Here you will study the traditional questions of the humanities—What are the True, the Good, and the Beautiful—in ways that cross traditional disciplinary boundaries. Our subject matter is “Culture,” that unruly and infinitely varied ensemble of texts and practices through which human beings express and pleasure themselves, make sense of the universe, and impose order and meaning on Nature and each other.
Whatever our immediate object—be it a Hollywood blockbuster or avant-garde film, a poem or play, a scientific or religious treatise, a painting, a rock concert or symphony, a TV ad selling a car or a candidate, the rhetoric of “race” or sexuality, an English garden or suburban tract—our overarching aim remains constant: to discover how such texts and practices relate to one another in terms of larger historical patterns of sense-making, as well as of material power and desire, domination and resistance, subjection and agency.
The department of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature came into being in 1992 as an outgrowth of the old Humanities Program, a unique cross-disciplinary unit founded in 1945. We are thus one of the younger departments in CLA, and, we believe, one of the more exciting. Come check us out; we think you’ll agree.
Director of Undergraduate Studies