American Studies

American Studies looks at the pop culture you consume, the music you listen to, the things you buy, the foods you eat, the things you learn, the places you visit, the speeches you hear, the things you read, art and what people make —and examines the ways that identity affects the ways that we experience American culture. Through lenses of race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, region, class, immigration, nationality, age, dis/ability, and religion, we study the ways that positionality affects the lived experiences of people. You will have the opportunity to craft your own interdisciplinary program of study that concentrates on aspects of the study of American culture and society that will best prepare you for life after college.

Degree Requirements

The American Studies Major

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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)

SubjectNumberTitle
AMST100Approaches to the Study of American Society and Culture
AMST201Research Methods
AMST301Junior Community Colloquium 
AMST420Senior Seminar I
AMST421Senior Seminar II

Five 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.

SubjectNumberTitle
AMST370Topics in Race, Gender and Sexuality in America
AMST371Topics in Ethnicity, Class and Region in America
AMST372Topics in American Material and Popular Culture
AMST373Topics 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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SubjectNumberTitle
AMST100Approaches to the Study of American Society and Culture
AMST201Research Methods
AMST420Senior 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.

SubjectNumberTitle
AMST370Topics in Race, Gender and Sexuality in America
AMST371Topics in Ethnicity, Class and Region in America
AMST372Topics in American Material and Popular Culture
AMST373Topics in American Ideas and Institutions

To read more about our academic offerings, or to view full course descriptions, please refer to our University Catalog.

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.