Graduate Catalog 2003-2004
American Culture Studies
Degrees: Master of Arts; Master of Arts in Teaching; Doctor of Philosophy
|Donald McQuarie, Director/Graduate Coordinator|
Room: 101 East Hall
|Executive Committee |
Donald McQuarie, Chair; Cynthia Baron; Michael Martin; Ewart Skinner; Philip Terrie; Opportune Zongo; Graduate Student Representative
Donald McQuarie, Graduate Faculty Representatives from participating departments and programs, two Graduate Student Representatives
The interdisciplinary Master of Arts in American Culture Studies is designed around the concept of culture, which unifies study of many discrete aspects of American historical, social, intellectual, and artistic heritage. Courses stress appropriate theories of culture and manifestations of culture in artistic traditions or social institutions, and explore particular themes, issues, and periods from an interdisciplinary perspective.
The M.A. curriculum offers a foundation in the study of American culture for students with a variety of interests or goals. Primarily, the program seeks to communicate a sense of the complexity and diversity of the American national culture through systematic analysis of its elements. This approach is relevant equally to students who might pursue a career in education in some aspect of American culture; engage in professions—such as journalism, public relations, advertising, government, and merchandising—where a knowledge of American culture is important; or who seek to enrich their understanding of American culture. While the American studies component of the curriculum assures a common experience in culture study, the remainder of the courses allows an individualized educational experience.
The interdisciplinary Doctor of Philosophy in American Culture Studies offers students the opportunity to critically explore the cultural and intellectual traditions that have historically shaped and defined American identity. The Program challenges students to think of culture as a dynamic and contested domain, whose definition and deployment are negotiated in the context of complex power dynamics and struggles. It invites students to explore the ways in which American identity has been historically gendered and racialized in myths of nation-making, nationalism, and national identity. In addition, we encourage students to consider these negotiations and struggles over identity in their larger transnational and diasporic contexts. The American Culture Studies Program is comparative and interdisciplinary in nature. It emphasizes the development of critical analytical and scholarly skills, and offers practical training to prepare students for academic and professional careers.
Prerequisites to Graduate Work
Usually students undertaking master's-level work in American culture studies should possess an undergraduate degree in the humanities or social sciences, or have completed a minimum of 24 undergraduate hours in two or more disciplines within the humanities or social sciences. Students presenting other qualifications will require a positive evaluation from the Executive Committee. If an applicant is seriously deficient in undergraduate course work, additional course work may be required as a condition of admission.
Applicants to the Ph.D. program are expected to have earned an M.A. degree in an appropriate subject area and to have a superior academic record at both the undergraduate and master's degree levels. Applicants presenting other credentials will be evaluated on an individual basis and may be required to remove any deficiencies in their background by taking specific graduate courses recommended by the Executive Committee. Applicants are encouraged to visit the campus for an interview with the director whenever possible.
Applicants seeking admission to either the M.A. or the Ph.D. program should follow the instructions outlined in the "Graduate Admission" section of this catalog. Applicants should submit a departmental application for assistantship or fellowship and a statement of the student's interest in American culture studies and professional goals. Applicants also must submit an academic paper as evidence of scholarly aptitude and writing and research skills, as well as three letters of recommendation.
Master of Arts
Individual programs are designed in consultation with the graduate coordinator and based upon a combination of courses in American culture studies and related fields according to the interests, needs, and background of the student, his or her future plans and goals, and the interdisciplinary philosophy of the program.
Of the 33 semester hours of graduate credit required for the degree, a minimum of 15 must be in American culture studies course work. ACS 630, Methods and Theories, is required within the 15 credit hours. The remaining hours are selected from appropriate courses in American culture studies, art history, communication studies, English, telecommunications, theatre, history, philosophy, political science, popular culture, sociology, women's studies, and other related fields. Of these remaining hours, no more than 12 may be taken in a single department or program.
Students may pursue the M.A. degree under one of two plans:
Plan I: Candidates must write an interdisciplinary thesis in keeping with the philosophy of the program. Under Plan I, students complete 30 hours of course work and receive three hours of credit for the accepted thesis for a total of 33 semester hours.
Plan II: Candidates complete 33 hours of course work and take a comprehensive examination. Toward the end of a student's residence and after the completion of at least two semesters, the student electing Plan II will sit for a four-hour written examination, covering American cultural history, American culture studies methodology, and important themes in American culture. The examination will be based upon each student's individual course of study.
Master of Arts in Teaching
Degree requirements are listed under the heading of Master of Arts in Teaching in the "Degree Programs" section of this catalog.
Doctor of Philosophy
General Requirements: The doctoral program in American culture studies required the completion of at least 70 semester hours of graduate credit beyond the master’s degree (including a maximum of 16 hours of dissertation research). The Ph.D. program in American culture studies is an innovative degree program comprising an intellectual community of several academic programs and departments. It features two interdisciplinary academic tracks from which students choose their major concentration: (1) media and film studies, or (2) ethnicity, gender, and social identities. The American culture studies Ph.D. program draws on faculty from the following departments and graduate programs: ethnic studies, women’s studies, communication studies, English, history, philosophy, popular culture, sociology, theatre, and telecommunications.
Course Requirements: The Ph.D. program in American culture studies contains the following components:
(1) Common Core Requirements (12 hours): history of American studies, genealogies of American culture, key debates in cultural studies, research and writing for publication.
(2) Interdisciplinary Major Concentration (24 hours): Either (a) media and film studies, or (b) ethnicity, gender, and social identities.
(3) Minor Concentration (12 hours); Either a disciplinary minor, such as communication studies, English, history, etc., or an interdisciplinary minor, such as film studies, museum/archival studies, etc., or a graduate certificate, such as those in ethnic studies, women’s studies, performance studies, etc.
(4) Dissertation Research (16 hours): Including a three hour seminar in dissertation research and writing.
Professional Activity: During their course of study in the Ph.D. program, students are encouraged and expected to participate in a range of professional activities aimed at preparing them to successfully compete on the academic job market. These include such activities as presenting papers at professional conferences and professional publication in scholarly journals and edited volumes. The ACS Program assists students in the pursuit of these scholarly activities through offering financial aid to offset the cost of travel to conferences and registration.
Examinations: Successful completion of a general preliminary examination is required for formal advancement to candidacy. The preliminary examination is an interdisciplinary examination over the literature in the student’s major area of concentration.
Dissertation: The dissertation should be consistent with the candidate’s planned profession and course of study in the doctoral program. It marks the culmination of the candidate’s course of study. Dissertation committees must consist of a minimum of three faculty members from cooperating departments/programs/schools who are officially affiliated with the American Culture Studies Program, plus a graduate faculty representative appointed by the Graduate College. Other appropriate faculty may be included with the approval of the Executive Committee.