In Cultural Studies, ‘culture’ is understood very broadly, but with a strong emphasis on local everyday life. Cultural Studies does not follow traditional distinctions between ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture; a Lorde music video becomes a significant cultural text alongside, say, a classical opera.
Cultural Studies analyses many popular cultural forms: film and television, comics and graphic novels, advertising, art, new media, music, fashion, sport and leisure to name just a few. These domains are shown to be extremely powerful political forces in shaping our societies and our identities.
The contemporary theories of culture view it as something dynamic, living and changeable. This leads to questions of how culture is produced, how we interpret culture, how culture can be preserved or destroyed, and how do new commodity models, communications and information technology and globalisation affect our culture?
- The Cultural Studies programme at UC is the only such interdisciplinary programme in Aotearoa New Zealand. More than 10 departments across the College of Arts teach into this subject, giving students exposure to different perspectives and theories and the opportunity to study a diverse range of contemporary cultural domains and texts. Our aim is not to simplify culture or try to unify it, but rather to embrace its complexity.
- The programme specialises in four pathways of study:
- gender and sexuality
- Aotearoa New Zealand studies
- popular and visual culture
- human-animal studies.
- Each pathway has a student advisor associated with it who can be contacted for more information. However students may choose not to specialise and opt for a more diverse programme of study.
Courses from many subjects across the College of Arts are co-coded with Cultural Studies, including Anthropology, Chinese, Cinema Studies, Digital Humanities, English, History, Human Services, Māori and Indigenous Studies, Media and Communication, Music and Sociology.
Our programme is constructed so that students with a variety of backgrounds will converge in the 200-level core course CULT 202 Cultural Politics/Cultural Activism.
Numerous optional courses at 300-level offer a taste of the advanced specialised work that is an excellent basis for postgraduate work.
You can construct a degree that is quite generalised (perhaps suited for a teaching career) or relatively specialised (eg, film and media; sexuality and gender; places, spaces and technologies; bicultural studies; cultural identity and politics; environmentalism and human-animal studies).
Cultural Studies leads to careers in fields where a wide analytic grasp of contemporary culture is required eg, the media industries, journalism, publishing, writing, website design, advertising, museology, public relations, teaching and education, advocacy, policy analysis and arts management.
Because of the breadth and flexibility of a graduate's understanding of culture, they are also able to move among such fields easily.
Find out more about what you can do with a degree in Cultural Studies.
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