The Department of American Civilization at Brown University was founded in 1945 as a collaborative as well as interdisciplinary enterprise. In 2011 it became the Department of American Studies. The first catalog statement explained that it provided “the student with a more comprehensive and better unified knowledge of American Studies . . . than would be possible within the limits of a single department.” This rigorous interdisciplinary approach still informs the program's goal of reaching a better understanding of the diverse cultures, groups, and experiences that make up American Studies. Today, we work principally in three areas: American Studies, Ethnic Studies, and Public Humanities.