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Cultural Studies

About Cultural Studies

Cultural Studies at Pitt

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The Graduate Program for Cultural Studies at the University of Pittsburgh is an interdisciplinary certificate program concerned with the dynamics of culture on a global scale. It provides an institutional forum for responding to the increasing need to comprehend the role and formation of culture beyond national boundaries and disciplinary divisions.

The Master's Certificate in Cultural Studies is granted only after the completion of all degree requirements for the MA (or corresponding degree) in the student's home department, school, or program. The PhD Certificate can be awarded only after the student has been admitted to candidacy for the PhD (or corresponding degree). A student may earn either a Master's Certificate or a PhD Certificate, but not both.

In addition to being the most extensive program in the United States, the cultural studies program at Pitt is the administrative and organizational home for the Cultural Studies Association. Founded in 2003, the Cultural Studies Association annual conference and forthcoming journal provide a forum for scholars of cultural studies, in all its diverse manifestations, to exchange their work and ideas across disciplinary lines and institutional locations.

Pitt's program addresses debates concerning the theory of texts and their production; the relationship between culture and politics; the formation of disciplines and institutions; and the nature of cultural antagonisms and crises. It features a variety of recent methodologies of historical and textual interpretation and offers students opportunities to work with faculty and other students from many departments.

Cultural Studies is intended not so much as multicultural appreciation, as a critique--across traditional disciplinary lines--of the ways that culture has been studied within the university departmental structure. It is not "value neutral," but tends to be inclined towards left-inflected social change. Its job is to raise disturbing questions about how power constructs knowledge and about how the university resolves intellectual debates in its own internally contradictory interests.

Who Can Enroll?

Students who wish to apply to the certificate program must be enrolled in a graduate or professional program at the University of Pittsburgh and must be in good academic standing. The program offers two fellowships, typically awarded to advanced PhD students at or past the stage of comprehensive examinations.

To enroll, please come by the Cultural Studies office, 2205 Posvar, during office hours and see the Program Assistant.

History of Cultural Studies

Starting from the early 1960s, centers, programs, and journals have attempted to address new questions imposed by changing relations and communications among nations since World War II. In the 1980s, programs and institutions in cultural studies began to be formally established in this country. The Graduate Program for Cultural Studies at the University of Pittsburgh was created in the mid-1980s; it incorporates faculty from departments in the humanities and the social sciences, and from some professional schools in the University. The program attracts students at the University of Pittsburgh who wish to work beyond the confines of the existing departmental structures.