American Studies

History & Literature's field of American Studies gives students the opportunity to examine the history and literature of the United States. The field encourages students to take courses from the pre-colonial period to the present, emphasizing cultural exchanges among diverse populations within and beyond the borders of the United States. 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 course that satisfies the language requirement), students in the American Studies field complete the following requirements:

  • 2 courses on the period before 1865, including pre-colonial, colonial, early republic, and antebellum;
  • 2 courses on the period 1865-1945;
  • 4 elective courses in American Studies, balanced between history and literature.

The 8 courses above must also include: 1 course on transnational themes (e.g. diaspora, migration, empire) and/or comparative approaches that examine the United States in a wider, global context, 1 course on race and ethnicity in American history or literature, and 1 course on gender and sexuality in American history or literature. A single course may fulfill any ONE of these categories, but not more than one.

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

Questions about the American Studies field should be directed to Assistant Director of Studies Lucy Caplan.