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Cultural Studies Course Offerings

2020/21 Course Offerings

Please see the academic calendar for more course information or Browse Classes for scheduling information.

Fall 2020

  • KS100 (online): Studying Popular Culture
  • KS205 (online): Cartoons and Comics
  • KS210: Cultural Studies of Popular Music
  • KS303A: Cultural Politics

Winter 2021

  • KS101: Exploring Cultural Studies
  • KS203: Popular Culture and Ideology
  • KS205 (online): Cartoons and Comics
  • KS215 (online): Game Cultures
  • KS400n: Alt.Health.Cultures

2020/21 Special Topics Descriptions

KS303A Cultural Politics (Fall 2020)

Cultural politics will consider the way in which culture shapes our political landscapes.  Cultural politics operates through language, media, buildings and every other cultural relation of our society.  This class will engage cultural politics as a set of cultural campaigns, and students will learn how to identify, design, promote, and resist those campaigns as elements of this course.

KS400N Alt.Health.Cultures (Winter 2021)

This course examines the broad and far-reaching concept of alternative health and its corollary, alternative medicine, through the framework of critical cultural studies. We will explore alternative health as a set of intersecting ideologies and practices that varyingly counter hegemonic ideas, generate counter-cultural ones, and contribute to the construction of social identities (including, but not limited to, race, gender, sexuality, socio-economic status, age, ability, and ethnicity). Alternative health is undeniably popular at the moment. Consumers buy billions of dollars worth of alternative health products and services every year. Celebrities, such as Gwyneth Paltrow, are positioned as alternative health experts while  alternative health experts become themselves celebrities through the complex mechanisms of popularity, fads, and fandoms. The rise of alternative health practice in the West is a relatively new cultural practice, with historical antecedents, that produces particular ways of understanding the self in relation to bodies, communities, and society as well as abstract concepts such as wellness and sickness. Alternative health, in the Western context, is inherently transnational and zenophilic, borrowing elements from diverse cultures and religions in ways that are varyingly appropriative and  transcultural. We will also explore what it means for alternative health to circulate in (and out of) popular culture, and various public spheres, as well as the relationship of alternative health to public health. Although focusing primarily on the rise of alternative and complementary medicine in the West since the 1970s, the course will also examine the historicity of heterodox approaches the health and medicine. We will explore some of the diverse practices and discourses that fall under the umbrella term of alternative health, including wellness; Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM); the anti vaxx movement; Yoga, Qigong, and Tai Chi; complementary medicines (such as chiropractic care, osteopathy, etc.); dietary, nutritional, and herbal supplementation and medicine. We will explore the intersection of alternative health and social justice, and the relationship of alternative health discourses to contemporary public health crises, including (but not limited to) the COVID-19 pandemic.