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 6/11/2020

F&M AMS Dept. Supports ASA President's Statement

The F&M American Studies Dept. Supports the American Studies Association President's Statement on Black Lives Matter and the Rebellion of 2020. His suggested "Ten Measures" for institutions is...

Read More
Story 5/7/2020

AMS Celebrates Class of 2020

The American Studies Department celebrated its 14 2020 graduates in a virtual reception on April 28.

Read More
AMS Highlights Class of 2020
Story 5/7/2020

AMS 2020 Highlights Video

This brief  video celebrates AMS graduates of the class of 2020 with highlights of their senior year and a photo of each graduate.

Read More