Cultural Studies at Columbia College explores culture in its richly varied forms and processes from an interdisciplinary perspective. The program seeks to help students understand aesthetic, political, social, and economic relationships between cultural production and reception. It also considers the civic dimension of cultural practice by viewing these practices from standpoints of ethics and social justice. And, finally, it strongly emphasizes the active involvement of all forms of cultural knowledge and social action in the everyday life of local and global communities.
Cultural Studies deals with the dimensions of everyday culture, yet is not limited to them; it addresses the traditional and the novel, the familiar and the foreign. Cultural Studies examines the cultural collaborations, borrowing, and blending of diverse groups, exploring the centers as well as the margins of cultural production. The major emphasizes critical thinking, civic engagement and creative practices. Housed in the department of Humanities, History and Social Sciences, the program is enriched by an exciting array of faculty studying a wide range of disciplines, geographical areas and historical periods. Because Cultural Studies has such an extensive scope, it includes, yet moves beyond, the boundaries of ethnic, area, and critical studies.
Columbia College’s innovative program in Cultural Studies includes rigorous course work in theory and praxis: integrating theoretical analysis with cultural production. Students will complete a series of core courses in the major as well as advanced seminars in Cultural Studies; a broad range of elective courses drawn from each of the three schools in the College, including arts, media and foreign language courses; and have the opportunity to complete either a yearlong Capstone Research Thesis or a yearlong Capstone Internship in Cultural Studies. These intensive Capstone experiences provide a bridge between a student’s formal undergraduate education, preparing them for future employment or graduate school. Participation in study abroad is highly recommended, particularly through the major’s exchange program with the University of East London.
The Cultural Studies program publishes Cultural Landscapes, an open-access, online academic journal whose Managing Editor is a Cultural Studies student. The journal has a special commitment to publishing the work of undergraduate students, graduate students, and emerging scholars in the field of Cultural Studies. The program also hosts an ongoing Colloquium series with visiting Cultural Studies scholars from around the world and other programs of public intellectual engagement.
Our graduates become active participants in society who blend strong skills in creative/critical thinking with written, oral, and visual communication. Many of our students go on to attend graduate school in North America and abroad, while others find employment in cultural institutions, the nonprofit sector, public policy work or corporate settings.
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