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Interested in how our history and culture tie together to influence the music we listen to, the TV we watch, the media we read, the websites we visit, and the candidates we vote for? Drawing from several of UMA’s academic programs, our minor in American Studies examines these fascinating issues, in order for us to better understand who we are as Americans.
American Studies is a critical, interdisciplinary, comparative, intersectional field that gives students a solid foundation of knowledge about American history and culture and provides students with an opportunity to shape their own curriculum for a deeper understanding of identity, culture, and power in the United States.
American Studies is critical: In AME we ask questions about why U.S. culture, society, and institutions are the way they are, how they came to be that way, and how they may need to change.
American Studies is interdisciplinary: AME is both between and among the disciplines. We use the disciplinary tools, and interdisciplinary tools, that best suit our object and purpose of study. To fully understand American popular culture, for example, we need to engage in textual analyses (English). We need to look at events (History), and institutions (Political Science and Economics) that help shape culture. And we need to understand the development of ideas (Philosophy) and creative expression (Art and Music).
American Studies is comparative: “America” is a couple of continents, not a country, and “America” is spread throughout the world. We seek to understand “America” in all of its dimensions.
American Studies is intersectional: AME considers identity, culture, and power; race, class, gender, sexuality, and citizenship; systems and structures; foundations and innovations; transformation and empowerment.
American Studies complements many fields and majors, providing a critical lens for interpretation and application of ideas in fields from Art or English to Justice Studies or Mental Health and Human Services. The minor provides a wide cultural lens and myriad tools for understanding social problems, institutional structures, and bodies of knowledge.