Study the American Experience in all its Diversity

American Studies takes an interdisciplinary approach to examining the range and diversity of American experiences, identities, and communities.  Through its rich array of course offerings as well as opportunities for internships and preparation of an honors thesis, students study social, political, economic, and cultural processes within the United States as well as exploring the role of the nation in a global context. By placing the United States in a transnational and comparative framework, the major invites students to consider the relationship of different communities to the nation-state, which includes issues of colonialism and empire building as well as the effect of social protest movements. Courses investigate the American landscape and the built environment; they explore power, inequality, and agency through analysis of intersecting structures of race, gender, class, sexuality, and citizenship. Central to these studies are examinations of the relationship of theory and practice within historical and contemporary contexts.

American Studies is the oldest interdisciplinary major at Franklin & Marshall College.  Established in 1975, it is one of the most comprehensive majors at the college.  Students take core courses in American Studies as well as courses drawn from other nine academic departments. Students have developed individual concentrations in fields such as literary and cultural studies, social and historical developments, race and ethnicity, and gender. American Studies faculty members approach their work from many directions but share the desire to view America as a whole.

Because the American Studies curriculum helps students to develop their analytical skills and critical judgment, it is an invaluable foundation for a number of careers, including business, management, public policy, personnel, media, and education. Other former majors earn advanced degrees in graduate programs or professional schools in fields such as law, business, medicine, history, and museum studies. The interdisciplinary strength of American Studies prepares students to pursue personal interests and professional aspirations across their lifetimes.

 

American Studies at F&M

The Pulse of AMS

Story 9/15/2020

A Life Dedicated to Advocating for Racial Justice and Equity

While her second-grade classmates were reading Judy Blume, Ashani Williams ’22 was reading Malcom X’s autobiography. Now, she’s pursuing her passion for seeking racial justice and equity for Black...

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Story 9/14/2020

Greetings from the Department Chair 2020

American Studies Chair Alison Kibler reviews the highlights of 2019-20 and looks ahead to the new academic year.

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Story 9/4/2020

AMS Faculty Summer Update 2020

The American Studies faculty reflect on  how their summer activities have been different this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

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