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? No previous knowledge of music required. Music-217 has an additional independent project.
Explore these select courses:
Meet Our Faculty
Edward North Chair of Greek and Greek Literature and Professor of Literature and Creative Writing, Director of American Studies
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
Chair, the Eugene M. Tobin Distinguished Professor of Music
Dolly Parton; American folk and traditional musics; banjo, music and film; medieval and renaissance music; music and gender
Celeste Day Moore
Associate Professor of History
African-American history; diasporic and transnational history; race and empire in 20th-century U.S. and France
Associate Professor of American Studies
anthropology of religion; global Christianities; religion in America; Native American religious traditions; traditional ecological knowledge; pilgrimage; personhood and place
Chair, Associate Professor of Africana Studies
history, sociology, and Africana studies
Explore Hamilton Stories
Schermerhorn Publishes Special Issue in Material Religions
Associate Professor of Religious Studies and American Studies Program Director Seth Schermerhorn recently published a special issue on "Movement and Indigenous Religions" in Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art, and Belief.
A Lifetime of Curiosity and Learning — Law School Included
A volunteer job with the Parole Preparation Project was a pivotal moment for Allie Goodman '15, who now attends Berkley Law.
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.
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
American Studies Program
Doran Larson, Program Director
Clinton, NY 13323