American Studies

American Studies provides an examination of the people and cultures of the United States through the lens of literary and cultural studies, history, political science, and economics.

The American Studies concentration is an interdisciplinary course of study that encourages a deeper understanding and appreciation of the United States’ place in the changing world. In the American Studies program, you’ll use a range of materials, methodologies, and disciplinary perspectives to explore topics ranging from politics to popular culture.

You will analyze a wide variety of American cultural and social artifacts in order to contribute to a richer understanding of the country and synthesize diverse scholarly approaches and theories in the study of the United States and its place in the world. You’ll demonstrate understanding of the significance of United States culture and politics in other parts of the globe, and communicate research findings and interpretations clearly and effectively.

Future careers, post-grad opportunities 

A concentration in American Studies enables you to develop the competence to reason logically and analytically about a wide range of problems that apply to the American culture – and cultures interacting with America – in business, government, and global markets. You will find that complementing your major course of study with this concentration adds to your value as a prospective employee or service provider in a wide variety of fields.


Kelly McDonough '12
Sales representative, Cigna Corporation

As part of an American Studies class with Professor Brad Martin, McDonough learned about American history and applied the scholarly knowledge she gained to her own family history. “I interviewed three generations of family members, which enabled me to trace cultural, societal, and personal events – and their impacts and outcomes,” she says.

McDonough’s impressive résumé includes internships, study abroad, business consulting projects, leadership/volunteer experiences, and awards. She also notes that she is an avid runner and an excellent storyteller.

McDonough has joined the Cigna Sales Academy in Manhattan.


Bradford D. Martin, Ph.D.
Professor of History

From peace to post-punk, Martin's research explores the relationship between culture and politics in recent United States history. His latest book, The Other Eighties: A Secret History of America in the Age of Reagan, examines activism in the Reagan era of conservatism. He is also the author of The Theater Is in the Street: Politics and Public Performance in Sixties America. Martin holds a Ph.D. from Boston University. His areas of interest include American studies, cultural and intellectual history, popular culture, and recent U.S. history.  


Samuel Donegan ’14
Path: Management, History

In American Studies, Donegan examined topics such as civil rights and women’s liberation, and delved into his family history for a project. “I discovered that in 1965, my aunt participated in the Selma to Montgomery march, ‘Bloody Sunday,’ where civil right marchers were attacked with billy clubs and tear gas.” Donegan cites the invaluable support of Professor Brad Martin throughout the class and project. “It was refreshing to learn from an expert in the field and have discussion-based classes. All students should take American Studies because you not only learn about history, you also learn about yourself,” he says.