Areas of Concentration

Every American Studies student selects an area of concentration, normally in the fall of their junior year, to define their course of study in the major. Students may select from six possible choices:

National Formations

National Formations explores the historic migrations, settlements, and encounters among peoples who have formed the American nation, focusing especially on Native American history and the construction of America’s frontiers and borderlands. The notion of borderlands may be both geographical and metaphorical in defining spaces of cultural, political, and economic exchange.

Faculty advisors associated with the National Formations concentration include:  Ned Blackhawk, David W. Blight, Albert Laguna, Stephen Pitti, Alicia Schmidt Camacho, and John Harley Warner.

The International United States

The International United States focuses on historic and contemporary diasporas, the role of the United States outside of its national borders, and the flow of American peoples, ideas, and goods throughout the globe. 

Faculty advisors associated with the International United States concentration include: Hazel Carby, Michael Denning, Wai-Chee Dimock, Inderpal Grewal, Matthew Jacobson, Mary Lui, Joanne Meyerowitz, Alicia Schmidt Camacho, and John Harley Warner.

Material Cultures and Built Environments

Material Cultures and Built Environments examines the formation of the American landscape from the natural to the man-made, including the development of American architecture, visual arts, and decorative arts.

Faculty advisors associated with the Material Cultures and Built Environments concentration include: Jean-Christophe Agnew, Laura Barraclough, Sally M. Promey, Robert Stepto, and Laura Wexler. 

Politics and American Communities

Politics and American Communities investigates the emergence of social groups and their political struggles at the local and national levels emphasizing the themes of power, inequality, and social justice.

Faculty advisors associated with the Politics and American Communities concentration include: Ned Blackhawk, David W. Blight, Kathryn Dudley, Crystal Feimster, Matthew Jacobson, Albert Laguna, Kathryn Lofton, Mary Lui, Joanne Meyerowitz, Stephen Pitti, Alicia Schmidt Camacho, and Michael Warner.

Visual, Audio, Literary, and Performance Cultures

Visual, Audio, Literary, and Performance Cultures explores American social, cultural, and political history in relation to visual, audio, literary, and performance-based works.

Faculty advisors associated with the Visual, Audio, Literary, and Performance Cultures concentration include: Jean-Christophe Agnew, James Berger, Hazel Carby, Michael Denning, Wai-Chee Dimock, Matthew Jacobson, Kathryn Lofton, Charles Musser, Sally M. Promey, Joseph Roach, Caleb Smith, Robert Stepto, and Michael Warner.

Public Humanities

Students in the public humanities concentration explore various forms of public intelletual engagement, including museum studies, documentary work, public history, digital humanities, and archival based works in the visual or performing arts; senior projects in this area may consist of works or productions beyond the traditional scholarly essay.   Students may also petiton the director of undergraduate studies to develop an independent concentration.  For additional information please see the Public Humanities site.

Faculty advisors affiliated with Public Humanities concentration include: David Blight, Alicia Schmidt Camacho, Ned Cooke, Michael Denning, Wai Chee Dimock, Kathryn Dudley, Crystal Feimster, Zareena Grewal, Matthew Jacobson, Kathryn Lofton, Mary Lui, Joanne Meyerowitz, Charlie Musser, Sally Promey, Joseph Roach, Marc Robinson, Robert Stepto, and Laura Wexler.