What is Cultural Studies?

Have you ever felt the need to understand the complexities of everyday life, our belief systems, social patterns, or moral values and meaning? If these resonate with you, then it’s worth exploring an interdisciplinary field known as cultural studies, which examines the political dynamics of contemporary culture and its historical significance.

Here’s what we’ll look at today

  • What is cultural studies?
  • What does a degree in cultural studies offer?
  • Skills required to master cultural studies course
  • Top 10 universities to study cultural studies
  • Graduate opportunities

What is cultural studies?

Cultural studies is an interdisciplinary field that examines how cultural practices and meaning are produced in a society over a period of time. They also look at how these meanings keep changing over time and how these practices and meanings are circulated and exchanged.

According to cultural studies, culture is not understood just as a text or an artistic product like a movie, music, play or book, but it is a dynamic and complexly patterned way of life. Cultural studies will explore a wide variety of cultural forms and practices; this includes our race, nation, class, gender, what we consume, popular media, popular culture, the world we live in, and the ideologies that govern us. Cultural studies will also give you the tool to analyse cultural practices, representations, different identities, and also different rituals and beliefs.

What does a degree in cultural studies offer?

Cultural studies is a degree that has become extensively popular over the years in academia. It is an interdisciplinary field which draws from both humanities and social sciences and is based on the theories and practices from both humanities and social sciences. Cultural studies as an academic degree is also a field that focuses largely on subjections of fields like media studies and literary studies. Cultural studies got recognised as an academic area much later in time, even when the seminal works, theories and texts in the field of cultural studies were based in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

According to Stuart Hall, one of the most famous theorists, Cultural Studies as a project is open-ended” it does not have any singular origins and has multiple discourses, histories, and trajectories. This makes it clear that there can’t be any rigid boundaries for cultural studies and cultural studies is an extensively multidisciplinary field.

Cultural studies as an academic discipline draw principally on the fields of anthropology, education, history, law, literary studies, politics, sociology, psychology, economics, media studies and communication, philosophy and other physical sciences.

Skills required to master cultural studies course

  • Leading and participating in discussions
  • Ability to work within a team
  • Excellent written skills
  • Communication skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Ability to critique and analyse a text
  • Ability to communicate ideas and theories
  • Knowledge of different theoretical schools
  • Academic research skills
  • Time management
  • Organisation skills
  • Creative skills
  • Basic I.T. skills

Top universities to study cultural studies

Serial No. University Country
1 Tufts university Medford
United States
2 DePaul University Chicago
United States
3 University of Canterbury Christchurch, New Zealand
4 University of Central Florida Orlando,
United States
5 University of Connecticut Storrs,
United States
6 University of Illinois at Chicago Chicago
United States
7 University of Limerick Limerick,
8 University of New Brunswick Fredericton, Canada
9 University of Utah Salt Lake City,
United States
10 Western Washington University Bellingham,
United States

Various courses offered in cultural studies by universities are as follows :

  • B.A. Cultural analysis.
  • BA MA in Cultural Leadership
  • Master in Media and Communication Studies: Culture, Collaborative Media, and Creative Industries
  • MA in Comparative International Relations
  • Master in Intercultural Encounters
  • MA in Tourism and Culture
  • MA in Ethnic and Migration Studies
  • MA in Heritage Studies
  • M.A. Cultural Studies
  • B.A. Language and culture.
  • B.A. Latin American studies.
  • B.A. African studies

An undergraduate degree in cultural studies is offered as a B.A and BA Hons course in various universities for a duration of three years. After completing the undergraduate program in cultural studies, students can aim for a two-year master’s program with a specialisation in media, communication studies, creative industries, comparative international relations, tourism and culture and also heritage studies. There are also doctorate courses in cultural studies offered by prestigious universities.

Here’s a look at some important contents that are part of a cultural studies curriculum:

  • Varieties of Cultural Studies
  • Decolonising Social Trends
  • Understanding Western Culture
  • Reconstructing the Disciplines
  • Conceptualising Cultural Differences
  • Modern Political Thoughts
  • Select Articles on Anthropology and Folklore
  • Reading culture: interdisciplinary perspectives
  • Cultural psychology
  • Gender studies
  • Transnationalism and the globalised world
  • Filming the nation
  • History and literature
  • science fiction and fantasy

What do cultural studies graduates do?

A cultural studies graduate has career opportunities in various industries. Especially as the employers seek people with diverse skill sets and knowledge. Here are a few job opportunities available for cultural studies graduates:

  • Conservator
  • Curator
  • Geographer
  • Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Expert
  • educator
  • Translator &Interpreter
  • Researcher
  • Journalist, Communications & Public Relations
  • Government offices & Politics
  • World Development
  • Travel and Tourism sector
  • Marketing & Advertising
  • Law
  • Speech Therapy and Pathology
  • Publishing

So, if you are ready to be part of the academic field that will provide you with the knowledge to understand the complexities of everyday life and analyse it from a critical perspective, then there is no better time to get into one of the most trending and emerging fields of studies known as cultural studies.

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