The aim of the programme is to offer grounding in the theories on Cultural Studies which draws on Marxism, Structuralism, Post-Structuralism, Post-Marxism, Feminism, and Post-Modernism and their use, application and adaption in the cross-cultural contexts of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. It provides an examination of the main historical concepts in Western culture such as ideology, power, class, identity, race, nation, subjectivity, representation, and memory and how these are challenged by scholars working in non-Western cultures of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The aim is to explore the different and plural cultural histories and memories of these contexts to which Cultural Studies must adapt.
Theoretical paradigms covered will reflect on issues of class, ‘race’, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, representation and religion. The course will investigate central questions of epistemology and methodology in relation to the application of Cultural Studies theories in non-Western contexts. The programme is theory and practice based and therefore, it draws on case studies from a diversity of cultural practices, genres and contexts to elucidate complex theoretical concepts and challenge their limitations and/or validity in the context of Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
The programme aims to equip students with sufficient knowledge to understand and evaluate the way in which Cultural Studies theories and methods are used in cross-cultural contexts and hence develop analytic skills for undertaking their own research projects.
The Programme will consist of modules valued at 3 units and a dissertation of 10,000 words.
Full-time students will be allowed to enrol for four units during term one (part-time students two or three), if one of the units is a language acquisition unit. At the end of term one they will have to withdraw from one unit, leaving units to the value of three (pro rata for part-time students) and a dissertation.
A postgraduate degree in Cultural Studies from SOAS provides its students with expertise in non-European cultures, in-depth regional knowledge, and strong research and critical analysis skills. As well as subject expertise, Postgraduate students are equipped with the transferable skills needed to continue in research as well as the skills needed to enable them to find professional careers in the private and public sectors. These include familiarity with methods of research; the ability to absorb and analyse large quantities of information; organisational skills. A postgraduate degree is a valuable experience that provides students with a body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.
The SOAS Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies (CCLPS) exists to promote the disciplines of Comparative Literature, Cultural Studies and Postcolonial Studies in relation to Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The Centre is housed in and administered by the Faculty of Languages and Cultures, but as a Centre dedicated to interdisciplinary study it is not subordinate to any single Department in the Faculty, either administratively or intellectually.
Many theorists and scholars in the different disciplines of Comparative Literature, Cultural Studies and Postcolonial Studies are stressing the need for a move toward the study of non-European literatures and non-European aesthetic and cultural practices. The range of expertise in non-European literatures and cultures offered at SOAS aims to respond and contribute to current critical and theoretical debates in these disciplines.
The mission of the CCLPS is therefore to promote research on non-European cultures and literatures in the disciplines of Comparative Literature, Cultural Studies and Postcolonial Studies, with the aim of having an impact on the debates and of eventually reinvigorating and pioneering certain dimensions of the disciplines. The SOAS CCLPS also aims to promote comparative critical thought and postgraduate research in critical methods derived from the study of non-European literatures and aesthetic and cultural practices, in addition to written literatures in European languages.
The SOAS CCLPS provides an administrative and intellectual home for the School’s MA Comparative Literature, MA in Cultural Studies and MA in Postcolonial Studies, as well as the MPhil/PhD programmes in these three disciplines. The Centre places its emphasis on the acquisition of critical theoretical skills and in-depth regional knowledge across disciplines. Members of the Centre and current research students work on an exceptionally wide range of topics, both theoretical and critical. Supervision for research students can be provided across this wide range. MPhil/PhD students may register for a degree in Comparative Literature, Cultural Studies or Postcolonial Studies while being supervised by an associate member based in a SOAS department.
The Centre organises a training programme in the three disciplines for research students, in coordination with the faculty wide Research Training Seminar, which is supported by regular Centre seminars. The Centre also liaises with other discipline-based centres and departments over the following MA degree programmes offered faculty wide: MA African Literature, MA Chinese Literature, MA Japanese Literature, MA Korean Literature, MA Arabic Literature, MA Gender Studies, MA Theory and Practice of Translation.
Membership of the SOAS Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies is open to all academic staff and students at SOAS as well as to individuals based in other higher education institutions in the UK with an academic interest in the disciplines of Comparative Literature, Cultural Studies and Postcolonial Studies. Membership will operate on an annually renewable basis. Members will be listed under the following headings: Steering Committee, SOAS Staff (listed by discipline), SOAS Postgraduates (listed by discipline), International Advisory Board (to be invited by Chair through Steering Committee), Visiting Scholars and Affiliated Scholars. An up-to-date list of current members will be maintained by the Centre and will be subject to the Data Protection Act.