Academic Catalog 2018-2019 
    Sep 25, 2022  
Academic Catalog 2018-2019 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

American Studies, B.A.

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Thematic Concentration

In consultation with his or her American Studies academic advisor, a student must complete five (5) courses of intensive study around a specific theme centered on either an era (such as antebellum America or the United States since the Cold War) or a topic (such as the emergence of mass culture or ethnicity and race in American life).

One of the five theme courses must come from Division I (Arts and Humanities) and one from Division II (Social Sciences). In addition, the thematic courses must come from at least three different departments. Every student must complete an American Studies course selection list with his or her American Studies advisor to determine which courses would best fit the chosen theme and to find out how often the courses are offered. All courses counted towards the major must have American Studies course approval.

The following are possible thematic concentrations for an American Studies major, interdepartmental major or minor (these are only suggestions; there are many more possibilities): The Colonial Era; The American Revolution through the Civil War; 19th Century America; Contemporary America: c. 1960-present; Latino(as) in U.S. History & Culture; Comparative American Ethnic Studies; America in the World; American Identity: Race, Class & Gender; American Modernism; American Creativity in the 20th-21st Century; Progressive America: Civil Rights and Social Justice; American Industrialization: The Environment, Society and Labor; American Media & Popular Culture; Visual Culture and Social Justice. See program website for a list of additional possible themes and supporting courses.

Additional Requirements

During the junior year, a student must take an American Studies approved seminar or an upper level American Studies approved course that is a WAC. If possible, the course should be related to the student’s thematic concentration. If not taken in the junior year, this course must be completed by the end of the student’s first senior thesis term.

A student must take an additional two (2) American Studies approved courses, which can be at any level and may be outside the student’s thematic concentration.

One of the thirteen (13) courses must cover issues of race and ethnicity or gender in America.  One of the thirteen (13) courses must focus predominantly on the pre-1900 time period. At least four (4) of the 13 courses must be from Division I (Arts and Humanities), and at least four (4) from Division II (Social Sciences.)  No course can double towards the student’s minor if one is being pursued.

During the senior year, a student must complete a two-term written thesis or two-term senior project (AMS 498 & AMS 499) related to his or her thematic concentration. If a student is completing a senior project in a non-text medium (such as audio, video, or multi-media), he or she must have a written component in the form of a journal that results in a final paper of at least fifteen pages, to fulfill the Writing Across the Curriculum (WS) requirement. A student will work with a primary, or first, thesis advisor and a second thesis advisor from a different department whom the student must consult early during the research portion of the project to better ensure the interdisciplinary focus of the thesis. Both thesis advisors will participate in the oral defense of the thesis at the completion of the project. A student must consult with the American Studies program director during the winter term of his or her junior year and submit a thesis proposal listing preferred first and second thesis advisors.

Requirements for Honors in American Studies:

To receive honors as an American Studies major or an ID major, a student must (1) have a cumulative grade point average of 3.3; (2) maintain a grade point average of 3.3 in his or her American Studies approved courses; (3) successfully complete a two term senior thesis with a grade of A or A-; (4) receive a high pass or pass with distinction for the oral thesis defense; (5) give an oral presentation at The Steinmetz Symposium in the spring of his or her senior year; and (6) place a copy of the thesis in the library archives. Further guidelines for the senior thesis and honors are available from the program director.

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