Lookups on Merriam-Webster.com started spiking after Labor Day. (This has become an annual phenomenon.)
Students arriving at college were greeted, as usual, with plenty of culture.
For example, a few course titles in the Ohio State catalogue: "Theorizing Culture," "Transnationalism and Culture in the Americas," "Conceptual Process for Visual Culture as Curricula."
In college classrooms, it seems, the word is everywhere. But what does it mean?
Merriam-Webster's definition of culture includes a couple of senses relevant to the academic use:
: the integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations
: the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group; also : the characteristic features of everyday existence (as diversions or a way of life} shared by people in a place or time
Beyond that, exploring the range of this word is partly what student life is about.
Culture comes from Latin: "to cultivate land."