Race & Ethnicity in Cultural Production‏

Call for submissions
Popular Communication: The International Journal of Media and Culture
Special Issue on Race and Ethnicity in Cultural Production
Editors: David Hesmondhalgh and Anamik Saha

Within media and cultural studies, questions of race and cultural difference in popular culture have tended to be explored through textual analysis, in relation to what Stuart Hall (1988) called “the politics of representation”, in terms of how they either reinforce or challenge essentialist notions of race and ethnic identity. Some of the most important recent interventions in cultural studies however, are those that have gone beyond the text and have focused on the production of culture and identity as constituted in, and by, global transformations (Clarke and Thomas, 2006; Niranjana, 2006). Yet far less attention has been paid to the production and circulation of representations of difference in popular culture. The aim of this special issue of Popular Communication is to address race and ethnicity in terms of how they are experienced in cultural production, in both its everyday and industrial contexts, and in terms of how they influence the production and distribution of cultural goods.

We invite papers that reflect on the cultural politics of difference with a focus on cultural production and/or circulation. These could include studies of creative and artistic practice, the experience of race and ethnicity within the cultural industries, commodification and the politics of representation, and related subjects. We invite work from scholars researching racism in the media, treating it not as an aberration that can be simply eradicated by increasing participation from racialized minorities (as policy tends to assert), but as deeply entrenched in modern capitalist societies, and which manifests in cultural production in very particular ways. Indeed, as the cultural industries continue to operate in highly marketized environments, in what ways do neo-liberal models of governance manage knowledge about race and ethnicity through symbol production and creative work?

We invite abstracts for papers based on research on all sectors of the media and popular culture, from music to video games, news to entertainment. We particularly welcome papers based upon research from non-Western contexts.

Papers can be on any topic related to ‘race’ and ethnicity in relation to media and cultural production, among which might be the following:

• The production of race and ethnicity in popular culture
• Cultural difference in creative work
• The media, multiculturalism and citizenship
• Cultural policy and subsidising minority arts
• Institutional racism in the cultural industries
• ‘Glass ceilings’ and the politics of quotas and diversity initiatives in the media
• The marketing and distribution of minority arts
• Race, ethnicity and subcultural practices
• New media and cultural identity
• Islamophobia and the reporting/representation of the ‘War on Terror’
• Anti-racist media activism

To submit an abstract (500 words) please email Anamik Saha (a.saha@leeds.ac.uk). The deadline for abstracts is 31st March 2012. We anticipate completed manuscripts by 31st December 2012.


Clarke, K.M. and Thomas, D.A. (eds.) (2006). Globalization and Race: Transformations in the Cultural Production of Blackness. Durham and London: Duke University Press.

Hall, S. (1988). New Ethnicities. In K. Mercer (ed.), Black Film, British Cinema (pp. 27-31). London: British Film Institute / Institute of Contemporary Arts.

Niranjana, T. (2006). Mobilizing India: Women, Music, and Migration between India and Trinidad. Durham and London: Duke University Press.