The Cultural Studies track explores how people from various cultures and societies understand their place in the universe. How do people produce narratives or music or art to make sense of the world around them? What social structures do they create to relate to one another?
What rituals and customs do they practice? And how are these understood in very specific contexts? To practice cultural interpretation requires area studies. Students must master a language, study abroad, and build an inter-disciplinary expertise focused on that region.
Building on Kenyon's strength in the humanities, students selecting this track will choose one of three areas of thematic focus: Religious and Cultural Studies explores how religious beliefs or practices shape cultural expression; Literature and Cultural Studies explores how culture becomes defined and expressed through literature, the arts, and language; History and Cultural Studies explores how cultures and societies use the past to interpret and give meaning to the present. In each case, students will blend area specialization with cross-disciplinary training. Film, art, music, philosophy may be options in specific case, where a student is able to fill those requirements.
The area studies component can focus on traditional geographic regions such as East Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Africa, and Latin America, or it can explore other trans-regional cultural zones that have formed from the migration of people and ideas, such as the Afro-Atlantic world, the Islamic world, and the Chinese and Indian diasporas.
To major in International Relations in the Cultural Studies track, students must fulfill the following requirements:
INST 201 (The Expansion of International Society)
Students must choose a thematic focus in one of the following: Religious and Cultural Studies ; Literature and Cultural Studies; or History and Cultural Studies.
Religious and Cultural Studies
Introductory: one of the following: RLST 101, 102, or 103 and one of the following: ANTH 113, HIST 100, INDS 333, an MLL course between 323 and 326, MUSC 206.
Upper-level: four courses in RLST above the 100 level; and two religion-centered courses in other departments: for example, HIST 328, HIST 439, HIST 444, INDS 231, PHIL 240, SOCY 221.
Method: RLST 390
Literature and Cultural Studies
Introductory: an MLL course between 323 and 326; and one of the following: ANTH 113; HIST 100; MUSC 206 ; RLST 101, 102, or 103.
Upper-level: Four courses in MLL beyond the introductory requirement above (the second semester of the introductory Spanish and French literature sequences--SPAN 324, FREN 324--may be counted toward this requirement); and two relevant literature, film, or art history courses from other departments.
Method: An upper level course on post-colonial literature in ENGL or an upper-level course on post-colonial literature or culture in MLL. (Courses taken to satisfy this requirement cannot be used to satisfy the upper-level course requirement.)
History and Cultural Studies
Introductory: HIST 100 or a director-approved substitute; and one of the following: ANTH 113, INDS 333, an MLL course between 323 and 326, MUSC 206, RLST 101, 102, or 103.
Upper-level: Four courses in HIST above the 100 level; and two historically based courses from another department: for example, INDS 333, RLST 240, RLST 270.
Method: HIST 387
Students must take 4 courses on one of the following geographic or cultural regions: sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, the Islamic World, Latin America and the Caribbean, East Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, Eastern Europe, or Western Europe. To fulfill this requirement, students may double count up to two appropriate courses taken to fulfill the student's thematic focus. At least two of the four area courses, however, must fall outside the student's thematic focus. (For example, literature students must take at least two courses dealing with some other aspect of the region, such as its history or religions.) At least 2 of the area courses must be taken at Kenyon.
Majors must complete at least one year of language study beyond the introductory level, for any language offered at Kenyon. If you are studying abroad in a place where the local language is one not offered at Kenyon, then you must complete the Kenyon language requirement and, for the major, take the equivalent of two semesters of additional language study while abroad or through summer programs. All students are required to study a local language during their study-abroad experience.
All international studies majors must study abroad for at least one semester in an area where the majority of the people speak a language different from the student’s own primary language. Students are expected to study abroad on programs relevant to their academic interests within the International Studies major, area expertise, and foreign language training. Keep in mind that off-campus study at Kenyon is competitive and writing a strong application is critical. In order to study abroad, a student must receive approval from the College and have achieved a GPA of at least 2.75.
The senior seminar, INST 401 (Contemporary Global Issues) is a comparative course that brings all international studies majors together to look at significant global problems from the various perspectives they bring based on their specializations.