Major and Minor
Cooperating faculty from other programs
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:
- Writing Key Competency - Students enroll for AMST 390 in conjunction with a research project done for an AMST 350, 400, or other appropriate course as approved by the program chair. Several core category courses, including PS 362 and 363, HIST 366, AMST 261, ART 225 and 226, and ENG 335 and 336 are also writing intensive.
- Speaking Key Competency - Students enroll for AMST 392 and do a presentation outside formal coursework, as approved by the program chair.
- Information Literacy and Informed Use of Technology - Students in American Studies develop important professional skills, and fulfill the college's goal to foster Informed Use of Technology, through the application of new research methods in digital resources as well as the analysis and development of multi-media presentations.
Departmental Learning Goals
Students graduating in the American Studies (AMST) major will be able to:
- Identify and discuss key concepts in AMST scholarship and methodology: interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, or trans-disciplinary approaches to AMST; empirical and subjective (including aesthetic and/or experiential) approaches to AMST.
- Describe and analyze American identity in terms of: political values and institutions; major historical processes and issues; intersections of race, ethnicity, gender, class, and other social categories; cultural practices and values
- Use AMST academic practices and values in civic or other non-academic applications (e.g. AMST internship; off-campus programs; student activities in political activities, public service, or media) emphasizing the connections between academic knowledge and civic responsibility - fulfilling the Knox College mission statements to "understand and improve ourselves, our society, and our world."