Deciding to study and teach critical theory and practice in the current political / cultural moment is a brave act. Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature honors that commitment. The good news is that you will be able to define an original program of study reflecting your interests and expertise. We'll support you with solid courses in the historical, philosophical, theoretical strains of thought that anchor contemporary scholarship in the humanities and social sciences. We'll help you connect to scholars across the university—certainly to those in related humanities and social-science disciplines, but also availing yourself of the resources of a comprehensive research university with programs in all core sciences, engineering and technology, agriculture, medicine, law and the professions. Our students create projects of striking originality and scope.
The bad news, of course, is the same: you've got to define the critical, cross (and anti-) disciplinary and methodological space in which you work. It's often an unmarked trail. But we offer a community of singular coherence and supportiveness. It's a good place to work.
Anchoring our programs is a commitment to praxis and professionalism. We take Freire's notion of the 'transformative intellectual' seriously. Pedagogy is integral to our work, not just a job. Our students teach all levels of comparative study, designing their own courses with solid support from a seminar in pedagogy for Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature and a program of teaching mentorship. You'll leave your doctoral work with a teaching portfolio the rivals that of a mid-level assistant professor, and the language to explain it.
Similarly, we take the structure, history and political function of academe and academic departments as a worthy topic of inquiry. Our graduate students participate in the governance of the Department, and learn how universities operate. We offer workshops in all the material aspects of academic life: writing for publication, getting grants, preparing yourself for the job market—and actually getting that job.
In short: if you're going to dedicate a large part of a decade to graduate study, you need to do it in a place where you will flourish. We are committed to justifying your faith.
Do consider joining this vibrant program engaged in re-imagining comparative studies.
Director of Graduate Studies