Interdisciplinary Studies

American Studies: American Cultural Studies

Once thought of as the world's "melting pot," American culture has evolved into a richly complex multicultural mosaic.

American culture is a fusion of history, politics, sociology, literature, the visual and performing arts, philosophy and religion that reflects the diverse heritages of its citizens. As an American studies major with a concentration in American cultural studies in one of the nation's formative cities, you will gain a holistic understanding of the United States through a focus on its institutions, organizations, myths, values, ideologies, cultural practices and cultural products.

Major Requirements

View the 2016-2017 Academic Catalog to find course titles, numbers and descriptions.

Requirements for B.A. in American Studies

The major in American Studies is a 12-course interdisciplinary program. Students majoring in American Studies follow one of the two programs described below: American Cultural Studies or Politics and American Society. 

American Cultural Studies Program
1-5. Five introductory courses:

  • AMST1101 Introduction to American Studies
  • ART1203  Art of Resistance: Social Justice and the Visual Arts in the United States
  • HIST1105 United States History to 1877 OR HIST1106 United States History Since 1877
  • POLSC1201 Introduction to American Politics and Government
  • SOC1105 Major Institutions in U.S. Society

6.-8.  Three 2000-level courses from the following (one course must be ART or ENGL, one course must be HIST and one course must be POLSC or SOC):

  • ART2217 American Art to 1940
  • ENGL2303 The Modern American Novel
  • ENGL2304 American Voices I: U.S. Literature to 1865
  • ENGL2413 African American Literature: A Tradition of Resistance
  • ENGL2604 American Voices II: U.S. Literature Since 1865
  • HIST2128 Immigrants in the American Experience
  • HIST2130 African American History: 1865 to the Present
  • HIST2205 Women in American History
  • POLSC2225 The 1960s
  • POLSC2232 Parties and Interests in American Politics: Polarized America
  • POLSC2401 American Foreign Policy
  • POLSC2602 Introduction to Law and the Judicial System
  • SOC2105 Race, Ethnicity and Group Relations
  • SOC2127 Social Class and Inequality

9.-11. Three 3000-level from the following:

  • ENGL3301 The American West in Film and Literature
  • ENGL3601 Crime Stories and American Culture
  • HIST3121 Surviving Columbus: History of Native Americans, 1492 to 1992
  • HIST3205 Themes in the History of the American West
  • POLSC3160 American Political Thought
  • POLSC3201 Congress, Representation and the Legislative Process
  • POLSC3202 The American Presidency
  • SOC3201 Worlds in Motion: The Causes and Consequences of Migration
  • SOC3203 Organized Crime: A Sociological Exploration of Mobs, Gangs and Cartels

12. Capstone 

  • AMST4178 Directed Research in American Studies OR AMST4995 Internship

American Politics and Society


1-5. Five introductory courses:

  • AMST1101 Introduction to American Studies
  • ART1203  Art of Resistance: Social Justice and the Visual Arts in the United States
  • HIST1105 United States History to 1877 OR HIST1106 United States History Since 1877
  • POLSC1201 Introduction to American Politics and Government
  • SOC1105 Major Institutions in U.S. Society

6.-8.  Three 2000-level courses from the following (one course must be selected from ART, ENGL, or HIST; two courses must be POLSC or SOC):

  • ART2217 American Art to 1940
  • ENGL2303 The Modern American Novel
  • ENGL2304 American Voices I: U.S. Literature to 1865
  • ENGL2413 African American Literature: A Tradition of Resistance
  • ENGL2604 American Voices II: U.S. Literature Since 1865
  • HIST2128 Immigrants in the American Experience
  • HIST2130 African American History: 1865 to the Present
  • HIST2205 Women in American History
  • POLSC2225 The 1960s
  • POLSC2232 Parties and Interests in American Politics: Polarized America
  • POLSC2401 American Foreign Policy
  • POLSC2602 Introduction to Law and the Judicial System
  • SOC2105 Race, Ethnicity and Group Relations
  • SOC2127 Social Class and Inequality

9.-11. Three 3000-level  courses from the following (two courses must be POLSC or SOC, one course must be ENGL or HIST)

  • ENGL3301 The American West in Fim and Literature
  • ENGL3601 Crime Stories and American Culture
  • HIST3121 Surviving Columbus: History of Native Americans, 1492 to 1992
  • HIST3205 Themes in the History of the American West
  • POLSC3160 American Political Thought
  • POLSC3201 Congress, Representation and the Legislative Process
  • POLSC3202 The American Presidency
  • SOC3201 Worlds in Motion: The Causes and Consequences of Migration

12. Capstone

  • AMST4178 Directed Research in American Studies OR AMST4995 Internship

Minor Requirements

View the 2016-2017 Academic Catalog to find course titles, numbers and descriptions.

The American Studies minor offers students an introduction to the rigors of interdisciplinary study while serving as an excellent complement to traditional arts and sciences disciplines, such as History, English, Art, Political Science and Sociology for students who chose have a particular interest in the study of U.S. society.

Requirements for Minor:

  • AMST1101 Introduction to American Studies

Choice of:

  • HIST1105, HIST1106, POLSC1201, or SOC1105
  • 2000-level American Studies catalog course
  • 2000-level American Studies catalog course (different field than #3)
  • 3000-level American Studies catalog course (in same field as #3 or #4)

Learning Goals + Outcomes

  • To understand and apply a range of methods for analyzing American culture across the disciplines, including historical, sociological and literary or aesthetic analysis
  • To understand the significance of diversity in the U.S. through the analysis of race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexuality or other group identity formulations in a U.S. cultural context
  • To understand how major U.S. institutions and structures, including governmental and cultural institutions, reflect and shape American society
  • To construct and communicate arguments in written and oral forms addressing the significance of primary texts or material artifacts from American culture, such as works of literature, painting, photography, historical records and music
  • To conduct scholarly research on American Studies related topics