Student Spotlight: Lisa Daily is on the Governing Board of CSA

The program extends its congratulations to Lisa A. Daily who has been elected as a student representative to the Governing Board of Cultural Studies Association. Lisa is a Ph.D. candidate whose work focuses on the intersection of consumer and commodity culture, global capitalism, visuality and media, and in/justice. Esma H. Celebioglu conducted an interview with Lisa to learn more about her new position in CSA and how it relates to her future projects. Read below for her responses.


Could you tell us a bit more about your position in the Cultural Studies Association? What will be your primary responsibilities in CSA?

Sure, this past spring I was elected as the student representative to the CSA’s Governing Board, a position which exists to ensure that the concerns and interests of students have a voice within the organization. The position is a three-year appointment and each year may see some shifts in responsibilities. For instance, for our conference in 2017—to be held at Georgetown University May 25-27—I am serving on a variety of planning committees as well as the Executive Committee. Much like the CSA generally, the Governing Board is very collaborative; we all work together to make sure that the CSA and its annual conference are successful—from selecting a theme and organizing the conference program to supporting joint statements such as the recent one on Threats to Academic Freedom and Higher Education in Turkey.

I also want to say if you are a student in our Cultural Studies program or a program that values cultural studies, you should get involved: submit a paper, join a working group, praxis or workshop session. Before being elected to the Governing Board, I was heavily involved in the working groups and continue to act as co-chair for the Visual Culture Working Group. These groups host their own panels each year, but also (ideally) should maintain active scholarly conversation throughout the year. As I’ve said, the CSA is very collaborative, but this is also reflected in the environment of the conference itself. It’s a great place to workshop new material, meet other scholars and activists invested in cultural studies, and be privy to the most pressing concerns and interests of the field. (It’s also a lot of fun!)


As a student representative what can you say about the role of students’ participation in CSA?

Students need to participate! I am saying this not as a CSA Governing Board member, but as a member of the CSA. My first conference was back in 2013, which was held in Chicago at Columbia College. Since then I’ve gone to each year’s conference: Salt Lake City, Riverside, and Philly last year. I attend for all the reasons I’ve already pointed to: the collaborative environment, an engaged community, and meeting cool, smart CS people from all over the world. CSA further encourages grad student participation by offering financial support for students—something that isn’t publicized enough. As we all know, we receive a very limited amount of Graduate Student Travel Funds at GMU. Often these annual funds do not cover the cost of a single conference, which makes this aspect of our professional development a real financial hardship for many of us. Since we are all cultural studies practitioners, it is important for us to share our work so that we can actively participate in the shaping of contemporary cultural studies. I would lastly add that I’ve met so many of our own CS alumni through the CSA, becoming close friends with many, turning to them for mentoring advice, and being able to see the plethora of ways CS is professionally enacted. 


In what ways is this position related to your future projects as a Ph.D. student? 

I think this position has less to do with my future projects as a student and more to do with my future goals as a cultural studies scholar. As we are all well-aware, the academic job market is stressed (to say the least). Tenure-track possibilities are dwindling as more and more of higher education turns to a business(and consumerist) model of education, reliant on the precarious and flexible labor of adjuncts or term professors. University-supported financial resources are limited despite rising tuition costs, which often translates into more and more of us leaving school severely indebted. I bring all of this up because there are several ways to cope with these realities: first is being a part of a politically-engaged field (CS) that discusses these material realities and utilizes what tactics it can to combat them; and second is to gain experiences/skills in addition to pursing one’s own scholarship. For me, this has been through teaching, but then also organizing and administration—working first with our own Student Organizing Committee and Conference Planning Committee and now with the CSA. Even though these types of positions require a lot of work and dedication, I really enjoy being able to contribute to CS. I accredit much of this work to the positions I’ve held since the end of my fellowship in 2014: managing several grant-funded creative writing and cultural exchange programs at the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa (2014-2016) and most recently moving to the NYC area for a Class Adviser & Associate Faculty position at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. Next up: finish the dissertation!