American Studies

History & Literature's field of American Studies gives students the opportunity to examine the history and literature of the United States in a global context. The field requirements encourage students to take courses from the pre-colonial period to the present and promote comparative work within the field, emphasizing both America’s relationship with its neighbors and colonies and cultural exchanges among diverse populations within the United States. Students interested in transatlantic or hemispheric comparisons may also take courses to expand their knowledge in these areas. Students in the American Studies field study themes such as colonization and imperialism, race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, globalization and labor, and aesthetics and popular culture.

In addition to the requirements for all concentrators (5 tutorials and 1 foreign literature course), students in the field of American Studies complete the following requirements:

  • 3 courses (at least 1 history and at least 1 literature) on the period before 1865, including pre-colonial, colonial, early republic, and antebellum;
  • 2 courses on the period 1865-1945 (1 history and 1 literature);
  • 3 elective courses on any period of American Studies, balanced between history and literature.

The 8 courses above must also include: 2 survey courses (1 history and 1 literature); 2 courses that emphasize the relationship between the US and its neighbors, or current territories and former colonies, or multilingual/multicultural populations within the US (1 history and 1 literature). A single course may fulfill multiple requirements, but it must be designated history or literature (not both).

Browse our list of Courses That Count for American Studies, and use the American Studies Field Worksheet to plot your course of study. 

The following sample field worksheets illustrate how students in the field of American Studies have used the distribution requirements to create individualized plans of study on topics such as: