American Studies

Once thought of as the world's "melting pot," American culture has evolved into a richly complex multicultural mosaic.

American culture is a fusion of history, politics, sociology, literature, the visual and performing arts, philosophy and religion that reflects the diverse heritages of its citizens. As an American studies major with a concentration in American cultural studies in one of the nation's formative cities, you will gain a holistic understanding of the United States through a focus on its institutions, organizations, myths, values, ideologies, cultural practices and cultural products.

Major Requirements

View the 2022-2023 Academic Catalog to find course titles, numbers and descriptions.

Requirements for B.A. in American Studies

The major in American Studies is a 12-course interdisciplinary program.

Foundations in American Studies:

  • 1. AMST1101 Introduction to American Studies (AI-L) (LI) (DM)
  • 2. POLSC1201 Introduction to American Politics and Government (SA) (SS)  
  • 3. SOC1105 Major Institutions in U.S. Society (SA) (SS) (DM)
  • 4. HIST2106 A History of New England: 1500-Present (H) (HI) 

5-6.  Democracy: Two Courses from the following: 

  • ART1203 Art of Resistance:Social Justice & the Visual Arts (AI-A) (VCI) (SJ) 
  • POLSC2225 The 1960s
  • POLSC2232 Parties and Interests in American Politics: Polarized America
  • POLSC2602 Introduction to Law and the Judicial System
  • POLSC3160 American Political Thought
  • POLSC3201 Congress, Representation and the Legislative Process
  • POLSC3202 The American Presidency

7-8. Power, Inequality, and Society: Two courses from the following:

  • ENGL2309 The Haves and the Have-Nots: American Authors on Money, Class and Power (AI-L) (LI) 
  • SOC1203 Crime & Justice (SS)
  • SOC2105 Race, Ethnicity & Group Relations (SA) (SS) (DM)
  • SOC2127 Social Class & Inequality (SA) (SS) 
  • SOC3201 Worlds in Motion: The Causes & Consequences of Migration

9-11. American Stories: Three courses from the following:

  • ART2217 American Art to 1940 (AI-A)
  • ENGL2413 African American Literature: A Tradition of Resistance (AI-L) (LI) (DM) 
  • ENGL2604 American Voices II: US Literature Since 1865 (AI-L) (DM)
  • ENGL3601 Crime Stories & American Culture
  • HIST2130 African American History: 1865-Present (H)
  • HIST2205 Women in American History (H) (HI) 
  • HIST3121 Surviving Columbus: 500 Years of Indigenous History (DM)
  • HIST3205 Themes in the History of the American West

12. Capstone

  • AMST4178 Directed Research in American Studies OR AMST4995 Internship

Minor Requirements

View the 2022-2023 Academic Catalog to find course titles, numbers and descriptions.

The American Studies minor offers students an introduction to the rigors of interdisciplinary study while serving as an excellent complement to traditional arts and sciences disciplines, such as History, English, Art, Political Science and Sociology for students who chose have a particular interest in the study of U.S. society.

Requirements for Minor:

  • 1. AMST1101 Introduction to American Studies (AI-L) (LI) (DM) 
  • 2. POLSC1201 Introduction to American Politics and Government (SA) (SS) OR SOC1105 Major Institutions in US Society (SA) (SS)
  • 3. HIST2106 History of New England: 1500 to Present (H) (HI) 
  • 4. One 2000-level course from American Studies catalog 
  • 5. One 3000-level course from American Studies catalog 

Learning Goals + Outcomes

  • To understand and apply a range of methods for analyzing American culture across the disciplines, including historical, sociological and literary or aesthetic analysis
  • To understand the significance of diversity in the U.S. through the analysis of race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexuality or other group identity formulations in a U.S. cultural context
  • To understand how major U.S. institutions and structures, including governmental and cultural institutions, reflect and shape American society
  • To construct and communicate arguments in written and oral forms addressing the significance of primary texts or material artifacts from American culture, such as works of literature, painting, photography, historical records and music
  • To conduct scholarly research on American Studies related topics

Explore Emmanuel

Learn More
Nadel Henville '22: Creating Community Takes Center Stage

For Nadel, the stage is her “second home,” and the community she’s found within Emmanuel’s Theater program, a second family. While she originally thought she would pursue college theater as a hobby, she soon realized the work would define her student experience and provide a foundation for life beyond Emmanuel.

Learn More
Gianna Kittle '20: Advocating for Justice

Prior to coming to Emmanuel, Gianna had never heard of the field of sociology, but was very familiar and passionate about issues of crime and justice. Her time at Emmanuel helped her to not only put a name—but also, a purpose—to that passion.

Learn More
Learn More
Jake Hill '20: Seeing Citizenship with a Capitol C

Growing up in a suburban town outside of Boston, going to college in the city had always been a goal for Jake. After touring Emmanuel's campus he felt it had the perfect mixture of “small campus feel and big city appeal.”

Learn More
Melissa Duffy '20: Artist and Appreciator

When Melissa started at Emmanuel, she chose what she believed to be two separate and distinct majors—studio art and history—to fulfill her both her personal and professional interests.

Learn More
Learn More
Learn More
Learn More
Learn More
Featured Faculty: Petros Vamvakas

Petros Vamvakas is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Latin American Studies, Middle East Studies and Peace Studies Programs. His work focuses on security and democratization, as well as issues related to identity and race in politics throughout the Americas. As part of his teaching, he has escorted groups of students to Crete, Greece, and will be bringing a group of students to Cuba.

Learn More
Learn More

Let's Get Started.

Emmanuel is a place where students broaden their sense of what’s possible and prepare for inspiring careers in an ever-changing world. Be here.