This is Hiroki Ogasawara of Kobe University. I’m honoured to be appointed as the chief secretary of the Association for Cultural Typhoon (ACT).
Exactly ten years have passed since the inception of our Association. Except in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Cultural Typhoon, our annual gathering, has been organised every year. I’m extremely grateful to the organising committee members and all those who have been involved in giving us help and support over the years. My thanks also go to the editorial members of the Annual Review of Cultural Studies (ARCS), the principal media of our Association.
Cultural Typhoon and the ARCS are the two main wheels of our activities. As we have assembled thesixth ACT Board, we would like to take this opportunity to add new wheels, one of which may be “education” in its broader sense. While it is indeed necessary that under/postgraduate students are given more flexible channels to take part in our Association, we have to look at and take care of those who want to learn about culture and society outside of the academic institutions. Our goals include enlarging the site of learning and multiplying opportunities for study. In order to make these happen, how about, for example, hosting the spring or summer schools? Lecturers from various fields from all over the world will be invited not only from teaching institutions but also from other communities. Those activities may be a good setting to promote cultural studies and make paths for the public to attend Cultural Typhoon.
More ideas and proposals are welcome so that we can fulfil the potential of our Association and strengthen our commitment to society. This year’s Cultural Typhoon at Seijo University aimed to establish critical perspectives by cross-cutting and reassembling feminisms of diverse kinds. There might have been conflictual encounters among views and opinions. However, conflict and confrontation are far different from division. I want to stress that academic debates shouldn’t end in back-biting and exchanges of hollow swearing. Instead, it should be conducted according to a certain kind of sociality lined with intelligence. Otherwise, conflict and confrontation can easily slide into the divided disjuncture.
By becoming aware of and sharing this danger, we are able not only to build a sharp discursive sphere but also to articulate cultural studies with expressive and performing art scenes and social movements without losing intensity. There are such buzz words as encounter, cuddling and connection in a society where tolerance is required. They are, needless to say, essential values. However, what’s more important is “aftermath.” After encountering, after cuddling, and after connecting with others, what can we do? Let us always ask this question. We should not terminate our thinking even once encountered, cuddled and connected with others. To stop thinking may lead us to misrecognising the fact that there may have existed differences and discrepancies prior to those moments. We may maintain irretrievable seeds of division by doing so. Instead, let me suggest that we swarm without collusion and gear together without correspondence. In this sense, “articulation” is what we need.
Climate change, the rise of far- and alt-right forces and the acceleration of poverty after the Covid-19 pandemic—these are urgent tackling issues. The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the Israeli state’s constant violence against Palestinians indicate that war atrocity never ends. The resurgence of the military government in Myanmar and the unrest in Hong Kong tell us that postcolonial moments endlessly continue. Fragmentation of international monetary values is proof of the void of global capitalism. “Pessimism of intellect, optimism of will,” Antoni Gramsci once said. Let’s combine them together—the pessimism rocked by those miseries of the world and the optimism nonetheless attempting to keep head cool and polish intelligence—and walk with cultural studies.
We have this fantastic Board with various academic backgrounds. We are very much looking forward to working with you over the next two years. I hope you are so too.