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Undergraduate Course Catalog 2008-2009

College of Liberal Arts


European Cultural Studies (ECS)


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European Cultural Studies (ECS) is an interdisciplinary major in which students study the field of cultural analysis in conjunction with an individually designed focus on a European topic. Each student will work with an adviser and the ECS Steering Committee to design a course of study that best suits the student’s interests and goals. The ECS major is driven in part by the belief that language is an integral part of culture and not merely a tool for the study of literature. By the same token, the study of European history, philosophy, politics, and so forth, can only be enriched by the addition of critical perspectives developed in literature and language study.

The ECS major has five objectives:

1. It will introduce students to the major contours of European history, politics, languages and arts.

2. It will introduce students to the social, political, economic, and cultural developments of the new unifying Europe.

3. The cultural studies component of the major highlights the contentious nature of this “unifying Europe.” Thus the major will prepare students for work in fields related to Europe and European/American relations. More generally it will encourage a nuanced perception of cultural differences, which will in turn affect students’ perceptions of themselves and others as participants in an uneasily shared world.

4. Cultural studies skills will facilitate and enable students to consider the past not just as an academic subject but as an unfolding inherited tradition.

5. A B.A. in European cultural studies will be a preparatory degree for graduate study in numerous fields from international relations to the humanities.

European Cultural Studies Major
The ECS major consists of 40 credits to be distributed in the following way:

1.    Course on Europe (ECS 400). Course on European topics, covering art, literature, history, political science or other domains. (4 credits)

2.    Course on cultural studies (ECS 500). Introduction to the field of Cultural Studies as applied to the study of Europe. In years when ECS 500 is not offered, students may take ENGL 619 (Critical Approaches to Literature) or HIST 625 (Intellectual European History. (4 credits)

3.    Foundation Courses (8 credits)

a.    Languages: 504 or equivalent in a European language or an approved alternate course.

b.    Arts/Humanities or Social Sciences: One course from the following offerings: ARTS 580 or 581 (Survey of Art History), ENGL 651 or 652 (Comparative Literatures, when inclusive of European literatures), Humanities 501, 502, 503 (when focused on European topics), Music 402 (Survey of Music History), ECON 630 (Comparative Study of Economic Systems), HIST 435 or 436 (Western Civilization), HIST 565 (Women in European History), HIST 650 (European Socialism), HIST 656 (20th Century Europe), POLT 550 (Major Foreign Governments), POLT 552 (Contemporary European Politics).

4.    Focus Courses: The focus of the major consists of an individually designed grouping of four courses that will allow students to pursue their interests and will give coherence to the major. Students will discuss their proposed curriculum with an ECS adviser and submit a proposal to the ECS Steering Committee. Possible foci include: European art and identity; politics and culture in modern Europe; history of European science and philosophy; focus by nation. At least two courses for the focus must be at the 600-level or higher (16 credits).

5.    Course on Critical Methods in Cultural Studies (ECS 550) prepares student for research and writing techniques needed to complete the senior thesis. (4 credits).

6.    Senior Thesis (ECS 798/799). Students will work together with their advisers to formulate their topic, consider appropriate approaches, locate relevant resources and write a thesis. At the end of the semester, students present their work to a committee of three ECS faculty members (4 credits).

European Cultural Studies Minor
The minor in European cultural studies consists of 20 credits (five courses), including ECS 400, 500, 504-level in a European language, two foundation courses and one elective.

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