Imre Szeman

Canada Research Chair in Cultural Studies

Tier 1 - July 01, 2009
University of Alberta

Research involves

Studying changes in culture in the 21st century, and producing new theories to account for these changes and their broader social and political significance.

Research relevance

This research will produce an understanding of the impact of globalization on culture and lead to new models and theories for cultural study.

The Politics of Culture in the 21st Century

Can an encounter with an artwork change how someone views the world? Is there an intrinsic difference between culture created for free and culture created for commercial purposes? Do documentary films change how we view political events? What is the appropriate role of governments in sponsoring and promoting cultural production?

By addressing questions like these, Imre Szeman’s research probes the increasingly complex and multifaceted ways in which we understand culture in the 21st century. The enormous changes in the speed and scale of everyday life in the era of globalization have created new challenges for the study of culture. Existing ideas about the spaces and places of culture have been upended; innovative technologies have created new forms of culture, including novel means of transmitting and reproducing cultural forms, old and new; and culture has now become an important engine of development, whether through “creative cities” initiatives, cultural tourism or the expansion of the global entertainment industry.

Szeman’s research studies the impact of these developments on both cultural practices and the theories used to study culture. His research will produce new models for the investigation of culture, and will explore the dynamics and significance of contemporary culture production in the new century.

His research will establish Canada as a leading nation in the study of contemporary culture and will help train a new generation of humanities scholars.