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American Studies

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Konrad Hamilton

Burkhardt Distinguished Associate Professor of History; Chair of American Studies

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401



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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Major, Minor

How We Work

  1. Our work is multidisciplinary. Because our study of American culture combines many areas of study, we are able to tackle each issue through the field—or fields—best suited to its exploration. You might be a historian, a sociologist, or an artist—or you might be everything at once.
  2. We get to the heart of the issues facing the United States. You’ll develop your own academic path from four distinct categories: political foundations, history, social structure and institutions, and cultural identity. These courses are drawn from a wide range of departments, so you’ll have the freedom to foster your interest in whichever fields you’re most drawn to. The breadth of knowledge you’ll gain will give you a unique ability to understand the issues facing the United States.
  3. We want to understand where the idea of the United States intersects with the reality—and where it’s miles apart. By unpacking the dominant narratives that surround our country, we seek to understand why we keep telling the stories we tell and to discover the stories that have been obscured. With the support of your professors, you’ll be able to use material from your courses to critically examine contemporary social issues and make an intervention. 
  4. Our faculty come from a wide array of disciplines, including philosophy, art history, Gender & Women’s Studies, Africana Studies, history, and political science. With so many passionate professors to choose from, you’ll be sure to find one (or more!) who is a great fit for your academic interests. You’ll have the opportunity to choose a faculty member to supervise your senior research project, the culmination of your American Studies major. Your faculty mentor will provide encouragement and support—and push you to think outside the box.


Estimated Salary of Alumni with American Studies Degrees


American Studies majors will find a wealth of resources that enrich their classroom experiences—not to mention a learning environment that has its own place in American history. In addition to Knox's strong on-line library resources, other resources include:

The Lincoln Studies Center

Co-directed by leading Lincoln scholars Rodney O. Davis and Douglas L. Wilson. Research into Lincoln's youth by Wilson and Davis has been featured on The History Channel and garnered several national awards. Under a contract with the Library of Congress, the Lincoln Studies Center is editing a massive corpus of letters received by Lincoln during his presidency to make them accessible online. The center has employed Knox students as research assistants.

Within Seymour Library

  • Finley Collection: Every important primary source on the Midwest
  • Preston Player Collection: Books and prints on the Mississippi River
  • Strong Collection: Original maps and photographs covering the settlement of North America and the exploration of the Midwest and the West.
  • Hughes Collection: Manuscripts and rare first editions of Hemingway and others in the "Lost Generation" of American expatriate writers
  • Knox College Archives: Manuscript collections on important regional figures and events. The Knox Archives provided much of the original source material for They Broke the Prairie by Ernest Elmo Calkins. First published in 1938, the book about the founding of Knox and Galesburg remains "the finest history of an Illinois community." (John Hallwas in A Reader's Guide to Illinois Literature.)

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Printed on Monday, April 22, 2024