Undergraduate degree and course: Bachelor of Science in Visual Communication
Previous job before MA: Correspondent, Panos Radio South Asia
Current Job: Senior Correspondent, India Today
A core course enables you to study the most advanced theorists of and questions surrounding both the ‘new’ cultural theory of Deleuze, Negri and Agamben as well as classical British cultural studies of the tradition established by Stuart Hall.
Your other core courses extend this groundwork by familiarising you further with both critical theory and methods of cultural analysis.
In addition you take a range of options that introduce a material focus to complement the theory you have covered – for example, in digital and genetic media, in urban space, in the creative industries, in art and the visual culture of everyday life.
You write a dissertation that consolidates this learning and prepares you for further study or engagement in the culture of today’s global capitalism.
Find out more about:
Written examination; essays; dissertation.
You can apply directly to Goldsmiths via the website by clicking the ‘apply now’ button on the main programme page.
You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.
Applicants are encouraged to submit by 31 May, though applications after this date may still be considered to start the following September.
We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place that is conditional on you achieving a particular qualification.
Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available.
Admission to many programmes is by interview, unless you live outside the UK. Occasionally, we'll make candidates an offer of a place on the basis of their application and qualifications alone.
You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at upper least second class standard in a relevant/related subject.
You might also be considered for some programmes if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.
If your first language isn't English, you need to demonstrate a minimum score of 7.0 in IELTS (including 7.0 in the written element) or equivalent to enroll and study on this programme.
Please check our English Language requirements for more information.
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The MA in Cultural Studies comprises:
Full-time students take the core course Cultural Theory in the autumn term, and the core course Text and Image in the spring term. Option courses can be taken in either autumn or spring term, depending on when they are offered and on your individual workload. A methodology report, including a dissertation proposal/outline, is submitted in May. The final dissertation (10-12,000 words) is submitted at the end of August/beginning of September.
Part-time students have some flexibility. They must however take core courses in Cultural Theory and Text and Image in their first year. Progression into the second year depends upon successful completion of these courses. The Dissertation is submitted at the end of the second year.
|CU71002A||Cultural Theory||30 CATS|
This course asks the questions: What is cultural studies. and, what is culture? A wide range of cultural theory dealing with issues concerning technology, art media, philosophy, and the economy, are explored in order to address a number of connected questions that span the field of contemporary cultural studies. Can culture be understood per se or may we only ever consider cultures? What is the nature of culture and how should we try to understnad what is specific to contemporary culture? What is cultural studies in a changing order, whereby China, India, and Latin America - the East and the South - become the drivers of global change? We look at the cultural foundations of the global economy: at 'individualist' and 'relational' orders of value. We ask who this non-Western other is and again, this time wth new eyes, who is 'the West'? We enquire into the Greek and Jewish-Christian transcendental God and in the process investigagte its association with the economic culture of our age; for its messianic ethos; for its critique of law; of neoliberalism and sovereignty and its everlasting obsession with justice; we think it as well for its implicit universalism and ask the broader question: what is universalism? We look at cultures of the East (especially China) and of the South. Here, as opposed to Western ontology, are questions of conduct and 'the way'; as opposed to the Western other-worldly God, immanent this-worldly, non-monotheistic, regimes of religion. We look at the immanent and relation culture of the gift and the clan, the linguistic foundations of Chinese culture. We ask, in this context, whether a new global universalism is possible.
M. Foucault, The Birth of Biopolitics
|CU71022A||Text and Image||30 CATS|
This course traces lines of intersection and divergence between theories of language or textual media and theories of the image. It aims to familiarize students with some of the problems that contemporary theory has inherited from previous attempts to think the relations among looking, seeing, knowing; writing, inscription, and memory. A secondary aim is to complicate dominant stories about the relationship of one set of paradigms, often textual or written, to rationality, communication, and instrumental thinking and the relationship of other, often visual paradigms to affect, embodiment, and a heightened sense of immediacy or violence in the confrontation with radical alterity. Special attention will be given to the place of models of language and of aesthetic experience in the definition of public space and political life, and to the legacies of modernity as seen through the lens of the “new” technologies of memory and of inscription via which it arrives. Given this concern with political and ethical dimensions of these models and paradigms, the course can be considered a 21st-century course in aesthetic theory.
Readings will be drawn from primary texts across a broad range of fields, including philosophy, literary and critical theory, linguistics, optics, and photography history and theory. We will consider the different statuses accorded text and image with respect to epistemological questions: questions about truth, or about the limits of reason and of knowledge. We will ask why these questions cannot be considered in isolation from their ideological and political implications, and we will explore various accounts, given in the theoretical literature, of the power of texts and images actually to determine what we think or know. Marxist theories of the commodity, historical accounts of colonial uses of photography, and theories of race as a visual technology are all equally apropos.
Students are expected to read closely and in depth and to do significant independent research in the relevant bodies of secondary literature in the preparation of the final essay. Successful essays will take into account a range of complications and counter-arguments in relation to a clearly defined problem and set of readings and will simultaneously demonstrate a command of the full spectrum of arguments presented in the lectures over the term. I.e., the lectures are structured in such a way that arguments are cumulative and knowledge requires synthesis, and it is essential that students attend all of the weekly lectures as well as a weekly seminar (see below).
Specific questions will include how philosophies of nature, being, and mind are entangled with art; perception with poiesis; mimesis with idealism; tekhne with fiction and revolution. It is common knowledge why the poets are cast out of Plato’s republic, but why is it that the true statesman, like the true philosopher, can be trusted to use figural language, when the rhetorician and the sophist cannot? Why does Marx’s commodity speak in hieroglyphs, whereas the master trope of ideology is the camera obscura? Why is mass literacy understood to be a baseline condition of modern democracy and yet a mass public transformed by globalization is thought to be readily deceived, perhaps now more than ever before, by pictures? Why could the Romanian revolution, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the first Gulf War only be televised, whereas the dissemination of images from other wars has been confined almost exclusively to the Internet?
Photography will be an important point of reference throughout, allowing us to trace in detail the history of a given technology, and to consider the ways that images and their meanings may or may not be both historically specific and culturally bound. Focused treatment of key problems in the history and theory of photography will highlight the legacy of all these entanglements for European modernity and for the ongoing production and deployment of non-European others. We will explore the obvious yet still undertheorized connections between photography and colonialism and the corollary destabilization of common understandings of photography as the inheritor of Western pictorial traditions (the metaphysical understanding of perspectivalism, the reduction of the physical world into units of information). How does photography help to expose or, alternatively, obscure the time-honored yet continuously shifting connections between race, gender, and other ruses and techniques of power? How best to analyze the collusion and transformation of textual and visual memory regimes in the development of new technologies and regimes of surveillance, war, and power?
Indicative reading list:
Agamben, Giorgio, The Man Without Content (Stanford: Stanford UP, 1999).
Alloula, Malek, The Colonial Harem, trans. Myrna Godzich and Wlad Godzich (Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1986).
Azoulay, Azoulay, Death’s Showcase: The Power of Image in Contemporary Democracy (Cambridge, MA: Zone Books/MIT Press, 2003) and The Civil Contract of Photography, trans. Rela Mazali and Ruvik Danieli. (Cambridge, MA: Zone Books/MIT Press, 2008).
Barthes, Roland, “The Reality Effect” (The Rustle of Language) and Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, trans. Richard Howard (New York: Hill and Wang, 1981).
Bataille, Georges, Manet, trans. Austryn Wainhouse and James Emmons (Geneva: Skira, 1955).
Bersani, Leo, The Death of Stéphane Mallarmé (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1982).
Blanchot, Maurice, “Literature and the Right to Death,” in The Work of Fire, trans. Charlotte Mandell (Stanford: Stanford UP, 1995) and The Writing of the Disaster, trans. Ann Smock (Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1995).
Breton, André, Surrealism and Painting, trans. Simon Watson Taylor (London: Macdonald and Co., 1972).
Crandall, Jordan, ed., Under Fire, Volumes 1-2 (Rotterdam: Witte de With, 2005).
Crary, Jonathan, Techniques of the Observer: On Vision and Modernity in the 19th Century (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1992).
de Man, Paul, Allegories of Reading: Figural Language in Rousseau, Nietzsche, Rilke, and Proust (New Haven: Yale UP, 1979) and “Sign and Symbol in Hegel’s Aesthetics,” in The Aesthetic Ideology, ed. Andrzej Warminski (Minneapolis: U of Minnesota, 1996).
Derrida, Jacques and Bernard Stiegler, Echographies of Television: Filmed Interviews, trans. Jennifer Bajorek (London: Polity, 2002).
Derrida, Jacques, “…that dangerous supplement…” (Of Grammatology) and Dissemination, trans. Barbara Johnson (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1983).
Descartes, René. Optics (selections).
Didi-Huberman, Georges, The Invention of Hysteria: Charcot and the Photographic Iconography of the Salpêtrière (selections);
Dyer, Richard, White: Essays on Race and Culture (London: Routledge, 1997).
Edwards, Elizabeth, Raw Histories: Photographs, Anthropology, and Museums (Oxford: Berg, 2001).
Fabian, Johannes, Time and the Other: How Anthropology Makes Its Object (New York: Columbia UP, 1983).
Foucault, Michel, This Is Not a Pipe.
Gonzalez, Jennifer, “Morphologies: Race as a Visual Technology,” in Only Skin Deep, ed. Coco Fusco and Brian Wallis (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2003).
Hegel, G.W.F., Introduction to Aesthetics (Oxford: Clarendon, 1975).
Heidegger, Martin, “The Age of the World Picture,” in The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays (New York: Harper and Row, 1977).
hooks, bell, “The Oppositional Gaze,” in Black Looks: Race and Representation (Boston: South End P, 1992).
Keenan, Thomas. “Looking like Flames and Falling like Stars: Kosovo, ‘the First Internet War’”; “Mobilizing Shame.”
Kofman, Sarah, “The Melancholy of Art,” in Sarah Kofman, Selected Writings, ed. Georgia Albert et al. (Stanford: Stanford UP, 2007) and “Rousseau's Phallocratic Ends,” in Nancy Fraser & Sandra Lee Bartky, eds., Revaluing French Feminism: Critical Essays on Difference, Agency, and Culture (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana UP, 1992).
Lévi-Strauss, Claude, Tristes Tropiques (London and New York: Penguin, 1992 ).
Lindberg, David, C., “Ancient Theories of Vision,” Theories of Vision from Al-Kindi to Kepler (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1976).
Mallarmé, Stéphane, selected poetry and prose.
Marin, Louis, To Destroy Painting, trans. Mette Hjort (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1995).
Negri, Antonio, The Political Descartes: Reason, Ideology, and the Bourgeois Project (London: Verso, 2006).
Poole, Deborah, “Equivalent Images” (Vision, Race, and Modernity).
Raiford, Leigh, “The Consumption of Lynching Images,” in Coco Fusco and Brian Wallis, eds., Only Skin Deep, (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2003).
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, Confessions (selection from Book One).
Saussure, Ferdinand de, Course in General Linguistics, ed. Charles Bally and Albert Sechehaye (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1966).
Sekula, Allan, “The Body and the Archive,” in Richard Bolton, ed., The Contest of Meaning: Critical Histories of Photography (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1989).
Sontag, Susan, On Photography (New York: Picador/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1977) and“Regarding the Torture of Others,” in The New York Times, May 23, 2004.
Starobinski, Jean. Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Transparency and Obstruction (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1988).
Virilio, Paul, War and Cinema: The Logistics of Perception, trans. Patrick Camiller (London and New York: Verso, 1989)
|CU71005A||Dissertation (Methodology and Research)||60 CATS|
The dissertation provides students with an opportunity to undertake a research project on a topic of significance to Cultural Studies, drawing on the knowledge, understanding and skills developed through the taught courses studied during the rest of the programme.
General preparation in addressing methodological questions relating to the dissertation, and training on specific research methods, are provided in a 5-week research methods course during the Spring term. This aspect of the course culminates in a 5,000 word essay/report comprised of a critical analysis of research methods.
Students then go on to conduct the research and complete the 10,000-12,000 word dissertation under the guidance of a dedicated supervisor.
|CU71007A||Interactive Media Critical Theory||15 or 30 CATS|
Students taking this as an option can choose the full 30 CAT course, or - with a minimum of 5 week's attendance - take it as a 15 CAT option.
This course looks at the intersection of theories of communication, perception and organization for a re-thinking of the concept of interactivity in the context of digital mediation – from photography to sound, from generative architecture to open source and viral networks. The course brings together philosophical, scientific, and aesthetic concepts to develop a trans-disciplinary discussion and approach to analyse the impact of software machines on modes of interactivity. This trans-disciplinary view implies a new engagement with software media focussed not exclusively on the analysis of new media within the context of dominant and classical critical approaches to media. The course rather poses an emphasis on the trans-disciplinary process of formation and production of key concepts in the field of software media insofar as such emerging field demands a novel design of thoughts. The course draws on the transformations of media theories - from semiotic (Barthes) to postsemiotics (Pierce), from psychoanalysis (Lacan, Zizek) to schizoanalysis (Guattari), from radical media theories (from McLuhan to tactical media) to new media theories (F.A. Kittler, P. Weibel, L. Manovich, M. Hansen, P. Levy, V. Flusser). These theories are studied according to recent approaches developed in critical thought through the works of Deleuze and Guattari, Foucault, Serres, Stiegler, Badiou, Grosz, Irigaray, Stengers, Massumi, Negri and in conjunction with mathematical theories of information and computing (Shannon and Weaver, Wiener, Turing, Von Neumann, Chaitin), biological theories of self-organization and nonlinear evolution (Maturana, Varela, Bateson, Margulis and Sagan), physical theories of chaos and complexity (Prigogine, Thom).
The first part of the course will focus on the concept of interactivity by looking at the software nature of interactive media from the standpoint of cybernetics, information theory, autopoietic self-organization, nonlinear evolution to develop an ecological or machinic approach for a philosophical, aesthetic and technoscientific study of digital media. The second part of the course will examine digital aesthetics (from photography to virtual reality, digital games and sound) by discussing the difference between information and sensation, the virtual and the actual, movement and affect, visual and acoustic space, the analogical and the digital, the continual and the discrete. The third part of the course will look at media ecologies in terms of network environments as a way to examine generative architectures, peer 2 peer, free-scale and open source networks from the standpoint of algorithmic calculation, rhizomatic organizations, memetic culture and collective socialities. The course will discuss the philosophical, technoscientific and aesthetic dimensions of new media ecologies by analysing interactive artworks, online and off line installations, and digital artefacts as examples for discussion.
A-L Barabási, Linked: The New Science of Networks
H Bergson, Matter and Memory
G Deleuze and F Guattari A Thousand Plateaus. Capitalism & Schizophrenia
T Druckrey with A Electronica (eds), Ars Electronica: Facing the Future
F Guattari, “Machinic Heterogeneities”, in Reading Digital Culture, D Trend (ed)
V Flusser, “On the Theory of Communication”, Writings
M Fuller (ed) Software Studies
F Kittler, Literature, Media, Information Systems: Essays
P Levy, Becoming Virtual: Reality in the Digital Age
M McLuhan, Understanding Media, the Extensions of Man
R H. Maturana and J F. Varela, The Tree of Knowledge: the Biological Roots of Human Understanding
B Massumi, Parables for the Virtual. Movement, Affect, Sensation
Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort (eds), The New Media Reader
Lev Manovich, The Language of New Media.
I Prigogine, The End of Certainty. Time, Chaos, and the New Laws of Nature
M Serres, Hermes, Literature, Science, Philosophy
_____, The Parasite
C E Shannon. and W Weaver, The Mathematical Theory of Communication
Baruch Spinoza, The Ethics
N Wiener, The Human Use of Human Beings: Cybernetics and Society
Weibel Peter and Bruno Latour, Iconoclash.Beyond the Image Wars, in Science, Religion and Art.
|CU71008B||Interactive Media Practical Methods 1: Media Systems, Media Ecologies, Turbulence||15 CATS|
About Interactive Media Practical Methods
This course promotes a critical attitude to media; its systems, and its ecologies. We will use a series of defamiliarisation techniques to create an environment where media becomes strange again and thus a site of experimentation.
The practical methods employed are not illustrations of the theoretical, just as the theory is not a simple distillation of the practical. Our methods will become tangible speculations, prods and pokes into the mediasystems that reassemble, block, or make possible our worlds.
Your learning will be self-directed within a group environment. You will need to be totally curious and open. You will formulate questions, based on your curiosities, that are answerable through research. You will foster the ability to perceive yourself objectively and accept feedback from others about personal performance non-defensively. We encourage you to constantly diagnose your own learning needs â identifying experiences and human, material, resources to accomplish the tasks you set yourself.
Media Systems, Media Ecologies, Turbulence
Lectures and seminars will focus on diverse topics of new media such as the confluence of media and culture and their relationships within social systems, different levels of perception in cultural narratives, the production and distribution of culture, etc. Lab sessions will be dedicated to the development of small projects and the teaching of technical skills. Visiting tutors might occasionally collaborate with lecturers or workshops.
|CU71011A||Postcolonial Theory||30 CATS|
The aim of this course is to introduce students to canonical, founding texts of Postcolonialism. Close, first-hand reading of texts is emphasized and student are required to probe the whole spectrum of postcolonial thinking -- from literary theory, politics, psychoanalysis, diaspora studies, race and gender studies, to philosophy, art, anthropology and history. Geopolitically, the emphasis is on the non-West and on the connections, linkages and translatory cultures forged through colonization, movements, travel and deterritorialization. We seek to problematize the very notion of post-coloniality -- understood not as a temporal marker but more as a style of thought -- as a problem. We begin with Edward Said’s Orientalism, and ponder the founding role of discourse in shaping geopolitical destinies and historical subjectivities. And that takes us into complex questions about the complicity between power and knowledge and the legacy of slavery and colonialism in the present. These discussions are pursued throughout the seminars as we proceed from Bhabha through Spivak and Gilroy to Mbembe and Povinelli. We interrogate Bhabha’s ideas of colonial ambivalence and mimicry and read Fanon and Glissant in the light of a generalised, global unhomliness to mark out the time of the postcolonial ‘contramodernity’ (Gilroy). While reading Spivak and Povinelli, we interrogate the enunciative modalities of liberal discourse and look for strategic prohibitions within which would not let the subaltern speak. The question about agency and location is confronted headlong in Chakrabarty’s Provincializing Europe while in
Through Timothy Mitchell’s Colonizing Egypt we debate the role of representation in non-western modernity. Through an interrogation of Deleuze’s idea of difference, we try to make sense of the postcolonial ‘right to difference' in the context of the politics of multiculturalism. Other themes highlighted in the course are: empire, secularism, governmentality, multiculturalism, gender and sexual politics, representation, minorities in Europe and diaspora.
Talal Asad, Formations of the Secular, 2003.
Homi Bhabha, The Location of Culture, 1994.
Sion Bignall and Paul Patton (ed.), Deleuze and the Postcolonial, 2010.
Dipesh Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe, 2000.
Gayatri Chakrovorty Spivak, Can the Subaltern Speak?, 1988.
Franz Fanon, The Wretched of The Earth, 2004.
Edouard Glissant, Poetics of Relation, 1997.
Paul Gilroy, Against Race, 2000.
Peter Hallward, Absolutely Postcolonial, 2002.
Achille Mbembe, On the Postcolony, 2001.
Naoki Sakai, Translation and Subjectivity: On "Japan" and Cultural
Charles Taylor, The Politics of Recognition, 1994
|CU71012A||Cultural Studies and Capitalism||30 CATS|
This course involves a close reading of Karl Marx’s Capital (Volume One). The connections between cultural studies and critiques of capitalism are considered in an interdisciplinary context (cinema studies, anthropology, musicology, international relations, and philosophy) which reaches from Marx through to Film Studies, from ethnographic approaches to Heidegger, from anarchism and surrealism to German critical theory and poststructuralism/post-colonialism/post-early-for-christmas. Topics covered include: alienation, commodification, production, technology, education, subsumption, anti-imperialism, anti-war movement and complicity. Using a series of illustrative films (documentary and fiction) and key theoretical texts (read alongside the text of Capital), we examine contemporary capitalism as it shifts, changes, lurches through its very late 20th and early 21st century manifestations – we will look at how cultural studies copes with (or does not cope with) class struggle, anti-colonialism, new subjectivities, cultural politics, media, virtual and corporate worlds.
The main reading will be the relevant chapter or chapters of Capital each week. Do also read the footnotes, they are sometimes quite entertaining (attacks on ‘moneybags’, comments on Shakespeare, notes on bamboo ‘thrashings’, and celebrations of the work of Leonard Horner, factory inspector).
K Marx, Capital: Volume One (Penguin or Progress Press)
T Adorno, Minima Moralia
G Bataille, The Accursed Share
Marx and Engels, The Communist Manifesto
F. Jameson, Representing Capital: A Reading of Volume On
S Lotringer (ed), Hatred of Capitalism: A Reader
G Spivak, A Critique of Postcolonial Reason
M. Taussig, My Cocaine Museum
|CU71015A||Theories of the Culture Industry: work, creativity and precariousness||30 CATS|
This course sets out the key theorizations of the culture industry. Whilst incorporating classical figurations of the culture industry, the course is primarily concerned to assemble a clear engagement with contemporary research such as those spearheaded by leading researchers at Goldsmiths. The organization and substance of work and of precarious labour, of the developing debates and mechanisms of ‘intellectual property’ and cultural workers’ development of institutions and networks as well as contemporary configurations of the professional will be discussed. Students will learn to strategise cultural production and intervention through exploration of relevant material. The globalization of the culture industry will provide a persistent and ambitious point of reference. The course will combine a critical assessment of the most significant theoretical frameworks for analyzing and understanding the contemporary cultural industries, with detailed analysis of the structure of specific cultural industries. The opening of the course will introduce key conceptual frameworks for interpreting the cultural industries, starting with the classic macro perspectives of the ‘culture industry thesis’ developed by The Frankfurt School, and Political Economy, which is concerned with the economic structure of the creative economy. These theoretical frameworks are read critically in relation to contemporary structural changes within the social world, primarily the shift from an industrial to a knowledge based economy, the rise of globalization, reorganizations in the labour market, and the proliferation of symbolic goods, brands and logos. As the course continues it draws more broadly from contemporary cultural theory in order to develop a model of the cultural industries which remains attuned to the influence of economic structure and ‘the domination of the commodity’ while being able to account also for the complex texture of innovation, creativity, and restructured power relationships which are emerging.
Theodor Adorno & Martin Horkheimer, ‘The Culture Industry, Enlightenment as Mass Deception’, in, Dialectic of Enlightenment, Verso, London, 1979
Theodor Adorno, The Culture Industry, Routledge, London, 2004
Bewes, T and Gilbert, J 2000 Cultural Capitalism: Politics after new Labour
Ulrich Beck and Elisabeth Beck-Gernsheim, Individualization: Institutionalized Individualism and Its Social and Political Consequences, Sage (Theory, Culture & Society), London, 2001
Ulrich Beck, The Brave New World of Work, Polity Press, Cambridge, 2000
Pierre Bourdieu, The Field of Cultural Production, 1993
Pierre Bourdieu, The Weight of the World, Polity, Cambridge, 2000
Paul Du Gay, ed. 1997 Production of Culture/ Cultures of Production.
Paul Du Gay and Pryke M. eds. Cultural Economy: Cultural analysis and Commercial Life, Sage, London, 2001
Kodwo Eshun, More Brilliant Than The Sun, Quartet, London, 2000
Dick Hebdige, Hiding in the Light, Routledge, London, 1989
David Hesmondhalgh, Cultural Industries, 2nd edn. Sage, London, Thousand Oaks and New Delhi, 2007
John Howkins, The creative economy: how people make money from ideas, Allen Lane/The Penguin Press, 2001
J. Hutnyk ‘Adorno at Womad, South Asian Crossovers and the Limits of Hybridity’, in Postcolonial Studies Vol 1 no 3, 1999.
J Hutnyk and S Sharma eds., ‘Music and Politics An Introduction’, in Theory Culture and Society vol 17 no 3, June 2000
Ettema, J & D. Whitney eds.. ‘Individuals in Mass Media Organisations: Creativity and Constraint’1982
Scott Lash and John Urry, Economies of Signs and Space, Sage, London, 1994
Scott Lash and Celia Lury, Global Culture Industry: The Mediation of Things, Cambridge: Polity, 2006
Charles Leadbetter, Living on Thin Air, 1999
Angela McRobbie, In the Culture Society: Art, Fashion and Popular Music, Routledge, London, 1999
Angela McRobbie, British Fashion Design: Rag Trade or Image Industry?, Routledge, London, 1998
Angela McRobbie, 'Fashion as a Culture Industry', in, Stella Bruzzi and Pamela Church Gibson, eds., Fashion Culture: Theories, Explanations and Analysis, Routledge, London, 2000
Angela McRobbie, 'From Holloway to Hollywood: Happiness at Work in the Cultural Economy' in Paul du Gay and M Pryke (eds.), Cultural Economy: Cultural Analysis and Commercial Life, Sage, 2001
Angela McRobbie, 'Clubs to Companies: Notes on the Decline of Political Culture in Speeded Up Creative Worlds', Cultural Studies, vol. 16 no.4, 2002, pp.516-531
Miege, B The Capitalisation of Cultural Production,. 1993
Keith Negus, Music Genres and Corporate Cultures, Routledge, London, 1999
Andrew Ross, No Collar, the humane workplace and its hidden costs, Basic Books, New York, 2003
Saskia Sassen, Cities In A World Economy, 1994
Herbert Schiller, Culture, Inc. The Corporate Takeover of Public Expression, 1989
Richard Sennett, The Corrosion of Character: The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism. W. W. Norton, 1998.
Julian Stallabrass, Art Incorporated, Verso, London 2005
Sharon Zukin, Loft Living, 1989
|CU71016A||Practices of the Culture Industry||30 CATS|
One of the problems that the study of the culture industry presents is that in its very nature its key object of analysis, the culture industry, as a whole has the status of a theoretical or policy-oriented fiction. Such a status does not negate its analytical use, but reflection on the particularly fragile and temporary nature of the field and its associated circumscription by notions of policy need to be brought into productive comparison with actual cultural practices. Equally, those active in the field described by this term recognise the term as belonging to a separate category of knowledge than that required to succeed in the production of culture. Culture involves complex networks of production ranging from the institutional and the transnational to the interpersonal and aesthetic. Here questions of genre, of variegated economic models and ultimately of existential and aesthetic rationale, break up any treatment of the culture industry as a coherent whole. Driven by questions of practice this core course is organized around a series of more detailed analyses of specific cultural dynamics, where the theoretical models from part one are brought to bear on individual areas of practice and the ways that they can and cannot be thought of in terms of ‘industry’. The section will focus on the empirical structure of particular, methodologies for researching the culture industries, and the practice of cultural workers within these fields. In addition to lectures by academic researchers with particular expertise in music, fashion, radio and new economies, students will have access to practitioners from the fields of radio, film, music and art.
Kathy Acker, ‘Writing, Identity and Copyright in the Net Age’, in, Bodies of Work, Serpent’s Tail, London, 1997, pp.66-80
Bernadette Corporation, Reena Spaulings, Semiotext(e), New York, 2004
Nicholas Bourriaud, Relational Aesthetics, Editions du Réel, Bordeux, 2002
Claire Bishop, ed., Participation, The MIT Press, Cambridge, 2006
Gilles Deleuze, Francis Bacon, the logic of sensation, Continuum, London
Peter Drucker, (1969). The Age of Discontinuity; Guidelines to Our changing Society. Harper and Row, New York. ISBN 0465089844
Thomas Franks, The Birth of Cool, beat, be-bop and the american avant garde, Free Press, New York, 2001
|CU71024A||Media Philosophy||15 CATS|
Media Philosophy is taught by Bernard Stiegler who is spending part of his time as a Professor at Goldsmiths. Bernard is author with Jacques Derrida of Echographies of Television, the celebrated Technics and Time and many other books. His work is translated in 15 languages. He has been a curator in Paris with Jean François Lyotard was Director IRCAM in Paris (after Pierre Boulez). He now heads up the Centre for Cultural Development at Centre Pompidou in Paris. He is the world’s most widely cited media theorist. This five-lecture course investigates the time and space of media. Of how technological media are involved in a process of what Plato called anamnesis (‘unforgetting’). It takes Derrida’s idea of language or ‘writing’ and incorporates this into a much more encompassing phenomena of technics. This course goes beyond Heidegger to establish how human beings are already and constitutively technical beings. We address the psychoanalysis of our technological culture. We look at its irreducible entanglement in images, in the psychoanalytic imaginary. We investigate how the incorporation of this imaginary, via media technologies, is at the heart of contemporary capitalism. We go beyond Heidegger’s being-toward death to look at a futurity of media and technology that violates the finitude of human beings. We understand media as much from an engineering point of view (Simondon) as from a philosophical one. We look at how information and media comprise self-reproducing non-linear systems; and how this involves the interchange of information between media and ourselves as neurological beings. This course is uncompromising in dealing with the philosophical questions underpinning contemporary media and technology. And is at the same time always embedded in the critique of today's capitalist political economy.
|CU71027A||Biopolitics & Aesthetics||15 CATS|
If, in modernity, bare life enters the stage of history and the field of politics for the first time - as the philosophers Michel Foucault and Giorgio Agamben have extensively argued - and we are living in a biopolitical age in which power intimately accesses and regulates this life, how do aesthetics register, mirror and contest these developments? The desire for modernist, avant-garde and critical art to burst their banks and fuse with 'everyday life', the chaos and contingency of social life, the body as a site of experience and action, parallels power's increasing need to act upon 'active subjects' and to co-opt the vitality of populations. This course will move schematically through key artists, movements and conditions of beholding, from the late 18th century until today, to explore this relationship and consider art's dual role as pioneer and antagonist of biopolitical power.
|CU71028A||Mediating the Social||30 CATS|
What is the social in social media? In this course we undertake theoretical and practical groundwork to develop an understanding of how social worlds operate. We look at a wide range of social processes and practices, both offline and online. The aim is to search for concepts and ideas that enable us to understand sociality, as it is found in existing forms of social media, and, more importantly, in that which is yet to be developed.
We will ask questions such as: What does it mean when we talk about networks or communities, audiences or users, needs or practices, media or mediation, interaction or collaboration, relations or ties, dyadic friendships or groups, assemblages or systems, structures or co-individuation, organisations or societies, publics and privacy, atmospheres and affects, cultures and ethos? How shall we understand the time of sociality, from presence and liveness to emergence and archives? How can we grasp a self that is at the same time a node in various networks, a member of various forms of collectivities, a habitus with a complex history, a mix of subjectivities, identities and a performance of confession? How should we take account of class, gender and other (demographic) differences? How can we start to understand mixed economies of digital and non-digital labour, money and various forms of values – and what is exploitation? What is the difference of exchange and gifts? What is the role of property, and what are its alternatives? What are individual and collective interests, and how are they organised in games? How can we conceptualise order, formal and informal rules, hegemony, control, power and its opposites? What does it mean, if all this plays out in the forms and limits of data, metadata, code, algorithms, texts, links, lists and (moving) images? To what extend can the social be programmed, and what happens, if developers and entrepreneurs envisage, co-create and co-control social worlds? What do we know about social, cultural and political impacts of social media, and what are possibilities of activist and hacktivist interventions?
In the lectures you will be introduced to concepts and theoretical takes, both classical and contemporary, that will help you to think through such questions. In the seminars you learn to apply these impulses to case studies. You engage in short ethnographic explorations, both offline and online (the seminars therefore includes training in basic ethnographic techniques). While you do so, you will also learn how to analyse specificities of various forms of media hardware in contemporary everyday life’s multi-screen environments. You develop ideas for new forms of social media and learn to address these to specific communities. You discuss the influence of cultural backgrounds, and you engage in the latest debates on social media.
You will be assessed continuously throughout the course. You will develop, often in group work, four small case studies, which each lead to 1000 word essays and sometimes to presentations. Some of these case studies are based on ethnographic explorations, others can use alternative methods, some are about offline social worlds, others are online case studies, or look into the integration of offline and online practices. Mediating the Social is the core course for the new MA/MSc in Creating Social Media (MACSM). MACSM students will write a further 1000 word reflexive essay on how one theme of the course informed a practical project. Non-MACSM students will develop a concept idea for an intervention into social media.
Auslander, P. (2008), Liveness. Performance in a Mediatized Culture, Routledge
Baym, N. (2010), Personal Connections in the Digital Age, Polity
Benkler, Y. (2006), The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom, Yale University Press
Berry Slater, J. and Pauline van Mourik Broekman (ed) (2009), Proud to be Flesh, Mute
Bourdieu, P. (1977), Outline of a Theory of Practice, Cambridge University Press
Chun, W. (2011), Programmed Visions, MIT Press
Collins, R. (2004), Interaction Ritual Chains. Princeton University Press
DeLanda, M. (2006), A New Philosophy of Society: Assemblage Theory and Social Complexity, Continuum.
Gluckman, M. (1958), Analysis of a Social Situation in Modern Zululand, Rhodes-Livingstone Paper 28
Goody, J. (1977), The Domestication of the Savage Mind, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Illouz, E. (2007), Cold Intimacies. The Making of Emotional Capitalism, Polity
Knorr-Cetina, K. (2001), ‘Objectual Practice’ in Theodore Schatzki et al (ed.),The Practice Turn in Contemporary Theory, Routledge, 175–188
Marx, K. and F. Engels (1998), The Communist Manifesto, Penguin
Mauss, M. (1990), The Gift: Forms and Functions of Exchange in Archaic Societies, Routledge.
McKenzie Wark, K. (2007), Hacker Manifesto, Harvard University Press
Scholz, T. and Laura Y. Liu (2010), From Mobile Playgrounds to Sweatshop City, Situated Technologies Pamphlets 7
Simondon, G. (1958), Du mode d'existence des objets techniques. Paris. (Partial translation on available on web)
Turkle, S. (2011), Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, Basic Books
White, H. C. (2008), Identity and Control: How Social Formations Emerge (Second edition). Princeton University Press
|CU71069A||Software Studies||15 CATS|
Software Studies is specifically concerned with the inter-relation between the cultural, social, and the technical. The course provides key theoretical tools for understnading digital technologies and the software that underlies them. It provides an essential interface for courses that aim to link cultural and social concerns and practices with the technical.
Students will read and work with current and historical documents from the history of computing and computing culture, alongside those from cultural theory, as such this is be a uniquely interdisciplinary course that brings together and works through different approaches to the problematic of effective and inventive working in contemporary creative and social technologies.
Software studies is an interdisciplinary field that has emerged over the last decade amonthst an international range of scholars and has a particular strength in Goldsmiths. It combines approaches form the arts, humanities and social sciences with those drawn from computing, in order to develop a creative and critical approach to the theories and practices of computing. Software is understood to be a core, yet under-theorised, aspect of contempoarary culture and society. This course examines how software, and computing more broadly, is deply implicated in the development of aesthetics, political forms, social agency and the generation of new forms of subjectivity. It follows a line of enquiry that draws together inventive critical thinking from technologists, hackers, computer scientists, philosophers, artists and cultural theorists, thus providing the context for a rich discussion on the nature of contemporary software cultures.
Students will write an essay or investigative report into a software stysem, a programming language, an aspect of the history of computing, work of software art, or other such topic.
MA in Cultural Studies, 2011
"The Centre for Cultural Studies offers an exciting and unique research space for interrogating existing forms of knowledge. Students and researchers are relatively free to experiment with new ideas and political strategies, and exchanges can be lively, sharp and sinewy. I used my MA research here to develop much of the material for my forthcoming book with a leading political-philosophy publisher, and I met a lot of interesting people in the process. Whilst at CCS I co-organised reading groups, a conference, and edited the Nyx Noctournal publication, and I now coordinate a men's suicide prevention campaign in London."
MA Cultural Studies Course, 2011
Undergraduate degree and course: Bachelor of Science in Visual Communication
Previous job before MA: Correspondent, Panos Radio South Asia
Current Job: Senior Correspondent, India Today
“I chose the Cultural Studies course for the potential it held in widening my knowledge base, especially in media and media theory related ideas, which I hoped would help enhance my career prospects in journalism.
The course stood out for me. It was unlike other courses I had looked at, and because I had already acquired a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism, I felt the knowledge that I would gain from a course in Cultural Studies would be more relevant to me.
The course has taught me how to read philosophical and theoretical texts in a structured manner, research and write in detail on subject areas of my choice and interest, and in particular, develop a meticulous reading habit.
My favourite part of the course was organising the seminar called Unfinished Business—Undoing Cultural Studies, along with other peers from my department. The seminar dealt with a wide array of issues regarding cultural theory and how it is practiced. I was primarily involved in the making of a short-documentary which involved gaining opinions from a large spectrum of people on the question of culture. The process was a student-initiated affair, and it was a great learning experience organising the event itself.
I believe the course has helped me to develop a more analytical framework, which I can apply when possible during my work as a journalist. The theory I learnt has also helped me form more coherent arguments.
Throughout the course, I was really inspired by works such as Thousand Plateaus by Deleuze and Guattari, and the theoretical texts of Michel Foucault, which I was unfamiliar with before the course commenced. A wide range of South Asian texts, including works by writers like SH Manto, also provided me with a new perspective.
In the future, I would like to have a job which enables me to produce journalistic reports and features on a consistent basis, and on a wide-array of subjects within the South Asian context.
I think for perspective students interested in this course, it would be good to know exactly how you would like to apply theory, to learn, and get informed about your chosen field before enrolling on to the course.”
Interviewed by Claire Shaw
MA Cultural Studies, 2011
Undergraduate degree and course: BSc Economics at Bocconi University in Milan, Italy
Previous job before MA: Rights Manager at Zed Books in London
Current Job: Rights Manager at Verso Books
“I chose this course because I wanted to complement my studies in economics with a more philosophical approach. I felt the course could teach me how to contextualise my work in the publishing industry within a critical interpretation of culture and cultural production, as well as improve the theoretical foundations of my writing.
I particularly liked the department of cultural studies and how it provided a truly interdisciplinary approach, while at the same time creating strong connections between philosophy, cultural theory, anthropology, sociology, art and even business studies.
I gained a deeper understanding of the various theoretical and critical approaches to cultural production during the course. This has helped me contextualise both my work and my position as a cultural consumer. I also met some very interesting people during my studies, who I hope to stay in touch with.
The course allowed me to understand the industry I work in as a field of cultural production, and how I can interact with it and with all its philosophical and political implications.
I enjoyed the courses’ scope for independence, which meant I had the time and the resources to explore and research, which was a great asset to the writing I am doing now.
During my studies, Franco Berardi ‘Bifo’ really inspired me through his writing and through our friendship, along with writer Mark Fisher who I still frequently discuss ideas with. In terms of more contemporary journals, I have found Wilful Disobedience a very worthwhile read.
The knowledge I have gained from the course has definitely made me a lot more familiar with the concepts behind the books that Verso, the company I work for, publishes.
My dream would be to live well while writing, as well as having free time to travel.
I would advise prospective students to read as much as you can and try to meet and talk with people, not just the ones on your course, and try and have a mentor/friend that you can discuss your work with.”
Interviewed by Claire Shaw
Around half of students completing this programme progress to PhD level, and others go into practical work – in the creative industries and in NGOs in a great number of countries.
High-level knowledge of cultural research; transferable skills within social and critical theory, aesthetics and performance, communication and multimedia; ethnography skills; critical appreciation of current debates in the media, the culture industries and the wider contemporary cultural environment.
Goldsmiths, University of London, New Cross, London, SE14 6NW, UK
Telephone: + 44 (0)20 7919 7171
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