Contemporary Studies Programme

The ideas that shape the contemporary world are constantly changing. What does it really mean to be postmodern, and have we ever been modern?

What is the relationship between philosophy and literature, ethics and aesthetics, writing and psychoanalysis, race and gender or science and politics?

Salvador Dali

These are a few of the questions students grapple with in the interdisciplinary Contemporary Studies Programme at King's. The CSP wants to make sense of today's world by delving into the meaning of "reason," "truth," "language," "race," and "gender." The students study the works of contemporary writers, thinkers and artists in relation to the fundamental themes and concerns of our time.

As a combined honours programme, CSP is paired with an honours arts, social science or science subject offered by Dalhousie University—from classics to neuroscience. At King's, complemented with other requirements, students take three core CSP courses, one for each year of upper-level study. The first examines some of the most important debates in modern social and political thought; the second challenges the supposed dichotomy of science and culture by showing science is in fact embedded in culture; and the third focuses on 20th-century thinkers and writers who have questioned fundamental concepts of Western philosophy.

Through their choice of electives, students can explore topics that include recent philosophical questions about the new biotechnologies, nature, ethics and aesthetics, the body and the environment, representations of the Holocaust, conceptions of race, feminist theory, pain, death, psychoanalysis, surrealism, Marxism, postcolonial theory, poststructuralism, and modern film.

The possibilities with a CSP degree

The CSP provides students with a broad interdisciplinary understanding of key aspects of contemporary society. The programme's graduates have followed their education at King's by entering prestigious MA and PhD programs in Canada and abroad, pursuing graduate and professional studies in English, French and German, social and political thought, the history of philosophy and science, curatorial studies, public policy, law and other disciplines. Many CSP graduates have also developed successful careers in education, creative writing, journalism, business, film, theatre, publishing and the civil service.

view the course offerings for 2016-2017 in the Contemporary Studies programme.