Comparative Cultural Studies

Cultural Studies

The undergraduate concentration in Comparative Cultural Studies draws on social and aesthetic theory to understand how social identities, actions, and desires are produced and practiced in everyday life. The approach is both interdisciplinary and cross-cultural; we lend particular attention to social politics—such issues as race, gender, sexuality, class, nation, and ethnicity—in their encounter with different forms of cultural production.  

Because cultural studies wants to know how culture is lived and experienced by a full range of participants, it does not limit itself to studying "high art" or "official" history. Rather, cultural studies pays special attention to those forms that permeate everyday experience: subcultures, popular media (television, film, the internet), and a range of performance practices—dance, music, sports, and fashion. 

Through their studies, students learn the key words, critical tools, and basic methods used in the practice of cultural critique: we interpret  dominant popular media, and learn to engage alternative forms aimed at producing social change. Cultural studies does not assume that consumers of cultural forms—students, audiences, readers, believers, bystanders—are passive in their consumption. To the contrary, cultural studies invites students to see themselves also as potential producers and authors of creative analysis, new cultural theory, and as creators of alternative cultural forms.