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The Critical PulseThirty-Six Credos by Contemporary Critics$
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Jeffrey Williams and Heather Steffen

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780231161152

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231161152.001.0001

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“Hope Dies Last”

“Hope Dies Last”

Cultural Studies and Studs Terkel

(p.129) 17 “Hope Dies Last”
The Critical Pulse

Victor Cohen

Columbia University Press

This chapter argues for a renewal of leftist cultural studies, holding up the example of Studs Terkel as an engaged intellectual. Terkel was a talk-show host and author of numerous collections of interviews with people regarding their experiences of the social structures that determine our lives: work, race, war, death, economic scarcity, and the dream of economic security. Terkel's ambition to represent in interview form the lived experience of these determining forces would suit many who come out of cultural studies. However, the roots of his “ambition” were generally missing from many of his obituaries, no doubt because of their origins in the political movements that helped shape him. The author identifies a disconnect between the political movements that shaped Terkel's life and worldview, the way his work and life were represented on the occasion of his death, and the political roots of cultural studies and the way departments, universities, publishing houses, and bookstores represent cultural studies to us today.

Keywords:   leftist cultural studies, Studs Terkel, interview, political movements, talk-show host, authors

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