Research Topic: Cognitive Cultural Studies vs. Context

Reading the book “Introduction to Cognitive Cultural Studies” edited by Lisa Zunshine was a challenging, frustrating and academically conflicting experience. In the spirit of discovery, I tried to apply my own experiences to the theory and kept finding myself coming up short. All of my understanding of traditional mass communication theory and now cultural theory (reading for Dr. Muchtars class) reinforced the fact that while the “idea” of cognition being inborn and innate sounds good on paper, I’m not so sure I’m buying it in real life.  My problem with this is that it seems to fly in the face of personal experience and context.

I know we aren’t supposed to cite in this blog, but in the Hall book we are reading for Intercultural Communication, the author explicitly states that culture is not innate and that any change can spark a series of changes that will reshape peoples understanding and reference points.  Context is a large part of the literary experience. In my opinion, that is what makes reading books fun…because each reader may have an entirely different experience.

I mean, look at this blog for example,  while we all may have an understanding of frustration, challenge, academic rigor (insert quality here…) the experience we had with these pieces of literature are all different. Personal context at work, no?

The concept of cultural cognitive studies was so baffling that I emailed Dr. Zunshine. I asked her specifically where she felt the weaknesses were in her theory (she was none to pleased about that at first), but she, herself, said that it is a difficult concept to get your head around (no pun intended).

Do I believe that human beings are born with some intuition? Of course. Do I believe that your environment wins every time in the nature vs. nuture arguement? Absolutely. Do I think you can apply any of this to literature? I have no idea. But, on the surface, after my short exposure to this theory I’m leaning towards no. But what I do know is that the best part about stories is relating them to your own experience and interpreting them the way that you like, not the way you were born to understand.

I would like Dr. Zunshine to interpret my post. I’d be interested to see how much she KNOWS about what I feel. Maybe I really enjoyed the challenge. Maybe I thought it was a bunch of crap. Perhaps I appreciate that the process is the point, and that the discovery of different ideas is the underlying theme of this assignment. Maybe I know why I’m  not a literary theorist. Perhaps this is all just a mask and I’m secretly a plant from the University of Kentucky English Department studying how doctoral students respond to Cognitive Cultural Studies. Maybe I’m at the end of this post and have simply thrown in the proverbial towel. Either way, its all up to interpretation and only I know for sure.