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On Purpose: Portrait of Cultural Studies & Comparative Literature

August 17, 2018
To commemorate our 150th anniversary in 2018, the College of Liberal Arts commissioned 60 photographs taken by Xavier Tavera. Departments and programs partnered with Tavera to envision their images and to write the narratives that accompany each photograph. View On Purpose: Portrait of the Liberal Arts.

Photo of Dinghui Liu, Sabrina Keefe, Mohamud Abdi, and Haley Bennett
Pictured L to R Dinghui Liu, Sabrina Keefe, Mohamud Abdi, Haley Bennett

Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature (CSCL) is a multidisciplinary department in the College of Liberal Arts. Our undergraduate and graduate courses examine how cultural and artistic practices around the globe reflect and transform ways of knowing, of feeling, and of acting politically. We are particularly interested in the way culture underpins conceptions of both individual and collective social identity. 

Our curriculum covers a wide spectrum of media and art forms, from literature to cinema, popular culture, music, and the visual arts. We also place a focus on the power of ideas: we like to think about how abstract questions in philosophy and theory address concrete problems in our material world.

We strive for a broad, international scope, and our work ranges widely across history and geography. We aim to produce critical, thoughtful, and well-rounded citizens prepared to work in a diversity of careers from media and journalism to academia, law, politics, and medicine; from non-profit work in schools, libraries, museums, archives, and community organizations to advertising, business, entertainment, and other creative fields. Our graduates are path-breaking intellectuals, artistic innovators, and committed participants in social struggles that will shape our collective future.