Should English Studies Programs be Reconfigured as Cultural Studies Programs?

While I was walking to the library this afternoon, I was thinking about my previous post about the conversation at Bert and Robin’s dinner on Wednesday night.

If English Literature or English Studies programs need better direction, shouldn’t we reconfigure those narrowly defined fields of study into the broadly based Cultural Studies? Cultural studies is what many if not most of us in English Literature PhD programs do. It also seems that many rhetoric and composition folks at Kent State examine cultural works with their methodological tool sets.

If we want to better define the discipline, it seems that Cultural Studies would be more inclusive of the many kinds of research and teaching that take place within so-called English departments whereas English Studies is exclusive of culture that is not considered ‘literature.’ Perhaps this is why there Media Studies exists as a discipline. Yet, this too could be placed under a Cultural Studies moniker with English Studies and all the rest. What do you think?

Published by Jason W. Ellis

I am an Assistant Professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY whose teaching includes composition and technical communication, and research focuses on science fiction, neuroscience, and digital technology. Also, I coordinate the City Tech Science Fiction Collection, which holds more than 600 linear feet of magazines, anthologies, novels, and research publications.