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Concepts in Cultural Theory

Cultural Studies


GENG-7112-001 Topics in Cultural Theory: Concepts in Cultural Theory
Fall 2017

Professor B. Cornellier

This course is a survey of some of the foundational texts and concepts in cultural studies, from the field’s emergence alongside the New Left in post-war Britain, to #BlackLivesMatter, “New Populism,” and emergent media, art, and cultural forms and practices in our globalized, late-capitalist, and post-industrial present. It includes core readings in theory and criticism, each complemented by class discussion about various cultural practices that have the potential to illuminate the political and radically contextual project of cultural studies as an academic field. The task of cultural studies is presented in this course as an archeology of the present for the future. The objective of cultural studies, as Lawrence Grossberg explains, is to map the organization and operations of power in the present, and when possible, to disarticulate and rearticulate these relations of power in order to affect change in the future. The theories and concepts under study in this course are meant to provide graduate students with the political and conceptual tools they need in their critical interactions with different cultural practices and phenomena, ranging from the “highbrow” to popular entertainment, from consumer culture to the museum as an institution. Key concepts under study include: ideology and hegemony; intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality; subcultures; capitalism, neoliberalism, and postmodernism; colonialism and imperialism; biopolitics and sovereignty; popular culture, mass culture, and the politics of taste.