Duke's Literature Program seeks to rethink what comparison might mean in a world rapidly being altered by complex forces of economic and technological integration. Although a focus on language, literature, and aesthetics continues to ground our work, we have pioneered by drawing together philosophical and theoretical reflections on the status of “literature” and “culture” with work in history, political economy, the sociology of culture, anthropology, visual culture, and cinema studies, all of which seeks to make sense of the complex factors affecting the historically changing nature of the relationship between society and culture.

Literature has, in short, employed philosophical critique to interrogate and mediate our relationship to the social sciences thereby modeling a new kind of program in global studies from the perspective of the humanities, a program that recognizes that literature and culture are always crucially important agents in the understanding, definition and alteration of social formations.

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Global Cultural Studies Undergraduate Program

Our major and minor in Global Cultural Studies will engage you in investigating the life and culture of today's interconnected, globalized world. Our curriculum explores the humanities as the source of a distinct kind of knowledge that is essential for understanding and engaging the complexities of the contemporary social environment. Courses in literary studies, critical theory, gender studies and queer theory, philosophy, political theory, film, visual culture, and new media form the foundation for such inquiry. With its distribution of courses across three domains of inquiry - Experience, Interpretation, Medium - the Global Cultural Studies programs aim to provide you with the broad knowledge base and analytical skills that will prepare you for leadership roles in the 21st century. 

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LIT 301S

Introduction to major areas of research in Global Cultural Studies with focus on specific theoretical issues of contemporary concern in various subfields of global culture. Required for majors. One… read more about Theory Today: Introduction to the Study of Literature »

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LIT 201

Introductory course for the Literature Major in Global Cultural Studies. Examines how the work of the humanities provides conceptual and analytic skills for processing complex textual, cultural,… read more about Introduction to Global Cultural Studies »

Graduate Program

The Graduate Program in Literature (GPL) endeavors to train future scholars in theory and global culture. Originally conceived as a critical expansion of "comparative literature" beyond its founding Eurocentrism and its (near) exclusive focus on literature and language, the GPL hosts a robust range of scholarship and teaching in a variety of areas, ranging from feminist and gender studies to political theory and Marxism, from psychoanalysis to cognitive studies and neuroscience, from philosophy of language and experimental literature to media studies in the digital age, and from global cinema and film theory to visual culture and postcolonial studies. The program defines itself through its diverse investment in theory and is dedicated to understanding literary and cultural history as a complex and evolving exchange between the past and the (future-oriented) present.

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