American Studies Learning Objectives

An American studies major helps you discover who you are and why. By integrating courses about the American experience from a variety of disciplines, American studies answers the question "What does it mean to be an American?" From the pursuit of the American Dream to celebrating our diverse heritage and examining our social network, American studies ties it all together.
"I feel that each course in this major has been part of a progressive path that has led me to a deeper understanding of the unique and diverse American story and to reexamine my perspective of the world and my place in it. These courses have changed my entire perspective, leaving me more informed about, aware of and empathetic to what is going on in the world. I feel that the American studies program helps to elevate education from historical fact memorization to a new level of critical thought and informed decision making."

The goal of the American studies program is to give the student an appreciation of our civilization as a vital culture with its own traditions, customs, values, ideals, ethics and myths, and an understanding of its relationship to other civilizations. As an interdepartmental major, the American studies program is designed to encourage the student to combine the basic methods and perspectives of several traditional scholarly disciplines so as not to isolate the American experience but, rather, to demonstrate its rich heritage. The program is not designed to supplant normal departmental work, but to supplement it. The philosophy under-girding the concept of the major is that a liberally educated person must be able to comprehend his/her own heritage with discernment and understanding.

Learning Objectives for American Studies:
Students will demonstrate:

  •  critical thinking skills, their knowledge about the American experience, and sharpen their ability to interpret the American experience from a variety of perspectives such as history, culture, media, literature, politics, social history and social movements. 
  • the appropriate use of the concepts, methods, and materials that will foster an integrative approach to learning about American culture and society, past and present.
  • the ability to synthesize knowledge about American culture and society.
  • an understanding and appreciation of the cultural diversity of the American experience, particularly across the issues of class, ethnicity, gender, religion, and race.
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