Courses of Study 2014-2015 
    Sep 24, 2023  
Courses of Study 2014-2015 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

American Studies

In the College of Arts and Sciences .


Course Offerings 


S. Haenni, director; G. Altschuler, E. Baptist, R. Bensel, J. Braddock, M. P. Brady, D. Chang, E. Cheyfitz, J. Cowie, M. Crawford, E. Diaz, C. Finley, J. Frank, J. E. Gainor, M. C. Garcia, F. Gleach, T. Gosa, S. Haenni, K. Howe, L. Hyman, M. Jones-Correa, K. Jordan, K. Kassam, M. Katzenstein, J. Kirschner, R. Kline, I. Kramnick,  O. LaBennett, A. Livingston, F. Logevall, T. J. Lowi, V. Martinez-Matsuda, B. Maxwell, K. McCullough, L. L. Meixner, S. Mettler, V. Nee, M. B. Norton, J. Parmenter, S. Pond, J. Rickard, N. Rooks, M. Rossiter, D. Rubenstein, A. Sachs, N. Salvato, N. Salvatore, S. Samuels, M. E. Sanders, V. Santiago-Irizarry, M. Shefter, A. M. Smith, S. Villenas, M. Washington, S. Wong, M. Woods, D. Woubshet. Affiliated faculty: J. E. Bernstock, J. Peraino, P. Sawyer. Emeritus: S. Blumin, J. Brumberg, R. Harris, R. L. Moore, R. Polenberg, J. Silbey.


The Major

The major in American Studies, appropriate for a wide array of future professions, began as a program of coordinated study in the history, literature, and politics of the United States. These remain the core elements, but American Studies aims to be inclusive in its subject matter. Given the nation’s diverse population and cultures, the program wants its majors to examine American experience in broad terms, drawing on the materials and methods of a variety of disciplines.

Students who contemplate becoming American Studies majors are encouraged to speak with the program director as early as possible to arrange for a major advisor.

All students majoring in American Studies must take a minimum of 12 courses selected from the American Studies roster, completing them with a grade of C or better. No more than six of these courses can come from any one discipline. Of the 12 courses at least three must have a substantial focus on material before 1900, at least two must deal with American diversity, and at least one must be a 4000-level seminar, either one of the American Studies 4300 course range (AMST 4300–4399) or an appropriate substitute seminar at the 4000-level (AMST 4997  -AMST 4998 , taught in Washington, D.C., does not fulfill the seminar requirement though it counts as one course toward the major). Note: A single course may satisfy more than one of these requirements: e.g., a course on Native Americans in the 1800s is both a course dealing substantially with pre-1900 material and one dealing with American diversity.

Although a good bit of freedom is encouraged in the selection of courses, American Studies majors, in consultation with their advisor, must define an area of concentration and complete six courses in that area. The area of concentration can be designed to fit the particular interests of a student, but it must include subjects in at least two disciplines. Possible areas of concentration include “visual studies,” “cultural studies,” “race and ethnicity,” “legal and Constitutional studies,” “American institutions,” “class and social structure,” “the American environment, “American capitalism,” “community-engaged learning and research.” (Courses taken to satisfy the concentration may be used to fulfill other requirements for the major.)

Students may find courses relevant to American experience that they wish to take but that are not on the American Studies course list. With their advisor’s approval, students may count two such courses toward fulfilling the major.


Candidates for honors must maintain an average of B+ in courses pertinent to the major and have taken at least one course in which they wrote a research paper. Normally, at the end of the junior year students who wish to write a senior honors essay must approach a member of the American Studies faculty and discuss their ideas for a project. With approval from the faculty member, students may then register in the fall of their senior year for AMST 4993 , the honors essay tutorial. At the end of the fall semester, honors candidates meet with their advisor and a second member of the American Studies faculty to discuss their progress. If satisfactory, honors students complete their honors essays in the spring by enrolling in AMST 4994 .

Category Key: Courses in American Studies are broken into different categories. To determine which category(ies) a course falls in, please note the reference at the end of each course description. The key is as follows: ASE = Anthropology, Sociology, and Economics, LT = Literature and Theatre Arts, GP = Government and Public Policy, HI = History, MV = Music and Visual Studies, HR = Honors, Reading and Research.