The Cultural Studies Program is distinctive in several respects. While similar programs at other universities are based in a department, the program at Mason has a truly interdisciplinary foundation, drawing on faculty members from 14 different departments across the university. The program explicitly links the social sciences and the humanities by combining their methods of  interpretation to explore the production, distribution, and consumption of cultural objects in their social contexts. With particular focus on theory and method in crafting this linkage, the program addresses contemporary issues of nationality, class, race, and gender and opens the scope of scholarly inquiry to all forms of culture, past and present.

Undergraduate Programs

Cultural studies does not have an undergraduate program, but supports the interdisciplinary undergraduate program in global affairs as well as a special topics course in cultural studies. CULT 320 Globalization and Culture is a core requirement for students majoring in global affairs. CULT 390 Topics in Cultural Studies is a course whose content will change from offering to offering and will be of special interest in global affairs.

Graduate Programs

The doctoral program in cultural studies trains students for scholarship and teaching. The core curriculum includes an introduction to cultural studies and a methods course, as well as courses on political economy, gender and sexuality, critical race studies, science and technology, social institutions, and visual and performance culture.

All students develop field specializations in two areas of cultural studies. The particular strengths of the program are visual culture, media, and new media studies; political economy and globalization; gender and sexuality studies.

Related Master’s Degrees

Applicants to the doctoral degree in cultural studies must already hold a master’s degree. Students interested in pursuing the PhD in cultural studies at Mason who do not meet this requirement might wish to consider one of the related master’s degrees at Mason (anthropology, English, history, foreign languages, philosophy, and sociology). The required master’s degree may be taken from any institution of the student's choice.

Funding

The program offers teaching assistantships and fellowships, which are awarded on a competitive basis. Other sources of funding such as grants, loans, and employment on campus are also available. Students awarded assistantships must register for a minimum of six credits a semester and show satisfactory progress toward their degree.

Program Faculty

Albanese (director), E. Anderson, Amireh, Best, Bickford, Bockman, Burr, Censer, M. Chang, Y. Chang, Copelman, Crew, D’Amico, Dakake, Dale, Foster, Froman, Fuchs, Gibson, Gilbert, Greet, Groening, Guagnano, Haines, Hanrahan, Harvey, Hodges, Holt, Jacobs, Jann, Johnsen-Neshati, Kaplan, Karush, Kaufmann, Kim, Lancaster, Landsberg, Leeman, Leon, Lont,  Malouf, Mandaville, Matz, Mcfarlane, Mantz, Miller, Monea, O’Malley, Palkovich, Petrick, Rabin, Ricouart, Rutledge, Samara, Sample, Scarlata, Schrum, Seligmann, Singh, Shutika, P. Smith, S. Smith, Sockett, Travis, Willse, Yadav, Yocom, Zagarri

Cultural Studies (CULT)

300 Level Courses

CULT 320: Globalization and Culture. 3 credits.
Examines cultures in globalization, with special attention to the role of technologies and new media. Provides historical and contemporary contexts for understanding the relationships among circuits of production and consumption; population flows; social inequalities and collective identities; globalizations from "above" and "below;" built and natural environments. Offered by Cultural Studies. May not be repeated for credit.
Recommended Prerequisite: GLOA 101 or SOCI 120
Registration Restrictions:

Students with a class of Freshman may not enroll.

Schedule Type: Lecture
CULT 390: Topics in Cultural Studies. 1-3 credits.
Topics of current interest in interdisciplinary cultural studies, covering such fields as media, popular culture, political economy, social identities, or regions in globalization. Notes: May be repeated for credit when topic is different. Offered by Cultural Studies. May be repeated within the term for a maximum 9 credits.
Schedule Type: Lecture

800 Level Courses

CULT 802: Histories of Cultural Studies. 3 credits.
Historical survey of principal works and theories in the development of cultural studies. Notes: This course is designed for PhD level students. Students in a related MA program may take this course as the capstone to their MA as they are about to matriculate into the PhD in cultural studies. Offered by Cultural Studies. May not be repeated for credit.
Recommended Prerequisite: Admission to doctoral program, related master's degree, or permission of instructor.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment is limited to students with a major in Cultural Studies.

Enrollment is limited to Graduate level students.

Schedule Type: Seminar
CULT 804: Histories of Cultural Studies II. 3 credits.
Continues the historical survey of cultural studies up to the present and assesses possibilities for future development. Offered by Cultural Studies. May not be repeated for credit.
Recommended Prerequisite: Admission to a PhD program and CULT 802 or permission of instructor.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment is limited to Graduate level students.

Schedule Type: Lecture
CULT 806: Research Seminar in Cultural Studies. 3 credits.
Introduces research methods in cultural studies. Notes: Specific topics vary. Offered by Cultural Studies. May not be repeated for credit.
Recommended Prerequisite: Admission to a doctoral; completion of CULT 802, CULT 804.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment is limited to students with a major in Cultural Studies.

Enrollment is limited to Graduate level students.

Schedule Type: Lecture
CULT 808: Student/Faculty Colloquium in Cultural Studies. 1 credit.
Forum for presentation of original and current research in cultural studies. Notes: Students register for 1 credit per semester over a three-semester period. Offered by Cultural Studies. May be repeated within the degree for a maximum 4 credits.
Recommended Prerequisite: Admission to doctoral program.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment is limited to students with a major in Cultural Studies.

Enrollment is limited to Graduate level students.

Schedule Type: Lecture
CULT 810: Culture and Political Economy. 3 credits.
Surveys social science and humanities classics that relate cultural production and consumption to underlying political economic conditions. Includes Marx, Lukacs, Frankfurt School, semiotic neo-Marxism, productivist theories of power indebted to Foucault, Baudrillard, Bourdieu, Harvey, Jameson, Mauss, Mill, Polanyi, Sahlins, A. Smith, and Weber. Notes: This course is designed for the PhD student. Those students not admitted to a PhD program are required to contact the instructor. Offered by Cultural Studies. May not be repeated for credit.
Recommended Prerequisite: Admission to a doctoral program, or permission of instructor.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment is limited to students with a major in Cultural Studies.

Enrollment is limited to Graduate level students.

Schedule Type: Seminar
CULT 812: Visual Culture. 3 credits.
Examines theories, production, consumption, and reception of visual culture. Covers film, video, visual arts, music, display, ritual, performance, performativity, and theories of the aesthetic. Includes key readings from theorists such as Adorno, Artaud, Benjamin, Brecht, Bryson, Doane, Fiske, Heath, Marcuse, Merleau-Ponty, and Sartre. Notes: This course is designed for the PhD student. Those students not admitted to a PhD program are required to contact the instructor. Offered by Cultural Studies. May not be repeated for credit.
Recommended Prerequisite: Admission to a doctoral program or permission of instructor.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment is limited to students with a major in Cultural Studies.

Enrollment is limited to Graduate level students.

Schedule Type: Seminar
CULT 814: Gender and Sexuality. 3 credits.
Investigates notion of gender functions in maintaining and analyzing issues of social and cultural power. Examines conflicting notions of sexuality and their role in cultural signification. Seeks to explicate relationship of sexuality, gender. Notes: This course is designed for the PhD student. Those students not admitted to a PhD program are required to contact the instructor. Offered by Cultural Studies. May not be repeated for credit.
Recommended Prerequisite: Admission to a doctoral program, or permission of instructor.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment is limited to students with a major in Cultural Studies.

Enrollment is limited to Graduate level students.

Schedule Type: Seminar
CULT 816: Science/Technology. 3 credits.
Considers theories and major debates on culture of science, social construction of nature, and effects of technology on modern cultural forms. Includes readings from theorists such as Nietzsche, Heidegger, Horkheimer, Feyerabend, Bahro, Haraway, and Latour. Notes: This course is designed for the PhD student. Those students not admitted to a PhD program are required to contact the instructor. Offered by Cultural Studies. May not be repeated for credit.
Recommended Prerequisite: Admission to a doctoral program or permission of instructor.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment is limited to students with a major in Cultural Studies.

Enrollment is limited to Graduate level students.

Schedule Type: Seminar
CULT 818: Social Institutions. 3 credits.
Considers theories of institutional practice and social structures, from Max Weber to Michel Foucault. Covers prisons, bureaucracies, museums, schools, political parties, and social movements. Notes: This course is designed for the PhD student. Those students not admitted to a PhD program are required to contact the instructor. Offered by Cultural Studies. May not be repeated for credit.
Recommended Prerequisite: Admission to a doctoral program, or permission of instructor.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment is limited to students with a major in Cultural Studies.

Enrollment is limited to Graduate level students.

Schedule Type: Lecture
CULT 820: After Colonialism. 3 credits.
Surveys racial, ethnic, caste, and national identities in colonial contexts; scientific racism in periphery and core sites; subsequent history of race, ethnic, national identities and conflicts; classical and contemporary texts by authors such as DuBois, Fanon, Gilroy, and Spivak; and particular place of issues of national, racial, and ethnic identities in contemporary cultural studies. Notes: This course is designed for the PhD student. Those students not admitted to a PhD program are required to contact the instructor. Offered by Cultural Studies. May not be repeated for credit.
Recommended Prerequisite: Admission to a doctoral program, or permission of instructor.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment is limited to students with a major in Cultural Studies.

Enrollment is limited to Graduate level students.

Schedule Type: Seminar
CULT 860: Special Topics in Cultural Studies. 3 credits.
Specialized interdisciplinary topics in cultural theory and analysis. Notes: These courses are designed for the PhD student. Those students not admitted to a PhD program are required to contact the instructor. Topics vary. May be repeated for credit when topic is different. Offered by Cultural Studies. May be repeated within the term.
Recommended Prerequisite: Admission to a doctoral program, or permission of the instructor.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment is limited to Graduate level students.

Schedule Type: Lecture
CULT 870: Independent Study. 1-3 credits.
Reading and research on a specific topic guided by advisors, supporting the development of a Field Concentration. Offered by Cultural Studies. May be repeated within the term for a maximum 15 credits.
Recommended Prerequisite: Admission to a PhD program, successful completion of all core courses, or permission of director.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment is limited to students with a major in Cultural Studies.

Enrollment is limited to Graduate level students.

Schedule Type: Research
CULT 880: Field Concentration. 3 credits.
Intensive research course, resulting in a Field Statement and oral defense. Notes: Requires permission of field advisor. Offered by Cultural Studies. May be repeated within the term for a maximum 6 credits.
Recommended Prerequisite: Admission to cultural studies doctoral program, successful completion of core courses, and an additional 18 credits.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment is limited to students with a major in Cultural Studies.

Enrollment is limited to Graduate level students.

Schedule Type: Research

900 Level Courses

CULT 998: Doctoral Dissertation Proposal. 1-6 credits.
Develop research proposal that forms basis for doctoral dissertation. Notes: A maximum of 6 credits may be applied to the degree. Subject to continuous registration requirement. Offered by Cultural Studies. May be repeated within the degree for a maximum 24 credits.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment limited to students with a class of Advanced to Candidacy.

Enrollment is limited to students with a major in Cultural Studies.

Enrollment is limited to Graduate level students.

Schedule Type: Dissertation
CULT 999: Doctoral Dissertation. 1-12 credits.
Doctoral dissertation research and writing under direction of dissertation committee. Offered by Cultural Studies. May be repeated within the degree.
Recommended Prerequisite: CULT 998.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment limited to students with a class of Advanced to Candidacy.

Enrollment is limited to students with a major in Cultural Studies.

Enrollment is limited to Graduate level students.

Schedule Type: Dissertation