Major

Overview

As an American Studies major, you will have the opportunity to take courses in American history, literature and other related disciplines. In addition to the junior colloquium, you will work with your adviser to devise a four-course concentration organized around a topic (for example: immigration, migration and ethnicity) and a historical period (for example: Civil War and Reconstruction). This four-course cluster will serve as the intellectual foundation of your year-long senior thesis.

Requirements for the Major

1. Two semesters of the American History survey, HIST BC1401 and 1402. Majors are urged to complete this requirement by the sophomore year. This requirement may be waived for those with scores of 4 (waives one semester) or 5 (waives two semesters) on the Advanced Placement exam. Those students should substitute two upper-level American history courses, one that covers pre-Civil War material, and the other that covers post-Civil War material.

2. Two semesters of the American literature sequence:
a. Either ENG BC 3179 or 3180
b. Either ENG BC 3181 or 3183

3. One course in any discipline that focuses on American culture before 1917. (Examples include but are not limited to HIST BC 3424x "Approached by Sea: Early American Maritime Culture," ENG BC 3140x, "Explorations of Black Literature: 1760-1890," and AHIS BC 3642x or y "North American Art and Culture.")

4. Junior Colloquium: AMST BC 3401, "Cultural Approaches to the Past." This course offers an introduction to theoretical approaches of American Studies, as well as methods and materials used in the interdisciplinary study of American cultures and society. Offered only in the fall. Students studying abroad in the fall of their junior year will be expected to take the colloquium in the fall of their senior year.

5. A four-course concentration, determined in consultation with your American Studies advisor, organized around a theme and an historical period (see below).

YOUR CONCENTRATION

Themes

  • Gender and sexuality
  • Race
  • Class
  • Media and popular culture
  • Disability
  • Political theory and culture
  • Labor, production, and consumption
  • Transnational America
  • Natural and built environment
  • Family and kinship
  • Immigration, migration and ethnicity
  • Spirituality and belief
  • Proposed topic submitted by written petition to the Chair

Historical Period

  • Aboriginal and Columbian period
  • Colonial, Revolutionary and Early Republic
  • Antebellum America
  • Civil War and Reconstruction
  • 1900-1945
  • 1945-present
  • Proposed time period submitted by written petition to the Chair

Sample concentration 1: Natural and Built Environment / 1900-1945
1. ARCH V 3114 Making the Metropolis: Urban Design and Theories of the City since 1850
2. URBS V 3810 Production, Consumption, and Control of Public Spaces
3. ENGL BC 3184 House and Home in American Culture
4. HIST W 3441 Making of the Modern American Landscape

Sample concentration 2: Race / Civil War and Reconstruction
1. HIST BC 4411 Race in the Making of the US
2. AFRS BC 3122 Ethnography of Black Americans in the United States
3. HIST W 3432 The United States in the Era of Civil War and Reconstruction
4. AFRS BC 3120y History of African-American Music

6. Two semester of the Senior Research Seminar in American Studies: AMST BC 3703 and AMST BC 3704.

MAJOR AUDIT

American Studies majors keep track of their progress through the major requirements on the American Studies wiki: http://barnardamericanstudies.pbwiki.com. (Note: If you are a first year or sophomore who wishes to visit the American Studies wiki, simply email the Program Chair for a wiki invitation.)