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, historically grown 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, 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.
Students in the Honors program will further develop these abilities, their research, and writing skills, and will produce theses comparable in quality and depth to many Master’s theses.