Master of Arts Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS) 625

Critical Perspectives in Cultural Studies (Revision 3)

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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.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Program: Master of Arts Interdisciplinary Studies

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**Note: Students in Group Study courses are advised that this syllabus may vary in key details in each instance of the course. Always refer to the Moodle site for the most up-to-date details on texts, assignment structure, and grading.**


Master of Arts-Interdisciplinary Studies 625: Critical Perspectives in Cultural Studies is a foundational course for the Cultural Studies stream of the Master of Arts-Interdisciplinary 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 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

To receive credit for this course, students must participate in the online activities, successfully complete the assignments, and achieve a final mark of at least 60 per cent. Students should be familiar with the Master of Arts—Interdisciplinary Studies grading system. Please note that it is students' responsibility to maintain their program status. Any student who receives a grade of "F" in one course, or a grade of "C" in more than one course, may be required to withdraw from the program.

The following table summarizes the evaluation activities and the credit weights associated with them.

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, or write to Course Materials Production at Tim Byrne Centre, 4001 Hwy 2 South, Athabasca AB T9S 1A4.


  • 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 Printed 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.

Athabasca University Online Materials

Course Home Page: You will find your assignments and links to submit your work to your professor on the course home page.

Athabasca University Library: Students are encouraged to browse the Library's Web site to review the Library collection of journal databases, electronic journals, and digital reference tools:

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 3, September 1, 2010.