American studies is an innovative field of study that looks at the American past and present through an interdisciplinary lens. Students in the major draw upon concepts and methods developed in history, literature, sociology, philosophy, political science, anthropology, art history and music in their analyses of various American social, cultural and political phenomena.
American studies majors are critical thinkers who are able to analyze a variety of texts (such as the visual arts, novels, films, sports, advertising and popular music) and to investigate how these texts reflect or challenge dominant conceptions of identity and power. The American studies curriculum has a strong transnational focus, emphasizing that “America” does not stop at the borders of the United States.
At Dickinson, the Department of American Studies offers both a major and a minor. Students take core courses in American studies and draw other coursework from across the curriculum. Each American studies student has a unique program given coherence through the core American studies courses and through careful planning and advising. Required courses within and outside the department address four key areas of study: history, representation, structures & institutions and literature.