American Studies

Program Offerings

Offering type
Certificate

The Program in American Studies, administered by the Effron Center for the Study of America, is an interdisciplinary plan of study that prepares students to make intellectual connections in the world through the experiences and place of America in current and historical times. Encompassing a wide range of fields, areas and disciplines, and grounded in the histories and experiences of the diverse peoples and cultures that make up the United States of America, the program explores different conceptual framings of America and the role of the United States in local, global and transnational relationships. By asking a broad range of research questions and engaging with diverse scholarly methods and theories, the program encourages new understandings of issues that profoundly affect contemporary life and scholarship, including questions of migration, diaspora and borders; indigeneity and colonization; globalization, empire and war; capital and culture; language, race and ethnicity; religion; slavery and racialization; gender and sexuality; and ecology and technology.

For more information, please visit the Effron Center website.

Goals for Student Learning

  • Demonstrate interdisciplinary thinking by integrating knowledge from various disciplines, such as history, sociology, literature, political science, anthropology and cultural studies, to explore and analyze complex issues in American studies.
  • Analyze and critically evaluate the impact of power structures, such as racism, colonialism and oppression on ethnic and racial communities in the United States, within both national and global contexts.
  • Understand the importance of ethical research practices and engage in responsible scholarship that respects the rights and dignity of individuals and communities.
  • Develop a comprehensive understanding of the historical and contemporary experiences of diverse ethnic groups in the United States, including their representation/identity, historical struggles and national contributions.
  • Develop strong research and analytical skills to investigate and interpret primary and secondary sources related to American studies, including oral histories, literature, art, film and other media.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the interconnectedness of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class and other social categories in shaping the experiences of individuals and communities in the United States and around the world.
  • Foster a critical understanding of social justice and advocacy movements led by different racial and ethnic communities, and the strategies and tactics employed to challenge systems of inequality that promote social change.
  • Develop effective written and oral communication skills to articulate complex ideas and arguments related to American studies and engage in respectful dialogue and debate around issues of race, ethnicity, politics and power.
  • Apply theoretical knowledge and critical thinking skills to real-world issues and challenges faced by ethnic and racial communities in the United States, and develop practical solutions that promote equity, justice and inclusivity.
  • Cultivate self-reflection and empathy, and recognize one's own positionality and biases in relation to different communities and the broader society.
  • Explore the diversity of identities and experiences within and across ethnic communities, including but not limited to Indigenous, African American, Asian American and Pacific Island, Latino/a/x and Middle Eastern communities in the United States of America.

Admission to the Program

Students from all departments are welcome to enroll. Students may enroll in the American Studies certificate program at any time, including their first year. There are no prerequisites, and courses taken prior to enrollment may count toward the certificate requirements. Students may take the gateway course AMS 101 at any time during their studies, including after enrollment in the certificate program. To enroll in the certificate program, students should complete the online enrollment form on the Effron Center website. Certificate students should plan to meet with the associate director or the program coordinator of the Effron Center for the Study of America before the end of their first year of enrollment to review their plans for fulfilling the certificate requirements.

Program of Study

Students may earn a certificate in American studies by successfully completing the following requirements, consisting of five courses:

  1. AMS 101: America Then and Now
  2. Three courses in American studies, either originating in the program or cross-listed, and preferably representing disciplinary breadth in the social sciences, arts and humanities. No more than one course taken in fulfillment of the student’s major may be counted toward the certificate.
  3. An advanced seminar in American studies, preferably taken in senior year.

Certificate of Proficiency

Students who fulfill all the requirements of the program will receive a certificate in American Studies upon graduation.

Faculty

  • Director

    • Aisha M. Beliso-De Jesús
  • Associate Director

    • Patricia Fernández-Kelly

For a full list of faculty members and fellows please visit the department or program website.

Courses

AMS 101 - Comparative Perspectives on Power, Resistance and Change (also ASA 101/LAO 101) Fall CDEC

This course introduces students to the subjects of American Studies through discussion of some of the signature ideas, events, and debates in America's past and present in order to understand America as it exists today. It examines both historical and mythic manifestations of America from local, national, and global perspectives and considers the historical and cognitive processes associated with the delineation of America. The course examines a wide range of material and media from the point of view of multiple fields of study, and it engages the voices of diverse individuals and cultures in telling the story of America then and now. W. Gleason, S. Khan, M. Huerta

AMS 230 - Introductory Topics in Race and Public Policy (also AAS 228) Fall CDHA

AMS 244 - Race and Politics in the United States (also AAS 344/POL 344) Fall CDSA

AMS 259 - Film and Media Studies (also ENG 259) Not offered this year LA

AMS 309 - Music Traditions in North America (also MUS 260) LA

AMS 328 - Special Topics in Dance History, Criticism, and Aesthetics (also DAN 321) Not offered this year LA

AMS 340 - American Literature: 1930-Present (also ENG 368) Fall LA

AMS 341 - 'Cult' Controversies in America (also REL 271) Fall HA

AMS 345 - Special Topics in Creative Writing (also CWR 345/GSS 383) Not offered this year LA

AMS 348 - Topics in 18th-Century Literature (also ENG 338/HIS 318) Not offered this year LA

AMS 359 - Topics in American Literature (also ENG 340) Not offered this year LA

AMS 360 - History of the American West (also HIS 374) Not offered this year HA

AMS 369 - Women, Gender, and American Religion (also GSS 360/REL 360) Not offered this year SA

AMS 370 - Asian American History (also ASA 370/HIS 270) Fall CDHA

AMS 372 - Postblack - Contemporary African American Art (also AAS 372/ART 374) Not offered this year CDLA

AMS 378 - Race and Religion in America (also AAS 376/REL 377) Fall CDSA

AMS 380 - Unrest and Renewal in Urban America (also AAS 388/HIS 388/URB 388) Fall CDHA

AMS 388 - Topics in African American Culture & Life (also AAS 326/HIS 226) CDHA

AMS 396 - Caribbean Literature and Culture (also AAS 343/ENG 358/LAS 385) CDLA

AMS 397 - Religion and Film (also REL 257) Not offered this year HA

AMS 403 - Advanced Seminar in American Studies (also ART 406/ENV 403) Not offered this year CDLA

Advanced seminars bring students into spaces of collaborative exploration after pursuing their individual paths of study in American studies, Asian American/diasporic studies, and/or Latino studies. To students culminating programs of study toward one or more of the certificates offered by the Effron Center for the Study of America, advanced seminars offer the important opportunity to integrate their cumulative knowledge. Staff

AMS 404 - Advanced Seminar in American Studies (also AAS 405/ANT 414) Not offered this year CDSA

Advanced seminars bring students into spaces of collaborative exploration after pursuing their individual paths of study in American studies, Asian American/diasporic studies, and/or Latino studies. To students culminating programs of study toward one or more of the certificates offered by the Effron Center for the Study of America, advanced seminars offer the important opportunity to integrate their cumulative knowledge. Staff

AMS 406 - Advanced Seminar (also ASA 406/LAO 406) Fall HA

Advanced seminars bring students into spaces of collaborative exploration after pursuing their individual paths of study in American studies, Asian American/diasporic studies, and/or Latino studies. To students culminating programs of study toward one or more of the certificates offered by the Effron Center for the Study of America, advanced seminars offer the important opportunity to integrate their cumulative knowledge. Staff

AMS 411 - Major Author(s) (also AAS 413/ENG 411) CDLA

AMS 423 - Race, Drugs, and Drug Policy in America (also AAS 393/HIS 393/SPI 389) Spring HA

AMS 424 - Gender and Sexuality in Modern America (also GSS 384/HIS 384) Spring CDHA

AMS 459 - The History of Incarceration in the U.S. (also AAS 459/GSS 459/HIS 459) Not offered this year HA

AMS 483 - Topics in Women's Writing (also ENG 383/GSS 395) Fall CDLA