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.

Contact Info

Chair

Cotten SeilerAssociate Professor of American Studies

Department Coordinator

Denise McCauleySr. Academic Department Coordinator

Phone

717-245-1519

Fax

717-245-1479

Location

219C, Denny Hall Mailing Address

Department Features



Student Outcomes

Where Our Students Go From Here

Jobs:

  • American Heart Association
  • CBS, Inc.
  • Center for Health & Gender Equity (CHANGE)
  • Center for Popular Democracy
  • CNBC
  • Danish Institute for Study Abroad
  • Google, Inc.
  • HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
  • Haverford College
  • iHeartMedia
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art
  • NBC Universal, Inc.
  • New York City Office of the Mayor

Graduate Schools:

  • Harvard University
  • New York University
  • Columbia University
  • University of Massachusetts
  • Dartmouth College
  • UCLA
  • USC
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Drexel University
  • Elon University Law
  • Rutgers University
  • Temple University
  • University of Connecticut
  • Brandeis University

 

Where Our Students Have Interned
  • Planned Parenthood of Maine
  • Exploration Schools 
  • Visual Communications (Getty Multicultural Internship Program)
  • dOMAIN Integrated
  • Exploration Schools at Yale University
  • Lionsgate Entertainment
  • Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault/Maine Sex Trafficking and Exploitation Network
  • Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic, Inc
  • Smithsonian National Museum of American History
  • University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

Student Perspective

“As a current graduate level student, I can easily see how well American Studies prepared me academically to engage in my new curriculum. The critical thinking, writing skills, and ability to read closely and make connections are all skills that I attribute to my experiences in American Studies, and have been critical to my success in my graduate program.”

—Matt Wenz ’17


American Studies News

Student Snapshot: Imogene Gross ’22

Student Snapshot: Imogene Gross ’22

Meet Imogene Gross ’22, an American studies major and transfer student who researched teen-tragedy and emo music at Dickinson.

Bud Shaw Lecturer Tiya Miles Illuminates Stories of Enslaved Black Women

Bud Shaw Lecturer Tiya Miles Illuminates Stories of Enslaved Black Women

Fresh from receiving a prestigious national award, 2021 Bud Shaw Lecturer Tiya Alicia Miles uses nontraditional source material to uncover untold histories of Black women and girls.

Dickinson College Co-Presents New Documentary on Carlisle Indian Industrial School

Dickinson College Co-Presents New Documentary on Carlisle Indian Industrial School

Dickinson is among the groups hosting a premiere screening of a new film exploring the painful history of Carlisle's Native American boarding school.

Dickinson’s New Land Acknowledgment, Explained

Dickinson’s New Land Acknowledgment, Explained

Wondering what Dickinson's new land acknowledgement is all about? Here's what you need to know.

Dickinson Professor Amy Farrell Selected as 2021-22 Harvard Radcliffe Fellow

Dickinson Professor Amy Farrell Selected as 2021-22 Harvard Radcliffe Fellow

Farrell will join a “uniquely interdisciplinary and creative community” as she completes the research and writing for her new book.

Student Snapshot: Jackie Logsted ’22

Student Snapshot: Jackie Logsted ’22

Jackie Logsted '22's book, co-written with her mom, was released by Penguin Random House on Jan. 5. She also has a quarantine podcast, cohosted with Erin Clarke '22.