Cultural Studies

Cultural Studies

Interdisciplinary Graduate Program

Cultural Studies

Interdisciplinary Graduate Program

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NEW Cultural Studies Micro Courses

We are excited to announce three new “micro courses” for September 2018. These courses will allow for intensive study in a condensed format (generally speaking, weekly for 5 weeks or biweekly for 10 weeks). Each course will be counted as a 1.0 unit course. So, one would need to take three to earn the equivalent of 1 elective. We will be offering three per year and it does not matter in which year of study you take the micro courses. As well, students are welcome to take only 1 or 2 micro courses, in addition to their required course work.

CUST 817 Signs of the Times
Asha Varadharajan
Fall 2018 (1.0 Unit)
Tentative: Selected Thursdays, 12-2:30 (Oct 4, 11, 18, Nov 1, 8) (Watson Hall 401)
This course will offer specialized in-depth consideration of issues of contemporary social, political, and cultural relevance.
Cultural Studies MA and PhD students will have enrollment priority; non-CUST students are welcome to request permission from Asha Varadharajan to enroll in the course.

Fall 2018 Detailed Course Description — Bodies in Motion: Refugees in Modern Times

Bodies in Motion: Refugees in Modern Times​ with Asha Varadharajan

In the wake of the Holocaust, Hannah Arendt argued that the scale and depth of displacement she witnessed demanded a new guarantee for human dignity.  Arendt's writings indicate that displacement is not unprecedented, but that its scale and brutality continue to escalate.   Both ecologically and politically motivated forced displacement are the highest on record in our historical moment; thus, it is imperative to revisit the "refugee crisis" with a new set of questions and a different form of hope.

Our keywords will be:  "bare life," biopolitics, risk, rights, humanitarian intervention, "economies of abandonment," "hostipitality" and deterritorialization. In each case, we will ask how and why the figure (in both senses of the word) of the refugee recalibrates and reinvents these keywords. The required readings will be drawn from studies of visual culture, political philosophy, socio-cultural anthropology, UN policy documents, investigative journalism, new media, documentary, poetry and fiction.  Our aim is to comprehend the singularity and historicity of the condition of the refugee.  We will hold a preliminary meeting as a diagnostic exercise to determine needs, interests, and skills of the projected participants in the seminar.  The required readings for the seminar will strike a balance between the results of this conversation and the instructor's knowledge of crucial scholarship in the field that must be encountered.  All assignments for this course will be expressed in a public voice designed to appeal and provoke widely while informed by scholarly and analytical rigour.  Posters, audio/video, spoken word, song (lyric and music), art and photography, investigative reporting, interviews, are all welcome but must be discussed with the instructor in advance.

Attendance is mandatory unless prevented by a genuine emergency.  Be prepared for focus, depth, and intensity!  Participation will account for 25% of the grade, knowledge of and engagement with the required readings will account for 25% of the grade (think of ways to make these visible and audible), and major project for 50% of the grade. The course will run for 5 weeks including the preliminary meeting.


CUST 816 Theory in Society
Scott Rutherford

Winter 2019 (1.0 Unit)
Tentative: Selected Thursdays, 6:30-9:30 (Jan 10, 18, 25, 31; Feb 7, 14) (Mackintosh-Corry Hall D405)
This course offers specialized in-depth consideration of a key theorist or theoretical school.
Cultural Studies MA and PhD students will have enrollment priority; non-CUST students are welcome to request permission from Scott Rutherford to enroll in the course.

Winter 2019 Detailed Course Description — Race and Politics

Theory in Society - Race and Politics​ with Scott Rutherford

Rather than focusing on an individual theorist, this course considers original works produced individually and collectively by scholars associated with the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS) in the late 1970s and 1980s. We will pay attention on to 'Race and Politics' sub-group at the CCCS, especially essays collected in The Empire Strikes Back and in Policing the Crisis. We will also read other selected works of the Women’s Studies Group, Hazel Carby, Angela McRobbie, Stuart Hall and Paul Gilroy. We will read closely, questioning how Cultural Studies scholars situated theoretical work on racism and other inequalities within the society they lived in, the lead up to and early years of Thatcher-era Britain. Is it possible for theory to cross the boundaries of space and time? Do their insights offer avenues for understanding the current political moment within our own localities? What boundaries can we allow theory and scholarship to cross in helping explain similar, but still different, tensions? These are some of the questions we will pursue in this microcourse.

A secondary goal for this course is to establish our own series of working papers that future readers can return to in order to imagine new ways of understanding their own precarious moments.

The course is composed of five sessions in January and February with a final written submission due at the end of term.


CUST 815 Methods in Practice
Elaine Power

Spring 2019 (1.0 Unit)
Tentative:  Selected Tuesdays, 10-1 (Apr 23, 30; May 6, 13) (Mackintosh-Corry Hall D405)
This course will offer specialized in-depth instruction in topics related to Cultural Studies Methodology.
Cultural Studies MA and PhD students will have enrollment priority; non-CUST students are welcome to request permission from Elaine Power to enroll in the course.

Spring 2019 Detailed Course Description — TBA

Spring 2019 Detailed Course Description — TBA​ with Elaine Power