American Studies

Set against the backdrop of New England’s rich history and culture, the American Studies program at RWU encourages students to examine the entirety of the American experience through various lenses like music, race, religion, politics and more. You’ll craft your own interdisciplinary program of study as you prepare for a career in fields such as activism, education and community engagement.

The American Studies Major

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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 subcultural diversity of the United States, while at the same time exploring the shared history and values of the nation.

Degree Requirements

Majors must satisfy University Core Curriculum requirements and the College speech requirement, COMM 210. Students should formulate a specific program of study in consultation with the American Studies faculty. Students must complete the following fourteen (14) courses (42 credits) and sufficient electives to total at least 120 credits. Majors are encouraged to apply electives toward a minor or second major.

Foundation Courses (15 Credits)

AMST     100     Approaches to the Study of American Society and Culture
AMST     201     Research Methods     
AMST     301     Junior Community Colloquium     
AMST     420     Senior Seminar I     
AMST     421     Senior Seminar II     

5 courses selected from the following topical areas:

*Note-These are variable content courses and may be repeated for credit, but students may study a single topic only once.
AMST     370     Topics in Race, Gender and Sexuality in America     
AMST     371     Topics in Ethnicity, Class and Region in America     
AMST     372     Topics in American Material and Popular Culture     
AMST     373     Topics in American Ideas and Institutions     

Four Interdisciplinary electives:

At least two at the 200 level or above from offerings on United States life and culture from related disciplines such as Art and Architectural History, Architecture, English, History, Music, Philosophy, Political Science.

The American Studies Minor

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Degree Requirements

AMST 100 Approaches to the Study of American Society and Culture

AMST 201 Research Methods

AMST 420 American Studies Senior Seminar I

and three courses selected from the following topical areas:

*Note -These are variable content courses and may be repeated for credit, but students may study a single topic only once.

AMST 370 Topics in Race, Gender and Sexuality in America

AMST 371 Topics in Ethnicity, Class and Region in America

AMST 372 Topics in American Material and Popular Culture

AMST 373 Topics in American Ideas and Institutions

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.