Undergraduate Concentration in American Studies

Concentrating in American Studies

American Studies is an interdisciplinary concentration that is innovative and creative, offering new answers to complex questions about American society, cultures, and experiences.  American Studies maintains strong ties to programs in Africana Studies, Ethnic Studies, Gender and Sexuality, Urban Studies and, most recently, the Masters program in Public Humanities.  american Studies concentrators take foundational courses within the department and often us courses around the University to round out their interdisciplinary look at the United States. 

Dyer House, Undergraduate Center: At the intersection of Hope and Power StreetsDyer House, Undergraduate Center: At the intersection of Hope and Power Streets

Exciting new directions build on our interests in gender, sexuality,  race and ethnicity.  Publicly-engaged scholarship in local and global contexts and the digital humanities play increasingly important roles in the production and dissemination knowledge by American Studies faculty and students.  Students learn to analyze social structures and practices of identity, space and place, and the production and consumption of culture.  In consultation with the Concentration Advisor,  each concentrator develops an individualized program of study of ten upper-level courses, at least three of which share a particular focus.  The required Junior seminar focuses on some aspect of the "public" as a way of engaging with communities near and far.  In the senior year, students may write an honors thesis, which can take a variety of forms, for example, an essay, a website, or a study that integrates quantitative research.  Many American Studies courses are project based and often involve a community engagement component.

The specific skills that concentrators will use and develop in order to achieve these intellectual goals articulated by these themes and approaches are:

•Reading texts, objects and spaces critically and historically

•Identifying relations between different scales of experience from the individual to the transnational

•Producing scholarship and creative work in different forms ranging from the traditional research paper to exhibitions to new media

•Integrating knowledge from different disciplines in order to design the focus of their individual concentration plans

•Participating in forms of publicly-engaged scholarship

•Creating an ePortfolio that serves as part of the capstone experience

For more information or to make an appointment to discuss the concentration in American Studies, contact Prof. Beverly Haviland, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Concentration Advisor: Beverly_Haviland@brown.edu.  Office hours are posted on the Undergraduate Advising page.