The goal of the American Studies Program is to foster a complex understanding of American cultures, providing students with the analytical tools necessary to examine the diversity of American identities and experiences within an interdisciplinary, transnational frame.
About the Major
American studies combines the methods and perspectives of several disciplines, in particular history and literature, to examine the nation and its cultural heritage. In this way, the program represents the most enduring liberal arts principles. Yet at Hamilton, American studies is highly innovative. Its interdisciplinary approach fosters creativity and originality, encouraging students to work closely with professors to develop and pursue individual plans of study.
Students Will Learn To:
- Apply different approaches to the academic studies of the Americas
- Appraise diverse sets of evidence including both primary and secondary sources
- Communicate clearly, coherently, and effectively
A Sampling of Courses
Roots Music to Country Music: The Making of an American Sound
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?
Explore these select courses:
The writing of the men and women inside the American prison system constitutes a kind of shadow canon to that of better-known literary artists. We will read broadly in 20th- and 21st-century American prison writing, asking questions about the generic coherence, social and moral import of incarcerated people’s non-fiction, fiction and poetry. Authors will include Jack London, George Jackson, Assata Shakur, and citizens serving time today.
Meet Our Faculty
Director, Associate Professor of American Studies
anthropology of religion; global Christianities; religion in America; Native American religious traditions; traditional ecological knowledge; pilgrimage; personhood and place
Edward North Chair of Greek and Greek Literature and Professor of Literature and Creative Writing
20th-century American literature; the history of the Anglo-American novel; fiction writing; nonfiction writing and prison writing of the U.S., South Africa, and Ireland
Careers After Hamilton
Hamilton graduates who concentrated in American studies are pursuing careers in a variety of fields, including:
- Sales Planning Manager, Time Inc.
- Business Analyst, Northern Trust Bank
- Staff Writer, South Philly Review
- Senior Associate Director of Content, University of Chicago
- Marketing Manager, Terra Resort Group
- Assistant Professor, New York University
- Architectural Historian, New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission