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An introduction to Cultural Studies, emphasising aspects of the field that are most pertinent to English Studies: the textuality of culture, cultural history, and cultural value and taste.
This course is an introduction to Cultural Studies – an interdisciplinary field that is interested in the social and political dynamics of contemporary culture in all its forms. Our focus is on the textuality and readability of culture. This means that we look at how our everyday life is a constant exercise in encoding and decoding our cultural environment, including elements that are commonly thought to be ‘natural’. While the course reads many different types of cultural ‘texts’ – including television programmes, films, advertising campaigns, digital media, theatrical performances, print publications, websites, museums, zoos and tourist enterprises – it does so with the aim of explaining in accessible ways the theories and concepts that characterize Cultural Studies as a field. Reading Culture can act as a standalone course, or be used as the precursor to ENGL232 / CULT202 Cultural Politics / Cultural Activism.Topics for 2020 include the following: how to ‘read’ culture; ideology and neoliberalism; nature and culture; sex and gender; youth subculture; digital culture; environments and ‘things’; humans and (other) animals; extinction and survival; popular culture; good taste and bad taste; and sentiment and nostalgia. Throughout the course, we will pay close attention to issues such as socio-economic class, gender, sexuality, and race. This course can be used towards an English major or minor. BA students who major in English would normally take at least two 100-level 15 point ENGL courses (which must include at least one of the following: ENGL117, ENGL102 or ENGL103), at least three 200-level 15 point ENGL courses, and at least two 300-level 30 point ENGL courses. Please see the BA regulations or a student advisor for more information.(Image: "Mona" by Incase, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.)
By the end of this course, you will be able to1.explain some of the ways that concepts such as ‘culture’, ‘cultural value’ and ‘taste’ are defined, contested and negotiated2. identify, discuss and analyse some of the ways in which various cultural texts may be produced and received in different times and places3. construct arguments about the processes by which cultural phenomena carry the values and anxieties of the societies from which they emerge;4. apply key Cultural Studies concepts and methods to a wide range of everyday cultural texts, including examples of your own choosing
This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:
Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award
Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.
Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.
Students must attend one activity from each section.
All readings will be provided online.
Domestic fee $777.00
International fee $3,375.00
* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.
For further information see
Humanities and Creative Arts.