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Critical Studies Curriculum (2013-14)

The M.A. in Critical Studies is designed as a one-year (two-semester) program.Students will normally complete the required 30 credits in a single year ofstudy but must complete these requirements within two years. Approximately tenstudents will be admitted in the program’s inaugural year. The program isstructured around coursework in aesthetics and critical theory along with colloquialed by distinguished guest lecturers. The topics and readings presented inthese advanced colloquia are then discussed and developed in correspondingseminars, which will cover various subjects of pressing interest in aesthetics,critical theory, philosophy, cinema studies, and cultural studies. Studentswill be expected to conduct their own research for individual papers, complete facultyassignments, and execute more extensive individual projects that arise fromseminar issues. In the final semester of study, candidates complete anextensive thesis undertaken with the advice and guidance of a faculty adviser.Students will be evaluated on their ability to define and complete individualassignments, to participate actively in seminar discussions, to conductindependent research, and to demonstrate their understanding of criticalstudies through investigations into its history, theory, criticism, methodology,and application.

Requirements for the MA in Critical Studies: First Semester
Course TitleCourse #credits
Aesthetics and Critical Theory I CRST 5500 3
Graduate Colloquium I CRST 5600 3
Elective I 3
Elective II 3
Thesis Methods Workshop CRST 5700 3
Requirements for the MA in Critical Studies: Second Semester
Course TitleCourse #credits
Aesthetics and Critical Theory II CRST 5550 3
Graduate Colloquium II CRST 5650 3
Elective III 3
Elective IV 3
Thesis Independent Study CRST 5800 3

Course Descriptions

Aesthetics and Critical Theory 1& 2

CRST 5500 

3 credits each

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These two courses will provide a survey of the significant philosophical and critical theories that have influenced aesthetic debates invisual art and culture. Knowledge and understanding of the various methodologies used to create and interpret works of art is emphasized. The two Aesthetics and Critical Theory courses will incorporate presentations, lectures,and critiques, as well as interdisciplinary discussions with other academics. Each seminar will be structured around a discussion of assigned readings,lectures, and presentations by faculty, as well as student presentations and critiques. Aesthetics and Critical Theory 1 will cover the early history of philosophy and aesthetic discourse (from the eighteenth century through World War I), and Aesthetics and Critical Theory 2 willcover applied aesthetic theory (from the interwar period to the present), with an emphasis on contemporary texts.

Graduate Colloquium

CRST 5600 

3 credits (per semester)

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In this intensive, year-long colloquium, under the guidanceof MICA faculty and visiting critics, students will consider many different criteria that come into play when evaluating a work of culture. The course will focus on students gaining an understanding of the connection of their own work to various currents of discourse in contemporary art and culture. They will consider the interconnections between various art and cultural forms,critically examine judgments made by others, and make informed judgments of their own. By deepening their scholarship and broadening their audience, students will learn to master different forms of communication. The colloquium will provide them with an appreciation for contemporary art, criticism, scholarship, and reasoned argumentation, giving them the confidence to join in this discourse with their own ideas and opinions. The colloquium will bedevoted to a special topic of contemporary significance each year.

Thesis Methods Workshop

CRST 5700 

3 credits

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This workshop will cover such issues as topic identification; steps in the thesis process; library research (including a brief overview ofstyle requirements); the use of secondary texts; formulating a research problem; defining concepts; situating an argument in the literature; locating, using and presenting data; and the writing process itself. Students will gain skills inthe design of conceptually cogent and methodologically rigorous thesis proposals.

Thesis Independent Study

CRST 5800 

3 credits

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Each student will be required to identify and secure the participation of her/his thesis advisor. The student will then workindependently with the advisor, who will discuss the student's goals, prior coursework, research ideas and areas of expertise. By the end of this course, each student will have completed a thesis of 8,000-10,000 words. In crafting thisthesis, students will be encouraged to explore creative directions in both their topics of inquiry and the eventual form that the project takes.



12 credits

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Each semester, students will have the opportunity to selectfrom a number of elective courses offered by the departments of Art History,Theory, and Criticism and Humanistic Studies. The following are typical coursesoffered on a regular basis:

Art History, Theory, and Criticism

  • Architectural Strategies in Contemporary Art
  • Artists and The City
  • The Artist's Studio
  • Authorship, Anonymity, and Collectivity
  • Contemporary Abstraction
  • Contemporary Asia through a Postcolonial Perspective
  • Contemporary Portraiture
  • Design Theory
  • Geometric Abstraction in the Americas
  • Global Biennial Culture
  • Global Urban Dynamics
  • Graduate Survey ofContemporary Art, Design and Theory
  • History of Art Criticism
  • History of the Avant-garde
  • Islamic Art
  • Landscapes of Contemporary Art
  • Medium in Contemporary Art
  • Modern Architecture, and Urbanism
  • Performance Art
  • Postmodernism and Visual Culture
  • Sites, Places and Monuments
  • Urban Theory
  • Visual Culture and the Holocaust

Humanistic Studies

  • Avant Garde Film
  • Contemporary Film Theory
  • Ecopoetics: Language/Mind/Ecology
  • Feminist Approaches to Film
  • Gender in Film
  • Gender/Sexual Theory
  • Image, Time, Movement: Deleuze
  • Media Ethics
  • On the Sublime
  • Practical Postmodernism
  • Print, Memory and the Social Order
  • Psychoanalysis and Film
  • Queer Literature and Theory
  • Reading Peace: a History of Non-violence
  • Seminar in Postmodernism
  • Theory of the Everyday
  • Third World Women Writers