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, public presentation and 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 the major.
The major in American studies consists of six (6) units:
This course is normally taken during the first or second year at Kenyon
One (1) unit must be from history:
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 227D/ARHS 227D American Art to 1865
AMST 302D/MUSC 302D The History of Jazz
AMST 314 American College and University Architecture
AMST 330 Sankofa Project: Theory and Practice of Urban Education
AMST 331 Visions of America from Abroad
AMST 350 Religion in American Popular Culture
ENGL 270 American Fiction
ENGL 280 American Literary Modernism
HIST 175 Early Black History
HIST 176 Contemporary African American History
HIST 208 Women in American History
HIST 209 History of North American Indians
HIST 360 Corn, Farming and the Roots of American Cultures
HIST 375 American Indian Activism and Red Power
HIST 380 Black History through Fiction and Film
HIST 411 The Civil Rights Era
HIST 426 Culture Clash in North America, 1492–1812
PSCI 301 The American Presidency
RLST 230 Religion and Society in America (U.S.)
RLST 332 African American Religions
SOCY 229 Social Movements
SOCY 244 Race, Ethnicity and American Law
SOCY 255 Woman, Crime and Law
It is recommended that students choose a half (0.5) unit from a group of courses listed in the Latino/a Studies Concentration. See Latino/a Studies.
Six courses from a single area, discipline or set of disciplines that form a coherent program in American studies. Examples of such areas would be:
• writing and literature
• race and ethnicity
• history and society
• politics and economics
• African American studies
• women's studies
• law and society
• landscape and the environment
• America in a global context
Many other areas of focus are possible including a track in education studies. 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 (1) unit must be at the 300 or 400 level.
The Senior Capstone 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 Capstone to their advisors and to the program director.
The capstone 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.
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 Concentration requirements.
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.