Degree: Bachelor of Arts
Our American Studies program presents a dynamic exploration of our nation, both as a geographical area, and a cultural and political space.
This interdisciplinary field draws on courses from 12 departments, giving a broad perspective of the history, art, politics, religion, popular culture, literature and other features of American life.
Choosing from among more than 160 courses, students analyze the diverse character of the American experience, shaped by gender, race, class, sexuality, geography and ethnicity. These experiences are studied within a context of global economic, cultural and political relations.
This highly individualized program tailors course work to personal interests and needs. Students develop a thematic core around which to build a unique and innovative course of study. Themes may be centered on a specific era (e.g., antebellum America or the United States since the Cold War) or a topic (e.g., the emergence of mass culture or issues of ethnicity and race in American life). One unique opportunity students pursue is Union's Civil Rights Public History mini-term, a three-week tour of sites of the major civil rights actions in the South.
As an American studies major, you will develop many of the same skills as other majors in the social sciences and the humanities, including writing, critical thinking and research, and therefore open up similar career paths for life after Union. Recent graduates of the program have found positions in business, teaching and government service, while others have gone on to law school, M.B.A. programs, and M.A. and Ph.D. work in various disciplines, including history, literature, visual arts, journalism and American studies.
An overview of the diverse experiences of the native peoples of North America in the last five centuries. Particular attention will be paid to native peoples’ various strategies to respond to change and challenges to their autonomy and communities.
An exploration of the theory, methods and practice of public history in its various dimensions, as well as the controversies that emerge in public history settings, including the battle over the Enola Gay and commemorations of Sept. 11; includes student engagement in a public history project in Schenectady.
A survey of the civil rights movement, assessing the early campaigns of the 1940s, the development of black grassroots organizations in the 1950s and '60s, and the impact of black nationalist consciousness in the late 1960s and early '70s.