Cultural Studies

Cultural Studies Course Descriptions

Cultural Studies is an interdisciplinary field of research and teaching that investigates culture and seeks to create and transform individual experiences, social relations, and power structures. Courses in this field explore the relations between culture, understood as human expressive and symbolic activities, and cultures, understood as distinctive ways of life.

Combining the strengths of the social sciences and the humanities, Cultural Studies draws on methods and theories used in traditional disciplines such as Literary Studies, Sociology, Anthropology, Communication Studies, History, Philosophy, Political Economy, Psychoanalysis and Religious Studies, among others. By working across the boundaries of these fields, Cultural Studies addresses new questions and problems arising in today's world. As such, Cultural Studies draws on theories and methods not only from traditional disciplines but also from the growing fields of Gender Studies, Ethnic Studies, Post-Colonial Studies, Feminist Studies, and Media Studies. In doing so, the discipline addresses debates concerning the theory of texts and their production; the relationship between culture and politics; the formation of knowledge and institutions; and the nature of cultural antagonisms and crises. In short, Cultural Studies is more than a single body of theory or methods; rather, it is a series of interrelated questions and answers drawn from numerous disciplines.

Students of Cultural Studies will develop flexible tools enabling them to analyze the rapidly changing global environment. They will learn to interpret how different aspects of our social world (gender, race, ethnicity, religion, socio-economic class, etc.) influence how we see our world. The process of doing Cultural Studies involves both students and faculty in the dynamic investigation of personal and social values, social location, and the formation of social institutions and world views.