Spring 2012 - Graduate Course Descriptions

Gu, Ming
Discipline and Number
HUSL 6315 Section 001
R Time 4:00 PM - 6:45 PM
Course Title
Cultural Studies

Description of Course:

This is an introduction to the theory and practice of cultural studies. It is offered for graduate students of arts and humanities, literary and social studies. Unlike other academic disciplines, cultural studies is a multidisciplinary academic field which has neither a well-defined methodology nor clearly demarcated fields for investigation, but it has a clear aim which is the study of culture, especially in its contemporary forms. While cultural studies may cover diverse subjects in order to study cultural phenomena in various societies, our course is firmly grounded in areas of critical theory, literary and art criticism, and medium study fundamental to cultural studies. With a focus on how a particular text or medium relates to issues of politics, ideology, social class, nationality, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender, this course seeks to understand the ways in which meaning is generated, produced, disseminated, and consumed through various practices, beliefs, institutions, and social structures within a given cultural field in particular and within the larger context of globalization. We will start with an initial reading of foundational essays on theory and method, continues with selected articles on globalization, postmodernism, nationalism, postcolonialism, multiculturalism, science and its impact, nature and cyberculture, sexuality and gender, consumer culture and the market, media and public spheres, and end with reading a few monographs by eminent cultural studies theorists. As an introductory course, a special emphasis will be laid on understanding the chosen texts in the larger context of critical theory and literary criticism. No prior knowledge of cultural studies is required.

Required Texts:

• Simon During, ed., The Cultural Studies Reader, 3rd edition (London and New York: Routledge, 2007).
• Roland Barthes, Mythologies, the Complete Edition (New York: Hill and Wang (March 13, 2012) .
• Jean-Francois Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge (University Of Minnesota Press, 1984).
• Raymond Williams, The Country and the City (New York: Oxford University Press, 1975).
• Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1990).
• Some handouts

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

1. Summaries/Reviews 10%
2. Presentations 10%
3. Preliminary proposal at midterm 10%
4. Attendance and Participation in discussion 10%
5. Term paper (15-18 pages) 60%
Total: 100%

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