This seminar provides an introduction to the history and theory of cultural studies, an interdisciplinary field that examines the meanings and functions of “culture” from various perspectives. Rather than seeing “culture” as something that is fixed and inherent to particular nations or groups, cultural studies approaches “culture” as something that is constructed and evolves through specific historical, political, economic, and social processes. As such, cultural studies examines “culture” not only through purely formal or aesthetic perspectives but more in the context of the material conditions in which it is created, disseminated, controlled, and/or practiced. We will read and discuss various frameworks and methods used for such analyses.
Cultural studies has intellectual foundations in the works of various European thinkers and theorists of the twentieth century. The course will cover some of these most influential theories that have broad applications in many areas of inquiry. At the same time, the course will also analyze—and sometimes question—the applicability of these theories to the creation of “situated knowledge” in our own context. In other words, we will discuss how the specific conditions of the world today—i.e. the increasing flows of culture, capital, people in the age of globalization—and also our location in the Pacific—with the history of (neo)colonialism, immigration, and cultural hybridity—both necessitate and enable re-thinking of the theoretical questions posed by cultural studies.
CUL 750: Research in International Cultural Studies: Capstone Experience
Once the student has completed all course requirements, s/he will be ready to begin the capstone experience. After initial consultation with the co-directors of the Program, the student will select an advisor for the capstone experience research project. Together, the student and the advisor will conceive of a research project to be pursued by the student. For students pursuing MA and Ph.D. degrees at UH, the capstone experience may form one part of or overlap with their larger research projects.
The capstone project is expected to be work of publishable quality. On the other hand, it may also be a project related to the performing arts or to community development.
This project ultimately provides the student with an opportunity to pursue her/his interests within the framework of Cultural Studies theory and practice. Thus, the topics are endless.