The American Studies major encourages exploration of the history and culture of the United States as a unique multicultural mosaic functioning within an always changing global order. The program bridges many disciplines as it focuses on American society contained in its history and various expressions such as art, politics, photography, music and literature. Through an analysis of its political and social development, students gain insights into the national dynamic; through inquiry and debate students gain a perspective to evaluate the nation’s actions and beliefs, historically and culturally; and through development of critical research and writing methods, which can include internships, undergraduate publishing, and study abroad opportunities, students develop professional skills in reasoning and composition that continue with them in their professional and personal lives.
Students majoring in American Studies receive a solid grounding in American culture in history to better understand its evolution; in political structure to better recognize the forces and instruments of change; in literature to experience American society from varied perspectives; and in the pluralism of our society, with particular attention to race, gender, and ethnicity. Course clusters and sequences exist in women’s studies, African American studies, global politics, and art and society. Students also encounter course work relating to each of the following themes: America’s role in the world, American regionalism, and American artistic expression. Inherent in the American Studies major is the recognition of the nation’s developing response to the challenges and opportunities of an ever-expanding global commitment.
It is apparent, therefore, that American Studies graduates, having gained appreciation and comprehension of the changing global context, will enjoy increasing career choices as the demand for Americanists and interdisciplinary skill sets grows. Additionally, the major’s liberal arts emphasis on thinking, analyzing, evaluating, and communicating provides excellent preparation for both career entry and graduate study. American Studies graduates find employment in a wide variety of fields, including education, communications, publishing, and historic preservation, as well as in museums and archives. Advanced degrees are most often pursued in law, business, museum studies and American studies.
The American Studies major leads to the B.A. degree, and is offered through the Salameno School of Humanities and Global Studies.
A minor is also available.