NYU’s Department of Culture and Communication: We Take Risks

The Department of Culture & Communication at New York University, where I’m earning my PhD, has re-vamped its website. In it, you can find program descriptions, faculty and PhD student bios, course listings [.doc], faculty searches, and the like.

I’d like to share the welcome message by our chair, Ted Magder, which outlines the department’s bold vision:

The Department of Culture and Communication is committed to the proposition that society is a form of communication. Our core pursuit is advancement of research, scholarship, and teaching in the various ways that human beings make, disseminate and share meaningful symbols as individuals and social groups. To us, communication is the foundational practice of human experience and culture is the shared, lived realities of particular groups. We investigate the ways in which the technologies of communication record, transmit and shape what we know and do.

Our academic terrain is interdisciplinary, equally informed by the humanities and social sciences. Students and scholars of culture and communication must appreciate and explore communicative and cultural practices that extend beyond their own place and time. We value historical thinking as a way of understanding the present. We take seriously the premise that we live in a world of cultures, contested and dynamic.

The department provides a rich diversity of undergraduate and graduate courses. Instruction ranges from theoretical and historical accounts of communication systems in general to specific case studies of particular forms, methods, and modes of communication. Our courses confront the issues and challenges that changing technology, media forms, institutions, and social and cultural habits present to us in a global and connected age. Working with the professional communities in New York City and elsewhere, we seek to build our students’ professional competencies and support their desire to pursue careers in communication and media.

We produce original and innovative scholarly research of the highest caliber and seek the broadest possible dissemination of our work, reaching the widest possible array of publics.

Our work is grounded in questions of philosophy, politics and global citizenship. Though we hold to no single school of thought or moral system, our inquiries and our pedagogy engage with normative and ethical issues.

We take risks.

—Ted Magder, Chair

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