American Studies engages students in the interdisciplinary study of the cultures and politics of the United States and the Americas, past and present. Through its exploration of American traditions, institutions, geography, arts, and mass culture, the program exposes students to a diversity of American perspectives and identities. Central to our major is an investigation of the intersectionalities of ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, religion, and citizenship in the examination of American experiences. In response to the discipline’s animating questions “What is ‘America’?” and “What does it mean to be an American?” we analyze the formation of local, indigenous, borderland, and diasporic communities within the context of powerful assertions of national identity.
The American Studies program is also distinct in our commitment to community-based learning and the public humanities, fostering critical analysis by engaging with local community partners in teaching, researching, and promoting active civic participation.