American studies provides a broad framework for the exploration of the people, places, society and culture of the United States. The field accomplishes this by appropriating ideas and methodologies from one discipline and applying them to another, and by transcending established boundaries among disciplines to create a new structure that combines traditional values and new visions. The program incorporates fieldwork research experiences, collaborative exploration, and public presentation, along with peer evaluation.
American studies is a selective major requiring intellectual independence that includes developing a six-course plan detailing the trajectory of your course of study in your major.
The major in American studies consists of six (6) units:
AMST 101D /HIST 101D U.S. History, 1492-1865
AMST 102D /HIST 102D U.S. History, 1865 to Present
One (1) unit must be from Politics, Culture and Society:
AMST 109 American Art and Culture, 1900-1945
AMST 200D /PSCI 200D Liberal Democracy in America
AMST 314 American College and University Architecture
AMST 382 Baseball and American Culture
ARHS 227D American Art to 1865
ENGL 270 American Fiction
ENGL 280 American Literary Modernism
HIST 175 Early Black History
HIST 176 Contemporary African American History
HIST 208 U.S. Women's History
HIST 380 Black History through Fiction and Film
HIST 388 Practice and Theory of History
HIST 411 Civil Rights Era
AMST 302D /MUSC 302D The History of Jazz
PSCI 301 American Presidency
RLST 230 Religion and Society in America (U.S.)
RLST 332 African American Religions
AMST 229D/SOCY 229D Social Movements
SOCY 246 American Folk Music
It is recommended that students choose a half (.5) unit from a group of courses listed in the Latino/a Studies concentration. See Latino/a Studies.
Some courses may have prerequisites in the home department; others may have limited enrollment. Students majoring in American studies should work closely with their advisor to ensure their acceptance.
Many other areas of focus are possible as well. The program now offers a "track" in Education Studies as well. In addition, the American Studies major highly recommends a course in advanced theory or methodology, feminist criticism, or intersection theory that could inform the student's major focus. The elective study program undertaken by the student requires approval of the director of the American Studies Program. At least one unit (1) must be at the 300 or 400 level.
The Senior Exercise in American studies may take several forms, but it must draw on the elective-study component of the major, identifying and then developing, through original research and creative presentation, a major theme that the student has identified as central to his or her work in American studies. By the final Friday in September, majors in American studies will present their plans for the Senior Exercise to their advisors and to the program director.
The exercise itself will have three parts:
Honors in American Studies entails a two-semester, one unit sequence of independent work integral to the elective-study program in the major, taken during the senior year (AMST 497Y-498Y). The program will result in an honors project that may take a variety of forms but shall include a written component, a public presentation or performance, and an oral interview with an external examiner. Students with an overall GPA of 3.33 and a GPA of 3.5 in the major become eligible for admission to the Honors Program during the second semester of their third year.
To enter the Honors Program, students must be nominated by an American studies faculty member. Following the recommendation, a formal proposal containing a statement of intent, a tentative bibliography and a project outline must be sent to the project advisor and the director of the American Studies program for approval by April 1. Exceptions to the GPA requirements may occasionally be granted by petition.
The American Studies concentration encompasses three (3) units of work, consisting of three components:
Students may choose among several pathways that will fulfill the curricular options requirement. To obtain a list of specific courses that fall under these categories, students should consult the director of the American Studies program.
Courses required for a student's major cannot count toward completion of the American Studies course requirements. Coursework undertaken for American Studies must be over and above work required by a major department.
The following course is cross-listed in the art history department offerings and can satisfy the fine arts requirement when it is taught by a member of the art history faculty:
AMST 109 American Art and Culture, 1900-1945.