Cultural Studies is a curricular option within Interdisciplinary Studies (IDST) located in and administered by the Department of Communication Studies. The degree offered is a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies-Cultural Studies. The diploma and transcript will indicate that the student received a B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Interdisciplinary Studies/Cultural Studies.
The Cultural Studies major can be declared as a second major. The cultural studies major is NOT for someone who is undecided about his or her major. The Cultural Studies major is designed to give students the opportunity to create a rigorous interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary program organized around a particular theme, question or problematic. It enables students, for example, to create their own cluster around a specific area of interest (e.g., third world/ethnic studies, technology, science studies, theory), or to establish links across a range of classes that define a specific intellectual focus.
The major is designed for undergraduate students who wish to combine the strengths of various departments and curricula in the College of Arts and Sciences. As in other interdisciplinary programs, students majoring in Cultural Studies tend to be strongly motivated, self-disciplined, intellectually curious, and able to assume responsibility for their unique curricular program. The undergraduate major in Cultural Studies is distinguished by intensive advising, collaboration across disciplinary perspectives, and opportunities to extend learning beyond the space of the classroom. Students are encouraged, for example, to participate in Study Abroad and off-campus internships, and become involved in various working groups on campus. The major in Cultural Studies offers a home to students with interests as diverse as the social studies of science, local migrant farm workers, or the influence of built space on consciousness, who are united by questions of the complex, dynamic workings of culture in contexts.
Cultural studies is an interdisciplinary project that operates at the intersection of culture with other forms of social and material practices; 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 identity and subjectivity, forms of representation, practices of agency, knowledge and power, political economy and globalization, and the politics of culture). 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. Cultural studies seeks better forms of knowledge and authority in the face of the challenge of contemporary political and epistemological relativism; it seeks to study contexts without assuming that it knows the answers in advance, and without accepting in advance the conceptual distinctions that have organized the fields of culture and knowledge in modern societies.