Students in the American Studies undergraduate program analyze the society, culture, and politics of the United States from an interdisciplinary perspective that draws on history, cultural analysis, art and architecture, public policy, and folklore studies. Students may choose to major or minor in American Studies. In either case, they are introduced to key concepts in the analysis of culture and society through a set of core courses. In addition, students develop an expertise in one of three areas of focus:
- Cultural Politics. The study of power relations, broadly constructed, and the ways in which different groups have taken shape within particular frameworks of power; how power has been maintained and disseminated through social and cultural forms.
- Global Connections. The study of the ways in which people, ideas, and cultural forms of expression circulate around the world and take shape in the United States; how the United States is experienced in other countries; and how the United States is part of the Americas, broadly conceived.
- Space, Place, and Society. The study of the ways in which place shapes social development and vice versa, with particular emphasis on the importance of the built environment, material culture, and forms of representation in social organization.
The program culminates in a senior research seminar that requires students to produce a substantial paper based on independent research in primary sources.
Visit the Undergraduate Handbook in American Studies for a detailed outline of the guidelines for completing a major or minor degree in this field.
Current GW students wishing to declare a major or minor in American Studies should contact the undergraduate advisor in American Studies, Professor Melani McAlister at email@example.com. Prospective GW students should visit Undergraduate Admissions for all information and application materials.