Welcome to American Studies

Wesleyan’s interdisciplinary Department of American Studies provides a broad grounding in the study of the United States in a hemispheric and global context. American Studies majors draw on the intellectual resources of a variety of disciplines—Anthropology, Art History, English, History, Religion, and Sociology, as well as interdisciplinary programs such as Latin American Studies, African American Studies, and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Individually designed concentrations, which are the hallmark of the department, allow students to forge interdisciplinary approaches to the particular issues that interest them, from visual culture and aesthetics to racial politics and gender systems.

Alongside its interdisciplinary emphasis, American Studies at Wesleyan stresses a comparative approach to the study of the United States. Such prominent features of U.S. cultural development as colonization, slavery, immigration, imperialism, capitalism, mass culture, gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, political culture, the importance of modern social and political identities, and state development are juxtaposed to similar processes and phenomena in a variety of nations in the Americas. By studying cultural phenomena across national boundaries, American Studies majors develop a rich understanding of the complex histories that have resulted from the conflict and confluence of European, indigenous, African, and Asian cultures throughout the Western Hemisphere and the Pacific.