Courses of Study 2018-2019 
    Mar 28, 2023  
Courses of Study 2018-2019 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

American Studies

In the College of Arts and Sciences .


Course Offerings  


N. Rooks, director (on leave, fall); L. Glickman, interim director (fall); G. Altschuler, E. Baptist, R. Bensel, J. Braddock, M. P. Brady, D. Chang, E. Cheyfitz, E. Diaz, P. Enns, C. Finley, J. Frank, K. K. Gaines, J. E. Gainor, M. C. Garcia, W. Gaskins, F. Gleach, L. Glickman, T. Gosa, S. Haenni, A. Haskins, G. Hutchinson, L. Hyman, K. Jaime, K. Jordan, K. Kassam, J. Kirschner, R. Kline, J. Kohler-Hausmann, O. LaBennett, A. Livingston, A. Madrid, J. Margulies, V. Martinez-Matsuda, K. McCullough, S. Mettler, J. Michener, V. Munasinghe, M. B. Norton, J. Parmenter, J. Peraino, B. Piekut, S. Pond, R. Richardson, J. Rickard, R. Rickford, N. Rooks, D. Rubenstein, A. Sachs, N. Salvato, S. Samuels, M. E. Sanders, V. Santiago-Irizarry, M. Shefter, S. Sheppard, A. M. Smith, C. R. Snorton, L. VanClief-Stefanon, A. Villarejo, S. Villenas, S. Warner, M. Washington, C. Wildeman, S. Wong, M. Woods


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., do not fulfill the seminar requirement though each 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.

The Minor

The minor in American Studies offers students in every College an opportunity for interdisciplinary engagement with the cultures, histories, and global context of the United States. Successful completion of the minor will be noted on students’ official transcripts.

The American Studies minor consists of five courses (15 credits minimum).  AMST 1101 - Introduction to American Studies  is required, and students must take four additional AMST courses at the 2000 level or above as specified below, passing with a grade of C or higher. No more than 2 courses may be taken in any one discipline or field.

Although courses taken for the student’s major may also count for the American Studies minor, the five discrete courses constituting the minor must include:

  • AMST 1101 - Introduction to American Studies  
  • At least one pre-1900 course
  • At least one course dealing with diversity. (In the American Studies Program, “diversity” courses address social justice or inequality, with an emphasis on race, class, gender, and/or sexuality).
  • One 4000-level seminar
  • One elective

Please note: one class may be taken S/U, but AMST 1101  must be taken for a grade.

Students must declare their intent to minor by their penultimate semester. Application materials will be on the American Studies website and students must meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies to certify completion of the minor.


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 .