About American Studies

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What is American Studies?

American Studies is the interdisciplinary study of the United States and its global impace. Students and scholars in the field of American Studies examine the formation of a national culture, nation's many subcultures, and the influence the U.S. around the world. They draw on a wide range of disciplines and fields to study the culture of the United States, such as Anthropology, Art History, English, History, Ethnic Studies, Religion, Political Science, Sociology, and Urban Studies. Amidst this broad range of fields of inquiry, those in the field of American Studies have in common the desire to view America from the perspective of more than one discipline.

What does a student gain from working in American Studies?

Students within the field of American Studies gain a deep understanding of the United States and its complexity. The course of study is rooted in a historical perspective on America. The American Studies student analyzes American history and experience in order to develop insight into the multiplicity of cultures, ideas, and institutions that make up the nation. Majors acquire many of the same skills which emerge in a traditional humanities or social science major, most notably analytical abilities and strong writing.

Along with these skills, American Studies students gain an additional interdisciplinarity, enabling majors to make connections between diverse fields and subjects. Students develop the ability to apply this historically-grounded, multidisciplinary knowledge of the United States to a variety of contemporary areas, including politics, economics, social issues, and culture. Finally, in putting together such a wide-ranging course of study, American Studies majors demonstrate individual initiative and the capacity for self-direction.