Cultural Studies

Cultural anthropology studies what it means to be human by investigating the diverse ways human groups have solved universal problems: how to communicate, approach the sacred, form families, and physically survive. This perspective fosters an understanding of other cultural groups' social structures and the values that motivate them. In addition to traditional research, the techniques and insights of cultural anthropology and cultural studies can be a valuable asset to anyone working directly with people in business, counseling, management, ministry, teaching, development or social service. Our cultural studies minor can be combined with any major and can be completed on-campus or with a semester of studies abroad.

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Minor requirements

SOC 290CC - Cultural Anthropology
(4 credits) (NWCore option under Cross-Cultural Engagement) This course is about learning a way of seeing and understanding other cultures and our own culture(s) - introducing and drawing on ideas and insights from the field of Cultural Anthropology. In a globalizing and increasingly interconnected world these ideas and insights can serve a critical need in helping us understand and learn how to live in with cultural diversity and complexity. Thus the value of this course is in learning a new way of seeing and understanding, a way that helps us think about what it means to be human, a way that helps us understand and live with our neighbors -- locally and globally.
SOC 304CC - Ethnicity, Power and Identity
(4 credits) (NWCore option under Cross-Cultural Engagement) This course develops a sociological perspective on ethnicity, power, and identity. Sociologists frequently seek to balance an emphasis on both the general patterns that we observe across social phenomena and the uniqueness of each specific case. The primary goal of this course is not simply learn the characteristics of specific historically marginalized populations. Instead, this course will seek to answer the question: What is the relationship between power, ethnicity, and identity? Our readings and discussions will shed light upon this question from different perspectives. Along the way, we will also draw upon learning materials that address the unique historical situations of specific groups as they endure and struggle against power imbalances (for example, the African American Civil Rights Movement). Cross-Referenced: Cross-referenced in criminal justice.

Electives: 16 credits

Up to 16 credits from a semester abroad from an accredited institution.
ENG 225 - Literature of the Developing World
(4 credits, alternate years, consult department) To paraphrase Salman Rushdie, the Empire has written back. The last half of the 20th century has produced a number of literary texts written in English by authors from the recently independent nations of the Old British Empire. These texts have proved so rich in both literary value and cultural context that their authors, Wole Soyinka, Derek Walcott, Chinua Achebe, and Rushdie himself, have won the most prestigious literary prizes available. We will be reading and appreciating these books, both as ripping good yarns, and as significant cultural documents that teach us much of how members of other societies think, feel, and act. Prerequisite: ENG250LC.
ENG 386 - The Other America
(4 credits, alternate years, consult department) America is home to a variety of peoples and literatures; this course focuses on the development of literatures produced by those outside the Anglo-European tradition whose experiences tell a different story about America. The goal of the course is to enrich students' views of the content of American Literature and to familiarize them with a culture or cultures with which they may not be conversant. The course may be taught as African American, Native American, Asian American, or Hispanic American literature. Alternatively, the instructor may choose to focus on literatures in contact and conflict with one another, for example, the turbulent confluence of Native American, Anglo, and Hispanic Literatures of Nueva España. Prerequisite: ENG250LC. Note: See the instructor for the specific offering before enrolling. This course may be taken more than once, provided a different literature is studied.
GEN 316 - Cross-Cultural Preparation
(1-4 credits; may be repeated; non-yearly, consult department) This course is designed specifically for students planning to engage in an approved for-credit off-campus, cross-cultural experience of two weeks or more during the summer and winter intersessions. The course introduces students to the structures of culture in general and the specificities (historical, political, social, religious, etc.) that inform particular groups of people, their ways of thinking, as well as behavioral patterns. Students learn skills in cross-cultural communication and gain insight into the target culture with which they will be interacting during their off-campus study experience, whether domestic or study abroad.
GEN 350CC - Topics in Cross-Cultural Studies
(2-6 credits; summer; may be repeated) (NWCore option under Cross-Cultural Engagement) Northwestern College offers a variety of off-campus opportunities with Northwestern faculty in various countries around the world. These courses offer a unique opportunity for students to make the world their classroom, going beyond the confines of the traditional classroom. Students are given an opportunity to examine a particular culture through various experiences, such as home stays, ethnographic observation/research, and placement in various social institutions. Past programs have taken students to Austria, China, the Czech Republic, France, Great Britain, Ecuador, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Jamaica, Mexico, Oman, Romania, Russia, South Africa, and Taiwan. Note: Open to all students.
KIN 360CC - Sport in Societies
(4 credits) (NWCore option under Cross-Cultural Engagement) A cross-cultural comparison of the relationship between sport and society. The primary emphasis will be the comparison of sport in the United States with sport in selected cultures, while attempting to develop a Christian worldview of sport. Prerequisite: sophomore class standing.
MUS 320CC - World Musics
(3 credits, alternate years, consult department) (NWCore option under Cross-Cultural Engagement) Music is an integral part of every culture. By studying the music of other cultures, including the way music relates to faith, power, societal structure, and daily life, students will be able to better understand, love, and treat people from other cultures with justice. This class will give students tools from the field of ethnomusicology to engage with the music of the world's people through listening, observing, researching and music-making.
PSC 260CC - Human Geography
(4 credits) (NWCore option under Cross-Cultural Engagement) This course introduces the study of political, physical and cultural features of space and place around the world. Familiarity with major physical and political features of the world's regions will be stressed. In addition, the course will raise various issues connected with the cultural aspect of geography, e.g., perceptions of place, changes in space over time, the interactions of human communities, the natural environment and patterns of human presence on the land.
BTS 390CC - World Religions
(4 credits) (NWCore option under Cross-Cultural Engagement) The major religions of the world are examined in the light of the Christian faith. This course emphasizes the interaction of religion and culture with a view to cross-cultural understanding. In-depth research into a specific topic related to world religions is required.
SPA 202 - Intermediate Spanish Language and Culture
(3 credits) Combined study of intermediate language and culture. Study of primary sources in print, audio and visual forms to develop appreciation for the ways culture in general and the language's culture in particular shape a variety of social contexts. Building on previously acquired ability in Spanish, continued study of language in a communicative context with considerable emphasis upon precision and expansion of linguistic skills. Prerequisite: SPA201LA, or placement by the foreign language placement exam.
SPA 351 - Survey of Hispanic Literature from Spain
(3 credits, alternate years, consult department) A study of peninsular Spanish literature from El Cid to the present. Emphasis upon major literary movements and their representative masterpieces. Prerequisite: SPA314 or permission of instructor. Note: Taught in Spanish.
SPA 352 - Survey of Hispanic Literature from the Americas
(3 credits, alternate years, consult department) A study of Spanish Latin-American literature from the colonial period to the present. Emphasis upon major literary movements and their representative masterpieces. Prerequisite: SPA314 or permission of instructor. Note: Taught in Spanish.

Total credits required: 24