed into a more decentralised 'republic of media', and argues that a 'republican television studies' is needed to monitor this process. The paper explores some of the issues that arise as 'media citizenship' develops, and concludes that the more 'republican' it becomes, the less it will need to express itself like an Irish dancer.