Catalogue 2017 - 2018

American Studies Major

General Information

American Studies majors take a broad, inter-disciplinary approach to the meaning and nature of culture in the United States including the context of European colonialism – an inquiry that explores the idea of America as a contested site of meaning. Literature is the core of the program, but majors position their literary study in a comparative analysis of visual media and history to supplement their understanding of the relationship between cultural expressions and their context in social, political and economic change.  

Career Opportunities

Combining a specialization in American culture with emphasis on critical reading, writing and thinking throughout the course of study, American Studies majors have many opportunities for graduate study and employment. They graduate prepared for the fields of law and politics, technical writing, editing, journalism and teaching. Students competing for positions specifically focused on American literature or culture will be able to present themselves as specialists in that field. The cultural and historical context of the American Studies program serves majors in business fields reliant on the interpretation of cultural trends and meaning such as marketing and media research, publishing and public relations. 

English Faculty

Professors: Josie Brown-Rose, Chip Rhodes

Associate Professors: Lisa Drnec-Kerr, Kelly Klingensmith, Edward Wesp

Professional Educator: Stephanie Wardrop

Program Objectives

  • To offer a broad, inter-disciplinary approach to the culture of the United States.
  • To provide in-depth exposure to the forms and development of American, including African American, literature situated in the broad Anglophone tradition and history of colonization.
  • To analyze film and visual media as a part of the larger American cultural discourse and sharpen students’ awareness of the techniques and traditions particular to visual media.   
  • To supplement students’ understanding of literary and visual media with historical context.
  • To develop students’ ability to read, analyze and interpret a variety of cultural texts.
  • To develop students’ ability to produce clear, nuanced and rhetorically sophisticated academic writing.

General University and College Requirements

See General University Requirements and College of Arts and Sciences Requirements.

Total Credit Hours: 122

Four additional courses, of which one must treat a major author or authors, and another must treat a historically under-represented literature.