Pedagogical Possibilities of Class in Culture

Shahrzad Mojab
This is not a conventional book review. My goal is not to assess, evaluate, and discuss the scholarly merit of the book. Rather, I intend to reason the importance of reading and teaching Class in Culture as a Marxist-feminist educator. It is not customary to include such a book on the syllabi of adult education courses. This is the case in spite of the fact that in order to teach adult education from critical or radical perspectives, one has to venture into and borrow from other disciplines, in
more » ... particular feminist studies, cultural studies, post-colonial and anti-racism studies. In the last two decades, I have relied heavily on theoretical and methodological debates in these disciplines, though rarely to my complete epistemological satisfaction. Reading Class in Culture made me think again about the sources of my intellectual dissonance with much of theoretical debates in recent decades. Why do I find ‗meaning' in certain modes of analysis and dismiss others as conformist, or to use Allman's sharp articulation, as ‗uncritical/reproductive'? In this review, therefore, I will first attend to these questions by glancing at my own theoretical/political trajectory, to be followed by highlighting ideas that I have harvested from Ebert and Zavarzadeh, and finally end by pointing to the pedagogical possibilities in Class in Culture. The Theoretical Turn Class in Culture illustrates the authors' capacity to engage carefully and read compendiously in the diverse fields of literary criticism, cultural studies, media studies, feminism, sociology of knowledge, history, and political science far beyond my specialization. Therefore, I have decided to review the book alongside my personal Marxist-feminist intellectual and political pursuits to animate some of the key conceptual claims of this perspective. During the last three decades, I have witnessed the decline and, more recently, gradual re-emergence of Marxist analysis. It is still not customary to teach Marxism or introduce historical materialism in the curricula of adult education. Reading Class in Culture persuaded me to rethink the process of my resistance and survival in the wake of the onslaught on dialectical and historical materialism. I agree with Ebert and Zavarzadeh's premise that -[W]riting about class is unlike writing about any other cultural and social issue because it involves the writing itself: writing about Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, vol.8. no.2