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Communication Studies MA |



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Critical/Cultural Studies

The focus of the Critical/Cultural Studies concentration is to explore various literatures that highlight institutionalized and structural power differentials as they relate to rhetorical and discursive constructions of race and ethnicity, gender, socio-economic class, sexuality, and global/geographical location. Situated within a framework that highlights studies in rhetoric and media within the communication discipline Critical/Cultural Studies is an exploration of theory and practice. The curriculum exposes students to numerous theoretical approaches including, but not limited to, Marxism, the political economy of communication, semiotics and visual studies, feminism, queer studies, race and identity politics, gender studies, media and representation, and postcolonial studies.

An ostensible goal of Critical/Cultural Studies is to not only theorize and critique, but to actively implement social change. In an effort to meet such a goal, graduate students have chosen careers with non-profit organizations, including work in an array of health and human service agencies. Additionally, students may go on to work on political or activist campaigns, engage in critical media/video production, or contribute to a host of activist organizations. Students can also enjoy careers teaching community college, teaching abroad, or working for educational programs that serve underprivileged groups within the United States.

The Critical/Cultural Studies concentration also provides the necessary theoretical and methodological foundation for students to continue their education and research in doctoral programs across the country.

Recent Research

For the Critical/Cultural Studies concentration, the following research capstone projects have recently been completed by EIU students:


Constitutive Walls: The US/Mexico Border Fence and Constructing Identity
Student: Mary Kate Kilpp
Advisor: Marita Gronnvoll, Ph.D.


Keeping myself morally straight: A rhetorical critique of the Boy Scouts of America
Student: Zach Thuring
Advisor: Marita Gronnvoll, Ph.D.

Bridging the Digital Divide: Framing Whiteness
Student: Martha Wilkinson
Advisor: Rodney Marshall, Ph.D.

Silencing and assaulting the feminine: An analysis of institutions that perpetuate a rape-supportive culture
Student: Melissa Territo
Advisor: Melanie Mills, Ph.D.

Hidden in plain sight: An examination of entertainment education
Student: Kendra McClure
Advisor: Olaf Hoerschelmann, Ph.D.