The Literature Program's minor in Global Cultural Studies offers Duke students an opportunity to complement their field of concentration - whether it be computer science or chemistry, environmental studies or economics, music or mathematics - with a humanities focus. Students will select a suite of courses designed to thematize the larger cultural contexts of their scholarly interests.
Requirements for the Minor
- LIT 201 Intro to Global Cultural Studies
- 3 core courses from three domains of inquiry taught by faculty with appointments in Literature
- Core Course 1: Experience Domain, taught by faculty with appointments in Literature
- Core Course 2: Interpretation Domain, taught by faculty with appointments in Literature
- Core Course 3: Medium Domain, taught by faculty with appointments in Literature
- 1 elective from a humanities field
Domains of Inquiry
Keep in mind that of the courses listed below, only courses taught by faculty who have appointments in Literature will count as Core Courses toward our Major, Minor, or Film and Media Concentration.
The humanities investigate human existence as it is personally and collectively experienced. Human experience is always situated, always intertwined with specific historical, geographical, political, social, cultural, or economic conditions and contexts. The humanities ask what it meant to be human in a specific time and place, and try to understand how human beings have sought to make sense of their lives, and of the events and ideas in which they participate and which have been handed down to them. To explore the meanings of human existence, the humanities study everything from the intimate arenas of embodiment, selfhood, and identity to the political and philosophical dimensions of collective planetary life. This category includes courses concerned with identity, social and bodily life, and with theoretical problems arising from the attempt to demarcate agency from the broader environments out of which it emerges.
The major method of the humanities is interpretation, understood as any kind of reading, decoding or deciphering of signs, sign - systems, languages, texts, artworks, and material artefacts. Humanists ask what meaning is, how it is produced and communicated, and how meaning fails. Critical reflection on questions of language, meaning and interpretation is the central concern of a wide range of different theories and philosophies in the humanities, such as hermeneutics, Saussurean linguistics, structuralism, deconstruction, psychoanalysis, and ordinary language philosophy. This category includes courses concerned with the practice of interpretation and reading, and/or the theoretical problems arising from the attempt to understand human signs and artefacts.
Attending to the history and technicity of the media in which culture is expressed, transmitted, and inherited comprises a crucial dimension of the humanities in our contemporary moment. Humanists ask not simply what a given cultural artefact means, but how the medium of its expression and conveyance impacts its meaning and its cultural efficacy. Ranging from focused comparative explorations of different media (print, image, sound, cinema) to more philosophical considerations of the historical role of mediation, from writing to the internet and cell phone, courses in this category address the tension between meaning and materiality that stems from the inherent media specificity of every cultural expression, and range in scope from concretely situated notions of “genre,” “audience,” and “sense modality” to broader operations of “reflexivity” and “receptivity.”