American Studies

Have you ever wondered: Where the "Me Too" Movement really began? Why so many people went to see Black Panther? the true impact of hip hop in America? How transgender rights will be affected by the current political climate? How to have a successful protest?

American Studies peers beneath the surface of the pop culture you consume, the music you listen to, the clothes you buy, the​​ foods you eat, the places you visit, the speeches you hear, the things you read, and the art you see. We invite you to examine​​​​ impact of identity on American culture. Through lenses of race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, region, class, immigration, nationality, age, dis/ability, and religion, we study the ways that positionality affect the lived experiences of people. You will have the opportunity to craft your own interdisciplinary program of study that concentrates on aspects of American culture and society that will best prepare you for life after college.

Please note: By the end of the spring 2020 semester, American Studies will be renamed Cultural Studies. Students registering for fall courses should look for Cultural Studies (CULST) in the catalog. 

Degree Requirements

The American Studies major involves the interdisciplinary study of American culture and leads to a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies. Students focus on the regional and sub-cultural diversity of the United States, while at the same time exploring the shared history and values of the nation.

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Social Justice

Historic image of student-led protest.Are you looking for tangible and effective ways to make change in your community and in your world? Are you curious about the ways in which the past has shaped the systems that are in place today? American Studies focuses on an overarching value of social justice by seeking to understand oppressive systems and working towards equity. Students will look at social justice through lenses of gender, sexuality, race, and the many ways they intersect.  Whether it's a teach-in on successful student-led protests throughout history, a civil disobedience training, an immersive internship experience, or a class on resisting oppression, this program provides context and inspiration for making meaningful change. 

Protest: A Teach-In

Civil Disobedience Training 

Special Courses

Wonder woman stamp.You will never watch a movie the same way after taking "Wakanda Forever: The Racial Politics in Marvel’s Black Panther. " Your understanding of Wonder Woman will be forever changed in "Super/heroines in American Pop Culture." In "Queer and Trans Lives in America," you will learn to take effective action towards LGBTQ rights. You could even spend ten days learning about Parisian identity and culture––in Paris! Our special courses dive into topics that connect pop culture with social justice and systematic change. Want to explore some of the most fascinating and pressing issues of our time? 

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Student Learning Outcomes

  1. To teach students to locate, analyze, and interpret a variety of resources with logic, clarity, and efficiency.
  2. To teach students to recognize and respect the legitimacy of a variety of academic disciplines.
  3. To offer students practice in selecting interpretive tools and strategies most appropriate to the tasks which they define for themselves.
  4. To help students develop a sophisticated appreciation of the complexities and ambiguities in the culture, and to resist the temptation to settle for simplistic and pat solutions to complex problems.
  5. To connect students to the American tradition of global and transnational heritage, and to recognize and appreciate diversity in all categories of identity.
  6. To encourage students to develop their rhetorical skills: to write and speak confidently and persuasively.


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