Last updated: October 6, 2008 @ 02:32PM
Master of Arts in Popular Culture
Rosemary Hale, Dean, Faculty of Humanities
Thomas Dunk, Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty Associate Deans
Faculty of Humanities
Faculty of Social Sciences
Sandra L. Beckett (Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures), Leslie A. Boldt-Irons (Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures), Barry K. Grant (Communication, Popular Culture and Film), Rosemary Hale (History), Jim Leach (Communication, Popular Culture and Film), Michael Ripmeester (Geography), Marilyn Rose (English Language and Literature), John Sainsbury (History), Elizabeth Sauer (English Language and Literature)
James Allard (English Language and Literature), Nick Baxter-Moore (Communication, Popular Culture and Film), Marian Bredin (Communication, Popular Culture and Film), David Butz (Geography), Glenwood H. Irons (Applied Linguistics), Russell Johnston (Communication, Popular Culture and Film), R. Andrew McDonald (History), John Mitterer (Psychology), David Schimmelpenninck (History), Hans Skott-Myhre (Child and Youth Studies), Jeannette Sloniowski (Communication, Popular Culture and Film)
Michael Berman (Philosophy), Jackie Botterill (Communication, Popular Culture and Film), Dale Bradley (Communication, Popular Culture and Film), Derek Foster (Communication, Popular Culture and Film), Greg Gillespie (Communication, Popular Culture and Film), Jennifer Good (Communication, Popular Culture and Film), Ann Howey (English Language and Literature), Sarah Matheson (Communication, Popular Culture and Film), Christie Milliken (Communication, Popular Culture and Film), Bohdan Nebesio (Communication, Popular Culture and Film), Shauna Pomerantz (Child and Youth Studies), Sherryl Vint (English Language and Literature)
Graduate Program Director
905-688-5550, extension 3553
The Interdisciplinary MA Program in Popular Culture is shared between the Faculty of Social Science and the Faculty of Humanities. Its participating faculty are drawn from a number of different departments, but they all share the common view that the study of Popular Culture in its varied forms is a valuable and worthwhile scholarly endeavour that enables us to understand how societies, including our own, function and thrive. The forms of Popular Culture include literary texts and works of art as well as the mass media, including television, film, radio, recordings, advertising, newspapers and magazines, sport, rituals, fashion and fads. The study of Popular Culture in the program involves analyzing these expressive forms as aesthetic objects whose meaning depends on and illuminates the social, historical and cultural contexts in which they are created, disseminated, interpreted and used. Methods range from textual analysis to ethnographic observation and participant interviews.
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, Communications 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.
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 normallya 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 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 PCUL half-credit courses required in Scheme A will 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 courses. The graduate core courses, PCUL 5P01 and 5P02, are compulsory for all students in Scheme B. The other four PCUL 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 written request 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.
The program has a designated Graduate Student Office with several networked computers, telephones, study space, and office space.
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 Communication, 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.
Major Research Paper in Popular Culture
A major essay which shall demonstrate capacity for independent work and original research or 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.
2008-2009: Shakespeare and Popular Culture (Winter 2009)
Shakespeare in and as popular culture: theatrical and critical contexts from Elizabethan times to the present, the meanings of Shakespeare as cultural icon, and approaches to his work, life and times in film, television, and other media.
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.
2008-2009: Speculative Fiction and Social Critique (Winter 2009)
Speculative traditions in popular fiction as modes of social critique, from early short stories in small magazines to contemporary film and television productions.
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.
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.
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.
2008-2009: Highlandism: Scottishness in Popular Culture (Winter 2009)
The representation of Scottishness in popular culture in both historical and contemporary perspective. Topics may include the negotiation of diasporic Scottish identity through both mediated and non-mass mediated cultural forms, Scottish folk culture, tourism, and cultural geography.