Last updated: January 22, 2008 @ 01:05PM
Master of Arts in Popular Culture
Rosemary Hale, Dean, Faculty of Humanities
David Siegel, Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences
Sandra L. Beckett (Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures), Leslie A. Boldt-Irons (Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures), Barry K. Grant (Communications, Popular Culture and Film), Rosemary Hale (History), Jim Leach (Communications, Popular Culture and Film), Michael Ripmeester (Geography), Marilyn Rose (English Language and Literature), John Sainsbury (History), Elizabeth Sauer (English Language and Literature)
Nick Baxter-Moore (Communications, Popular Culture and Film), Marian Bredin (Communications, Popular Culture and Film), David Butz (Geography), Glenwood H. Irons (Applied Linguistics), Russell Johnston (Communications, Popular Culture and Film), R. Andrew McDonald (History), John Mitterer (Psychology), David Schimmelpenninck (History), Jeannette Sloniowski (Communications, Popular Culture and Film), Bohdan Szuchewycz (Communications, Popular Culture and Film)
James Allard (English Language and Literature), Michael Berman (Philosophy), Jackie Botterill (Communications, Popular Culture and Film), Dale Bradley (Communications, Popular Culture and Film), Derek Foster (Communications, Popular Culture and Film), Jennifer Good (Communications, Popular Culture and Film), Ann Howey (English Language and Literature), Sarah Matheson (Communications, Popular Culture and Film), Christie Milliken (Communications, Popular Culture and Film), Bohdan Nebesio (Communications, Popular Culture and Film), Shauna Pomerantz (Child and Youth Studies), Hans Skott-Myhre (Child and Youth Studies)
Graduate Program Director
Nick Baxter-Moore (to June 30, 2007)
Jim Leach (as of July 1, 2007)
Master of Arts Program Coordinator
905-688-5550, extension 3553
The study of Popular Culture focuses on the communicative practices and experiences of everyday life considered within their cultural, economic, political and social contexts. The Master of Arts Program in Popular Culture is interdisciplinary in nature, drawing on theoretical perspectives, approaches and methods from a variety of disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences, including the established field of Cultural Studies. Themes and topics addressed in the program will emphasize both historical and contemporary perspectives in Popular Culture, while students are encouraged to explore research methods ranging from quantitative content analysis to ethnographic observation and unstructured interviews, from archival research and oral histories to semiotics and other forms of textual analysis. The program espouses no single theoretical or methodological perspective, and its pluralistic approach is reflected in the number of different disciplines from which participating faculty are drawn.
Successful completion of an Honours Bachelor's degree, or equivalent, in a relevant discipline (for example, English, Film Studies, Fine Arts, History, Music, Political Science, Sociology, Canadian Studies, Communication Studies, or Women's Studies), with an overall average of not less than 75%. Applicants will usually be expected to have completed some courses related to Cultural Studies, Popular Culture or Media Studies as part of their undergraduate programs. Applicants must supply a personal statement, outlining their research or study interests in the field of Popular Culture, letters from three referees who can attest to the applicant's suitability for graduate level study and a writing sample, usually a term paper on a topic related to Popular Culture.
The Graduate Admissions Committee will review all applications and recommend admission for a limited number of suitable candidates.
Individuals interested in part-time study should consult with the Graduate Program Director.
For full-time students, the MA is a three term or one year program.
Students in the MA Program in Popular Culture follow either Scheme A or Scheme B. All students must consult with the Graduate Program Director when planning their programs of study.
Scheme A: Course Work and Thesis
Students in Scheme A are required to complete four half-credit (one semester) courses in addition to the MA thesis (PCUL 5F90). The graduate core courses, PCUL 5P01 and 5P02, are compulsory for all students. The other two half-credit courses required in Scheme Awill be selected from the four courses offered by the Program each year from the variable topics series described in the course bank: these are Historical Perspectives on Popular Culture (PCUL 5V20-29), Issues and Themes in Popular Culture (PCUL 5V30-39), Genres of Popular Culture (PCUL 5V40-49), Forms of Popular Culture (PCUL 5V50-59), and Local, National and International Popular Cultures (PCUL 5V60-69). Normally, a course will be offered from each series at least once every two years.
In addition to course requirements, each student in Scheme A must complete, and defend at a public oral examination, a thesis that demonstrates capacity for independent work and original research or thought. The thesis topic shall be chosen in consultation with the supervisor and other members of the Supervisory Committee. A formal thesis proposal must be approved before research commences on the thesis.
Scheme B: Course Work and Major Research Paper
The program of study will include PCUL 5F95, Major Research Paper in Popular Culture, and six half-credit (one semester) courses.
The graduate core courses, PCUL 5P01 and 5P02, are compulsory for all students in Scheme B. The other four half-credit courses will normally be the four courses offered by the Program each year from the variable topics series described in the course bank: these are Historical Perspectives on Popular Culture (PCUL 5V20-29), Issues and Themes in Popular Culture (PCUL 5V30-39), Genres of Popular Culture (PCUL 5V40-49), Forms of Popular Culture (PCUL 5V50-59), and Local, National and International Popular Cultures (PCUL 5V60-69). Normally, a course will be offered from each series at least once every two years. Under exceptional circumstances, students in Scheme B may be permitted to substitute a directed reading course/tutorial (taken as PCUL 5P04), or a course offered by another graduate program, for one of the non-core (i.e., variable topic) PCUL graduate courses. Students wishing to make such a substitution must submit a request in writing in advance to the Graduate Program Director. No student may complete more than one reading course/tutorial and no student may take a reading course/tutorial with the supervisor of her/his major research paper.In addition to the course requirements, each student in Scheme B must complete a Major Research Paper (MRP) on a selected topic in the field of Popular Culture. This paper will be graded by the MRP supervisor and one other member of the graduate faculty.
All students are also expected to participate in graduate workshops appropriate to their respective streams (such as Writing the Thesis Proposal, The Major Research Paper, The Research Ethics Process, The Literature Review, Your First Conference Paper, and so on). These workshops will be offered jointly by the Popular Culture program and other allied graduate programs in the Humanities and Social Sciences.
Graduate students in the Popular Culture program have access to a number of special collections, including the Skene-Melvin collection of crime fiction, a growing popular music archive in the Department of Communications, Popular Culture and Film, the film and video archive housed in the same Department, the archives of the Niagara Popular Culture research project on local popular culture, and numerous other special collections of books, music and archival material in the James A. Gibson Library. Brock University's location in Niagara, close to wineries, tourist attractions, Niagara Falls, and many sites of historical interest, as well as its proximity to major cities such as Toronto and Buffalo, provide numerous opportunities for field research and close examination of diverse forms, sites and practices of popular culture. As a result, students with research interests in the study of local popular cultures are especially encouraged to apply.
Note: Not all courses are offered in every session. Students must consult with the Graduate Program Director regarding course offerings and course selection and must have their course selections approved by the Graduate Program Director each term. Refer to the Timetable for scheduling information:
A research project involving the preparation and defence of a thesis, which shall demonstrate capacity for independent work and original research and thought.
Cultural Theory and Popular Culture
Historical and critical analysis of theories of popular culture from different disciplinary and cross-disciplinary perspectives.
Research Methods in Popular Culture
Survey of research methods in popular culture and cultural studies, including their historical development, theoretical assumptions and practical applications.
Directed Reading in Popular Culture
Directed individual or group reading in an area of popular culture.
Restriction: permission of the Director
Note: may not be taken in place of PCUL 5P01 or 5P02.
Historical Perspectives on Popular Culture
Study of the popular culture of a particular historical period or an issue of popular culture in its historical context. Topics may include Popular Culture of the English Revolution, and Popular Culture and Christianity.
2007-08: Witchcraft and its Meanings
Witchcraft as an aspect of popular culture, with an emphasis on the Early Modern period (1500-1700). Religious change, socio-economic friction and gender relations.
Issues and Themes in Popular Culture
Focus on selected issues or themes in popular culture. Themes may include the Urban Experience, the Environment, Race and Representation, Gender, Consumer Culture.
2007-2008: Roboculture: Postmodern Subjectivity and Cybernetics
The influence of cybernetics on postmodern theories of subjectivity. Issues addressed will be both historical and contemporary, and will include: the impact of technology on concepts of subjectivity; popular representations of automata and cyborgs; emerging 'post-human' theories, practices and sub-cultures.
Genres of Popular Culture
Study of a particular genre across selected popular media, including film, literature, and television. Topics may include Crime and Detective Fiction, Fairy Tales, Speculative Narrative, the Romance.
2007-2008: Horror in Popular Culture
History and theories of the horror genre across diverse forms of popular culture, including film, television, popular fiction, music and comics.
Forms of Popular Culture
Study of a particular form of popular culture, including political economy, aesthetics, and cultural and historical significance. Topics may include Popular Music, Television, Sport, Digital Culture.
2007-2008: Popular Music and Cultural Politics
Theoretical and empirical approaches to analysis of the uses and limitations of popular music as a site of cultural politics and as an agent of social change; the political content, context and uses of popular music.
Local, National and International Popular Cultures
Study of popular culture in a selected region or nation, including such topics as popular culture in the American South, the Niagara Region, Australia, Britain, Canada, Latin America, post-Soviet Russia.