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American Studies

You will explore U.S. civilization and culture across disciplines, in particular history and literature. You may find yourself looking at the U.S. in a way you hadn’t imagined, for instance from the perspective of art history, theatre, government or Africana studies.

Allie Goodman '15 in Budapest
Allie Goodman '15 in Budapest.

A student’s vision: tailoring a major

Allie Goodman ’15 found a major she could make her own in American studies. She loves its inclusive approach to history and literature and how students can shape the interdisciplinary course of study to fit their interests.

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“I’m really passionate about studying human identity as well as cultural identity, and American studies is a fantastic way to get at that,” Goodman says.

American studies, she says, provides a lense through which she can study identities across cultures. Goodman double-minors in sociology and cinema and new media studies.

She worked with Hamilton’s Digital Humanities Initiative as a research assistant with co-director Angel Nieves, associate professor of American studies.

Goodman, who is currently studying abroad in Budapest, is exploring an idea for a senior thesis about women filmmakers, a project related to her status as a HASTAC Scholar. HASTAC (the Humanities, Arts, Sciences, and Technology Alliance and Collaboration) is a community for sharing research and information.

Jack McManus '13 landed a job as arts editor at a Vermont newspaper.
Jack McManus '13 landed a job as arts editor at a Vermont newspaper.

A graduate’s progess: a job as an editor

Jack McManus ’13 was determined to be a music journalist but pretty much selected his courses at Hamilton College for the love of them. He majored in American studies and minored in medieval and Renaissance studies. Not long after he graduated, he became arts editor of the Bennington Banner newspaper in Vermont.

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“I may not have learned the specifics of the industry, but I did develop an amazingly useful understanding of American culture and identity in the American studies program,” he says. “By far the most useful thing I learned at Hamilton was actually how to learn efficiently – classes on things like Latino-American history and Canadian literature – showed me how to take on an unfamiliar subject and become an authority on it as fast as possible.”

McManus says his experiences at The Spectator student newspaper and WHCL, the student radio station,  taught him to work collaboratively to produce a product he could be proud of.

“My highest ambition has always been to establish myself as a music journalist, and the opportunities I had at Hamilton have already been enormously helpful in my pursuit,” he says.