American Studies

Undergraduate Study

American Studies is an interdisciplinary concentration that is innovative and creative, offering new answers to complex questions about American society, cultures, and experiences.

Exciting new directions build on our interests in gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity. Publicly-engaged scholarship in local and global contexts and the digital humanities play increasingly important roles in the production and dissemination knowledge by American Studies faculty and students.  Students learn to analyze social structures and practices of identity, space and place, and the production and consumption of culture.

American Studies concentrators take foundational courses within the department and often use courses around the University to round out their interdisciplinary look at the United States.  American Studies maintains strong ties to programs in Africana Studies, Ethnic Studies, Gender and Sexuality, Urban Studies and, most recently, the Masters program in Public Humanities.

    The Focus

    Each concentrator must choose one of the main themes or approaches of American Studies as the frame of their focus. The student, in consultation with the Concentration Advisor, will further define the individual focus by adding a subtitle. For example:

    • Space and Place: Urban Renewal
    • Space and Place: Public Memorials
    • Cultural Production and Consumption: African American Music
    • Cultural Production and Consumption: Photography and American Culture
    • Global/International Contextualization: Transnational Late Capitalism and Media
    • Global/International Contextualization: Asian American Immigration
    • Public Engagement: Narrative and Material Culture

    The specific skills that concentrators will use and develop in order to achieve these intellectual goals articulated by these themes and approaches are:

    • Reading texts, objects and spaces critically and historically
    • Producing scholarship and creative work in different forms ranging from the traditional research paper to exhibitions to new media
    • Participating in forms of publicly publicly-engaged scholarship
    • Creating an ePortfolio that serves as part of the capstone experience