Major in American Studies: American Studies is an interdisciplinary major that fosters an understanding of past and contemporary American culture. While requiring a substantial foundation in American literature and history, the program also encourages students to explore nontraditional methods and subjects. The major is assembled usually from the fields of history, literature, anthropology, politics, religion, and art history. The junior seminar for majors introduces students to important methodological and theoretical problems in the study of American culture. During the first semester of the senior year, students undertake an independent and interdisciplinary research project. The comprehensive examination in the second semester of the senior year covers the particular program of required classes and electives the student has chosen.
The Program further encourages students to take responsibility for the design and content of their major course of study. Students elect to pursue one of two possible tracks:
1) General Course in American Studies: This track is the traditional major in American Studies. In addition to the five required classes (American Studies 201, 202, 377, 378, and 333) and the senior research project (American Studies 420), students select five classes in the humanities and social sciences and combine them into an integrated course of study that reflects their intellectual and scholarly interests.
2) Track in Africana and African American Studies (AAAS): Students choosing this track must take the following: American Studies 150 (Introduction to Africana and African American Studies); the five classes required of all program majors (American Studies 201, 202, 377, 378, and 333); four additional elective classes focusing on the history and culture of the African diaspora, with particular attention to the experiences of the populations of African descent in North America and the Caribbean. Finally, they must complete the senior research project in the same subject area of AAAS (American Studies 420).
It is recommended that prospective majors take American Studies (History) 201 and 202 and American Studies (English) 377 and 378 in the sophomore year. For students electing the track in Africana and African American Studies, it is recommended that they take American Studies 150 (Introduction to Africana and African American Studies) in their sophomore year.