As universities are facing new pressures and scholars are facing the complexities of a changing world, the field of cultural studies has gained both importance and visibility. No single model has emerged as the dominant organization of cultural studies as either a research or pedagogical practice. Cultural Studies @ UNC is an interdisciplinary program with both curricular and scholarly resources and responsibilities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Its goal is to encourage interdisciplinary research and education in cultural studies and to help produce a viable and flexible model for cultural studies and its role in the contemporary university by working closely with other departments and interdisciplinary programs.
Cultural studies can be broadly defined by a number of commitments:
- it is interdisciplinary because in part it operates at the intersection of culture with other forms of social and material practices;
- it is both theoretical and contextual; its concern is always how to use theory as a resource to better understand and change specific historical contexts;
- it seeks to find better forms of knowledge and authority in the face of the challenge of contemporary political and epistemological relativism;
- it seeks to study without accepting in advance the discursive distinctions which have organized the field of culture in modern societies; and
- its object of study is the relations between specific cultural practices or discourses, everyday life and structures of power (in relation to such diverse issues as subjectivity, agency and globalization) and its practice is, of necessity, self-reflective.