Department of Modern Culture and Media

Undergraduate Program

Modern Culture and Media (MCM) is an interdisciplinary concentration that explores the ties between media and broader cultural and social formations.

We stress creative thinking and critical production: comparative analysis and theoretical reflection, as well as work that integrates practice and theory. We thus bring together aspects of modern culture that are normally separated by university departmental structures such as film and media studies, fine art, literature, literary arts and philosophy.

This concentration offers students a wide range of possible specializations. You might decide to focus on the critical study and production of a certain type or combination of media (print, photography, sound recording, cinema, video, television, and digital media); or you may choose to focus on certain cultural, theoretical and/or social formations (for example, gender/sexuality in post-Cold war television, postcolonial theory and film, the changing form of the novel, theories of subjectivity and ideology, video games and theories of representation). These paths are united by a commitment to critical thinking/practice: rather than reproducing conventions, MCM concentrators learn how conventions emerge, what work they do, and explore ways to change them.

Concentration Tracks

Theory-based concentrators may choose to study a particular historical moment, a medium, or a mode of textual production, in combination with theoretical studies that examine the categories of cultural analysis: for example, the distinction between high and low culture.
The Practice-based Track combines production courses with the critical study of the cultural role of practice. It aims to engage students in the analysis of theories of production elaborated within philosophical, artistic, and technological traditions, while encouraging them to produce works that interrogate these traditions.

Brown-RISD Dual Degree

Because the Dual Degree is a five-year program, some deadlines and requirements may be different for these students. For example, Brown-RISD Dual Degree students may declare a concentration as late as the sixth semester, and can begin the process of applying for Honors at the end of the eighth semester.

Please contact the Student Affairs Coordinator for specific deadlines.

Opportunities for Undergraduates

Undergraduates may apply to work for a few hours a week in MCM. Positions vary from semester to semester. All jobs are posted in Workday and the Student Affairs Coordinator will send out open positions to concentrators via email.

In the past, positions open to undergraduates have included: Production Course Teaching Assistant, Digital Media Lab Assistant, Computer Lab Assistant, Audiovisual Media Projectionist, Office Assistant, and Graphic Designer.

The Brown Arts Initiative (BAI) administers student grants that may be of interest to MCM concentrators. More information on the application process can be found on the Brown Arts website. The Student Affairs Coordinator will share relevant opportunities with MCM concentrators via email.

Student Production Funds are used to support production projects made in connection with MCM production courses, MCM courses with a required production component, MCM independent studies, or MCM honors theses. The Student Affairs Coordinator will share when applications for Student Production Funds are available.