Cultural Studies and Communication

Mosiac of Knowledge

Undergraduate Program

NOTE: Beginning on January 1, 2014, the Communication and Culture (CC) Program took on a new name—Cultural Studies and Communication—and a new set of requirements for the major and minor. If you:

  • Declared your major as Communication and Culture before the 2013 fall semester, please fulfill the old CC requirements as spelled out in the CC Program Handbook.
  • Declare your major as Cultural Studies and Communication (CSAC) beginning in January 2014, you will be part of the new program, with new major and minor requirements as set out in the CSAS Program Handbook.
  • Declared Communication and Culture as your major during the fall of 2013, you have the option to choose either set of requirements. We strongly recommend that you opt into the new program and requirements because we think it offers a more coherent set of experiences.

The NEW program is described below and in the CSAS Program Handbook

Program Description

The Cultural Studies and Communication Program (CSAC) offers a unique interdisciplinary major and a minor at Clark University — emphasizing human communication, broadly conceived as the exchange of information through linguistic, nonlinguistic, representational, or technological means. Courses focus on the complex relationship between communication and culture, via critical and comparative examinations of media, local and global cultural processes, and social institutions. The CSAC major offers students a vigorously interdisciplinary program of study that examines the cultural foundations underlying the vast communication phenomena that we experience daily. The CSAC program encourages students to think analytically about human communication, to integrate concepts and ideas with professional practices, and to engage in original projects and research. The CSAC major equips students with the tools to become engaged citizens, generators of new knowledge, and 21st century leaders.

The Cultural Studies and Communication Program currently enrolls approximately 70 majors. The first class of 25 students graduated in 1998, and student interest continues to grow. Known formerly as Communication and Culture, its name was changed as of January, 2014 to more closely express the emphasis on cultural critique, analysis, and engaged scholarship that is a signature of this program.

Core Commitments

A range of disciplines and departments

The CSAC program draws its faculty and courses from a range of disciplines and departments. Courses explore topics as diverse as the effects of mass communication, the creation of nationalism and nationalist symbols, gender and language development, and new media technologies. Interdisciplinary by design, courses probe the pervasive but often subtle messages embedded in visual and graphic images, everyday discourse, advertising, literary works, music, artistic productions, historical writing, and other symbolic systems.

Cultural and ideological critique

At the heart of the CSAC program is what might be thought of as “cultural and ideological critique.” CSAC students interrogate texts, messages, media, and practices, exploring the many ways that what appears “normal” and “natural” is actually socially constructed (through media, schools, and institutional practices, as well as through moment-to-moment social interactions via conversation, gesture, fashion, even eating). We are particularly interested in the ways that social practices (often mediated through new digital tools) can create oppression and injustice or open up spaces of opportunity and liberation.

The Major's Developmental Trajectory

The CSAC major is an 11-course sequence. By building a strong foundation, linking cultural critique, analysis of a variety of media in society, the CSAS Program leads to capacities for effective practice in the world.

The program offers a range of first-year intensive (FYI) seminars (such as: American Talk, Communication and Culture in Main South, Experiencing the American City, Discourse, Search for “Cool Identity”), and requires that all majors and minors take the foundation course, CSAC 101 (Introduction to Cultural Studies and Communication). This is followed by a set of required courses that examine:

  • Chronologies (historical lenses on media),
  • Theories of Culture (theoretical approaches to culture and human subjectivity), and
  • Methodologies (tools for studying communication and culture, in the service of ideological critique).

In addition to a solid foundation in chronologies, theories of culture, and methodologies, the program offers a wide range of practicum courses, study abroad opportunities, and internships emphasizing new digital tools and literacies. Engaging deeply in the world of practice and acquiring new media literacies helps to prepare students (in their junior and senior years) for more advanced “Problems of Practice” courses integrating theory and the messiness of real world problems. These experiences prepare students to select from two capstone options (a capstone seminar or an honors thesis)—producing original work of quality and consequence, exploring the complexities of culture, communication, and media, in personal, institutional, or societal contexts.

All students complete Cultural Studies and Communication 101 (see description, below), seven Lenses and Tools courses, a practice-intensive experience (internship or practice-based course), and a “Problems of Practice” course that engages a topic from diverse perspectives, integrating theory and action, and complete the major with a senor capstone experience. Detailed requirements for the major and minor can be viewed via the CSAC Program Handbook and academic catalog links at right.

Foundation Course: Cultural Studies and Communication 101

This course examines the ways in which culture and communicative processes create and represent ideology, social orders, and cultural identities. Emphasis is on critical analysis of culture, media tools, and social practices in contemporary society. Topics include semiotic analysis, cultural critique, media studies (image, print, TV, digital and social media), advertising, and the role of new digital literacies in contemporary life, and as mechanisms for social change.

Funding for Creative and Research Projects

The Cultural Studies and Communication Program offers an annual student grant program, made possible by the Harrison Endowment, through which students may secure funding to support creative and research projects. These grants have supported the costs of media, equipment rentals, materials, workshop fees, and other necessities for completing projects and honors thesis work.

Internships and Career Planning

Cultural Studies and Communication majors are encouraged to think about a variety of career options, to explore and test their interests through internships, and to take advantage of the activities and services available at Clark to assist in this important component of a college education. The Program hosts various events focused on internships and planning for careers and/or graduate school. The LEEP Center and Office of Career Services provides many services that are available to students throughout their undergraduate years. To learn more about Career Services and internships, email Career Services or call 508-793-7258.

In coordination with the University Office of Internships, the Program's majors pursue many exciting internships that provide them with valuable practical and professional experience.

Some students complete internships in the Worcester and Boston region during the academic year, and others pursue a broader range of geographic locations during the summer. Recent internship sites include:

Ammirati Puris Lintas Advertising Agency (India)

Anne Klein (New York)

Art Education for the Blind (New York)

CBS TV (Boston affiliate)

CNBC (New Jersey)

Cable News Network (Atlanta)

CreatAbility Advertising (Florida)

Ingalls Advertising (Boston)

International Data Corporation (Technical Writing)

Ira Sapiro Productions (New York)

London Philharmonic Orchestra

MTV

Merchant Ivory Films (New York)

NBC TV (Boston affiliate)

New England Cable News

Pfizer, Inc. (New York)

Rape Crisis Center of Central Massachusetts

Reebok International (Massachusetts)

Setonaikai TV Productions (Japan)

The Times-Picayune (New Orleans)

Tribune Broadcasting (Washington, DC)

WNBC TV (New York)

Washington Square Films (New York)

Women Express/Teen Voices Magazine (Boston)

Worcester Centrum Centre

Worcester Chamber of Communication and Commerce

Worcester Magazine

Worcester Phoenix

Worcester Telegram and Gazette

Study Abroad

Many students at Clark spend a semester or year studying in another country. These experiences provide a cultural opportunity that enriches the focus of the Cultural Studies and Communication major. A number of CSAC majors also spend a semester in the London Internship Program, where valuable professional experiences are available in a number of sites. For more information, email Clark's Study Abroad Program or call 508-793-7363.

Accelerated B.A./Master's Degree Program

Many qualified majors take advantage of Clark’s unique Accelerated B.A./Master's Degree Program through which the bachelor’s and master’s degrees can be earned in five years, with the fifth year of study tuition-free.