This fall marks the opening of Media, Culture and the Arts (MCA), an interdisciplinary major bridging various disciplines within the arts and humanities.
“There is no other program like MCA at Clark, and in fact there are few such programs anywhere in the U.S.,” wrote Professor Hugh Manon, who is teaching MCA 101 and is planning to take over as director of MCA in Fall 2017, in an email to The Scarlet.
The start of a new major has elicited both excitement over new opportunities and concern over the relation to the university’s discontinuation of the interdisciplinary major Cultural Studies and Communications (CSAC).
“Its understandable that some people think that MCA is a replacement CSAC, but it’s not,” said Dean of the College and Co-director of CSAC, Matt Malsky. “It’s a new interdisciplinary program and it does some things that are the same and some that are different”
He cited subject area as a key difference, explaining that MCA has a more narrow focus than CSAC, looking mainly at the arts and humanities, while CSAC looked at the social sciences as well.
Manon explained that MCA combines different areas of the visual and performing arts, as well as combining the study and production of varied types of media. “‘Media,’ here, is understood in the broadest possible sense to include forms like painting, sculpture, and musical composition, which are not traditionally included in media studies or communications programs, along with forms such as film, television, radio, and internet-based new media,” he wrote. Manon described MCA as an “aggressively” interdisciplinary major.
He explained that development of the major began in 2011 through discussions of a new type of course faculty wanted to develop within V&PA.
“This course type was called ‘Creative InterMedia,’ and would involve hybrid approaches to media, as well as work in both production (i.e. hands-on making) and studies (historical and theoretical writing, reading, and discussion),” he explained.
Faculty began developing a concentration, then the opportunity arose to develop a major. A proposal was written by Manon and Malsky, which was “enthusiastically approved by the University Advisory Board,” according to Manon.
As of Dec. 6, 11 students had declared the major. Manon reasoned that “at this pace we could easily grow to 40-50 majors within three years.”
“I expect that the major will continue to grow, in part based on good word-of-mouth about this course, which I consider to have been hugely successful,” he wrote. “I’m very proud of my students’ progress thus far.”