Introduction to Cultural Theory


8 weeks

Day and time:


Next course: Date to be confirmed

Course overview

Related subjects


Department Centre for Cultural Studies

Tiffany Page


Richard Hoggart Building, Room 353

This short course introduces you to key figures, theories and approaches in cultural theory and the broader contexts in which such theories have applied.

How can the work of cultural theorists help in analysing local and global issues? What happens when we start to consider the inter-relationships between culture, experience, bodies and traditions, and question the ways knowledge is produced about them? 

As a discipline and a distinctive problematic, cultural studies, led by the work of Professor Stuart Hall, offers a way of exploring the world by interrogating and asking questions of ‘culture’ and the inter-relationships between elements the make up particular ways of life.  By asking where and how people experience and respond to conditions of everyday life, cultural theory is interested in how lifeworlds are lived and the relations and attachments that are formed between people, objects, and places. Rather than seeking to find the truth of particular claims of knowledge, cultural theory provides a means of considering what is assumed, ignored, and missed during investigations. Starting with questions rather than answers, this course considers particular theoretical approaches to investigating culture, people and places. 

This is an introductory course and no previous experience in cultural theory is required. 

Why take this course at Goldsmiths?

The Centre for Cultural Studies (CCS) at Goldsmiths is the largest in the UK and is home to Europe's largest PhD programme in Cultural Studies. The Centre and its students are involved with the Centre for Feminist Research, as well as the Media and Communications, Sociology, Computing and Art Departments at Goldsmiths. Our students are engaged in far-reaching projects and we are committed to connecting the discipline of cultural studies to engaging with and understanding important historical and contemporary local and global issues. 

What will I study?

Each session will be delivered in a 2.5 hour format which will involve approximately 1 hour of lectures (complimented with audio-visual material). The remaining time will be devoted to group/workshop activities to enable you to clarify and consolidate understanding, develop insights, question and interrogate assumptions, engage in critical evaluation of the ideas presented in the lectures and reading materials, and share your ideas with other members of the class.

The course has a particular focus on feminist, queer and postcolonial theory and will introduce key thinkers in these fields, who will be paired with a range of articles on contemporary issues. The course will introduce you to cultural theorists writing on the decentring of ‘normative’ subjects and how varied ways of differentiating individuals, such as through economic, gendered, cultural, and experiential dimensions, intersect in specific contexts and under particular conditions. Themes include how certain individuals and groups are recognised, created and treated as subjects, as well as marginalised and erased. We will look at the ways different bodies are sensed and experienced, and how attachments to places, people, resources and things might be mediated through historical, cultural and geopolitical conditions. Challenges to dominant ways of thinking about time and space will also be introduced, helping to question how knowledge is produced and by whom. 

What are the aims of the course?

The course will enable you to explore, critically analyse, question and engage with different strategies in approaching issues that concern you. You will apply cultural theory to particular debates and social issues and use theory and critical skills to address your own fields of interest to propose further investigations, interventions and inquiry. You will have the opportunity to connect with a network of critical readers through the other participants in the course, and prepare for further study in the area of cultural studies and its related disciplines.

What are the intended learning outcomes? 

On successful completion of this course, participants will:

  • Critically read and engage with some of the key theories and debates that have defined and shaped the field of cultural theory
  • Contextualise theory and discussions within contemporary issues and be able to apply cultural theory to recent debates and social issues
  • Apply and connect theory and critical skills to your chosen field of interest
  • Connect with a like-minded network of critical readers
  • Prepare for further study in the area of cultural theory

Who teaches this course?

The Centre for Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths College engages in both academic and community driven scholarship and projects.

On this course you will be taught by Dr Tiffany Page, who is currently a Visiting Research Fellow within the Centre for Feminist Research at Goldsmiths. Tiffany specialises in the application of feminist, queer and post-colonial theory and methods of inquiry within cultural studies. She has taught in universities and in a range of organisational environments as a consultant and professional trainer.

How to Apply

We are currently in the process of finalising future dates for this course. Please click here to register your interest



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