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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:



"I'm very much myself": The construction and communication of ASMRtist identities
Student: Tori Weinberg
Advisor: Richard Jones, Jr. Ph.D.



Sexual and political affairs: Representation of woman in American news media
Student: Melissa Beal 
Advisor: Marita Gronnvoll, Ph.D.

“They want all of your kids to be gay and oppose God”: Incivility and othering in Yahoo! News comments
Student: Emily Vajjala 
Advisor: Richard Jones Jr., Ph.D.



Those who slay together, stay together: A thematic analysis of concert fan narratives and the I-57 youth punk music scene
Student: Michael Janowski 
Advisor: Scott Walus, Ph.D.

Video game cultivation: Sowing the seeds of consumer behavior 
Student: Jonathon Mattson 
Advisor: Scott Walus, Ph.D.

Coordination and symbolic convergence at the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center
Student: Jessica McDonald 
Advisor: Melanie Mills, Ph.D.

Soldier's Home
Student: Andrew McLaughlin 
Advisor: David Gracon, Ph.D.

Pygmalion Music Festival as alternative media?: A critical analysis of the intersection of independence and corporatization
Student: Patrick Singer
Advisor: David Gracon, Ph.D.