Table of Contents
Program Faculty ......................................................................................................5
Cultural Studies (CULT) Course Descriptions ..............................................................7
Course of Study.......................................................................................................7
Cultural Studies 808: Student/Faculty Colloquium ..............................................10
For Students Who Have Master's Degrees............................................................11
For Students Who Do Not Have Master's Degrees...............................................11
Incoming Student Orientation................................................................................11
Advising for Incoming Students............................................................................12
Financial Aid Application and Review Process....................................................13
Graduate Student Travel Fund...............................................................................14
Cultural Studies Ph.D. Degree Requirements...............................................................15
Registering for CULT 880, Independent Study.....................................................16
Tracking Student Progress in the Program...................................................................17
Written Evaluations of Students' Course Work ....................................................17
Formal Reviews of Student Progress.....................................................................17
Foreign Language Requirement.....................................................................................18
Fields and Field Statements............................................................................................19
Defining Fields and Field Statements....................................................................20
Some Sample Fields..............................................................................................21
Formation and Approval of Field Advisory Committees......................................21
Timing, Format and Review of Field Proposals ...................................................22
Oral Defense of Field Statements..........................................................................23
Formation of Dissertation Committee...........................................................................23
Advancement to Candidacy...................................................................................26
Timing Issues Regarding 998 and 999 Credits......................................................26
How the Timing of Advancement to Candidacy Affects Deadlines ....................27
Continuous Enrollment Requirement....................................................................28
Student Petitions for Exceptions to Cultural Studies Policies ....................................29
BYLAWS OF THE GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY..............................................31
CULTURAL STUDIES PROGRAM.............................................................................31
The Cultural Studies Program at George
Cultural studies is a scholarly field that seeks to understand, critique, and transform cultural
practices. Cultural studies is a new and increasingly influential field of scholarly inquiry, emerging in
the second half of the twentieth century. Broadly speaking, it takes as its purview the production and
circulation of meanings. Its objects of study include cultural practices of all kinds—mass media
representations, consumer culture, literary texts, objects of industrial production, practices of
performance and display, oppositional subcultures, and aspects of everyday life in both the present
and the past.
George Mason University’s program in Cultural Studies is distinctive in several respects. Similar
programs in other universities are usually departmentally based (in English, History, Sociology, or
Communications), emphasizing either the humanities or the social sciences. By contrast, the Cultural
Studies Program at George Mason explicitly seeks to link the social sciences and the humanities,
combining methods of interpretation and explanation to explore the dynamics of intention and
reception in the production, distribution, and consumption of cultural objects in their social contexts.
Program faculty are drawn from 14 disciplines, and students come with prior graduate training in a
range of disciplinary backgrounds.
The program maintains a web site that includes brief faculty and student biographies as well as
information about the program. The program also publishes a newsletter several times a year to
update faculty and students on each others' scholarly and professional activities.
The Cultural Studies program structure is described in full in the program bylaws, included at the
end of this handbook. A current list of all Cultural Studies program committee members is
available in the Cultural Studies office.
The basic operating structure of the program includes the program director; a six-member
Executive Committee, which works with the Director to set the overall course for the program;
the Committee of the Whole, of which all faculty are members, and the Student Organization
Committee, of which all students are members, both of which provide regular feedback and input
to the Executive Committee and the Program Director. The Cultural Studies program
administrative assistant and student assistant provide administrative support for program
Other committees include the Admissions Committee, which is responsible for student
recruitment, admissions and financial aid; the Outreach Committee, which raises awareness of the
program within the larger academic community and seeks outside funding for program activities;
the Faculty Matters Committee, which appoints faculty to the Cultural Studies program and
oversees the Cultural Studies Colloquium; and the Student Matters Committee, which conducts
reviews of student progress and oversees the Cultural Studies curriculum.
All program standing committees except the Executive Committee have one or more voting
The Cultural Studies Student Organization Committee (SOC) is a standing committee within the
department through which Cultural Studies students participate in the program's decision-making
process. All students are members. The SOC has two co-chairs elected by the students and meets
twice each semester.
CS Program Office: Robinson B439
Phone: (703) 993-2851
Fax: (703) 993-2852
Director’s cell phone: (202) 285-4241 (M-F 9-5)
E-mails: email@example.com (general)
firstname.lastname@example.org (Director, Roger Lancaster)
email@example.com (program specialist Michelle Carr)
Web Page: http://culturalstudies.gmu.edu/
SOC co-chairs 2008-2009
The program has several e-mail lists that allow rapid communication of announcements and
discussion of program issues. Students who are enrolled in the program are automatically put on
three e-mail lists.
The following two lists are managed by the Cultural Studies program administrative assistant:
CSALL-L: announcements of importance to the entire CS community at George Mason
CSSTUD-L: announcements of deadlines, office hours, and other administrative matters from
the director’s office
The SOC maintains a student-only announcement and discussion list called CSSTUDENTS-L.
Other specialized lists are used for communication among members of standing committees,
Colloquium participants, and other CS interest groups.
An interactive listing of program faculty according to their major research and teaching interests
can be found on the CS web site.
Albanese, Denise, Ph.D., Stanford University; Associate Professor of English
Amireh, Amal, Ph.D., Boston University; Associate Professor of English
Bergoffen, Debra, Ph.D., Georgetown University; Professor of Philosophy
Best, Amy, Ph.D., Syracuse University; Associate Professor of Sociology
Bickford, Andrew, Ph.D., Rutgers University: Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Bockman, Johanna, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego; Assistant Professor of Global
Affairs and Sociology
Brown, Lorraine, Ph.D., University of Maryland, Professor of English
Burr, Zofia, Ph.D., Cornell University; Assistant Professor of English
Censer, Jack, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University, Professor of History
Cheng, John, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, Assistant Professor of History
Copelman, Dina, Ph.D., Princeton University; Associate Professor of History
Deshmukh, Marion, Ph.D., Columbia University; Associate Professor of History
ffolliott, Sheila, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania; Associate Professor of Art History
Foreman, Joel, Ph.D., The George Washington University; Associate Professor of English
Foster, John Burt, Ph.D., Yale University; Professor of English
Froman, Wayne, Ph.D., Fordham University; Associate Professor of Philosophy
Fuchs, Cynthia, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania; Associate Professor of English
Gibson, Timothy, Ph.D., Simon Fraser University; Assistant Professor of Communication
Gilbert, Paula, Ph.D., Columbia University; Professor of French
Greet, Michelle, Ph.D., New York University; Assistant Professor of Art History
Guagnano, Gregory, Ph.D., University of California-Davis; Associate Professor of Sociology
Gusterson, Hugh, Ph.D., Stanford University; Professor of Antropology
Hanrahan, Nancy Weiss, Ph.D., New School for Social Research; Assistant Professor of Sociology
Hodges, Devon, Ph.D., State University of New York-Buffalo; Professor of English
Holt, Mack, Ph.D., Emory University; Associate Professor of History
Horton, Lois, Ph.D., Brandeis University; Associate Professor of Sociology
Jacobs, Mark, Ph.D., University of Chicago; Associate Professor of Sociology
Jann, Rosemary, Ph.D., Northwestern University; Professor of English
Johnsen-Neshati, Kristin, M.F.A., Yale University; Assistant Professor of Theater
Kaplan, Deborah, Ph.D., Brandeis University; Associate Professor of English
Karush, Matthew, Ph.D., University of Chicago; Assistant Professor of English
Kaufmann, David, Ph.D., Yale University; Associate Professor of English
Lancaster, Roger, Ph.D., University of California-Berkeley; Associate Professor of Anthropology
Landsberg, Alison, Ph.D., University of Chicago; Assistant Professor of History
Leeman, Jennifer, Ph.D., Georgetown University; Assistant Professor of Spanish
Lont, Cynthia, Ph.D., University of Iowa; Associate Professor of Communications
Mandaville, Peter, Ph.D., University of Kent; Associate Professor of Public and International
Matz, Robert, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University; Assistant Professor of English
Mobley McKenzie, Marilyn, Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University; Associate Professor of
Miller, Char, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University; Assistant Professor of Government and Politics
O'Connor, John, Ph.D., University of Virginia; Associate Professor of English
O'Malley, Michael, Ph.D., University of California-Berkeley; Associate Professor of History
Palkovich, Ann, Ph.D., Northwestern University; Associate Professor of Anthropology
Rabin, Lisa, Ph.D., Yale University; Assistant Professor of Spanish
Ricouart, Janine, Ph.D., University of California, Davis, Associate Professor of French
Rosenblum, Karen, Ph.D., University of Colorado; Associate Professor of Sociology
Sample, Mark, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania; Assistant Professor of English
Scarlata, Jessica, Ph.D., New York University; Assistant Professor of English
Seligmann, Linda, Ph.D., University of Illinois-Urbana; Associate Professor of Anthropology
Smith, Paul, Ph.D., Kent University; Professor of English
Smith, Suzanne, Ph.D., Yale University; Assistant Professor of History
Sockett, Hugh, Ph.D., University of London; Professor of Public and International Affairs
Stewart, Jeffrey, Ph.D., Yale University; Associate Professor of History
Todd, Ellen Wiley, Ph.D., Stanford University; Associate Professor of Art History
Trafton, Scott, Ph.D., Duke University, Assistant Professor of English
Travis, Toni-Michelle C., Ph.D., University of Chicago; Associate Professor of Government and
Vallas, Steven P., Ph.D., Rutgers University; Professor of Sociology
Yadav, Alok, Ph.D., Cornell University, Assistant Professor of English
Yocom, Margaret, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts; Associate Professor of English
Zagarri, Rosemarie, Ph.D., Yale University; Associate Professor of History
Cultural Studies (CULT) Course Descriptions
A list of Cultural Studies courses expected to be offered during the current academic year is
available in the Cultural Studies office. Sample syllabi for all Cultural Studies core courses, as
well as copies of the ur-syllabi that contain master reading lists for the core course, are available
for consultation in the Cultural Studies office.
Course of Study
All of the following courses should become available over the course of a two-year cycle. 808 is
offered every semester. Enrollments allowing, 802 and 806 are offered every fall. Coursework
requirements for the Ph.D. are discussed under “degree requirements” later in this handbook.
802: Histories of Cultural Studies (3:3:0)
Required for all students. Prerequisites: Admission to program, to M.A. 'feeder' track, or
permission of instructor. M.A. students typically take this course in their final semester of
This course provides a historical survey of the principal works and theories of CS. From its multi-
disciplinary roots in the Birmingham School where it was first named, and through its
relationship to many other disciplines and schools (such as American Studies or the Frankfurt
School), cultural studies has come to be constituted in many different and often competing
strands. This course will offer an overview of the contemporary situation of cultural studies and
assess the possibilities for its future development.
806: Research Seminar in Cultural Studies (3:3:0)
Prerequisites: Admission to program and CULT 802.
Introduction to research methods in cultural studies. Specific topics vary. This course typically is
taken in the first semester of the second year of post-masters study.
808: Student/Faculty Colloquium in Cultural Studies (1:1:0)
Prerequisites: Admission to program or permission of instructor.
Forum for the presentation of original and current research in cultural studies. Students register
for one credit per semester over a three-semester period, typically the first three semesters of
810: Culture and Political Economy (3:3:0)
Prerequisites: Admission to program or permission of instructor.
Theories of production and consumption are central to contemporary cultural studies. The way in
which the relationship of culture to mode of production is framed distinguishes key theoretical
currents in the field. This course is designed to survey many of the social science and humanities
classics which relate cultural production and consumption to underlying political economic
conditions: from Marx to Lukacs to the Frankfurt School, from work in semiotic neo-Marxism to
'productivist' theories of power indebted to Foucault, and taking in such diverse sources as
Baudrillard, Bourdieu, Harvey, Jameson, Mauss, Mill, Polanyi, Sahlins, A. Smith, and Weber.
812: Visual and Performance Culture (3:3:0)
Prerequisites: Admission to program or permission of instructor.
This course examines theories of visual culture, covering such topics as film, video, visual arts,
music, display, ritual, performance, performativity, theories of the aesthetic, as well as their
production, consumption, and reception. Key readings are from such theorists as Adorno, Artaud,
Benjamin, Brecht, Bryson, Doane, Fiske, Heath, Marcuse, Merleau-Ponty, and Sartre.
814: Gender and Sexuality (3:3:0)
Prerequisites: Admission to program or permission of instructor.
From the work of Freud, with its positing of sexuality at the heart of individual subjectivity, to
contemporary feminisms and lesbigay studies, sexuality and gender have come to be seen as
irreducible components of the relation between the individual subject and socio-cultural structure.
The course will interrogate the various ways in which the notion of gender functions both in the
maintenance and in the analysis of issues of social and cultural power. It also examines
conflicting notions of sexuality and their role in cultural signification. At the same time the
course will seek to explicate the relation between sexuality and gender.
816: Science/Technology (3:3:0)
Prerequisites: Admission to program or permission of instructor.
This course considers theories of and major debates about the culture of science, the social construc-
tion of nature, and the effects of technology on modern cultural forms--key concepts for many areas
of cultural studies. Readings are drawn from the works of such theorists as Nietzsche, Heidegger,
Horkheimer, Feyerabend, Bahro, Haraway, and Latour.
818: Social Institutions (3:3:0)
Prerequisites: Admission to program or permission of instructor.
This course considers theories of institutional practice and social structures, from Max Weber to
Michel Foucault. It covers such key topics for cultural studies as prisons, bureaucracies, museums,
schools, political parties, and social movements.
820: After Colonialism: Race, Ethnicity, Nationalism (3:3:0)
Prerequisites: Admission to program or permission of instructor.
Classical theories of social stratification across many disciplines have tended to emphasize social
class, sometimes to the exclusion of other dimensions of social inequality. After Weber and with
the rise of anti-colonial and anti-racist movements, scholarship began to treat racial, ethnic, caste,
and national stratification as integral parts of an ongoing global history. This course will survey
the making of such identities in colonial contexts; the roles of scientific racism in both 'periphery'
and 'core' sites; the subsequent history of race, ethnic, national identities and conflicts; classical
and contemporary texts by such authors as DuBois, Fanon, Gilroy, and Spivak; and the particular
place of issues of national, racial and ethnic identities in contemporary cultural studies.
860: Special Topics in Cultural Studies (1-3:1-3:0)
Prerequisites: Admission to program or permission of instructor.
Specialized interdisciplinary topics in cultural theory and analysis.
Content varies. May be repeated. More than one 860 may be taken in the same semester.
870: Directed Readings (3:0:0)
Intensive reading course aimed at developing comprehensive coverage for specific fields as
agreed upon in consultation between the student and the student's field advisory committee. May
be repeated. More than one 870 may be taken in the same semester.
880: Independent Study (1-3:0:0)
Reading and research on a specific topic, resulting in a written project. May be repeated. More
than one 880 may be taken in the same semester.
998: Doctoral Dissertation Proposal (1-6:0:0)
Work on a research proposal that forms the basis for the doctoral dissertation. Students enrolling
in 998 must have completed all Cultural Studies course work, fulfilled the foreign language
requirement, and passed the comprehensive examination. Course may be repeated once for credit.
999: Doctoral Dissertation (1-12:0:0)
Prerequisites: Completion of CULT 998 and public presentation of the dissertation proposal.
Doctoral dissertation research and writing under the direction of the student's dissertation
Cultural Studies 808: Student/Faculty Colloquium
Cultural Studies 808 is a three-unit colloquium course which students are required to take in the
first three semesters of study for the Ph.D., earning one credit per semester. It serves as an
introduction to scholarly exchange within cultural studies, both as the field develops nationally
and internationally and as it takes shape on the George Mason campus.
For each colloquia, students will read a set of preparatory readings, suggested by presenting
scholars and designed to enhance the presentations to that end students attend a program of
lectures and symposia arranged up to a year in advance by the faculty and student members of the
colloquium sub-committee of the Faculty Matters committee.
Past colloquium presenters included: Martin Jay, Stanley Aronowitz, Lawrence Grossberg,
Micaela di Leonardo, Ricardo Ortiz, Siobhan Somerville, Dennis Altman, Cary Nelson, Susan
Bordo, Thomas Laqueur, Iris Marion Young, Ann Laura Stoler, Jose Munoz, Vicente Rafael,
Paul Smith, Doug Henwood, Nancy Fraser, Michael Berube, Chris Weedon, Rhys Issac, Cornel
West, bell hooks, Gayatri Spivak, Jacques Derrida, Michael Rogin, Cindy Patton, and Tricia
Rose. Many of these presentations were audio taped, and the tapes can be borrowed from the
Cultural Studies office.
In addition to providing an opportunity for Cultural Studies faculty and students to interact with
scholars from the larger Cultural Studies community outside George Mason University, Cultural
Studies 808 also serves as a forum for cultural studies research and related activities on the
George Mason campus. Faculty members and advanced Cultural Studies students have visited
Cultural Studies 808 to discuss their work in progress, and at least one session per year is devoted
to public presentation of students' dissertation proposals.
In 2004-2005 new procedures, specified in our new by-laws (see by-laws article X and article XI)
will be developed. These procedures will address both the planning and structure of our semi-
monthly Thursday colloquium meetings as well as program conference planning. The CS
Program Director has to approve both the planning and the expenditures associated with these
Because of the wide-ranging nature of Cultural Studies 808, and because any writing,
discussions, and other activities associated with the colloquium should be open to risk-taking, this
course is graded on a satisfactory/no credit basis.
For Students Who Have Master's Degrees
Students who already have M.A. degrees in relevant fields are eligible to apply directly to the
Cultural Studies Program for admission.
For Students Who Do Not Have Master's Degrees
Students with only bachelor's degrees should apply to M.A. programs in one of six departments--
English, Sociology and Anthropology, History, Philosophy and Religious Studies, Foreign Language
and Literatures, or Economics--which have established feeder tracks in cultural studies. All the
feeder tracks culminate in CULT 802, which is typically taken in the student's final semester of M.A.
Applicants to any of the six M.A. programs may, if they choose, apply simultaneously to the Cultural
Studies Program, which reviews their academic promise and the suitability of their interests to the
program. Especially strong candidates with bachelor's degrees may be admitted into the doctoral
program, on the condition that their performance in their M.A. programs - and in particular in CULT
802 – is indicative of readiness for doctoral work. Their admission will be reviewed by the Student
Matters committee upon completion of their M.A. requirements. Students who complete CULT
802 as part of their M.A. programs are required to complete only 45 credits at the doctoral level.
The following application materials are required of all students:
1. The standard GMU graduate application form.
2. A transcript from the Educational Testing Service, indicating scores on the Graduate
Record Examinations (only the general tests are required; subject tests are optional).
3. Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended.
4. Three letters of recommendation from individuals who can judge the applicant's scholarly
5. A statement of purpose.
6. A writing sample.
For applicants who are not native English speakers, an English language competency exam is
required unless the students completed their bachelor's or master's degrees in the U.S.
Incoming Student Orientation
At the beginning of their first semester in the program, students participate in orientation sessions
to familiarize them with the program expectations, advising system, and degree requirements,
especially the process of forming, proposing, writing and defending fields. During orientation,
each incoming student will be matched with a continuing student who has volunteered to serve as
a mentor to answer questions and help incoming students become familiar with the program
quickly. Special orientation events may also be organized to assist incoming students in
understanding special requirements within the program, such as fields and field statements.
Advising for Incoming Students
Upon acceptance into the program, students are assigned an advisor whose function is to assist
them with course planning and selection until students select the chairs of their field committees.
Students also select their own advisers after their first semester in the program, if they choose.
Once a term, the student should meet with the adviser to plan coursework and update the student's
program progress tracking form. The adviser should sign the tracking form.
In addition to admitting new applicants, the Admissions Committee is responsible for making
recommendations to the Director of the Cultural Studies about the awarding of financial aid in the
form of fellowship and teaching assistantships to incoming and returning students.
Financial Aid Application and Review Process
1. Recommendation for awarding aid to incoming students will be based on their application files;
recommendations about returning students will be based on a portfolio that contains the following:
A) a departmental financial aid request form that indicates the kind of financial aid for which the
student is applying and provides other information about past aid
B) one or two papers by the student previously produced for courses in the Cultural Studies program,
C) course evaluations prepared by instructors of all previously completed courses in the Cultural
Studies program. Since faculty are required to send one copy to the Cultural Studies office for
inclusion in the student's file and one copy to the student, these are all letters that the students will
2. When the Admissions Committee has completed its recommendations, they are given over to the
Director of the program. In consultation with the Executive Committee and with the chairs of
departments and programs that are making TA resources available to Cultural Studies, the Director
assigns the available financial aid to new and returning students. In doing so, he/she makes every
effort to abide by the recommendations of the Admissions Committee and to share resources
between the two lists of students, taking into account such factors as departmental needs, students’
qualifications, and recruitment priorities.
Please note that it is unlikely that post-M.A. Cultural Studies students will receive more than
four years of financial aid from the Cultural Studies program. A year’s funding is ordinarily
defined as the receipt of at least $4800* in stipends from university funds and 6 or more credits
of tuition remission.
To assist the program in funding as many students as possible, students are strongly encouraged
to seek funding from such George Mason programs as New Century College, academic
departments that use teaching or research assistants, university-wide programs for technology-
enhanced teaching, and other sources that are announced from time to time on the Cultural
Studies program e-mail list. Such programs also can be a source of fifth-year funding.
All students who can qualify for Virginia domicile are expected to do so within their first year.
The program is unlikely to fund tuition remission for returning students at out-of-state rates.
*Dollar amount subject to change.
Graduate Student Travel Fund
Although the Cultural Studies program does not provide funding for students to attend or present
papers at professional conferences, a limited amount of funding is available each year from the GMU
Graduate Student Umbrella Organization's Graduate Student Travel Fund (GSTF). The GSTF
distributes funds received from the Office of the Provost and student fee funds from the Student
Funding Board. Information about this fund is available on the George Mason web site at
http://www.gmu.edu/org/gstf/GSTF.htm or at 703-993-3168.
Cultural Studies Ph.D. Degree Requirements
As with all doctoral programs, the emphasis in the Cultural Studies Ph.D. program is on the
development of intellectual mastery and professional competence. Course requirements are intended
to prepare students to successfully complete field statements in their areas of concentration and to
complete a doctoral dissertation that reflects the student's ability to do original interdisciplinary work
that meets professional standards.
The required course of study for the Ph.D. consists of 48 credit hours beyond the M.A.
Core Requirements (9 credits)
CULT 802 Histories of Cultural Studies (3 credits) AND
CULT 806 Research in Cultural Studies (3 credits) AND
CULT 808 Colloquium (3 semesters/3 credits)
Theory Requirements (3 credits)
(One course minimum requirement)
CULT 810 Culture & Political Economy (3 credits) OR
CULT 814 Gender & Sexuality (3 credits) OR
CULT 820 After Colonialism: Race, Ethnicity, Nationalism (3 credits)
Methodology Requirement (3 credits)
Under guidance of faculty advisor, student selects an approved departmental graduate course
offering a methodology in which he/she is not trained. Under unusual circumstances, this
requirement can be fulfilled through an independent section; such a substitution, however,
requires permission from the CS program director.
Topics Requirement (3 credits)
(One course minimum requirement)
CULT 812 Visual & Performance Culture (3 credits) OR
CULT 816 Science/Technology (3 credits) OR
CULT 818 Social Institutions (3 credits)
CULT 870 Directed Readings (3 credits): Intensive reading course aimed at developing
comprehensive coverage of specific fields as agreed upon between the student and his
or her field advisory committee. May be repeated.
CULT 998 Doctoral Dissertation Proposal (1-6 credits): Work on a research proposal that
forms the basis for the doctoral dissertation. Students enrolling in 998 must have
completed all Cultural Studies course work, fulfilled the foreign language
requirement, and successfully defended their field statements. Course may be
repeated once for credit.
CULT 999 Doctoral Dissertation (1-12 credits): Doctoral dissertation research and writing under
the direction of the student’s dissertation committee.
Core Courses Cannot Be Not Double-Counted
A course taken to fulfill a core requirement cannot be counted toward the 9-hour field requirement.
For example, a student who takes CULT 814, Gender and Sexuality, to fulfill the theory
requirement may not also count that course toward the field requirement of 9 credit hours or
toward any other requirement.
Registering for CULT 880, Independent Study
Students who wish to register for CULT 880 must find an instructor among the Cultural Studies
faculty before the term in which they wish to take the course. By the first day of that term, they must
submit a brief description of the course and a syllabus that includes all reading and writing
assignments. Students with field statement advisory committees give this material to and seek
approval from the chairs of their committees. Students who have not yet formed their field advisory
committees seek approval from their assigned advisers and from the Director of the Cultural Studies
program. In both instances, the Director of the Cultural Studies program signs the Independent Study
Tracking Student Progress in the Program
At least once a semester, students are expected to complete or update their academic files in the
Cultural Studies office by completing the program progress tracking form, which is then placed at
the front of their academic file. It is also suggested that each student place in this file a copy of an
updated vita, with information about recent scholarly or professional activity. Students should
also notify the Cultural Studies office of any honors, awards, grants, publications or
presentations. Students should also review and update their files during the time when they are
making application for continued financial aid.
Other standard forms are required to be completed (with accompanying documentation) for
program milestones. They include:
formation of field committee
completion of foreign language requirement
cover sheet for field proposal
successful defense of field statements
advancement to candidacy
dissertation proposal oral presentation
filing of dissertation
Copies of forms are available in the Cultural Studies office.
Written Evaluations of Students' Course Work
At the end of each semester, all Cultural Studies students will receive written evaluations of their
work in any Cultural Studies course. These letters are used to assess student progress in the program
and to assist in determining financial aid awards. The evaluation will be written jointly by the
teachers of team-taught courses. The evaluation is to be sent to the student and a copy placed in the
student’s file. Students may respond to the letters, if they wish, in written form. A copy of the
response will also go into their files.
Formal Reviews of Student Progress
1. Students entering with bachelor's degrees will automatically be reviewed by the Student Matters
Committee at the completion of their master's work. A letter announcing the result of the review will
be sent to the student upon completion of the review, and a copy will be placed in the student's file.
2. All students will automatically be reviewed at the completion of 12 credit hours of doctoral work.
The reviews will be conducted by the Student Matters Committee at the beginning of the term
following a student's completion of 12 credit hours. There will be 3 possible outcomes for these
reviews: continuation, dismissal, and probation with another review after 6 additional credit hours.
Reviews will be based on grades and on written evaluations placed by faculty in the students' files. A
letter announcing the result of the review will be sent to the student upon completion of the review,
and a copy of the letter will be placed in the student's file.
3. Field statements, which must be accepted by the student's field committee and successfully
defended before them, represent a third level of review before advancement to candidacy.
Time Limits for Completion of Program Requirements
1. The “Six Year Rule”: Upon entering the doctoral program (or upon finishing the Masters
requirements in a CS-tracked Masters program), students have a maximum of six years to
complete all course requirements, including field statements, oral examinations, and language
requirements, after which they will be advanced to candidacy.
ADVANCEMENT TO CANDIDACY can occur EITHER before a student registers for CULT
998, Doctoral Proposal, OR after the proposal is completed but before the student registers for
CULT 999, Doctoral Research. Advancement to candidacy occurs when students have
completed all coursework, two field statements, oral defense of both field statements, and the
foreign language requirement. (So, for example, a student who registers for 998 but who has
not completed the foreign language requirement will not have been advanced to candidacy at
IMPORTANT NOTE: A student MUST be officially advanced to candidacy before she or he will be
permitted to register for CULT 999.
2. The “Five Year Rule”: Upon advancement to doctoral candidacy, students have a maximum of
five years to complete the dissertation requirements (although it is desirable that dissertations be
completed in due course). Students must remain continuously enrolled for a minimum of one
credit per semester in CULT 998 or 999 until the dissertation is accepted and filed.
Foreign Language Requirement
All students must demonstrate a reading knowledge of a language other than English that has
substantial potential for use in their cultural studies research. This knowledge must be demonstrated
by a translation test, which may be taken any time before the public presentation of the doctoral
NOTE: A student cannot be advanced to candidacy, and thus may not register for CULT
999, until s/he has passed the language exam.
The examiner will be selected by the student in consultation with his or her field advisory committee
and must be a member of the Cultural Studies faculty. A list of faculty who give the language exam
is available in the Cultural Studies office. Students will be given 3 hours in which to translate into
idiomatic English a passage of 500-700 words from a journal or primary text relevant to cultural
studies. Students may consult a dictionary during the exam.
This translation test will be waived for students who have passed such a test as part of the
requirements for an M.A. program, as long as this test was passes within 5 years of beginning the
Cultural Studies Ph.D. program. (Students who fulfilled a foreign language requirement in an M.A.
program with course work in a foreign language will still have to demonstrate their reading
knowledge with the translation test.)
The test will also be waived for native speakers of a language other than English, if the student's
native language has significant potential for use in the student's research.
If a student fails the translation test, he or she may take it again (as many times as necessary in order
to pass), but each try must include a new passage for translation. The student may not proceed to the
oral presentation of the dissertation proposal until he or she passes the translation test.
In some cases, a student may need a second foreign language to complete dissertation work. Such
needs will be ascertained by the student and his or her dissertation committee. Competence in this
second language will also be determined through a translation test, to be taken (as many times as is
necessary in order to pass) before the dissertation is defended.
Fields and Field Statements
In addition to completing the core requirements, each student will concentrate his or her study in
two fields. Field specialization will involve a minimum of 9 credit hours study in each field (18
credit hours total). At least 3 of the 9 credit hours in each field will take the form of a Directed
Readings course (CULT 870) to produce each field statement. The steps in the process of
successfully completing fields are outlined below and then explained in greater detail in the next
section of this handbook..
Summary: Steps in completing the field statement requirement
Formation of a field advisory committee (usually by the end of the second or third semester
Enrollment in at least 6 credits of CULT 870 (at least three credits per field—may be taken
in the same semester or in different semesters)
Preparation of field proposals, one for each field; the proposals must be approved by the
student's field advisory committee and by the director of the Cultural Studies Program.
Submission of written field statements to and oral defense of the field statements before the
student's field advisory committee.
Decision by the field statement advisory committee.
Defining Fields and Field Statements
1. Definition and purpose: Students will demonstrate professional competence in an area of
scholarship by producing a field statement: a review of the major issues, problems, and texts in
the field accompanied by a bibliography of the relevant texts.
2. Preparation: The proficiency that field statements measure is acquired through in-depth study
of a broad area, not just through the successful completion of 9 credit hours. The accumulated
syllabi of a given set of courses will not, in themselves, constitute an adequate bibliography for a
given field. Course work guides and facilitates the development of fields but does not in itself
constitute the fields.
3. Length: The field statement itself should be 6000--10,000 words (approximately 25-50 pp.
double-spaced), with additional pages for bibliography (approximately 150-200 references). Style
sheet for preparation of bibliography and for citation within the field statements should be agreed
upon by the student and his or her committee.
4. Scope and Relation to Other Work:
a. Field statements are produced in lieu of proficiency exams, but the principal
purpose of both is to demonstrate professional competence in a broad area of knowledge.
b. Fields are expected to point topically and theoretically toward forms of
professional development, including teaching, dissertation research, and related forms of
professional activity. It is thus in the best professional interest of the student to make fields
as comprehensive as possible.
c. Students should expect to explain how key texts in core courses have shaped
their understanding of fields.
d. Students are not expected to have fully-formed dissertation projects at this
stage. However, it is expected that a student’s dissertation topic will emerge from the
interaction of these broad areas of inquiry, and that a student will work craft field research
with the dissertation in mind.
5. Non-redundancy: One field may be disciplinary in orientation. If so, the other field should be
theoretical, topical, and/or interdisciplinary. In any case, the two fields should be distinct from
Some Sample Fields
The following lists are intended to give a sense of the flavor and scope of field statement topics;
these are not intended to serve as a comprehensive list of pre-approved titles. Students are
reminded that advisory review of field proposals will consider not just the individual fields, but
also the relationship of the fields to each other and to the envisioned dissertation topic or other
forms of professional development.
aesthetic theory, African-American politics in the civil rights era, American
politics during the interwar years, American studies, Baudrillard and virtual
technologies, the British novel, changing cultures in Mexico and Central
America, critical ethnography, critical theory, development, existential
phenomenology and its legacies, gender/sexuality theory, late marxisms, Latin
American modernities, literary theory, medical sociology, modern Japanese
cultures, nationalisms and national identities, the new historiography, new social
movements, Nineteenth-century women’s literature and belles lettres,
performance and performativity, political economy, queer theory, Renaissance
drama, rhetoric, semiotics and deconstruction, social movement theory,
speculative literatures and American cultures, US labor history, utopianism and
utopian literatures, visual anthropology, Walter Benjamin and his interpretations.
Formation and Approval of Field Advisory Committees
1. The student’s advisory committee will be comprised of one faculty member for each field (the
same person who supervises the Directed Readings [CULT 870] that produces the field
statement) and a third faculty member.
2. At least two departments must be represented on all committees, and all members of a
student’s advisory committee must be members of the Cultural Studies faculty.
3. Students are strongly encouraged to submit a first draft to the members of their field advisory
committees for review, advice, and commentary prior to submitting the final draft to their
advisory committees. In rare instances, the first draft may be deemed sufficient. In most cases, the
committee member overseeing the field will communicate suggestions for revisions.
4. A student's field advisory committee must be approved by the Director of the Cultural Studies
program, with the advice of the program's Executive Committee. By (and ideally before) the time
18 credit hours have been completed and after consultation with the relevant professors, a student
will submit a proposed advisory committee to the Executive Committee. Requests for approval
will include the names of all three proposed committee members, two proposed field topics (with
corresponding field advisors), and a very general proposed dissertation topic. (Note that this is
not a field proposal or a dissertation proposal.)
Timing, Format and Review of Field Proposals
1. After approval of his or her advisory committee, and after the student has conducted
preliminary studies of the proposed fields with members of his or her field advisory committee,
the student will prepare a formal field proposal for review by his or her field advisory committee.
2. It is recognized that faculty mentoring is essential to the process of field formation and
training, and that this mentoring occurs within the context of diverse and contending currents
within cultural studies. Field proposals will thus be negotiated in consultation with the student’s
advisors, subject to the rules of the program.
3. Form of the field proposals: A standard form is available in the Cultural Studies office to serve
as a cover sheet for field proposals. The cover sheet will include: Name of student; Bachelor’s
degree and Master’s degree(s) (including disciplines and university); exact titles of both proposed
field statements; names of professors on advisory committee; a very brief description of the
proposed dissertation topic or problem. (Note that this is not a dissertation proposal.)
4. Two field statement proposals will accompany the cover sheet. Each will include: Name of
student. Exact title of field statement. Name of the advisor who supervises this field of study.
Courses taken and/or to be taken in preparation of this field (must equal nine credits, as per
catalog copy, including one directed readings course with the field advisor). A narrative (two to
four pages) outlining the subject to be treated, its significance, and its relationship to the student’s
research, teaching, and other professional plans. Sample bibliography (75+ references, as a
sample of the eventual bibliography of 150-200 references).
5. Review by the student’s advisory committee will address the following questions: Is the plan
of study feasible? Do the proposed fields represent viable areas of scholarly activity, appropriate
to the development of a total professional profile in cultural studies? Are the proposed fields
deemed sufficiently broad and non-redundant for a program of graduate study? Is the student
immersing himself or herself in the primary source materials for such a field? The advisory
committee will present its findings to the Director.
6. Acting on behalf of the Cultural Studies program as a whole (and sensitive to the individuated
and changing nature of scholarship), the Director will review the student’s field proposal,
attached bibliographies, and the student’s advisory committee’s findings, as part of a total
package and according to conventions established in these guidelines. In cases that seem
problematic––e.g., where there is disagreement among the advisors, or where the Director’s
judgment differs significantly from that of the advisory committee––the Director will bring the
proposal before the Executive Committee for a collective review, to be conducted with the
student and his or her advisors present (if they so desire).
7. Once a student’s field proposals have been approved by his or her advisory committee and
signed off by the Director, these will be kept on record in the student’s program files in the
Cultural Studies office.
8. It is recognized that research interests change. Minor changes in the body or scope of a field
require no action. After his or her fields are approved, a student may opt to change field topics
(including the title of his or her field statement) or committee members by submitting the
proposed changes to the Director and the Executive Committee. Requests for changes will be
submitted in the form of a new cover sheet, along with either explanations for the changes in
committee membership and/or a new field proposal or proposals.
Oral Defense of Field Statements
1. A one-hour defense of both field statements should take place within two weeks of submission
of the field statements to the student's field advisory committee. Only the student and the
committee members will be present for the oral defense. The chair of the committee will establish
the format for the conduct of the exam.
2. As is customary in Ph.D. programs, professors will reach a consensus on the evaluation of the
field statements (based on both the written field statement and its oral defense), and the chair of
the committee will convey that evaluation to the student at the end of the oral defense.
3. Grading is Fail/Pass/Distinction.
4. Signatures: Upon the completion of a successful oral defense, each field advisor will sign the
cover of the field statement he or she advised. The committee of three advisors will co-sign a
form indicating that the student has passed his or her field requirements and oral examination on
such date. The signed field statements and record of the oral defense will be kept in the program
5. If a student receives a failing grade on either field statement, with either the written field
statement or its oral defense being deemed inadequate, the student may resubmit the unacceptable
field statement(s) and repeat the defense one more time only, no sooner than 3 months and no
later than 6 months after failing. A student submitting field statements and undertaking the oral
defense for the first time will be questioned on both fields concurrently, but if s/he fails one part,
then only that field must be examined a second time.
6. Students will be automatically and officially advanced to doctoral candidacy after completing
all course requirements, including field statements, oral examinations, and language
requirements. The Cultural Studies office will file the required notice to the College of Arts and
Sciences within the time frame required.
Formation of Dissertation Committee
The Dissertation Committee will be formed after the student has successfully completed the field
statements and their defense. Members of the student's Field Advisory Committee may serve on the
student's Dissertation Committee, if the student wishes and if the advisers' areas of expertise are
relevant to a student's dissertation.
The student selects his or her committee chair from the Cultural Studies faculty, and the chair and the
student choose two other members of the Cultural Studies faculty to serve on the committee. At least
two departments must be represented on each committee. In addition, the student and his or her chair
may invite one non-Cultural Studies faculty member from GMU or one faculty member from
another university to serve on the Dissertation Committee. The Director of the Cultural Studies
program in consultation with the Executive Committee will approve the membership of all
Style sheets for preparation of the dissertation should be decided by the student in consultation with
the dissertation committee. Dissertations also must adhere to GMU's style sheet for preparation of
dissertations. This document is available from the Cultural Studies office.
After a student has completed all course work, fulfilled the foreign language requirement,
successfully completed field statements and the oral defense, and formed a dissertation committee,
the student enrolls in CULT 998. The student produces a dissertation proposal in that course and
presents it in a public forum. Then the student enrolls in CULT 999 to research and write the
In CULT 998 and CULT 999, the student earns the grade of either S (satisfactory) or NC (no credit)
when work on either the dissertation proposal (for 998) or the dissertation (for 999) is completed.
These courses are graded IP (in progress) each semester until the work is completed or the time limit
IMPORTANT NOTE: A student MUST be officially advanced to candidacy before she or
he will be permitted to register for CULT 999 credits.
General Guidelines for Dissertation Proposals
I. Summary and Statement of the Research Problem, Argument, or Inquiry
A concise description of
A. the question to be examined in the dissertation research,
B. its relevance, including its relevance to the general field of cultural studies, related
disciplinary fields, and any other logical audiences, and
C. what promises to be new, original, or innovative about the proposed research and
(discussion in this section should be brief and should be written in non-specialist language)
II. Background of the Problem, Argument, or Inquiry
A substantial discussion of
A. relevant scholarly literature on question, including ancillary and adjacent issues
B. relevant theoretical claims and perspectives
C. social and/or scholarly significance of question posed
(discussion in this section should draw on scholarship from the relevant disciplinary,
interdisciplinary, and identifiably cultural studies traditions)
III. Treatment of the Problem, Argument, or Inquiry
A substantial, detailed, and disciplined discussion of
A. evidence to be considered (social, archival, textual, media, questionnaire survey, etc.)
B. methods to be employed (ethnographic, historiographic, textual, interpretive,
C. theoretical perspectives to be engaged, interrogated, examined, or tested
(discussion in this section should describe the materials, methods, and theory to be employed
while justifying their relevance to the problem, argument, or question posed; discussion should
entertain the strengths and limitations of other ideas and approaches, and should also include a
reflexive anticipation of possible limits to the forms of knowledge that might be generated using
the proposed means)
IV. Schedule of Proposed Research and Write-Up
V. Exploration of Possible Outcomes
(concise discussion of possible findings, including the significance, implications, and possible
impacts of various possible findings)
VII. Appendices (where relevant):
A. Instruments (survey questionnaires, interview questions, etc.)
B. Human Subjects Protection Protocol and Ethical Considerations
C. Chapter Outline
NOTE: These guidelines refer from the outset (I) to a plurality of possible framings for the
research project: “Problem” (sometimes read as a social science term), “Argument” (sometimes
read as a term from the humanities), or “Inquiry” (a term that straddles the humanities and social
sciences). Other possible terms here might include: anomaly, contradiction, hypothesis, premise,
puzzle, thesis . . . . The wording also suggests a number of possible relationships between theory
and method under IIIC: in its application, theory may be “engaged, interrogated, examined, or
The use of these terms is intended to keep framing as neutral as possible with regard to
approach and disciplinary method, framing the dissertation research as research in the strictest
sense of the term: “studious inquiry,” “diligent, protracted, and systematic investigation.” This
framing presupposes only a) that dissertation proposals are proposals to do scholarly research,
and b) that the process of scholarly research submits theory, method, and evidence to critical
examination, such that the inquiry is open to unexpected findings.
Advancement to Candidacy
Advancement to candidacy occurs automatically when students have successfully completed all
coursework, two field statements, oral defense of both field statements, and the foreign language
The following paragraphs discuss the pros and cons of beginning to enroll in dissertation proposal
credits (998) before advancement to candidacy.
Timing Issues Regarding 998 and 999 Credits
A number of students arrive at a quandary during their last semester of studies and before
advancement to candidacy: whether to take only three credit hours (and thus lapse from full time
status, which makes one ineligible for financial aid) OR to take six credits hours, three
credits in excess of the amount required to complete the degree.
The standard way to handle these credits is for the student to undertake dissertation proposal
work (998) after his or her advancement to candidacy.
ALTERNATIVELY, A STUDENT MAY COMPLETE FIELD REQUIREMENTS AND
DISSERTATION PROPOSALS SIMULTANEOUSLY. With the prior consent of his or her
advisory committee, a student may take 998 (dissertation proposal) as three of the last six credit
hours of coursework in preparation for the filing of field statements and before advancement to
candidacy. (This option maintains full-time status, along with eligibility for financial aid.)
In either case, it is important to prepare the dissertation proposal expeditiously; there is a SIX
CREDIT limit on 998. (See University catalog.) This requirement has implications – That is: If a
student uses two terms to work on the proposal, s/he may not use more than a maximum of six
credit hours toward the degree application. (In some cases, then, students and committees who do
not plan ahead may simply end up deferring the 3-credit quandary by one semester. Or, some
students may end up over-fulfilling their requirements.)
If a student opts to take 998 continuously with final field preparation credits it is strongly
recommended that s/he also complete the dissertation proposal the same semester, or,
alternatively, over the holiday period immediately following, to allow for a public
presentation of the dissertation proposal during the first week of class. (This would allow the
student to continue apace, registered appropriately in 999.) (This option then should complete
the dissertation proposal in 3 credits.) A student MUST be officially advanced to candidacy
before she or he will be permitted to register for CULT 999 credits.
It is further recommended that if a student opts to take 998 AFTER advancement to
candidacy, that he/she register for six credit hours of 998 and complete the dissertation
proposal in one semester. (This option then would complete the dissertation proposal in 6
How the Timing of Advancement to Candidacy Affects Deadlines
ADVANCEMENT TO CANDIDACY occurs when students have completed all coursework, two
field statements, oral defense of both field statements, and the foreign language requirement.
Some students will thus be advanced to candidacy before enrolling in 998, others after they
have enrolled in 998.
Students must be advanced to candidacy within six years of starting their doctoral studies in
the Cultural Studies program ("six-year rule").
Students must complete the dissertation within five years of being advanced to candidacy
Therefore: if a student enrolls in 998 BEFORE advancement to candidacy, the proposal comes
under the six-year rule. If the student enrolls in 998 AFTER advancement to candidacy, proposal
and dissertation both come under the five-year rule.
Continuous Enrollment Requirement
Once a student enrolls in CULT 998 (whether or not she or he has been advanced to candidacy),
the continuous enrollment requirement begins.
CONTINUOUS ENROLLMENT REQUIREMENT: Following initial registration in 998, and to
insure timely completion of all dissertation requirements, students must remain continuously
enrolled for a minimum of three credit hours per semester in CULT 998 or 999 (note that six
credits per semester are required if the student wants to be considered full time). When the final
three credits of 999 remain, the student may opt to remain enrolled at one credit per semester
until the dissertation is completed (and will be considered a full-time student during that time).
The Timing of Advancement to Candidacy (before or after 998) Has NO Effect on the
Continuous Enrollment Requirement
The continuous enrollment requirement begins when a student first enrolls in 998 or 999. This
requirement is in force whether or not the student has been advanced to candidacy when she or
he first enrolls in 998.
Student Petitions for Exceptions to Cultural Studies Policies
When a student has grounds for petitioning for an exception to procedures or policies of the
Cultural Studies program, he or she may write a letter to the Director of the program. The letter
should explain both how and why he or she wishes to diverge from the procedure or policy. It
should also offer a substitute plan.
If the student has not yet formed a Field Statement Advisory Committee, the Director will send a
copy of the petition to the Student Matters Committee and make a decision on the petition after
consultation with that committee. If the student has formed a Field Statement Advisory
Committee, the Director will send the copy to that group and consult with its members before
making a decision.
Petitions may be submitted at any time of the year. During the Fall and Spring semesters, students
will receive a decision on their petitions within 6 weeks. During Summers, petitions should be
submitted by August 1. Decisions on petitions submitted during the summer will be made during
the week before the beginning of the fall semester.
1. If a student feels that a grade has been assigned unfairly, he or she should ask the instructor(s) to
reconsider the grade.
2. If the issue is not resolved with the faculty member(s), the student may appeal to the program
director, who should discuss the issue separately with both the student and the respective faculty
A) If the director then denies the appeal (that is, if the director decides that the appeal has no merit
and therefore does not warrant establishing a Grade Appeal Committee to resolve the matter), a
letter of explanation should be sent to the student with a copy to the CAS Graduate Dean's
B) If the director decides to establish a Grade Appeal Committee, a letter to that effect should be
sent to the student with a copy to the CAS Graduate Dean's Office. The program director selects
the Grade Appeal Committee in consultation with the Executive Committee. The committee
consists of three members of the program's faculty, from at least two different departments.
3. If the director forms a Grade Appeal Committee, that committee should meet with both the
student and the respective faculty member(s), as well as review any student material from the course
which is called into question.
4. Within six weeks, the chair of the Grade Appeal Committee should send a written
recommendation to the program director, the faculty member(s), and the student.
5. If the Grade Appeal Committee upholds the appeal, the faculty member(s) may change the grade
and send a Change of Grade Form to the program director. If the matter is not resolved (if the Grade
Appeal Committee cannot reach a decision, or if the faculty member(s) refuses to accept the decision
of the Grade Appeal Committee), the program director should send his/her recommendation to the
CAS Graduate Dean for action.
6. If the Grade Appeal Committee denies the appeal, the program director should send written
notification to the student. In addition, the program director should write to the CAS Graduate Dean
stating the reasons for the denial. The student has the right to appeal to the CAS Graduate Dean on
matters of procedure or new evidence only.
BYLAWS OF THE GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY
CULTURAL STUDIES PROGRAM
Article I: Aims
I.1 The Cultural Studies Program is dedicated to fostering studies of human culture that
integrate theoretical and methodological approaches across disciplinary boundaries. It
grounds the study of texts, institutions, and events in a more complex understanding than is
available to any single discipline of the ways in which cultural meaning is produced,
circulated, and received in particular societies and historical eras. It joins faculty and
students in an advanced learning community based on open and reflexive recognition of
intellectual congruence and difference. Its aim is to educate academics and professionals to
appreciate and critique the past and present in the interests of a humane and equitable future.
Article II: Membership
II.1.1 The Cultural Studies Faculty is open to all members of the graduate faculty whose
teaching and research interests foster the goals of Cultural Studies and whose applications
are approved by the Faculty Matters Committee.
II.2 Categories of Membership
II.2.1 Full-time tenure-line faculty may apply for one of two categories of Cultural Studies
membership: Active Member or Affiliate Member.
II.2.2 Active membership is extended to those faculty who meet the following two criteria:
a) demonstration of an active research, publishing, and teaching interest in the field of
Cultural Studies, and b) commitment to participate on a regular basis in the governance,
teaching, advisory, and related operations of the program
II.2.3 Affiliate membership is extended to those faculty who a) indicated an intellectual,
scholarly, or pedagogical interest in the program, and/or b) can provide expertise to students
in one or more areas related to the field of Cultural Studies.
II.3 Active Membership
II.3.1 All Active members are members of the Committee of the Whole and have voting
rights in the program.
II.3.2 Active Members maintain their active membership through regular participation in
one or more of the following: teaching of Cultural Studies (core, special topics, and/or field/
dissertation related) courses; teaching of cultural studies directed readings courses; direction
of Cultural Studies field preparation or theses; service on standing or ad hoc committees of
the program; participation in the cultural studies colloquium and related events.
II.3.3 Active members are expected to maintain their participation in program activities; the
Faculty Matters Committee will periodically review the participation of Active members.
II.4 Affiliate Membership
II.4.1 Affiliate members are eligible to serve on filed and dissertation committees in roles
other than committee Chair; they are thus eligible to give courses in directed readings (870)
and independent study (880).
Article III: Director
III.1.1. To act as the official representative of the CS program in negotiations with the
college, the university, and the public and to serve as a channel of communication on
program, personnel, and budget matters.
III.1.2. To call and preside over meetings of the Executive Committee and the Committee of
the Whole and to serve as an ex officio member of all other CS standing committees.
III.1.3. To circulate written agendas for meetings of the Executive and the Committee of the
Whole at least 3 working days in advance.
III.1.4. To be responsible for having recorded and for distributing written minutes of all
meetings of the Executive Committee and of the Committee of the Whole.
III.1.5. In consultation with the Executive Committee, to supervise the allocation of
program resources and prepare a financial report available to all faculty at the end of each
III.1.6. In consultation with the Executive Committee and the appropriate departments, to
determine teaching assignments in CS courses and negotiate with departments concerning
their faculty's participation in such courses.
III.1.7. To advise departmental chairs on the nature of their faculty's participation in CS
programs when so requested by those CS faculty who are being considered for tenure and
III.1.8. To be in charge of recruiting new students for the program and coordinating the
III.1.9. On the advice of the Admissions Committee, appropriate programs and departments,
and the Executive Committee, to award fellowship and assistantship support to students in
III.1.10. In consultation with the Executive Committee, appropriate departments, and the
students in question, to determine teaching and other work assignments for program GTAs
III.1.11. In consultation with the Executive Committee, to appoint members to standing
III.1.12. In consultation with the Executive Committee, to oversee the formation of
III.1.13. To implement the procedures for grade challenges in CS courses.
III.1.14. To call additional meetings of the Committee of the Whole when requested to do
so by written petition of 25% of its membership.
III.1.15 To fulfill the other duties and responsibilities of program directors stated in
the Faculty Handbook and graduate catalogue.
III.1.16 To publish an end of the year report on the program’s activities.
III.2 Policies on Appointment and Renewal
III.2.1. The term for the director shall be four years and is renewable. In cases of foreseeable
temporary leaves from the directorship, the procedures below shall also be followed to
appoint an acting director.
III.2.2. In cases of a search for a new director, the search committee will consist of five
members, no more than two of whom shall be from any one department. The CAS Dean will
select a chair from among the faculty of the college but not of the program. The Dean will
appoint two other members from the CS faculty. Two additional members will be elected by
the CS faculty from their ranks.
III.2.3. The task of the search committee shall be to solicit input from the CS faculty and
students on the qualities sought in a new director, to seek qualified candidates for the
directorship, conducting an outside search if necessary according to the Faculty Handbook
guidelines 188.8.131.52, to moderate discussion of candidates by CS faculty, to meet with the CS
student body to discuss the candidates, and to conduct balloting of the CS faculty to
determine their preferences. The committee shall then submit to the CAS Dean an
assessment of candidate(s), the results of votes taken, and its own recommendations
concerning the directorship.
III.2.4. If the incumbent director wishes to stand for reappointment, the CAS Dean
constitutes by September 15 a committee to elicit and formulate the views of the CS faculty
and students. The committee will be constituted according to the same procedure as for the
search for a new director.
III.2.5. The renewal committee will consult with the program faculty, students, and other
persons it deems appropriate concerning the past performance of the director and the
desirability of the director's renewal. The committee determines the will of the program
students and faculty and makes recommendations to the Dean no later than October 15.
III.2.6. Other aspects of the director's appointment and renewal will be in keeping with
procedures for departmental chairs as specified in Faculty Handbook sections 2.13 through
Article IV: Executive Committee
IV.1. Membership and meetings.
IV.1.1. The Executive Committee shall consist of three elected and three appointed faculty
members. Elections and appointments shall be adjusted to ensure that no more than two
members of any one department serve on the committee. The terms shall be two years,
staggered, and are renewable. On a year-to-year basis, the Executive Committee may invite
up to two representatives of closely related university programs to serve as ex officio
members of the committee.
IV.1.2. The director shall call meetings of the Executive Committee at least three times each
IV.1.3. Failure to attend at least half the meetings each year may result in that member's
removal from the Executive Committee by the director.
IV.1.4. All Executive Committee decisions shall be publicized to CS faculty and students
within one week after they have been made. The committee's deliberations shall be
confidential in acknowledgment of the sensitive nature of its concerns with individual
faculty and students, resources, and internal governance.
IV.2.1. To advise the director on policy and internal governance of the program.
IV.2.2. To approve all action taken by standing committees.
IV.2.3. To advise the director on the allocation of program resources.
IV.2.4. To advise the director and the colloquium instructor on planning for the
IV.2.5. To advise the director on the staffing of CS courses and thesis committees.
IV.2.6. To advise the director on graduate students fellowships and on appointments to
teaching and research assistantships.
IV.2.7. To advise the director on faculty appointments to committees.
IV.2.8. To conduct faculty elections for standing and search committees.
IV.2.9. To establish additional standing or ad hoc committees as needed to conduct program
Article V: Committee of the Whole
V.1. Membership and Meetings
V.1.1. The Committee of the Whole shall consist of all members of the CS faculty
and two elected members of the CS student body.
V.1.2. The Committee of the Whole shall meet at least once every year. Members may
request additional meetings on two weeks notice by petition of 25% of the faculty. (Faculty
or students may informally request additional meetings.)
V.2.1. To make recommendations concerning CS programming and policies to the director,
the Executive Committee, and appropriate standing committees.
V.2.2. To vote on actions approved by the Executive Committee whenever 25% of the
membership files a petition to do so.
V.2.3. To debate changes to the by-laws and approve them for mail ballot by the program
Article VI: Procedures for Standing Committees
VI.1.1. Faculty appointments to standing committees shall be made by the Director.
Elections of faculty members shall be conducted by the Executive Committee at the end of
each academic year. Student representatives shall be elected by their self-designated student
organization. In the absence of such an organization, the Executive Committee will conduct
elections of student members as well. Whenever possible, elections and appointments of
committee members shall be adjusted to ensure that all standing committees include no more
than two members from any one department.
VI.1.2. Committee terms shall be two years for faculty members and one year for student
members and are renewable. Initially faculty terms will be staggered to ensure that half the
membership continues each year.
VI.1.3. Meetings of standing committees shall be open to all CS faculty and students unless
designated closed by a majority vote of the committee members. Committee meetings will
be closed to student members when personnel matters or matters involving confidential
student records are discussed.
VI.1.4. All agendas for committee meetings shall be reported in writing to CS faculty and
students at least three days in advance, and summaries of all committee business shall be
reported in writing and at meetings of the Committee of the Whole.
VI.1.5. All decisions made by committees shall be subject to approval by the Executive
VI.1.6. Any action taken by the Executive Committee may be submitted to a vote of the
Committee of the Whole on the written petition of 25% of the membership of the whole.
VI.1.7. All standing committees shall meet at least once each semester.
VI.1.8. All committees shall elect their own chair, who may appoint subcommittees as
needed to execute committee business.
Article VII: Faculty Matters Committee
VII.1.1. The Faculty Matters Committee shall consist of two elected and two appointed
faculty members and one elected student member.
VII.2.1. To make personnel decisions such as recruiting and approving individuals to the
CS faculty, to encourage faculty participation in program activities, and, if necessary, to
remove individuals from the voting membership of the CS faculty at the beginning of each
academic year for failure to participate in previous CS activities and programs.
VII.2.2. To coordinate the program's library requests.
Article VIII: Student Matters Committee
VIII.1.1. The Student Matters Committee shall consist of two elected and two appointed
faculty members and one elected student member.
VIII.2.1. To supervise the advising of CS students.
VIII.2.2. To make decisions about program requirements, curriculum, and other academic
VIII.2.3. To review and approve new courses and tracks.
VIII.2.4. For faculty members, to conduct mandated reviews of student progress.
Article IX: Admissions Committee
IX.1. Membership and Meetings
IX.1.1. The Admissions Committee shall consist of two elected and two appointed faculty
members and two student members. The student members shall be elected by the CS student
body and must have completed all required core courses.
IX.1.2. Meetings of the Admissions Committee shall be open only to its faculty members
when confidential matters concerning financial aid are discussed.
IX.2.1. To advise the director on the recruitment of students to the program.
IX.2.2. To review and rank all applications to the program.
IX.2.3. To recommend admission to the program.
IX.2.4. To recommend a ranked list of students to receive financial aid.
Article X: Colloquium Planning Committee:
X.1.1. Colloquium instructor and two elected student representatives enrolled in CULT 808.
The Director shall serve ex-officio.
X.1.2. Members shall serve for one year.
X.2.1. To plan for professional activities, outside speakers and the presentation of current
work by George Mason University faculty and students as part of the Colloquium, CULT
Article XI: Program Planning Committee
XI.1.1. The Program Planning Committee shall consist of the Colloquium instructor,
three faculty appointed by the Executive Committee and two elected student
representatives. The Director shall be and Ex-Officio member.
XI.1.2. Members shall serve for one year.
XI.2.1. To plan Cultural Studies events that are in addition to those planned by the
Article XII: Ad-Hoc Committees
XII.1.1. The Director, in consultation with the Executive Committee, may establish ad
hoc committees from time to time as needed.
XII.2.1. The Director and the Executive committee shall decide how such committees
should be constituted, based on their tasks.
Article XIII: Cultural Studies Student Organization Committee
XIII.1. Membership and Meetings
XIII.1.1. The Cultural Studies Student Organization Committee (SOC) shall consist of
all members of the Cultural Studies student body.
XIII.1.2. For the purposes of the Article, the term “student” is defined as admitted
(degree seeking) to the Cultural Studies Program; in all instances, “student” shal be
construed strictly in accordance with (a) the official policies and procedures governing
student status at George Mason University and (b) all applicable provisions of the George
Mason University Catalog.
XIII.1.3. The Cultural Studies Student Organization shall meet at least twice every
semester on a schedule designated at the beginning of each semester.
XI.2.1. To elect two co-chairs of the Cultural Studies Student Organization Committee at
the end of the school year. The terms for co-chairs shall be two years, staggered, and are
renewable for no more than one term thereafter. Co-chairs shall call and preside over
meetings of the Cultural Studies Student Organization Committee and act as official
representatives of the Cultural Studies student body in negotiations with the Director, the
Executive Committee, and other administrative entities.
XI.2.2. To elect student representatives to the Committee of the Whole and all standing
committees at the beginning of the semester for one-year appointments.
XI.2.3. To elect student members of the Colloquium planning group, which, advises the
Colloquium Instructor on planning the Cultural Studies Colloquium. (The Colloquium
planning group will also consist of faculty members from the Executive Committee and
the program director.)
XI.2.4. To plan and carry out student-organized activities, such as new student
orientations, a student mentoring program, and student reading groups.
XI.2.5. To propose, debate, and vote upon issues concerning Cultural Studies
programming and policies. Decisions will be based upon a simple majority of those
voting. Student representatives shall then make recommendations to the appropriate
committees. If appropriate, results of votes taken by the Cultural Studies Student
Organization Committee shall be made public to the larger Cultural Studies community.
Article XII: Procedures for Accepting and Amending By-Laws
XII.1. By-laws must be approved and amended by a 3/5 majority of all faculty who vote by
XII.2. Amendments to the by-laws may be proposed either by the Executive Committee or
by petition of 25% of the CS faculty or students. Proposed amendments to the by-laws must
be debated at two meetings of the Committee of the Whole before being submitted to a vote.