International Institute for Higher Education Research & Capacity Building

Professor Dr. Laura E. Lyons

My scholarship has developed in several intersecting areas: 1) cultural studies 2) post-colonial literature and theory 3) critical analyses in the field of life writing, especially as related to human rights and corporations 4) work within globalization studies that focuses on the role of the corporation and questions of land and 5) Irish literature and culture. Although my scholarly areas of interest appear to be quite diverse, what brings them together is a commitment to a cultural studies methodology that insists on a grounded approach to materials and that the relationship between theory and practice be understood as dynamic and dialectic. In this regard, my work is guided by an admonition offered by the British cultural theorist Stuart Hall, who in discussing the legacy of British cultural studies expresses a discomfort with the pat theoretical fluency he often observes in the American academy. For Hall, theory is not “the will to truth,” but “a set of contested, localized, conjunctural knowledges, which have to be debated in a dialogical way.” In teaching, I am particularly concerned to consider what kinds of theories and practices have developed out of this specific place and how these directly or indirectly challenge cultural theories developed elsewhere. I try to understand cultural phenomenon such as literature, films and commercials, political ephemera and legal testimony as doing the intellectual work of sustaining or trying to change conceptions of the world that we take for granted.