Major and Courses


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: race and ethnicity) in which  the students will  demostrate both interdisciplinary breadth and historical depth. This five-course cluster will serve as the intellectual foundation of your  senior capstone.

American Studies Major Requirement Worksheet Click Here

Requirements for the Major (12 courses)

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.

3. Junior Colloquium: AMST BC 3401, "Junior  Colloquium in American Studies."  This seminar examines theories and methods of American Studies. Through close readings, focused discussions, independent research, and critical writing, students will consider how culture operates as a social force, a focus of power, a site of resiatance, a space of historical meaning and memory,  and a contrasted archive of change. 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]). Each student must approve her concentration courses with her American Studies major advisor. Students will choose one of the following concentrations:

  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Race and Ethnicity
  • Class and Social Difference
  • 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: Gender and Sexuality

1. HIST BC 2567 American Women in the 20th Century
2. WMST BC 2140 Critical Approaches in Social and Cultural Theory
3. *HIST UN 2533 US Lesbian and Gay History
4. HIST BC 3580 Mississippi Semester
5. SOCI UN 3323 Race, Gender, Sexuality and Punishment

Sample concentration 2: Race and Ethnicity
1. SOCI UN 3207 Music, Race and Identity
2. *AFAS UN 3030 African American Music History
3. POLS UN 3103 Great Political Thinkers in the Black Intellectual Tradition
4. AMST BC 1510 The Profits of Race
5. AFRS BC 3554 Blackness and Comedy in the US

Sample concentration 3: Media and Popular Culture
1. ENGL BC 3252 Contemporary Media Theory
2. ANTH UN 2008 Film and Culture
3. FILM UN 2190 Topics in American Cinema
4. WMST BC 3530 Feminist Media Theory
5.*AHIS BC 3698 American Monument Cultures

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." 

*Covers pre- 20/c material.

To visits the Barnard College Course Catalogue for American Studies, click here


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