Culture and Media

The major in Culture and Media provides critical research and production tools with which to understand and engage the pivotal role of media (forms of information and communication) in the contemporary world. Courses examine symbolic practices through interdisciplinary lenses with particular attention to technologies, forms, institutions, and effects.

The established fields of media studies and cultural studies are converging to become a lively and vibrant area of study that seeks to make sense of the rapidly changing global media environment. Because media, including print, film, television, radio, and the Internet play a central role in politics, economics, business, education, art, and entertainment, understanding the processes of mediation is key to understanding how cultures are shaped. Incorporating insights from many traditional and emergent disciplines, Culture and Media is a fertile meeting ground for theories about publics and audiences, power and subjectivity, representations and actions.

Course perspectives and subjects are grouped into topical areas such as new media cultures, transnational media dynamics, popular and media histories, and racial, gendered, and sexual identity formations. Students learn to understand old and new media through historical, political, technological, sociological, textual, and ethnographic approaches. They also learn how to interpret the formal properties of diverse cultural texts—including newspapers, magazines, films, photographs, and online communication. They have access to internships and other practical media experiences.

Those who successfully complete the Culture and Media major will have acquired a variety of scholarly and practical abilities: a broad understanding of cultural histories, debates, and practices; a comparative media and cultural perspective; application of media as a tool of civic engagement; and production skills in digital media. This combination of critical thinking with writing and production skills prepares students for internships and jobs in publishing, production, analysis, consulting, community activism, research organizations, and the creative industries. This major is excellent preparation for those interested in pursuing graduate studies in related areas.

The Culture and Media Student Handbook is a detailed guide for students considering a major in Culture and Media. Download the Culture and Media PowerPoint to see an informative outline of the program's mission and methods.

Students can study Culture and Media as a major (BA, Culture and Media), a minor, or a self-designed major (BA or BS, Liberal Arts).