The American Studies Program is an interdisciplinary program that enables students to engage the diversity of American culture from a variety of intellectual disciplines and perspectives. Through course offerings, visiting speakers, and research opportunities, program students and faculty engage the states of the nation in the 21st century, examining anew the formation of social, legal, cultural, and economic identities within the borders of the United States. Compelling matters of class, race, ethnicity, sexuality, environmentalism, technology, the arts, religion, and region take their proper and vital place in the curriculum of study.
As much of the United States becomes bilingual, the program identifies itself within the larger geographic and geopolitical parameters of the Americas, including Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. In addition, American Studies addresses itself to important distinctions within the concept of globalization, ranging from transnational corporate activities to those of nongovernmental organizations committed to such projects as public health, philanthropy, and nutrition. The American Studies Program particularly encourages and provides opportunities for on- and off-campus research, internships, study abroad, and individualized and group projects under the guidance of participating faculty in the humanities, arts, and social sciences.
Most American Studies courses are small, ensuring close student-faculty interaction and abundant opportunities for majors to conduct their own research. Recent course offerings include: Race, Immigration, and Identity; America in the Twenties; Musicals and Masculinity; Water; Citizenship and Culture in the Cold War Era; History, Memory, and Narrative; and Global Warming: Science, Politics, Economics, and Culture. Majors are required to take two core courses: the American Studies Workshop, an interdisciplinary seminar taught in the junior year, and the Senior Project, a capstone research project.
The American Studies Honors Program offers superior students the opportunity to pursue more intensive work in their area of concentration with an interdisciplinary faculty committee. It consists of a two-semester sequence that begins with reading and research in an interdisciplinary field and culminates with a thesis written in the spring semester of the senior year.
The American Studies Program encourages and provides opportunities for on- and off-campus research, internships, study abroad, and other individualized and group projects under the guidance of participating faculty in the humanities, arts, and social sciences. American Studies majors can take advantage of study abroad programs by counting some of their courses toward the major requirements as well as international Maymester sessions taught by American Studies faculty members. Majors also profit from taking service-learning courses offered at Vanderbilt.
The American Studies program also offers a road trip series that takes students out into the community to investigate local and regional cultural sites under the guidance of faculty experts.
A major in American Studies provides an individualized and intense interdisciplinary undergraduate research experience that prepares students for careers in law, business, government, medicine, communications, journalism, public service, and higher education. Recent graduates of the program have gone on to law school and graduate school as well as jobs on Capitol Hill and in journalism and consulting.
Faculty in the American Studies department include some of the most creative and exciting teachers and scholars at Vanderbilt. Many have won major teaching, service, and research awards and have received prestigious national and international awards for their contributions to the study of American culture. The American Studies faculty is drawn from the departments of African American and Diaspora Studies, Anthropology, Communication Studies, Economics, English, Cinema & Media Arts, History, Philosophy, Political Science, Religious Studies, Sociology, Theatre, and Women’s and Gender Studies as well as the Law School.
Dr. Gabriel Torres-Colon
Program in American Studies
132 Buttrick Hall
2301 Vanderbilt Place
VU Station B 350125
Nashville, TN 37235-0125
Phone: (615) 343-8724