Wilfrid Laurier University Graduate Calendar - 2013/2014
Canadian Excellence

Master of Arts in Cultural Analysis and Social Theory

The MA in Cultural Analysis and Social Theory (CAST) focuses on analyzing culture and theorizing the social from interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary perspectives. The program provides graduate students with an opportunity to build a theoretical account of an increasingly complex and globalized world, including an examination of the role of representation and language in the production of knowledge and power, and the mutually constituting relations between culture, the material world, and personal experience. It focuses on theorizing the social implications of these analyses in terms of their impact on individuals, groups, and institutions.

The program offers three fields of specialized study:

  • Globalization, Identity and Social Movements
  • Body Politics: Gender, Sexuality and Embodiment
  • Cultural Representation and Social Theory

Students will take courses in at least two of the three fields. These three fields are underpinned by a required colloquium (CQ600 - Colloquium) as well as two core courses (CQ601 - Cultural Analysis and Social Theory and CQ602 - Approaches to Cultural Analysis) focused on the theories, concepts, and methods of cultural analysis and social theory. Students choose between two options of study. In the Course Work Option, students will take two or three terms of course work. In the Major Research Paper Option, students will take two terms of course work and write a major research paper in their third term.

Additional Information
 
Admission Requirements

In order to be admitted to the mastersí program, a student must meet the general admission requirements of the university. Applicants are expected to have an honours BA from a humanities, social science, or interdisciplinary program where social theory is taught. An average of B+ in the final year of full-time study or equivalent is usually required. Applications must be accompanied by official transcripts and be supported by at least two letters of recommendation from faculty members who are qualified to assess the applicantís potential for graduate training in the CAST program. Applications are reviewed by the CAST Admissions Committee, which considers all prior university grades, a statement of research interests, a writing sample, and letters of reference.

Proficiency in English usage, both written and oral, is essential to pursue graduate studies at Laurier. Applicants whose language of instruction during the undergraduate degree was other than English, must furnish evidence of superior proficiency in English, prior to admission.

 
Program Requirements

Students must develop their programs in consultation with the Graduate Director. The Graduate Director must approve the studentís program in all cases. To qualify for the degree a student must successfully complete one of the two following programs of study:

Course Work Option

  • CQ600 - Colloquium, CQ601 - Cultural Analysis and Social Theory, CQ602 - Approaches to Cultural Analysis
  • Five electives from at least two of the three fields

Major Research Paper Option

  • CQ600 - Colloquium, CQ601 - Cultural Analysis and Social Theory, CQ602 - Approaches to Cultural Analysis
  • Three electives from at least two of the three fields
  • CQ695* - Major Research Paper

The elective courses in each field are listed below. Not all electives may be available each year.

Globalization, Identity and
Social Movements
Body Politics: Gender,
Sexuality and Embodiment
Cultural Representation and
Social Theory
CQ610 - Race, Gender and Imperialism
CQ611 - Religion and Social Change
CQ612 - [Trans] National Identities, New Media/tions and the Place of the Public
CQ613 - Nostalgia and Exile: Memory, History, Identity
CQ614 - Language Policies and the Politics of Language Identity
CQ620 - Transforming Bodies
CQ621 - The Social Body
CQ623 - Technologies of Gender: Female Bodies and Feminist Communities in Cyberspace
CQ624 - Rethinking the Body via Deleuze and Guattari
CQ626 - Pornographic Bodies and North American Cultural Discourse
CQ630 - Risk, Media and the Politics of Anxiety
CQ631 - Cultural Studies in Theory and Practice
CQ632 - Hybrid Discourses, Discourses of Hybridity
CQ633 - Power, Hegemony and Resistance
CQ634 - Visuality and Cultural Analysis

With the approval of the Graduate Officer, one of the elective courses may be taken from a mastersí program of another department at Wilfrid Laurier University and one may be taken from a graduate program of another recognized university under the Ontario Visiting Graduate Student Plan. In addition to this, students may also arrange to take one of their courses as a directed studies course under the supervision of an individual CAST faculty member.

The normal sequence of registration and progression is illustrated in the following table:

Option
Fall term  Winter term
Spring term
Coursework
CQ600 - Colloquium
CQ601 - Cultural Analysis and Social Theory
two electives
CQ600 - Colloquium
CQ602 - Approaches to Cultural Analysis
two electives
one elective
Major Research Paper
CQ600 - Colloquium
CQ601 - Cultural Analysis and Social Theory
two electives
CQ600 - Colloquium
CQ602 - Approaches to Cultural Analysis
one elective
CQ695* - Major Research Paper

Grades for all courses will be assigned in accordance with the Course Requirements specified in the WLU Graduate Calendar. All Mastersí students must maintain a satisfactory academic standing as required by the general regulations of the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Major Research Paper

The major research paper is considered to be similar to a thesis in quality of work, but less than a thesis in scope. Students will complete a paper in which they engage in original research on an approved topic. Typically papers will be between 50 and 70 pages in length, excluding bibliography. The MRP will be evaluated by an Advisory Committee consisting of a faculty supervisor and one faculty reader. The supervisor will work closely with the student in supervising the research and writing of the paper, but both may advise and both will grade the final paper. The final grade will be an average of the two grades. All core faculty who are members of the graduate faculty may serve as supervisors. There is no oral defense.