Established in the early 1990s, the Cultural Studies Program at Indiana University brings together faculty and graduate students pursuing interdisciplinary research. The program offers an interdisciplinary minor certificate for graduate students. Drawing upon recent developments in cultural, social, and literary theory, our program emphasizes the investigation of cultural production and the social construction of values, ideas, and belief systems. Courses in this area focus on both contemporary and historical phenomena and pay particular attention to the relationship between cultural forms and power relations in society. Issues of class, race, sexuality, and gender receive prominent critical attention, as do conventional divisions between “high culture” and more “popular” forms of expression.
In recent years, our program has built on the international strengths of our faculty, whose research interests span the globe. To showcase the innovative research on Asia, Latin America, and Africa at Indiana University, our recent annual conferences have been organized by topics such as “Migration,” “Activism,” and “Food/Culture.” These rubrics have enabled our faculty and graduate students to demonstrate the relevance of cultural studies to contexts outside the United States and Britain. Our “Food/Culture” conference, for example, featured presentations on the global migration of the taco, the rise of restaurants in Europe, Amazonian food chains, and the articulation between modernity and fast food in contemporary China.
Our program encourages students to fashion a course of study which meets their particular interests and needs. Cultural Studies is especially useful for those seeking to complement studies in an area of disciplinary specialization with a more interdisciplinary minor. Students minoring in Cultural Studies typically are admitted by a home department, which can apprise them of opportunities for fellowships and financial aid.