American Studies is an interdisciplinary major that focuses on national cultures and identities as they are expressed by race, class, and gender.
Perspectives from the arts, humanities, social sciences, and environmental sciences help students examine the diverse, multicultural expressions of what it means to be an American. Through their study of diversity, students learn to synthesize information as they integrate material from multiple disciplines, explain and evaluate complicated cause and effect relationships, examine issues unique to a multi-cultural society, and comprehend current national discussions in terms of a diverse American past. By majoring in American Studies, students become keen and thoughtful observers and informed citizens regardless of their ultimate career choice.
The total number of courses required for the major is 14 (44-45 semester hours). At least six of these courses must be at the 300-level or above.
Courses in American Studies, art, history, economics, sociology, politics, literature, and media studies-arranged thematically as “Identity and Its Expressions,” “Power, Money and Work,” “The Challenges of Diversity’ provide students with a coherent insight into issues of race, class, and gender.
African American Studies
A broad range of courses, including those in Africana Studies, history, economics, sociology, politics, literature, and media studies encourage students to examine the struggle and promise of a traditionally oppressed group. Like the American cultures concentration, courses in the African-American concentration are arranged thematically as “Identity and Its Expressions,” “Power, Money, and work,” and “The Challenges of Diversity.” From the middle passage through the struggle for the vote, the demise of segregation, the rise of the middle class, and the enduring promise of equality, this concentration encourages students to examine African-American identity and issues of class and gender.
Internships and Study Abroad
Depending on career and academic interests, many different internship possibilities are available to American Studies majors including those with newspapers, museums and community organizations. Wells alumnae who are established leaders in their fields often provide internships opportunities for current students. The following is a sample of internships in the American Studies area held by Wells students in recent years:
- African American Institute, New York City
- New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, New York City
- Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
- Plymouth Area Coalition for the Homeless, MA.
- African-American newspapers, Baltimore, MD
Why not examine American culture through German or British eyes? How about exploring the experience of native Africans in Dakar? Wells makes it possible. American Studies majors can pursue programs around the world. Check out our off-campus study programs.
Want to better understand your own identity as well as those of the cultures you study? Want to find out more about the personal and political struggles individuals are experiencing today? Wells offers a number of organizations dedicated to increasing your cultural awareness and affords opportunity to share what you have learned.
- American Indians in Science and Engineering Society (AISES)
- United Women of Color,
- Collegiate (student government)
- Community Court
- The Onyx (student newspaper)
- Model United Nations