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 five-course concentration organized around a topic (for example: immigration, migration and ethnicity) and a historical period (for example: 1800-Present). This five-course cluster will serve as the intellectual foundation of your year-long senior thesis.

Note: Already-declared juniors and seniors have the option of completing the new or old requirements. Current sophomores and newly-declared majors must complete the following requirements. 

For your planning purposes, the American Studies Major Requirement Worksheet can be found here

Requirements for the Major (12 courses - revised Fall 2015)

1. Foundations in American Studies: AMST BC 1001 - "What is American Studies?" Majors are encouraged to complete this course before their sophomore year.

2. Foundations in American History (3 courses): Students must take one historically-focused course on the United States in each of the following time periods: pre-18001800-1900, and 1900-PresentCourses can be drawn from a variety of disciplines including, but not limited to, Africana Studies, Art History, English, French, History, Music, Political Science, Sociology, Spanish & Latin American Cultures, Theatre, Urban Studies ,and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Each student must approve her concentration courses with her American Studies major advisor.

3. 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.

4. Specialized Concentration: These five courses, determined in consultation with your American Studies advisor, must cover at least two of the historical periods specified above (see [2]). Students will choose one of the following concentrations:

  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Race and Ethnicity
  • Class
  • Food
  • Media and Popular Culture
  • Disability
  • Political Theory and Culture
  • Labor, Production, and Consumption
  • Transnational America
  • Natural and Built Environment
  • Family and Kinship
  • Religion, Spirituality and Belief
  • Visual and Performing Arts
  • Concentration proposed by petition to the Director

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
5. URBS V3725 New York City's Gilded Ages: Coming of Age, Past and Present.

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
5. ENGL BC3129 Explorations of Black Literature: Early African-American Literature 1760-1890

5. Senior Requirements (2 courses): Two semester of the Senior Research Seminar in American Studies: AMST BC 3703 - "Senior Field Essay Seminar" and AMST BC 3704 - "Senior Research Essay Seminar."