Current Courses in Peterborough

For scheduling of courses, please consult the Trent Timetable.
Cultural Studies current courses by specialization , click here.
Cultural Studies courses Oshawa

Please note that our course numbers have changed as of 2010-11 from 3 digits to 4 digits. The previous course number is noted beside the new one.




CUST 1500H: Introduction to the Study of Modern Culture 

Introduction to the field of cultural studies by way of an interdisciplinary investigation into some "common sense" understandings of everyday life. Discussions of a range of creative and critical materials that open up the such topics as sight, sound, space, time, body, and mind, the course unpacks the tricky nature/culture relationship, and examines to what extent that which seems to be "natural" might prove to be "cultural."

Excludes CUST 1000Y (100). Instructor: V. de Zwaan


CUST 1510H: Introduction to the Integrated Arts

Introduces students to the historical, theoretical, and comparative study of the integrated arts —visual art, film, theatre, and music. Combines lectures, workshops, and events that include film screenings, performances, and field trip. The course has a special focus each year.

The theme for this year’s course is modern art and the First World War. The philosopher Walter Benjamin famously argued that the War introduced a profound rupture into history and culture. “A generation that had gone to school on a horse-drawn streetcar now stood under the open sky in a countryside in which nothing remained unchanged but the clouds, and beneath these clouds, in a field of force of destructive torrents and explosions, was the tiny, fragile human body.” The world was so transformed by WWI that afterwards history could only be thought of as Before and After with the war as the dividing line. The course will explore this proposition through the arts. We will begin with the emergence of modern art in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This was a time of radical experimentation and enthusiasm when new styles and forms emerged and very foundations of art were challenged and rethought. After exploring the experience of industrialized warfare we will turn to the much darker art and culture that emerged in the postwar period and investigate the ways in which the traumas of war both effected the arts and were resisted through them. The course will situate Paris and Berlin as cultural capitals which will provide a topographical dimension to our study.

Excludes CUST 1000Y (100). Instructor: I. Junyk

CUST 1520H: Introduction to World Literature

Introduction to the study of literature in a global context. Spanning antiquity and modernity, East and West, we consider English translations of great works in relation to culture, history, and other forms of media and expression.  The course has a special focus each year.

The theme for this year’s course is “the journey.” The world literary tradition is full of stories of fantastic voyages - journeys to exotic foreign lands or strange alien worlds. Although sometimes dismissed as whimsical entertainments, these stories are often profound meditations on nature, culture, the self, and the Other. Indeed world literature itself can be viewed as a journey where the reader encounters new languages, cultures, styles, genres, and ideas. This course takes the theme of the journey as an entry point into the study of literature in a global context.  Field trip fee.

Excludes CUST 1000Y (100). Instructor: I. Junyk

CUST 1535H: Introduction to Media Studies

An introduction to media studies that starts with students’ own experiences of contemporary media. It seeks to give students an understanding of these media and how they emerged. Leads into second-year courses in the history and theory of media, in changing media practices, and in digital culture.

Excludes CUST 1035Y. Instructors: K. Egan (FA) and J. Synenko (WI)

* Two of these half courses must be taken to earn the first year degree requirements.



CUST 2016Y (previously CUST 216): Introduction to Visual Studies

features a communications approach in aesthetic theory for the study of the visual arts, images, and sites. It considers ritualistic, mnemonic, architectural and sculptural sites in preparation for an inquiry into modern picturing from its extraordinary emergence in Renaissance art and science to its hyperbolic technologization in photographic, filmic, televisual and digital media.

Field trip costs. $70 (FA) and $40 (WI)

Instructosr:J. Bordo (FA) and K. Egan (WI)

CUST 2029Y (previously CUST-ENGL 229): Science fiction

Introduction to the history, theory and representative works and authors of science fiction, from Shelley and Wells to Dick, Le Guin, and Gibson. Will examine stories of alternate worlds, technoculture, and space adventure, including cyborgs, alien encounters, non-contemporary earth life and human destiny. There are two contact hours weekly.  Instructors: C. Andrews

CUST 2035Y (previously CUST 235: Media and Society

serves as an introduction to the history, sociology and critical interpretation of contemporary mass-communicated culture, both as an overall formation and with reference to such specific elements as the newspaper press, advertising, network TV and recorded popular music. The course excludes CUST/ SOCI 240. There is a one-hour lecture and seminar weekly. Instructor: L. Mitchell

CUST 2045Y (previously CUST 245): Music and society

is an introduction to music as cultural practice. The course explores formulations of the relationship between music and society offered by ethnomusicology, sociology, semiotics and feminist theory. Emphasis is placed on the development of listening skills through an engagement with a variety of musical texts and practices from Western art music, popular music and world music traditions. No formal background in music is required. There is a lecture and seminar weekly.

Instructor: M. Morse

CUST-2081Y: Introduction to Film

Iis a wide-ranging and diverse introduction to the film medium, this course is designed to expose students to the main currents of filmmaking across the globe, to introduce central critical and theoretical concepts in film discourse, and to develop the skills required to write in an engaging and informed way about what we informally call the movies. Instructor: J. Synenko

CUST-2111Y: Drawing

A basic drawing course exploring techniques and ideas in the visual arts. Historical and contemporary issues are examined through practical hands-on experiences. Art materials fee: $100. All applicants wait-listed; waitlist prioritized by major and specialization. Prerequisite: 4.0 university credits or permission of instructor. Recommended pre- or co-requisite: CUST 2016Y.Instructor: A. Fabo

CUST 2551H: Popular Culture and Modern
Thought: Ideology, Language

Examines how culture and modern thought shape one another. We consider major currents of modern thought through a variety of media: film, literature (fiction, autobiography, theatre), and the visual arts,
focusing on the relation between culture and politics as well as the question of culture and language. Prerequisite: 4.0 university credits.

Insrructor: J. Penney

CUST 2552H – Culture and modern thought: Gender, globalization, and the virtual

This course examines how culture and modern thought shape one another. We will consider major currents of modern thought through a variety of media: film, literature (fiction, autobiography, theatre), and the visual arts, focusing on gender and sexuality; culture and globalization; and culture and technologies of the virtual.

Instructor: J. Penney

CUST 2572H - Performance and Protest Worshop

will concentrate on an in depth study of the theories and the practice of Augusto Boál, the Brazilian theorist and activist who has posed this question more comprehensively than any other practitioner of the late 20th centure. Instructor: I. McLachlan



Prerequisite: 4.0 university credits including 1.0 CUST credit or permission of instructor.

CUST 3087Y: Community-Based Research Project

Students are placed in research projects with community organizations in the Peterborough area. Each placement is supervised jointly by a faculty
member and a representative of a community organization. For details see Community-Based Research Program (p. 267). Prerequisite: 10.0
university credits and a 75% cumulative average.

CUST 3142H: Workshop in Experimental Music: From Cage to Post-Punk

Experimental music is composed and performed. Neither genre nor technique, experimental music is constantly pushing at boundaries. Special attention is paid to John Cage and musicians he influenced,
together with post-punk and various current DIY practices. No previous experience with making music is required. Prerequisite: 4.0 university credits including 1.0 CUST credit or permission of instructor. Excludes
CUST 3146Y. Instructor: M. Arnold

CUST 3143H: Workshop in Electronic Music Production

Students learn the basics of software music production, generate one or more pieces of music, and explore the media critically in discussions of both theoretical and practical texts. Music and songwriting skills are
developed in conjunction with software learning. No previous training in music making is required. Prerequisite: 4.0 university credits including 1.0 CUST credit or permission Instructor: M. Arnold

CUST 3175Y: Theatre Workshop: Staging Ideas

A practical course in modern acting with a focus on methods of performance in works that dramatize ideas and the conflicts between them. Workshop fee: $50. Limited enrolment. Prerequisite: 4.0 university credits including 1.0 CUST credit or permission of instructor. Instructor: R.Winslow

CUST 3184H: Documentary Film Workshop

A workshop course in 16mm filmmaking with an emphasis on experimental documentary work using lightweight film cameras. Required fee for materials: $80. Prerequisite: 4.0 university credits including 1.0
CUST credit or permission of the instructor. Excludes CUST 3185Y.

Instructor: K. Egan

CUST 3522H: Experimental Fiction

Traces an international “tradition” of modern and contemporary experimental texts, focusing on such figures as Proust, Joyce, Kafka, Borges, Calvino, Nabokov, Cortázar, and Rushdie. Individual works
are related to theories of narrative and cognate developments in other arts which help to place them in both aesthetic and cultural contexts. Prerequisite: 4.0 university credits. Students may take only one of CUST
3022Y or 3522H for credit. Instructor: V. de Zwaan

CUST 3531H: Mass Media and War

Media coverage of war from the Mexican Revolution
to the Iraq War with an emphasis on reportage and the
field of journalism. Prerequisite: 4.0 university credits.

Instructor: J. Synenko

CUST-COIS 3533H: Game Studies

An introduction to game studies that explores the implications of games and play. What can games tell us about what we value, how we think, and who we are? Prerequisite: 4.0 university credits.

Instructor: L. Mitchell

CUST 3535H: Television studies

An introduction to television studies with an emphasis on the historical transformations of TV from the 1950s to the YouTube era. Prerequisite: 4.0 university credits. Instructor: J. Synenko

CUST 3542H: Music Studies: The Black Atlantic

“The Black Atlantic” refers to the radically complex, open-ended cultures of West Africa, the Americas, and Western Europe that formed in the wake of colonialism and the Atlantic slave trade. We consider their musics, including blues, R&B, jazz, funk, soul, Afrobeat, juju, rumba, salsa, reggae, dancehall, and various further hybrids. Prerequisite: 4.0 university credits or permission of the instructor. Excludes CUST 3045Y.

Instructor: M. Arnold

CUST 3545H: Music and Media—An Archaeology

Explores the various functions of music in drama, film, television, and computer games, and considers how media adapt and adapt to a way of communicating that is (at least) as old as human civilization. Prerequisite: 4.0 university credits or permission of the instructor.

Instructor: M. Morse

CUST 3550H: Studies in cultural theory

This seminar reflects on issues in the political-ethical domain in the context of contemporary critical and cultural theory. The current focus is violence and the law in the context of what is often called “the crisis of
modern critical discourse. Excludes CUST 350, 450, 4050Y, 4550H.
Students may take only one of CUST 3050Y or 3550H for credit.

Instructor: TBA

CUST 3556H: Place Matters—Art, Letters, and Landscape

Beginning with the question What is landscape?, this course considers landscape in art and letters as an entrance into the very question of place: What is a place? What place is this? A fee of $60 for field
excursions. Prerequisite: 4.0 university credits. Students may take only one of CUST 3056Y or 3556H for credit. Instructor: J. Bordo

CUST 3572H: Workshop in Epic Theatre

The workshop engages the complicated dialectics in Bertolt Brecht’s “Epic Theatre.” Readings address the political, aesthetic, and cultural contexts for Brecht’s work, as well as the influence of Brecht on subsequent
representational and narrative practices. A combination of practical experimentation and critical analysis each week. Prerequisite: 4.0 university credits or permission of the instructor.

Instructor: I. McLachlan

CUST 3581H: World Cinema I: Experiment and Innovation

Explores experiments and innovations in European and American cinemas in their relation to film cultures elsewhere, focusing on the aesthetics and politics of cinematic form. How does the way a film is made influence its meaning and reception? Features films from Africa, Latin America, West Asia, and other regions. Excludes CUST 3081Y. Instructor: J. Penney


Prerequisite: 10.0 university credits including 3.0 CUST credits or permission of instructor.

CUST 4010Y and 4020D (previously 401 and 402D): Honours thesis.

The thesis is a major research project of approximately 15 000 words worth two credits.  The single credit 4010Y is assigned when a student writes a thesis for CUST and also for another Department, which assigns the other credit; this is usually undertaken as part of an Honours joint-major degree.  4020D is a double-credit course taken in CUST for which a double fee is charged. With the chair's approval the thesis project alternatively may consist of an equivalent combination of written work and work in another medium. A preliminary statement of intent and brief outline must be submitted to the chair by April 1. The Department deadline for a thesis abstract and bibliography (signed by a thesis supervisor) is April 30. Extensions beyond this date will not normally be granted. Staff

CUST 4035Y (previously CUST 435): Advanced Topics in Mass Media & Popular Culture: Digital Subjectivity

examines the relationship between digital media and subject formation.  Do the ways that we identify ourselves on sites like Facebook, Reddit, or 4chan differ from the ways that we identify ourselves in the world?  If so, then what social, cultural, and political consequences follow?  To answer these questions, we will explore how subjects form, deform, and reform themselves: the first semester will trace a line through key thinkers on subjectivation, focusing particularly on Friedrich Nietzsche, Michel Foucault, and Judith Butler.  We will also ask how digital media inform this process: the second semester will present readings from contemporary Media Studies scholars that will help describe the digital subject and discuss the broader implications of its ascension.  Both semesters will give students the opportunity to lead class discussions, working through case studies of different sites of digital media.

Instructor: L. Mitchell

CUST 4070Y (previously CUST 470): Advanced studies in the Theatre

Special topics have included: the history and practice of theatre directing; experimental performance styles of traditionally marginalized groups; parody and performance; the work of Bertolt Brecht; theories of subjectivity and narrative; performance theory and performance art; and genre experimentation. Excludes CUST 470.
Instructor: Instructors: I. McLachlan (FA) and R. Winslow (WI)

CUST 4523H: Shapeshifters: Narrative Adaptations Across Media

Focused for a long time on the adaptation of literature into film – still perhaps the most well-known form of adaptation – adaptation studies developed as a hybrid of narrative studies and film studies, and it has developed into a very large field, covering the practices of adaptation across many different media besides film and literature, including comic books and graphic novels, theatre and opera, hypertexts and video gaming. In this course, we will look closely at four “cases” of adaptations from and into a range of other genre and media that raise interesting and complex issues for adaptation studies, such as the nature of the (adapted) object, the question of “fidelity,” and the formal, technical, and material conditions of narrative production related to different media.

Primary texts in Winter 2015 will include (1) Pride and Prejudice, the Bollywood film Bride and Prejudice, and the television series Lost in Austen; (2) several versions of the Snow White story, including the Grimm Brothers version, Roald Dahl’s poem, the film Mirror, Mirror, and Catherynne Valente’s Six-Gun Snow White; (3) the film Adaptation and the book it adapts, Susan Orlean’s The Orchid Thief, and (4) The Walking Dead in its comic book, television, and video game incarnations,  Theoretical and critical materials include Linda Hutcheon’s A Theory of Adaptation, Roland Barthes and Michel Foucault on textuality and authorship, and a range of major and influential essays in recent adaptation studies by Christine Bacchilega, Deborah Cartmell, Thomas Leitch, Brett Westerbrook, and Imelda Whelehan.

Instructor: V. de Zwaan (WI)

CUST – POST 4538H – Media ecologies

This course examines some theories and practices for the analysis of media ecologies. “Media Ecologies” refers to the worlds, sensibilities, and perceptibilities that our interactions with media enable. Detailed attention is given to media objects, the role of the culture-maker, and the critical political analysis of human/non-human entanglement(s).
Instructor: K. Egan

CUST 4580H: Text and image

examines the relation between the word and the image as discussed in cultural theory and made manifest in literature, painting and the cinema. Prerequisite: Excludes CUST 380, 480, 3080Y. Instructor: TBA


CUST 4586H: Cinema in the Digital Age

An advanced seminar in film studies that considers the materiality of new media and the effects of new modes of inscription, transmission, and reception on the cultural space of “cinema.” Prerequisite: 10.0
university credits including 3.0 CUST credits; or CUST 1535H (1035Y), COIS 1010H, and either CUST 2035Y or 2535H; or permission of instructor. Instructor: K. Egan

CUST 4900Y, 4901H, 4902H (previously CUST 490, 491, 492H): Reading course

is a course of individual study supervised by a faculty member. The proposed syllabus requires permission of the instructor and of the chair of the program prior to registering in the course. Proposals should be submitted by March 31 for reading courses to begin in the following Fall session, and by Nov 30 for reading courses due to be taken in the Winter session. Prerequisite: Open to Cultural Studies Honours students with 14.0 credits completed or permission of iinstructor.