MA Cultural and Critical Studies
'I started the MACC a year after completing a BA in Politics at New York University.
'I was living in Sweden at the time and, having looked at MAs at several other universities in the UK and Europe, I ultimately decided on Birkbeck because of the content of the core courses, the impression I got from my interview and its location in central London.
'I have never once regretted my decision. The MACC’s core course exposed us to the most influential texts in Cultural Studies and Critical Theory, then organised around blocks on gender, everyday life, space and tradition.
'The wide range of option courses allowed me to focus on the areas I was most interested in. A highlight was certainly Stephen Clucas's seminar on Georges Bataille. The class was quite small – there were only four other students if I remember correctly – and it allowed us to discuss the works with extraordinary depth and detail.
'The students on the course were incredibly diverse in terms of age, background and national origin. It is a thoroughly inter-disciplinary area of study, and students came from backgrounds in everything from Fine Art and Philosophy to Economics, English and Anthropology. This was helpful both in the sense that I learned a considerable amount from my fellow students with their diverse bodies of knowledge and that everyone was forced to tone down the specialist jargon in order to communicate with the others in the class. The discussions from every seminar would inevitably continue into the pub and usually to a restaurant in the area.
'I came into the MACC highly interested in the writings and practices of Guy Debord and the Situationist International. While my dissertation ended up being centered on Debord to a large extent, all of my other essays were written on considerably different topics. I think my best work on the course was a reading of the erotic novel The Story of O, informed by Hegel, Jacques Lacan, Judith Butler and Slavoj Zizek (who is now based at Birkbeck) – an area and group of theorists completely foreign to me prior to the course.
'After finishing my MA I moved back to Stockholm, where I started working with the artist Emanuel Almborg on a publication we started called Saken. The content was highly informed by my studies at Birkbeck, and we ended up distributing the magazine around the world. Soon after, largely because of my degree from Birkbeck, I got a job teaching Cultural Studies on an undergraduate design course.
'I am now back in London finishing up my PhD at the Centre for Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths, Over five years after having completed my MA, I'm still in contact with two of the professors, Esther Leslie and Stephen Clucas, and several students from the course. There seems to be more going on at Birkbeck in general today then when I was based there, and I am often attending lectures, workshops, and conferences there every few weeks.'