The major provides a working knowledge of the methods of historians and critics of culture and the media; an ability to explicate a specific body of culture or type of media in depth; and opportunities to appreciate different kinds of media and to produce original work.
The minor concentrates on media studies and offers opportunities for critical research as well as for pre-professional experience in media production. Students in the department have found opportunities for internships with arts and other nonprofit organizations and with media companies. Graduates have found employment in the media, in government, and in social and cultural institutions as well as opportunities for further study in doctoral programs and professional schools.
Media Studies examines the forces that shape media texts and those that govern their meanings in global culture and provides students with experience producing digital, print, and video texts that investigate and represent that culture in journalistic and alternative forms, such as newspaper and broadcast reporting, political documentary, video and other media forms.
Cultural Studies has developed in response to what critics have seen as exclusions and gaps in programs in the traditional humanities. It has broadened categories of cultural analysis to include multiple traditions and has taken a more critical stance towards artifacts by adding concerns such as the following:
- Attention to systems of meaning and attendant issues of power, particularly in terms of class, gender, nation, race, and sexualities.
- Critique of the dominant tradition from perspectives associated with social outsiders, including critique of cultural evaluation connected to social privilege.
- Explicitly political and social analysis of canonized texts.
- Analysis of commercial culture and of its institutional determinants, and of signs and local expressions of culture that traditional humanists do not consider texts of art.