Our Courses

The doctoral degree program in cultural studies requires 48 credits beyond the master’s degree. The core curriculum includes an introduction to cultural studies and a methods course, as well as courses on political economy, gender and sexuality, critical race studies, science and technology, social institutions, and visual and performance culture.

In addition to this core curriculum, students can take a number of special topics courses offered by our faculty. Recent special topics courses include things like: Social Media, Affect and Politics, Biopolitics, Neoliberalism, and Race, Critical Ethnography, Memory, Media, and Affect, The Politics of Big Data, Cultures of Activism, Space, Place, and Power, and Political Subjectivity.

Beyond coursework, all students develop, in close collaboration with faculty mentors, field specializations that involve intensive research and work in two areas of cultural studies. These specializations prepare students for the dissertation and subsequent forms of professional development. The program’s special strengths include the following:

Gender, sexuality, and body studies

Students explore the ways in which corporeal meanings are made, i.e. the various ways in which gender and sexuality function in the maintenance of social power. Students also examine conflicting ideas about sexuality and their role in cultural signification.

Visual culture and media studies

Students examine theories of visual culture, covering such topics as film, video, visual arts, music, display, ritual, performance, performativity and theories of the aesthetic, as well as their production, consumption, and reception.

Political economy and globalization

Students look at the ways in which theories of production, consumption, and globalization are central to contemporary cultural studies. Courses survey many of the social science and humanities classics that relate cultural production and consumption to underlying political economic conditions

Race, ethnicity, and nation

Students study the construction of racial, ethnic, and national identities. Particular emphasis is placed on the making of identities in the colonial context, the role of scientific racism, the forging of social movements, and the history of racial, ethnic, and national conflicts.

Science and technology studies

Students study the construction of objectivity, scientific method, technological artifacts, algorithms, data, and digital media. This focus highlights the role of infrastructure, platforms, networks, and similar assemblages in the construction of contemporary subjectivity, culture, labor, and politics.