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Faculty of Culture, Creative and Performing Arts

Course Descriptions - Cultural Studies (Undergraduate)

Kindly note that not all courses may be offered in any given year. You may check the Cave Hill On-Line course schedule at the beginning of the semester for the list of courses available for that semester.


CLTR1010 Introduction to Caribbean Studies
This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary study of the Caribbean, with specific attention to the historical, environmental, socio-cultural features of modern existence that have come to constitute the Caribbean experience. Special attention will be given to the politics of race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality and class in the creation of the Caribbean, and the constantly changing relationship between the region’s population, socio-economic conditions and natural environment. Students will gain keen insights into the importance of the region in the creation of the modern colonial world, and the forging of anti-colonial resistance to empire.
CLTR1050 Aspects of Brazilian Culture I
This course is designed for the student with little or no background in Brazilian History and Culture. It approaches basic elements of Brazilian culture in order to understand the historical and cultural backgrounds and aspects of the “continental” country Brazil - the only Portuguese speaking country in the Americas. Different influences from Africa, Europe and Asia are critically analysed.
CLTR1501 Topics in African Cultural Traditions
This course explores the diversity of African cultural traditions. It begins with an exploration of African historiography and then turns to an examination of the dynamics of cultural change and development as a result of European imperialism and de-colonisation. The course will rely heavily on an array of regional case studies, African literature, film and music to further explore a range of cultural practices on the continent. We will be especially concerned with understanding the cultural significance of the performative and creative arts in the construction of African identities.
CLTR1505 Cultural Studies and Caribbean Dance
The movement expressions of the Caribbean have often been problematically dubbed as “folk or ethnic dance”. Using conceptual frameworks provided by Cultural Studies this course explores the popular social dance forms of the Caribbean through a careful examination of the history and aesthetic principles that have guided their development and popularization. To this end, the course introduces students to a range of dance forms and later maps the stylisation process they undergo as they are moved from the streets into the studio and on to the stage.
CLTR1100 Culture and Identity
This course introduces students to the debates surrounding the formation of cultural identities. The course will demonstrate that both culture and identity are contested entities as students are shown the ways in which various, and oft times contradictory narratives of culture, shape the construct of identities. It will address such issues as the relation between culture as lived experience and institutional or sanctioned versions of Culture. It will also examine the ways in which our sense of identity and belonging are formed as well as how new cultural texts emerge to subvert dominant ideologies.


CLTR2000 Thinking Culture: Debates and Perspectives
This course introduces students to key concepts in the study of culture. Students will assess how culture is conceptualised and will analyse the approaches adopted by the various disciplines. Such concepts such as high and low culture, mass culture and subculture will be examined, as well as the perspective of culture as the ordinary, or lived experience. Emphasis will be placed on reading culture as a text as students examine how culture and cultural practices are manifested. Consequently, students will focus, for example, on key practices within youth culture and in the media as they assess how the narrative of identity is constructed through the cultural text.
CLTR 2010 Global Media and Caribbean Culture
In this course students will explore the ways the media shapes ideas about Caribbean culture, particularly Anglo-Caribbean culture. Drawing from readings in communication and cultural studies, as well as examples from a variety of mass media, the course examines the mass mediated production of Caribbean culture under three broad headings: Representations of the Caribbean, Media Flows into the Caribbean, and The Caribbean on the World Stage. This course takes a critical approach to the study of production, content and consumption of mass mediated messages about the Caribbean.
CLTR2055 Contemporary Brazilian Culture
This course is designed to enhance the perception and understanding of contemporary Brazilian society and culture for the student with basic background in Brazilian history and culture. It approaches selected elements of contemporary Brazilian culture in order to understand the historical and cultural backgrounds. The course will focus on specific issues such as contemporary Brazilian social and political issues, renewable resources, media, and racial and gender issues.
CLTR2100 Festivals, Rituals and Caribbean Society
In this course, students will examine the ways in which Caribbean festivals and rituals provide roots/ routes to understanding Caribbean society and culture. Emphasis will be placed on masquerade as students consider how it provides access to understanding the historical narrative in the Caribbean, as well as debates surrounding Caribbean identity/ties. A Pan-Caribbean approach will be adopted allowing students to analyse a variety of traditional, community, religious, and national festivals within the region and the diaspora.

CLTR2401 Popular Culture and Consciousness in 20th Century South Africa
This course examines the forms and institutions of popular culture in South Africa as these emerged in a context of political resistance.
CLTR2402 Caribbean Intellectual Traditions
This course introduces students to the study of Caribbean Intellectual Traditions through a charting of its intellectual history. It allows students to interrogate key theories employed in the examination of Caribbean culture, through the writings of cultural theorists, philosophers, social theorists, historians, political thinkers, poets and novelists. These intellectual traditions are critically assessed in order to illustrate how Caribbean thinkers ideas about their region and the world.
CLTR2405 Religion and Ritual in Contemporary Africa
This course is designed to introduce students to African religious practices. The purpose is to examine initiation rites, ceremonies and rituals that mark the social transformation of individuals within specific African societies. It further examines the ways in which religious practices serve to mediate the negotiations of traditional and contemporary African life. Case studies and films from different regions will anchor discussions of the cultural, socio-political, psychological, historical and economic dimensions of rituals and religious life in Africa.

CLTR2500 Introduction to Caribbean Cultural Studies
This course intends to introduce students to the main cultural practices in the Caribbean and to relate them to the study of culture in general and the Caribbean in particular. Students will be expected to analyse the impact of race, class and gender experiences in Caribbean cultural practices, and to interpret cultural expression in its broadest political sense. Students will also be expected to show familiarity with the leading intellectual interpretations of Caribbean culture.
CLTR3100 Theorising Caribbean Culture
This course allows students to interrogate key theories employed, in the examination of Caribbean culture. Theorists such as Benitez Rojo, Edouard Glissant, Kamau Brathwaite, Eudine Barriteau, Rhoda Reddock, Shalani Puri, Rex Nettleford, Frantz Fanon and Maureen Warner-Lewis will be examined. Students will analyse the writings of cultural theorists, sociologists, historians, political scientist, poets, novelists, calypsonians, reggae and dancehall artists as they seek to understand how these individuals have defined the Caribbean and have helped to shape our understanding of Caribbean culture and identity.
CLTR3101 Race, Nationalism and Culture
This course examines the idea of race and nationalism from a cultural studies perspective. Critical attention will be given to the intersection between discourses of race and nationalism, and their linkages to global economic exploitation. The relationship between imperialism and understandings of cultural sovereignty fashioned by the anti-colonial intelligentsia is a key feature of the course. Close attention will be paid to the connection between the rise of both the modern state and the concept of race, as well as race as representation.
CLTR3102 Exhibiting Culture: Representation, Tourism and Heritage
This course examines processes and issues related to the public display of culture. It seeks to theorize the political economy of exhibiting and performing cultures across a range of diverse settings including: world fairs, museum venues, cultural festivals, art galleries, tourist floor shows, trade fairs, and theme parks. Topics will include the history of such displays and associated institutions, the relationship between these institutions and their communities, the differences among the distinct exhibitionary frames, the patterns of consumption and production, and the diverse communicative processes involved in interpreting and experiencing the display and performance of culture.
CLTR3103 Black Popular Culture
This course examines ideas, performances and depictions of black popular culture from the beginning of the twentieth century into the early twenty-first century. Special emphasis will be placed on analysing key events and movements in the history of African diaspora popular culture. Additionally, public and textual criticism, and audience reception of a variety of African diaspora images and representations in popular literature, music, film, television, and art will constitute the focus of the course.
CLTR3110 The Sacred Arts of the Black Atlantic
This course examines the aesthetics and performative dimensions of Black Atlantic sacred expressions. In its interdisciplinary treatment of the diverse African-derived ritual traditions of the Caribbean, Brazil and the Southern United States, emphasis is placed on the complex interplay of continuity and change in the forms, beliefs and iconography of syncretic performance-based religions.
CLTR3200 Brazilian Film
The aim of this course is to provide a thorough knowledge base of the Brazilian film production of the last decades, inserting and understanding it in a context where aspects of Brazilian History and Culture are considered at the same time. Topics will include a brief History of the Brazilian Film and an analysis of different tendencies in Brazilian cinema, dividing the selected films into thematic groups.


TITLE: Theory and Conceptualisation of Culture
Assessment: 100% Coursework
The course explores the development of the culture concept and the academic study of culture. Caribbean debates and research on Caribbean culture are linked to global trajectories of thought on the scholarly practice of culture. The discipline of Cultural Studies is outlined against the background of longer research traditions focusing on culture. The course also explores some of the main areas of interest and theoretical debates in Cultural Studies and investigates how the various theories and concepts of culture can be applied to the study of everyday life. The aim of the course is to provide students with the opportunity to examine the productive and important questions that arise from current cultural debates.  Students will review the following topics: Marxism, Africana thought and the culture question, Gramsci, The Frankfurt School, Althusser, Stuart Hall and the Birmingham School; Orientalism; Slavery and Colonialism; Creolisation; Critical race theory, Globalization and neoliberalism.
TITLE: Debates in Caribbean Cultural Identity
ASSESSMENT: 100% Coursework
This course examines key issues on the construction of identities in the Caribbean.  Students will wrestle with the questions of what defines the Caribbean / West Indies / Antilles and the relationship of the Caribbean Diaspora to these entities. The course also introduces students to a wide range of epistemological developments within the field of Caribbean cultural thought and offers a cross-disciplinary approach to analyzing the cultures of the region beyond that of the Anglophone Caribbean.  We will also examine the ideological debates surrounding identity formation with special reference to the issues pertaining to the colonial and the post-colonial context.  The relationship between identity, race, culture, gender, nationality, sexuality and ethnicity in the Caribbean will also be explored.  Consequently, such concepts as creolisation, transculturation, as well as national, sexual and diasporic identities will be assessed.  Starting with a survey of the region, the course explores the making of Caribbean identities by examining a range of inter-dependent themes.
TITLE: Dynamics of Caribbean Culture
ASSESSMENT: 100% Coursework
This course is designed to provide an understanding of the cultural dynamics of Caribbean societies and their diasporas.  It will explore issues of identity, critical consciousness, ways of knowing and provide insights into music, festivals, visual art, sport, language, literary and oral discourse and the religious expressions of Caribbean societies.
The objectives are: To analyse distinctive Caribbean cultural practices and creative expressions; To locate Caribbean cultural concepts, and processes within their global frames; To articulate relationships of power such as class, ethnicity, colonialism as they are implicated in Caribbean culture; To analyse the gender dynamics within Caribbean cultural expressions; To interpret the ways in which these cultural dynamics are connected with development; and To assess the theoretical implications that emerge from these phenomena.

TITLE: Caribbean Cultural Diasporas
ASSESSMENT: 100% Coursework
This course explores the complex cultural connections between Caribbean peoples in the region and diaspora. It seeks to understand the question of transnational identity as a lived experience, as well as the meaning of home. The course explores the meanings of the Diasporic experience by reviewing the history/ies of migration and by examining the racial and gender issues that arise.  Caribbean cultural circuits created through festivals as well as the spiritual practices that link the metropolitan cities of Toronto, New York and London will also be assessed. As a result, this study of Caribbean Cultural Diasporas challenges the concept of frontiers and boundaries and examines the roots/routes used to create and re-create the Caribbean experience in the metropole.
TITLE: Methods of Inquiry in Cultural Studies
ASSESSMENT: 100% Coursework
This course explores the range of approaches to engaging in socio-cultural research and guides students through the methodological approaches applicable to the interdisciplinary field of Cultural Studies.  By examining the conceptual formulations that constitute knowledge (epistemology), it assesses how that knowledge is to be validated and verified (methodology).  The course explores such questions as how to read culture as a text, how to shape a theory of culture and how to develop a transdisciplinary research proposal. It further gives students the methodological tools for anchoring their research in alignment with specific research philosophies and provides an interactive workshop/seminar environment to foster discussion around modes of data collection and analysis. We will seek tounderstand the significance of core assumptions in formulating research questions and determining the research outcome. As such, attention will also be paid to questions of methodology as well as the relationship between theory and methodology.

TITLE: Caribbean Popular and Creative Culture
ASSESSMENT: 100% Coursework
This postgraduate course will build on some of the work covered in the two undergraduate courses in Caribbean popular culture. This course acknowledges that “popular culture” is a very broad area of study and engagement within the academy. It however wants to provide an avenue by which students can begin to undertake analysis of specific areas within this field. It recognizes that “popular culture” often refers to those areas of expression that are subversive, counter-cultural, and which challenge more traditional ways of knowing and ways of doing. While this course will engage and interrogate notions of the “popular” and other important contested concepts, it also wants to provide a context for an examination of popular expression as creative process. In effect, the course therefore examines the contradictory nature of popular expression.
The reference to “creative culture” in the title also allows for an examination of late 20th century responses by Caribbean governments, practitioners, private sector institutions, and education centres to the repositioning of culture globally.
The course takes note of the ways in which Caribbean culture is affected by and responds to international phenomena. To this end, the course will concern itself with a set of areas. These areas relate to specific genres of expression, or specific movements, or specific conceptual and practical phenomena which continue to preoccupy scholars of popular culture.

TITLE: Under Western Eyes: Rethinking Cultural Hegemony in Caribbean Gender Relations
ASSESSMENT: 100% Coursework
This course is designed to question the canonical, unitary and hegemonic aspects of Caribbean gender relations as reinforced by culture.  It provides a feminist critique of the production of knowledge and power.  Using this feminist critique of knowledge production, the course draws on an array of thinkers’ critique of hegemonic forms of representation and prompts students to address questions of identity construction and intersections of race and class in the representation of gender in the Caribbean.  Throughout the course students will analyse the dialectical relationship between gender and culture in which gender hierarchies reinforce forms of cultural power. Simultaneously, class discussion and analysis will also consider the impact that cultural and social phenomena have had on the ways in which various constituencies of Caribbean women and men experience their bodies, gender identities, relationships with each other and the state.  This course will survey how “nation forming” gestures such as colonialism, nationalism have shaped the experiences and practices of gender in the Caribbean.
TITLE: Diploma Research Paper/Project
ASSESSMENT: 100% Project Report/Research Paper
Upon completion of their coursework (particularly CLTR 6500), candidates should submit a research proposal to the Coordinator of the Cultural Studies Programme. Once the proposal has been approved, a Supervisor will be appointed to guide the candidate in her/his research. The research paper must be 12000 words in length, exclusive of bibliography and footnotes.

: Project
Candidates can present their findings as follows: as performance, as a documentary, as video/film, as a work of art. Other formats can be employed, subject to the approval of the supervisor. The project must be presented with an accompanying analysis of not less than 8000 words, exclusive of bibliography and footnotes.

TITLE: MA Research paper
ASSESSMENT: 100% Research Paper
Students produce a research paper of approximately 15,000 words under the supervision of a member of Faculty.

TITLE: MPhil Cultural Studies
Assessment: Pass/Fail
Students are required to register for this section every semester and are expected to produce a thesis of approximately 40,000-50,000 words under the supervision of a member of Faculty.

TITLE: PhD Cultural Studies
Assessment: Pass/Fail
Students are required to register for this section every semester and are expected to produce a thesis of approximately 80,000 words under the supervision of a member of Faculty.


TITLE: MPhil Research Seminar 1
This is the first of two research seminars to be presented by the MPhil student.

TITLE: MPhil Research Seminar 2
This is the second of two research seminars to be presented by the MPhil student.

TITLE: PhD Research Seminar 1
This course is the first of three research seminars to be presented by the PhD student.

TITLE: PhD Research Seminar 2
This is the second of three research seminars to be presented by the PhD student.

TITLE: PhD Research Seminar 3
This is the last of three research seminars to be presented by the PhD student.



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