Feb 26, 2024  
Catalogue 2023-2024 
Catalogue 2023-2024

American Studies Program

Director: Lisa Gail Collins;

Steering Committee: Lisa Brawley (Urban Studies and Associate Dean of the Faculty ), Amy Chinb (American Studies and Asian Studies), Lisa Gail Collins (Art), Eve Dunbar (English), Gordon Hall (Art), Jonathon S. Kahn (Religion), Erin McCloskey (Education), Molly S. McGlennen (English), Justin Patch (Music), Hiram Perez (English), Allison Puglisi (History), Tyrone Simpson, II (English), Mallory Whiteduckb (Political Science).

Participating Faculty:  April Beisaw (Anthropology), Robert Brigham (History), William Hoynes (Sociology and Dean of the Faculty),  Amitava Kumarab (English), Candy Martinez (Latin American and Latinx Studies), Eréndira Rueda (Sociology), Ashanti Shih (History), Luisa Valle (Art).

a   On leave 2023/24, first semester

b   On leave 2023/24, second semester

ab On leave 2023/24

American Studies is an interdisciplinary field defined both by its objects of study - the processes, places, and people that comprise the United States - and by a mode of inquiry that moves beyond the scope of a single disciplinary approach or critical methodology. American Studies majors develop a rich understanding of the complex histories that have resulted from the conflict and confluence of Indigenous, European, African, and Asian cultures throughout the Western Hemisphere, and explore U.S. nation-formation in relation to global flows of American cultural, economic and military power. An individually designed course of study, which is the hallmark of the program, allows students to forge multidisciplinary approaches to the particular issues that interest them.

The American Studies program offers both core program courses and cross-listed electives via the following inter-related rubrics:

The United States in a global context: the role of the United States outside of its national borders, the flow of peoples, ideas, goods and capital both within and beyond the United States; explorations of historic and contemporary diasporas; contexts and cultures of U.S. militarism and anti-militarism.

Spaces, places, and borders: explorations of particular places and processes of place-making in the U.S.; focus on borders and borderlands as contested geographical and figurative spaces of cultural, political, and economic exchange.

U.S. cultural formations: investigations of literary, visual, audio, and performance cultures, and their interaction; U.S. popular culture, music and media.

Identity, difference & power: the contest to extend the promises of abstract citizenship to the particular experiences of embodied subjects; shifting politics of U.S. immigration; explorations of the production, representation and experience of race and ethnicity in the U.S., including structural dimensions of race and racism; investigations of the intersections of race with gender, class, sexuality, and other systems of difference.

U.S. Intellectual traditions and their discontents: explorations of American religious, cultural and political thought; traditions of social and political protests; discourses of sovereignty, liberty, federalism, individualism, rights.

The program also offers a correlate sequence in Native American Studies which enables students to examine Indigenous cultures, politics, histories, and literatures, in a primarily North American context. Students electing the correlate sequence are trained in the methodology of Native American Studies as a means to critically assess colonial discourses, examine the many ways Native peoples have contributed to and shaped North American culture, and analyze and honor the autonomy and sovereignty of Indigenous nations, peoples, and thought.

The American Studies program values close faculty-student interaction. Courses utilize a range of collaborative learning strategies; mentored independent senior work is an integral component of the major.



Correlate Sequence in Native American Studies

Approved Courses


American Studies: I. Introductory

American Studies: II. Intermediate

American Studies: III. Advanced