May 29, 2014

A new Bachelor of Arts in Humanities and Cultural Studies is being offered at UCF that will include additional courses in theory and methods along with the traditional historical focus.

The revised degree replaces the previous Bachelor of Arts in Humanities to reflect developments in contemporary scholarship and research areas of the UCF faculty. Students already majoring in Humanities – about 80 – can choose which catalog requirements to follow; new students will be required to follow the new requirements.

“We hope that this new, streamlined and more theoretical program will be appealing to more students,” said Michael Strawser, chair of the Department of Philosophy and an associate professor.

The 36-credit-hour degree will teach students to more readily understand the relevance of culture and meaning to their life and world,” said Claudia Schippert, director of the program and an associate professor of Humanities and Religious Studies. The new degree was approved last year and put in the 2014-15 course catalog.

The requirements are divided into three components:

  • Humanistic Foundations courses offer study in specific historical periods of cultural production, such as ancient, medieval, modern or contemporary expressions of human and cultural texts.
  • Theories & Methods courses teach theoretical methods that allow students to engage historical and contemporary cultural texts with analytical approaches.
  • Cultural Traditions and Topics courses focus on understanding and valuing global cultural traditions in depth, such as African humanities, Latin-American humanities, or Asian humanities, and require students to contextualize and critically engage in key topics such as “justice,” “freedom,” “love” or “empire.”

“While many degree programs exist that allow students to pursue historical or literary or political study, the program in Humanities and Cultural Studies is unique in its intentionally interdisciplinary focus and its grounding in a Cultural Studies approach,” Schippert said.

“This degree is for students who are interested in obtaining key competencies in the liberal arts, such as thinking critically about the world we live in, who want to examine how meaning is generated, disseminated, and produced in social, political and economic spheres within a given culture, and who wish to combine historical, literary, artistic, philosophical, and related critical approaches in their interdisciplinary study.”

She said students pursuing this degree also will learn solid research skills and how to read, think, and write critically “in an increasingly culturally diverse and politically complex world.”

Schippert has worked in the Department of Philosophy since 2001 and directed the Religious Studies program from 2002 to 2010. Her research interests are in the areas of American cultural studies, religion in America, feminist and queer theories, feminist ethics, and comparative approaches to bodies and sexualities.

Category: Department, Highlight

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