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Dr Paul Bowman

Dr Paul Bowman

Position: Reader
Director of Postgraduate Research
Director of the Race, Representation and Cultural Politics Research Group
Director of Editors: Cardiff University Press
Editor of JOMEC Journal
Editor: Martial Arts Studies
Co-Director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Film & Visual Culture Research


Telephone: +44 (0)29 208 76797

Location: Room 1.23, Bute Building


Paul is Director of the Race, Representation and Cultural Politics Research Group and founder of theCentre for Interdisciplinary Film & Visual Culture Research (IFVCR). He researches questions of cultural agency and cultural politics in global/postcolonial popular culture.

Beyond Bruce Lee (Wallflower/Columbia University Press, 2013)

“As the title suggests, this volume takes us 'beyond' Bruce Lee to debates around postmodern and the postcolonial, martial arts philosophy, and popular culture both translated and performed. But Lee is no mere pretext for this fascinating volume - this study also reminds us how exciting and transformative his cultural emergence was and what a complex legacy he has left. Whether your interest is in Zizek or Jeet Kune Do, you'll find something here that will make you think again about this major figure.”  (Leon Hunt, Brunel University)

Beyond Bruce Lee provides nuanced, often brilliantly provocative readings of Bruce Lee as a cultural icon and event. Drawing on a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches, this ground-breaking study performs Lee's injunction to create something new and true by crossing, mixing, and remixing boundaries. In the process, it also gives the reader a fantastic crash course in cultural studies.” (Jane Park, University of Sydney)

“No one writing today has a keener eye for delineating the logic of contemporary cultural politics than Paul Bowman. In Beyond Bruce Lee he powerfully demonstrates how and why Bruce Lee matters to a whole host of fields (cinema studies, cultural studies, politics, philosophy, sociology) without ever limiting himself to writing from the narrow perspective of any one of those disciplines. Regardless of where you position yourself in or out of any of those fields - whether you think you already know Bruce Lee or think you couldn't care less about Bruce Lee - you still must read this book.” (Samuel Chambers, Johns Hopkins University)

Reading Rey Chow: Visuality, Postcoloniality, Ethnicity, Sexuality (Peter Lang, 2013)

“Paul Bowman's Reading Rey Chow is a lucid exposition and critical framing of the work of one of the key figures in contemporary cultural and postcolonial studies. This book will be required reading for anyone engaging with this body of writing that develops a sustained and critical alternative to the canon of high theory.” (John Frow, University of Sydney)

“[This book] offers a complete introduction to Chow's works, showing the originality of her scholarship for cultural studies, postcolonialism and visual studies. Reading Rey Chow focuses on the continuous relocations and excesses that Chow provokes in critical theory through the force of her incisive analyses.” (Patrizia Calefato, Universita degli studi di Bari Aldo Moro, Italy)

Culture and the Media (Palgrave, 2012)

Culture and the Media looks at the relationship between what we term 'media' and 'culture', asking the question: where does one end and the other begin? Written in a lively and accessible style, this book introduces and contextualises the range of different approaches to the study of both of these fields. 

Using a lively range of examples and case studies - including moral panics in the British media around punk rock in the 1970s, critiques of consumerism in the films Fight Club and American Psycho, and the YouTube-captured 'violence' of protests against student fees – Culture and the Mediashows how theoretical and disciplinary debates over the meaning of the media and culture relate to our everyday cultural experiences. 

Studi culturali: Teoria, intervento, cultura pop (Progedit, Italy, 2011)

Italian translation, selected writings: “Presentando per la prima volta al pubblico italiano il pensiero di Paul Bowman, questo volume intende rinnovare la riflessione sull'agenda etico-politica propria dei Cultural Studies, che sono nati a Birmingham nel 1964 e si sono rapidamente diffusi nel mondo anglofono e nelle comunità di studiosi.”

Theorizing Bruce Lee: Film—Fantasy—Philosophy—Fighting(Rodopi, 2010)

Theorizing Bruce Lee engages questions of culture, politics, ideology and philosophy by way of a series of engagements with the popular cultural film and martial arts icon, Bruce Lee. The book deals with the cultural and theoretical issues, themes and problematics of Bruce Lee’s emergence and success, the relations between Bruce Lee films and cultural fantasy, the relations between these fantasies and cultural practices such as martial arts, and the wider cultural, political and philosophical issues of Bruce Lee’s intervention.

Leon Hunt writes: “Bruce Lee is a complex and contradictory figure, and it's a formidable task to take on the multiple facets of his legacy – fighter, film star, philosopher, nationalist, multiculturalist, innovator.  With an approach as multidisciplinary and iconoclastic as Lee's approach to martial arts, Bowman provides an original and exhilarating account of Lee as ‘cultural event’.  No one has done a better job of explaining why the martial arts 'legend' remains such an important and provocative figure”.

Similarly, Gina Marchetti writes: “Taking on Martin Heidegger and Slavoj Žižek as well as drawing on Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Guy Debord, Jacques Ranciere, Rey Chow, and Stuart Hall, among others, Bowman shows how Bruce Lee “speaks” to the philosophical debates that frame our understanding of global popular culture today.  Although Bowman may not be able to resolve the philosophical battles surrounding our ability to “know” Bruce Lee, he does a remarkable job of articulating why Bruce Lee remains an essential force within not only world cinema but global culture – both “high” and “low.”  Armoured with his philosophical nunchakus, Bowman goes to battle with anyone who may doubt Lee’s ongoing importance, and this book will undoubtedly become essential reading for everyone (from philosopher to kung fu practitioner) interested in popular culture and Asian cinema.”

Deconstructing Popular Culture(Palgrave, 2008)

"Deconstructing Popular Culture is an accessible, funny and stimulating introduction to popular culture and cultural studies. This is a book with both a passionate argument and a rare skill in making the 'fine print' of complex theoretical arguments accessible." (Richard Stamp, Senior Lecturer of Media and Cultural Studies, Bath Spa University, UK)

"Bowman writes very much as though he is speaking directly to a group of undergraduates: it engages them where they live. This book is an extraordinarily significant achievement." (John Mowitt, Professor of Cultural Studies, University of Minnesota, USA)

Post-Marxism versus Cultural Studies: Politics, Theory and Intervention (Edinburgh University Press, 2007)

“[Post-Marxism Versus Cultural Studies is] the first sustained scholarly assessment of the scandal of post-Marxism [which] traces the struggle – both intellectual and political – of academic Marxism to keep its footing on the long march through the institution. As the “versus” that hinges his title suggests, neither post-Marxism nor cultural studies remain unscathed by Bowman’s staging of this face off. Post-Marxism versus Cultural Studies rewards the serious reader concerned to come to terms with the discursive politics of the contemporary university”. John Mowitt (Professor of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, University of Minnesota).

“This is an ambitious book which will make a significant impact in […] an exciting field which is beginning to open up a sustained ‘thinking about’ politics from a post-structuralist perspective”. Martin McQuillan (Professor of Cultural Theory and Analysis, University of Leeds)