About Us


The Cultural Studies program responds to the need to understand the formation of culture beyond national and territorial boundaries. As the geographic grounding of culture no longer applies, understanding and responding effectively to the complexities of a global(ized) world calls for profound theoretical and interdisciplinary knowledge which is necessarily self-reflective and conscious of the role that power and discourse plays in the construction of cultural practices.

The major will facilitate this effort at Villanova by taking advantage of the strengths in the professoriate, curriculum, student body and resources we currently possess. 


Mission Statement

Cultural Studies is an interdisciplinary academic field that seeks to understand, critique, and influence cultural phenomena. It draws on a number of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences to scrutinize questions of identity, race, gender, class and community, and explore their manifestation in different cultural practices. By examining the link between power and discourse, Cultural Studies deals with the representation of the human experience through which knowledge of culture is acquired.

Cultural Studies analyzes the ideological underpinnings  of everyday cultural practices such as why and how we watch television, eat out at a restaurant, or become fans of a particular football team. We also study the ways in which systems of belief – be they religious, political, or scientific – shape the production of cultural knowledge and become hegemonic in a given societal or historical context. Rather than investigating one particular culture of the world, Cultural Studies approaches its objects of study – a work of art, fiction, a film, a theater production, or a hip-hop song, for instance – in a holistic way, drawing from different theoretical tools. Cultural Studies is a field of study at the convergence of academic subjects such as literary theory, feminist theory, political science, history, art history, philosophy, sociology, cultural anthropology, media studies, communications, linguistics, and translation studies, to name a few.

Our mission is to raise students’ global awareness and intercultural competence. The Cultural Studies Program offers courses that question monolithic, ethnocentric, and gendered approaches to the world, exposing students to diverse, multicultural and multiracial narratives and world views. Through the comparative analysis of strategies of representation and mechanisms of cultural production, students will acquire familiarity with a variety of literary and cultural traditions across national and linguistic boundaries, evaluating their nature, function and value from a global perspective. Students will learn about theoretical foundations across disciplines and the relationship between texts, media and power.

Welcome from the Director

Dr. Karyn Hollis

"[This new program] will give our students an edge to compete in an increasingly tight market for graduate programs and other forms of intellectual engagement or employment."

Karyn Hollis, Ph.D
Director - Cultural Studies Program


Upcoming Events

What is Cultural Studies

Stuart Hall

“What [do] cultural changes amount to? [Are] there new emergent cultural forces and tendencies? Above all, how [are] these historical processes to be qualitatively undestood and assessed?

Cultural Studies [is] a set of disciplines addressing relevant issues about contemporary society.”

Stuart Hall, cultural theorist, 
founding figure of British Cultural Studies.