The Rules and by-laws of the ACS

Article 1: The Name and Domicile

1.1. The name of this association is Association for Cultural Studies.

1.2. The domicile of the Association is in Tampere, Finland.

Article 2: The Objectives and Forms of Activity

2.1. The Association aims at forming and promoting an effective worldwide community of cultural studies.

2.1.1. By the term cultural studies we refer to the inter- and trans-disciplinary study of and intervention into the relations between cultural practices and the social relations and organization of power. Cultural studies researches and theorizes cultural practices and forms, and their effects, by placing them into the contexts of relations in which they emerge, through which they circulate and into which they are appropriated. Cultural studies focuses on the production and reproduction of such relations and on the agencies which enable or resist them.

2.1.2. Because of its inter- and trans-disciplinarity, its wide geographical dispersion, and its commitment to contextual specificity, it is becoming increasingly difficult for people working in cultural studies to build the strong connections necessary to meet the challenges facing cultural studies, in the questions it asks, the institutional demands it faces, and the growing number of attacks on its project. Therefore, a worldwide Association of people working in cultural studies is needed.

2.1.3. The Association aims at being able to include the diversity of work by committed scholars and workers in cultural studies around the world and to become a meaningful meeting place to them. The Association recognizes that some of those scholars and workers do not call their work cultural studies, and that cultural studies is not the universal designation for its intellectual and political practices. The Association is envisioned less as a fixed and finished “scholarly congress” and more as an ongoing project that would contribute to forming and promoting an effective worldwide community of cultural studies.

2.1.4. The Association will help establish knowledge of and links among the diverse groups of cultural studies scholars and workers around the world. The Association will help establish, strengthen and maintain contacts between cultural studies scholars and workers across different disciplines and in the different countries and regions of the world. It will in this way seek to enable people to find out about work being done on particular topics around the world, and to take advantage of and develop the possibilities of collaborative work. The Association will encourage collective and collaborative projects among cultural studies communities. The Association will encourage and facilitate, in whatever ways possible, the creation of local, national and regional cultural studies groups, and provide an opportunity for them to be linked in ways that enable their cooperation.

2.1.5. Association will promote and represent cultural studies – by whatever name its intellectual practice may be called and known in different regions of the world – as a legitimate scholarly, academic and cultural pursuit aimed at a practical transformation of existing social and political relations. By providing a broad structure for a plurality of approaches constitutive of cultural studies, the Association will promote public understanding of its goals, agendas and traditions.

2.2. To achieve its objectives, the Association – organizes international conferences, especially the Crossroads in Cultural Studies conference, which is the official conference of the association; – aims to provide information about cultural studies scholars and scholarship around the world – speaks in defense of cultural studies, its programs or cultural studies scholars by taking initiatives, giving statements and using other corresponding means.

2.2.1. The official Conference of the Association for Cultural Studies is the biennial international “Crossroads in Cultural Studies” Conference, and the Association for Cultural Studies is the sole owner of the right to organize it. The governing body of the Association will examine the proposals presented by institutions interested in organizing that Conference and decide which institution will organize it. A sum of money to be agreed on by the Association and the institution organizing its official Conference is due to the Association for Cultural Studies.

2.2.2 The Association aims at making its official Conference accessible and productive to all its members, no matter where they live or what languages they speak.

2.3. To support its activity the Association may receive donations and inheritances, own real and movable property required for its activity and, after been granted the proper permits, organize lotteries and fund-raising campaigns. The Association may also practice such business or trade that is directly related to the aims of the Association or that can be deemed as economically insignificant.

Article 3: The Members

3.1. The Association has two categories of members, individual members and associate members (see 3.3.).

3.2. All cultural studies scholars, who approve of the purpose and rules of the Association, can become members of the Association. The Board of the Association accepts members on application.

3.2.1. Those who are approved for membership as provided in these rules are eligible to be members of the Association on payment of the membership fee prescribed in, or fixed under, these rules.

3.3. The Board may grant an associate member status to other legally institutionalized organizations that want to promote the activity of the Association. Associate members receive the same benefits that are referred to elsewhere in the rules when speaking about the members except voting rights and Board positions.

3.3.1. The Board will consider applications for affiliation to the Association by existing or to be constituted associations and networks of cultural studies scholars and workers. Affiliation, once accepted, will entail the payment of a fee to be agreed on between the Board and the affiliated organization. The benefits and responsibilities of such affiliation will be defined by the Board.

3.4. The fees for every category of membership are determined by the Board.

3.4.1. The Association has a biennial fee, which entitles to membership for two years.

3.4.2. Registration as founding members of the Association for Cultural Studies, as well as the voluntary payment of the founding fee of €50, was made possible for participants in the Tampere 2002 Conference. That fee entitles those who have paid or will pay it to membership for the years 2002 and 2003.

3.4.3. Membership fees can be paid in Association with registration to the official Conference. For person members, the fee is fully deductible from the participation fee.

3.5. Members have the right to resign from the Association by sending a written notice about it to the Board or its Chair, or by announcing about the resignation in an Assembly of the Association to be recorded in the minutes.

3.5.1. A person ceases to be a member of the Association if the person: – dies – fails to pay the membership fee within three months of the expiration date of the last paid fee – resigns that membership – is expelled from the Association by the Board or by a simple majority of votes cast at a General Assembly of the Association convened for that purpose.

3.6. The Board can expel a member from the Association if the member has failed to pay the overdue membership fee or otherwise failed to perform the duties that they have subscribed to by becoming a member of the Association, or if the member has in their activity within or outside the Association remarkably harmed the Association, or does not any more fulfill the conditions of membership listed in the law or in the Rules of the Association.

Article 4: Governing Bodies

4.1. The Association for Cultural Studies is steered by the Board composed of the Chair and Vice-Chair and of at least 3 and at most 25 other members elected in the General Election Assembly.

4.1.1. The Board has the responsibility and power to make decisions pertinent to carrying out the work of the Association as defined in this constitution.

4.1.2. Apart from the Chair and Vice-Chair, the Board is composed by regional representatives of cultural studies constituencies, according to the following distribution: Africa – 3 representatives (one of them from Southern Africa); Asia – 4 representatives (one of them from Northeast Asia, one of them from Southeast Asia and one of them from South Asia); Australia and New Zealand – 2 representatives; Europe – 4 representatives (one of them from Northern Europe, one of them from Central and Eastern Europe, and one of them from Western and Southern Europe); Latin America and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean – 4 representatives; North America and the English- and French-speaking Caribbean – 4 representatives.

4.1.3. The regions that the Chair and the Vice-Chair represent will both lose one seat from the quotas defined above. If they both represent a region that has only one seat in the Board, the number of people elected to the Board will be raised by one.

4.1.4. To register for voting according to the quotas defined above, members have to select the region to which they want to belong in the vote for regular Board members. The nominees from a region also have to have selected that region when registering as members of the Association.

4.1.5. One reserve member for each region will automatically be co-opted as a full member if any of the first elected members in that region retire or can no longer serve on the board. This reserve member will be the candidate with the next highest number of votes in his/her region after all elected members, and will assume full voting rights if co-opted.

4.1.6. The Board has the right to invite the immediate past Chair, Vice Chair and/or one other past Board member to be co-opted to the Board, in order to strengthen continuity. These co-opted members have no voting rights but full right to participate and speak at Board meetings.

4.1.7. In the event that the Chair is unable or unwilling to complete his/her term of office, the Vice Chair shall automatically become Chair and the Organizational Secretary shall automatically become Vice Chair. In the event that the Vice Chair is unable or unwilling to complete his/her term of office, the Organizational Secretary shall automatically become Vice Chair. In the event of multiple simultaneous vacancies on the Executive, the Board shall be empowered to fill those vacancies as it sees fit.

4.2. The Board will be elected for a term in office of four years.

4.2.1. The terms of service for Board members shall be staggered across two election cycles, so that each of the global regions described in 4.1.2 except for Africa will choose half of its representatives every two years.  Africa will choose 2 representatives in one election cycle and 1 representative in the other.  The elections for Chair and Vice Chair shall be held during the same election cycle.

4.3. The Board selects from within or outside itself the Treasurer and two secretaries, one administrative and the other organizational.

4.4. The Chair, the Vice-Chair, the Treasurer, and two Secretaries form the Executive, which can implement the Board’s decisions.

4.5. The Board holds a meeting from the invitation of the Chair, or when the Chair is excused, the Vice-Chair, when they regard it needed, or when at least half of the Board members demand it.

4.6. The Board has a quorum when at least half of its members, including the Chair or Vice-Chair, are present. Votes are decided by majority rule. If the votes are divided evenly, the vote of the Chair is decisive. However, elections shall be decided by lot.

4.6.1. The Board meetings are as a rule held virtually as email discussions. In this instance being present in a meeting means that a member is not for instance due to a trip disconnected from their email when a topic is being discussed and decided.

4.7. The Board may appoint non-standing Committees and ad hoc groups operating under its supervision.

Article 5: The Standing Rules

5.1. The Association may adopt Standing Rules to regulate all matters for which further regulation is deemed desirable. Standing Rules may not contain any provisions in conflict with the law or the rules of the Association.

5.2. Standing Rules shall be adopted and amended by the General Assembly. Their verbatim text must be made available for inspection by the members five days before the Assembly until the Assembly has been held.

5.2.1. The appropriate location referred to above is, in addition to printed copies of the text, the Association’s web page and email list.

Article 6: The Signatories of the Association

6.1. The signatories of the Association are the Chair, Vice-Chair and the Treasurer, with a minimum of two of the three signatories. The Board may grant a person the right to act as a signatory of the Association by making a separate decision about it.

Article 7: The Financial Year and Audit

7.1. The financial period of the Association is one calendar year.

7.2. The accounts with the needed documents and the Board’s annual reports must be given to the auditors at least two months before the General Financial Assembly. The auditors must give their written report to the Board at least two weeks before the General Financial Assembly.

7.2.1. In the auditors’ report, and in certifying to the accounts, the auditors shall state, whether they have obtained the information required by them; whether, in their opinion, the accounts are properly drawn up so as to exhibit a true and correct view of the financial position of the Association according to the information at their disposal and the explanations given to them and as shown by the books of the Association; whether, in their opinion, the accounts are properly drawn up so as to exhibit a true and correct view of the financial position of the Association according to the information at his or her disposal and the explanations given to him or her and as shown by the books of the Association; and whether the rules relating to the administration of the funds of the Association have been observed.

Article 8: The Assemblies

8.1. The Association has two types of regularly held General Assemblies, the General Financial Assembly and the General Election Assembly. These Assemblies will be held every two years on dates defined by the Board. When possible, these Assemblies will be held in association with the Crossroads conference as a single Assembly and called the General Assembly.

8.2. A Special General Assembly of the Association will be held when an Assembly of the Association so decides or when the Board considers there is need for it or when at least one tenth (1/10) of the Association’s members entitled to vote requires it from the Board in writing for a specially announced matter. The Assembly must be held within 60 days from the date when the petition has been submitted to the Board.

8.3. In the Association’s Assemblies, each member, except for associate members, has one vote. The use of proxy is allowed.

8.3.1. Sending one’s vote electronically or when that is not possible by air mail is considered as proxy. In order to allow all members an equal possibility to take part in decision-making, regardless of their ability to attend the Assembly, all members must send their votes to the Board beforehand, so they can all be counted prior to the General Assembly, where the results are publicized.

8.4. Unless otherwise prescribed by the Rules of the Association, the opinion supported by more than a half of the given votes will become the decision of the Association’s Assembly. In voting the majority of the votes decides. If the votes are evenly divided, the Chair’s vote will be decisive; however, the elections shall be decided by lot.

8.5. The Board has to send the call for the Association’s Assembly at least six weeks before the Assembly to the members by e-mail or when that is not possible, by air mail.

8.6. The General Financial Assembly of the Association shall deal with the following matters:
1. Opening of the Assembly
2. The election of the Chair of the Assembly, the recording secretary, two scrutinizers of the minutes and, if needed, two counters of votes
3. Notification that the Assembly is valid and constitutes a quorum
4. Accepting the agenda of the Assembly
5. The Assembly is presented the accounts, the Board’s annual report and the auditors’ report
6. The Assembly decides about confirming the account and giving discharge from liability to the Board and to others in charge.

8.7. In addition to the above mentioned points 1-4, the following matters are dealt at the General Election Assembly of the Association:
1. The election of the Chair, Vice-Chair and other members of the Board
2. The election of one or two auditors and their vice persons.

Article 9: Changing the Rules and Dissolution of the Association.

9.1. The decision to change the rules and about the dissolution of the Association must be done in a General Assembly of the Association by the majority of three fourths (3/4) of the given votes. The call for the Assembly must mention changing rules or dissolution.

9.2. In the case of dissolution, the funds of the Association shall be used to advance the purpose of the Association in the way that the Assembly sees fit. In the case the Association will become abolished its funds shall be used for an equal purpose.

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