The Culture and Politics (CULP) major provides students with a complex understanding of the relationship between culture, knowledge, and power. It teaches students theoretical frameworks and analytical skills that enhance cross-cultural tolerance, social justice, and ethical leadership in order to improve a world marked by power hierarchies and cultural conflicts.
Goals of the Major
Students learn to apply analytical tools from multiple fields as they practice critical reflection on self and society, and they enhance their analytic sophistication through collaborative problem solving. The CULP major offers curricular flexibility. Students build a rigorous foundation for their studies through an in-depth gateway course that stresses fluency in a variety of theories, definitions, and genres of culture. Students then assemble their own course sequences around individually chosen concentrations in consultation with the dean. All students are expected to master the analytical methods and skills necessary to become thoughtful, rigorous readers and writers of scholarship on cultural power relations in the international arena.
CULP students are actively involved in publishing their own scholarship, linking with various Georgetown programs, student groups, and the rich cultural and social resources of Washington, DC.
Objectives of the Major
The contemporary world is characterized by extensive cultural contacts that enhance connections but also pose new challenges to acting responsibly and sensitively to the unfamiliar. Cultural competence and diplomacy are central to the peaceful functioning of a global system marked by deep historical inequalities. Preparing students to treat opposing viewpoints and experiences with respect, CULP fosters a sophisticated and informed understanding of cultural diversity and the politics of identity. To prepare students for unforeseen conflicts and opportunities, they will be educated to do the following:
- Identify, compare, and synthesize the key concepts and scholarly research in cultural and social theory across multiple disciplines—including history, anthropology, sociology, geography, literature, music, performing arts, film and new media and visual studies—that address the connections between power, culture, and identity.
- Explicate, evaluate, and critique cross-cultural political issues, dynamics, and events in clear, concise writing.
- Recognize multiple perspectives and dimensions of cultural interactions, and apply critical frameworks to competing claims to rights and recognition.
- Develop the substantive, analytical and ethical skills necessary to question stereotypical, polarizing, and essentialist views of difference, as a precondition for the peaceful resolution of conflicts in the domestic and international realm.
- Understand and apply an expansive concept of culture that empowers ordinary people, organizations, and institutions as agents of change.
Courses in the SFS Core requirement serve as foundational requisites of this major.
- Theorizing Culture and Politics (CULP-045)
- Four designated CULP courses
- Five courses approved for inclusion in the student's thematic concentration
Writing in the Major
CULP students will satisfy the University’s Integrated Writing requirement through the required gateway class (CULP-045). Because CULP is an interdisciplinary major, however, there is no one methodology or writing genre that students must master. Students assemble their own course sequences around individually chosen concentrations in consultation with their mentor and curricular dean. The self-designed concentration may require a combination of discipline-specific methodologies or writing strategies housed in the SFS and the College, and students are encouraged to find additional opportunities to hone their writing skills throughout their coursework.
Honors in Culture and Politics
Selection of honors candidates is based on evaluations of proposals submitted during the spring semester of junior year.
To graduate with honors in Culture and Politics, a student must:
- Earn a cumulative grade point average of 3.50 and a grade point average of 3.67 in the major by the date of graduation.
- Successfully complete two semesters of tutorial work dedicated to preparation of a thesis.
- Submit a senior thesis on an approved topic which is judged to be of honors quality by a faculty committee appointed for this purpose.
For more details, please see the BSFS website.