Thank you for your interest in the Cultural Studies Program at Columbia College Chicago!
Ranked as one of the ten best cultural studies programs in the North America by Education Portal, Cultural Studies at Columbia College Chicago offers students the unique opportunity to explore culture in its richly varied forms.
Cultural Studies is a dynamic, interdisciplinary, and rigorous field that seeks to understand, critique, and transform the complex cultural and social worlds we live in. By combining theory and practice, our program provides students with the critical tools and analytical skills that are essential to engaging the complexity of their social worlds, and to imagining and authoring a more inclusive and equitable society.
In addition to publishing Cultural Landscapes, an online academic journal, and hosting a Colloquium series with visiting Cultural Studies scholars, activists, and artists from all over the world, our program helps students understand cultural and aesthetic phenomena in their larger social context. The curriculum emphasizes the civic dimension of cultural practices by viewing them from the standpoint of social justice, and it strongly emphasizes the active involvement of all forms of cultural knowledge and practice in the everyday life of local and global communities.
When you take a class in Cultural Studies at Columbia, the experience is exciting, innovative, and challenging! As a student in our program, you find yourself engaging all kinds of cultural texts and practices. That is because we understand culture not as the storehouse of only “the best which has been thought and said,” but rather as “a whole way of life,” including practices and phenomena of all kinds: media and literary texts, consumer culture, youth subcultures, food and culture, performance and display practices, as well as other aspects of popular culture and everyday life. As one scholar put it, “[Y]ou can do cultural studies of almost anything.”
While the program is housed in the Department of Humanities, History, and Social Sciences, it also draws on faculty members from the Department of English and from course offerings throughout the college. As such, a collaborative team of scholars studying a wide range of disciplines, geographical areas, and historical periods enriches the curriculum and a student’s experiences in it.
Finally, we explicitly combine theory and praxis in our advanced course offerings: Seniors complete either a yearlong Capstone Research Thesis or Capstone Internship. These intensive capstone experiences provide a bridge between a student’s formal education and the professional world, preparing them for future employment or graduate school. Many graduates of our program have careers in the cultural industries (music and media, for example), cultural organizations (such as museums), non-governmental organizations, advocacy groups, and public health organizations. Many are selected into prestigious and competitive graduate schools.
Regardless of their careers and paths, our graduates become organic intellectuals and engaged citizens who not only truly care about the world they live in, but also make a difference in it!
To learn more about our program, please visit colum.edu/culturalstudies. And if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jaafar Aksikas, PhD
Director and Associate Professor,
Cultural Studies Program