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Jon Wagner, Anthropology/Sociology
American Studies is an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary program, drawing its faculty and many of its courses from across the Knox curriculum. Incorporating both traditional and cutting edge academic approaches to the field, the program examines crucial questions of American political, social and cultural identity. American Studies provides students with the flexibility to design an individualized course of study, within the context of a common intellectual experience. Among the areas of study of past and current students are such diverse topics as: popular culture, Native American studies, folk music, Latino studies, westward expansion, museum studies, consumerism, and media studies. Part of the common intellectual experience comes from the dedication of the program to the exploration of American democracy. Students are required to ask critical questions of American political culture and its institutions, grappling with issues of civil liberties, the role of dissent and protest, and the balance between security and liberty, among others. Through its various co-curricular activities, the program also seeks to encourage engagement between differing groups and points of view on campus, in a manner that models civil discourse in a democratic society.
The American Studies program seeks to provide its graduates with the intellectual tools with which to fashion their own articulate, informed, well-reasoned and multi-dimensional answers. Such graduates possess the skills and background to be successful in graduate school, public service, business, or the media.
The departmental curriculum contributes to the College's Key Competency Requirements as follows:
Departmental Learning Goals
Students graduating in the American Studies (AMST) major will be able to: