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. Across the country, and at Brown, American Studies has often been the home for the study of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality.

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

While race and ethnicity continue to be fundamental interests for American Studies, there are exciting new themes and approaches in our work that merit special attention. Each concentrator develops an individualized program of study of ten upper-level courses with a particular focus in consultation with a faculty adviser by using these themes and approaches that define our curriculum. 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.

A unique aspect of the concentration in American Studies is our interest in publicly engaged scholarship.  By “publicly engaged scholarship” or the “public humanities,” we mean a variety of theories and practices that bring the world of academic scholarship and research into more dynamic relations to the communities large and small in which we live and study. This interest informs our decision to focus the required Junior Seminar of the concentration on the question of "the public," as well as to offer courses, support internships, and direct honors theses that create new forms and venues of knowledge of the vast variety of American experiences.

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.