American Studies (AM) major

Changes in the American Studies Curriculum

The American Studies Major was revised in Spring 2014. The new major offers areas of focus and aligns study with current American Studies research and practice. Curriculum and major requirements have changed and several new courses are being introduced.

Advanced students in the American Studies major will continue under the major’s prior requirements (in certain circumstances, you may petition to follow the revised major’s requirements). Students in their first or second year will be part of the revised major.

The portfolio requirements are currently being amended.

Over the year, we will hold meetings about the changes and many new opportunities in the major. For more information, contact your advisor, the American Studies faculty or the major coordinator: Ingrid Walker.

American Studies Major

American Studies examines what “American” means by evaluating the ideals and realities of life in the United States. Students explore the complex dynamics of how our national and cultural identities are produced through a variety of factors and experiences, including the social influences of class, ethnicity, gender and race. Courses engage with the norms and narratives that shape life and identity in the United States, and consider issues at the intersection of literature, history, popular culture, sociology, philosophy, art, anthropology, geography and the environment.

Students will have the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of American experiments and systems, American lives and American spaces through critical analyses and discussions, research, creative work and community-engaged projects.

Career Options

As an interdisciplinary major, American Studies offers students flexibility and choice in a variety of subjects, disciplinary approaches and skills. Graduates are prepared for a broad range of careers in areas such as education, journalism, law, medicine, public relations, law enforcement, social work, business, community organizing, non-profit administration, museum curatorship, urban and environmental planning, library science and government. In addition, American Studies is excellent preparation for graduate study in those fields.

American Studies Student Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the historical development of American cultures, nationhood and social movements in various social and political contexts
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how cultural meaning is created, and how studying cultural ideas and practices can provide us with multiple ways of making power visible
  • Situate American cultures and communities within a global context
  • Analyze and synthesize material from primary and secondary sources in order to create a coherent, evidence-based argument
  • Employ methodologies from the humanities and the social sciences to analyze a variety of historical, cultural, social and political questions.

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