Study What You Love
Making the Big Commitment — to a Concentration
As you explore U.S. civilization and culture across disciplines, you may come to look at the country in a way you hadn’t imagined, for instance from the perspective of art history, theatre, government or Africana studies.
American studies uses the methods and perspectives of several disciplines, in particular history and literature, as lenses through which the nation and its cultural heritage may be examined. In this way, the program represents the most enduring liberal arts traditions and principles. Yet American studies is highly innovative. Its interdisciplinary approach fosters creativity and originality, encouraging students to work closely with faculty members to develop and pursue individual plans of study.
My favorite class my freshman year that I took here was Lydia Hamessley’s ‘Music in American Film,’ and there were trends in that course that were overarching themes in American values and American cinema. And so that got me going onto this path of identity and Americans.
Allie Goodman — American studies major
At the center of the American studies curriculum are an introductory course and an intensive seminar, taken in the junior or senior year. In the intro course students explore recurring historical themes and learn the research methods used in the field. In the American studies seminar they focus on a particular topic or era.
Study of country music from its roots in cowboy songs, fiddle tunes, blues, bluegrass, and gospel hymns to current artists like The Dixie Chicks, Taylor Swift, and Brad Paisley. Artists include the Carter Family, Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Lynyrd Skynyrd, & Garth Brooks. Study of the musical elements, social class, gender roles, and cultural contexts of styles such as Western Swing, Honky-Tonk, Rockabilly, the Nashville Sound, Southern Rock, and Alt-country. Includes films such as Coal Miner’s Daughter, Nashville, and O Brother, Where Art Thou?View All Courses
In order to develop a broad understanding of the religious lives of Native Americans, we explore diverse practices and worldviews. We begin with an examination of how Native American worldviews are unique and differ from modern-Western worldviews. With this grounding, we delve into explorations of the multifaceted history of Native American traditions including the Ghost Dance, the Sun Dance, religious freedom issues pertaining to the use of peyote, struggles over sacred places, and complex native engagements with Christianity.View All Courses
This course explores a variety of roles religion has played in American culture(s) and some of the ways that American culture has influenced Americans’ religious practices. We will focus on three areas: identity (Americanism), politics (Ballots), and economics (Consumption). In particular, we will consider how religion is involved in the construction of American identity and the exclusion of some people from American polity; how religion is (and is not) intertwined with our political system; and how religion affects – and is affected by – Americans’ economic practicesView All Courses
Investigates how to critically interpret and analyze video games and the roles they play in visual and popular culture, and how to test the application of these approaches to various issues in gaming and digital media culture more generally. Topics and themes include genre and aesthetics, the game industry, spectatorship, play, narrative, immersion, gender, race, militarism, violence and labor. Writing-intensive.View All Courses
Examination of the historical and theoretical constructions of sexual and gender identities through the literature and film of the late 19th c – present. The course will explore a range of issues including the emergence, normalization and regulation of heterosexuality and “homosexuality” as categories of identity; intersections with race, class and queerness; transgender identity and subjectivity; constructions of the “family” among others. Our analyses of LGBT literature and film will be grounded by contemporary debates in feminist, gender, and queer studies.View All Courses
Examination of the experiences of black women in the United States from 1800-2006. Emphasis on the intellectual history of black women. Topics include the legacy of slavery, the role and influence of religion and the black church, the history of black women's education, the development of black feminism, the roles of and attitudes toward black lesbian and bisexual women, the role and impact of black women in popular culture and music.View All Courses
Making the Big Commitment — to a Concentration
The Name of the Game? Increasing Access to Higher Ed
True, Anna O’Keefe ’18 does not play squash. Still, she graduated straight into a perfect-fit job at CitySquash, a nonprofit that helps prepare economically disadvantaged students to dominate the T (it’s a squash thing) and, more critically, for college.