A minor in cultural studies provides students with an interdisciplinary approach to the study of culture. Cultural studies courses focus on the interrelationships between representations visual, written, oral, etc. and the world in which they are produced and consumed. The overarching concern of cultural studies is to explore how representations function to create and embody cultural meaning and values. Representations are cultural artifacts that stand for, symbolize, depict, or portray objects, people, thoughts, or emotions, etc. The minor introduces students to a variety of approaches to the analysis of culture, while permitting them to focus on a cluster area pertinent to their interests.
The minor in Cultural Studies consists of six courses. No more than two of the courses counting towards a cultural studies minor may count toward a departmental major.
one elective course selected from a preapproved list, three courses in a cluster area of concentration
A cluster area of concentration consists of three courses (from at least two different departments) focused around an issue or problem in culture that demands interdisciplinary study. The cluster areas enable sustained analysis of how these problems or issues have been represented in specific historical and social contexts. Currently, the cultural studies cluster areas of concentration are:
This cluster allows students to investigate the role of performance as a way of representing important values and beliefs about the world. Courses address the creation and interpretation of performances in institutionalized theatre, festivals, political events, storytelling circles, etc. By examining the performative dimensions of, for example, racial stereotypes and national identities, these courses explore ways in which cultural status and values are represented for and by individuals through performances in both aesthetic and social contexts.
(Three of the following):
This cluster examines how the intersection of the natural/human and the technological/human have been represented in scientific, medical, philosophical, aesthetic, and other discourses. Courses in the cluster area explore how a range of popular and scholarly scientific discourses and technologies have influenced how people think about and represent human bodies, diseases, and ways of organizing and understanding nature. Other courses focus on how technologies such as handwriting and computers have been represented and interpreted as extensions of or substitution for the natural and the human.
(Three of the following):
In addition to the courses listed above, other colloquia, seminars, independent studies, and special topics courses may be applied to the cluster areas subject to approval by the directors of the program. For complete information about these courses, consult the Schedule of Classes or obtain a current course description from the co-directors of the program.