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MAIS 625: Critical Perspectives in Cultural Studies

View current syllabus.

Delivery mode: Grouped study.

Credits: 3

Prerequisite: No formal pre-requisite, although completion of MAIS 601 and/or MAIS 602 is preferred. Others must obtain permission from the course professor. Student must have well developed graduate level research and writing skills.

Centre: Master of Arts Integrated Studies

Program: Master of Arts Integrated Studies


Master of Arts-Integrated Studies 625: Critical Perspectives in Cultural Studies is a foundational course for the Cultural Studies stream of the Master of Arts-Integrated Studies. In this course you will learn about the history and origins of cultural studies, analyze and discuss some of the key theoretical debates initiated in and around what constitutes cultural studies, and review examples of the range of approaches that continue to shape and reshape [the ever-expanding boundaries of] the field. You will also be given the opportunity to apply this knowledge by producing, as your final assignment, an analysis of a cultural text or practice-in short, to actually do cultural studies yourself.

Course Author

Patricia Hughes-Fuller has been an educator since the early 1990s and has been involved in the MAIS program as an instructor and subject matter expert since 2001. Her academic training is in intercultural adult education, comparative and English literature, and social theory, and the focus of her interest is on the relationship between culture and consciousness, and the viability of cultural studies as a catalyst for social change.

Course Objectives

The core objectives of MAIS 625: Critical Perspectives in Cultural Studies are to

  1. familiarize you with the foundational texts and formative debates that initially defined the field of cultural studies.
  2. introduce theoretical analyses of the relationship between theory and practice, as well as examples of practical applications of cultural-studies principles.
  3. explore the interdisciplinary origins and applications of cultural studies, focusing on the ways in which cultural studies transcends and/or transforms disciplinary boundaries.
  4. encourage you to think critically about cultural values
  5. foster an awareness that academic pursuits do not occur in a social vacuum and that culture is nothing if not political.

Student Evaluation

Please be prepared to devote the time necessary to complete the various activities in this course:

  • reading actively and critically
  • writing succinct, critical commentary and posing insightful questions
  • moderating online discussions
  • researching and writing academic papers that are both critical and integrative

To help you to develop these skills, your course professor will provide feedback on each activity. You will be expected to demonstrate a willingness to work. In MAIS 625: Critical Perspectives in Cultural Studies, you will be required to

  1. read the assigned texts and readings.
  2. participate actively in weekly online activities and conferences structured around the assigned readings.
  3. make weekly entries in your personal learning journal, to be submitted for feedback at the end of Weeks 3 and 7.
  4. prepare an individual presentation on a topic selected from the assigned readings for Units 3 and 4 of the course, and moderate an online conference structured around the reading that you select for your paper.
  5. submit a term paper outline, due at the end of Week 11.
  6. write a 2,500- to 3,500-word term paper on a course-related topic, due no later than the beginning of Week 15.

Note: To receive credit in this course, you must successfully complete the following activities and assignments, achieving a grade of 60% or better in each. For more information on each of the assignments, please see the "Assignment File" near the end of the Course Guide.

Activity Weighting
Online conference participation 15 %
Learning journal submissions 20 %
Individual presentation and moderation of online conference 25 %
Term paper outline 5%
Term paper 35%
Total 100%

Course Materials

The course materials for MAIS 625: Critical Perspectives in Cultural Studies include the items listed below. If you find that any items are missing from your course package, please contact the Course Materials Production department at Athabasca University as soon as possible. You may call Athabasca University, toll-free, from anywhere in Canada or the United States at 1-800-788-9041 and ask to speak to someone in Course Materials Production (ext. 6366). Students in the Edmonton and Calgary dialling areas are asked to call the Learning Centres to connect with the automated attendant, and then dial the four-digit extension. You may send e-mail to cmat@athabascau.ca, or write to Course Materials Production at Tim Byrne Centre, 4001 Hwy 2 South, Athabasca AB T9S 1A4.


The following texts contain required readings for MAIS 625. They also contain supplementary readings that you may find useful for writing your term paper and/or for future reference. Of the titles listed below, you are expected to read all of British Cultural Studies: An Introduction, but only selected chapters from the others. See the "Course Schedule and Study Plan" for more information on the required readings.

  • Morley, David, and Kuan-Hsing Chen, eds. Stuart Hall: Critical Dialogues in Cultural Studies. London: Routledge, 1996.
  • Mukerji, Chandra, and Michael Schudson, eds. Rethinking Popular Culture: Contemporary Perspectives in Cultural Studies. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991.
  • Rivkin, Julie, and Michael Ryan, eds. Literary Theory: An Anthology. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2004.
  • Turner, Graeme. British Cultural Studies: An Introduction. 3rd ed. London: Routledge, 2003.

Athabasca University materials

Course Guide: The Course Guide contains the course introduction, objectives, reading assignments, participation activities, assignments and evaluation criteria, and other information that you will need to complete the course successfully. The "Course Schedule and Study Plan" identifies the course activities and assignments that you are to complete each week. Please take time now to review the information in this document in order to become familiar with the design of the course.

Reading File: The Reading File is a collection of articles and excerpts which complement the course textbooks. The Course Guide will direct students to these readings as required.

Forms: The forms that you will need to request an extension, register in a course, or request a letter of permission are included with the course materials.

Online Resources

Lectures and Commentary: Your course professor will provide interactive instruction in the form of periodic online "mini-lectures" and comments in response to issues and questions raised in the weekly conferences. For more detail on the weekly conferences, see the "Online Conference Participation" section in the "Assignment File" near the end of the Course Guide.

Course Homepage: Each course offered through the Master of Arts-Integrated Studies program has a course home page that provides links to additional resources and Web sites. From the MAIS home page at http://www.athabascau.ca/mais/, select Online Learning, proceed to the Bazaar interface; enter your username and password, then select MAIS 625.

Digital Reading Room: Please visit the MAIS 625 Digital Reading Room page to find links to supplementary materials that are available in electronic form, and information on accessing many of the supplementary materials that are not available electronically. There is a link to the Digital Reading Room on the MAIS 625 home page, or you may access it via the AU Library home page.

Athabasca University Library: Explore the Library's Web site at http://library.athabascau.ca to review our collection of journal databases, electronic journals, and digital reference tools.

Master of Arts-Integrated Studies Web Site: Visit the MAIS home page at http://www.athabascau.ca/mais/ for information on the MAIS program and to access a number of resources useful to you as a graduate student.