Graduate Certificate


Completion of the certificate program requires 16 credits of course work, including a 7 unit core, 9 credits of electives (6 outside the student's home department), and a capstone experience conceived as an individual research project directed by a participating faculty member.

For the capstone project the student will be expected to produce a publishable quality work or comparable product. This includes possible projects in the performing arts and community involvement.

Core Courses

CUL 609 1 Credit

International Cultural Studies: Faculty Speaker Series

Each semester, the International Cultural Studies Certificate Program organizes a Speaker Series. These guest presentations are typically held every other week (usually Wednesdays) from 12:00 noon until 1:15 pm and include a question and answer session. Guest speakers include University of Hawai‘i faculty, East-West Center Fellows, visiting faculty, as well as graduate students and other community members conducting work relevant to International Cultural Studies.

Students enrolled in CUL 609 are required to attend all of the presentations in the series. Additionally, students meet periodically with the convenor and must write journals for at least eight of the presentations. Credit for this course is one (1) unit.

CUL 6103 Credits

International Cultural Studies: History and Theory

"Culture" is one of the most elusive concepts for understanding social life. It is often (mis)used to identify something that is said to be external or outside of power. Something that "just is," akin to the air we breathe. Cultural Studies has revolutionized such understandings of culture by emphasizing that "culture" is not a singular, fixed, static, natural or eternal "way of life" but that, instead, culture is affected and reshaped by people's participation in it. That is: culture is socially produced and culture is always political. At the same time, Cultural Studies also posits that "culture" is not a possession of supposedly distinct, separate — and often separated — people. Culture is not something that can be automatically written onto or read off of our bodies or off the land we live on. Instead, all of us are active participants in the shared culture(s) we inhabit; although we do not all have the same power within it or the same power to affect it. Moreover, we are not all identified as "belonging" to the cultures we are an integral part of. Thus, a Cultural Studies approach regards culture not only as a socially produced way of life but also as a key aspect of political and social control. At the same time, Cultural Studies scholarship also points to culture as the location of political criticism and action. Thus, culture is fluid and always in flux. In short, Cultural Studies seeks to understand how the meaning we give to our everyday social practices — and to our sense of self within these practices — is generated, disseminated and contested from within interconnected social, political and economic relations of power.

This course provides students with an understanding of the key terms, concepts, analytical techniques, and interpretive strategies commonly employed by Cultural Studies scholars. We focus our investigation on how cultural processes, knowledge, and artefacts have been historically produced, continuously reinforced, reinscribed and resisted.

CUL 750 3 Credits

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.