About Cultural Studies

Cultural Studies is the study of cultural processes under the conditions imposed by the global capitalist system, and the program at George Mason University leads the way in the field by providing a cohesive yet expansive curriculum for that project. While maintaining an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, the program at George Mason is unique in several other respects. We are the oldest stand-alone doctoral program in Cultural Studies in the United States. We take a definitive view of what constitutes a properly Cultural Studies approach as we study, for example, the dialectical relationships among media and new media, social institutions such as gender and race, and the class character of capitalist society. In addition to studying cultural processes, objects and events, we aim to critique and transform them and our environment; our publications, our coursework and our students’ dissertations thus engage with the key social and political issues of our time.

Cultural Studies provides a space for scholarly dialogues which draw upon theory and methods from several disciplines--anthropology, history, literary studies, philosophy, political economy, and sociology—while also developing a specifically Cultural Studies methodology. Whereas traditional disciplines strive to produce stable objects of study, research in cultural studies attempts to account for exactly the instability of objects, events, and processes under changing capitalist relations.