American Studies is an interdisciplinary discipline that studies the American experience in all its diversity and in its relations to other cultures. Through its rich array of course offerings as well as opportunities for internships and independent study projects, American Studies seeks to foster in students an understanding and appreciation of the nation's cultural and social development with attention to the multiple narratives of the American past. The American Studies Department teaches students to read critically, to articulate ideas clearly, to conduct research and to write effectively. It expects students to develop these abilities within an interdisciplinary curricular framework that requires them to encounter diverse peoples, types of cultural expression, and patterns of social interaction. The American Studies Department advances these goals through effective teaching and active scholarship by its faculty.
American Studies is the oldest interdisciplinary major program at Franklin & Marshall. The program, established in 1975, is one of the most comprehensive majors at the college. Students take core courses in American Studies as well as courses drawn from nine academic departments. Students have developed individual concentrations in such fields as literary and cultural studies, social and historical developments, race and ethnicity, and gender.
The American Studies Committee, which administers the program, is an interdepartmental committee appointed by the Provost of the College. The committee oversees the American Studies curriculum, works with its students, and advises the core faculty. Franklin & Marshall's American Studies Department is registered with the American Studies Association and is ranked among the top American Studies programs at selective liberal arts colleges in the United States.
Because the American Studies Program at Franklin & Marshall helps students to develop their analytical skills and critical judgment, it is an invaluable foundation for a number of careers. Recent graduates have entered a wide range of professional fields, including business, management, public policy, personnel, media, and education. Others have continued their education in graduate or professional schools and have received advanced degrees in such fields as law, business, medicine, history, and museum studies. The interdisciplinary strength of American Studies prepares students to pursue personal interests and professional aspirations.