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Who we are

The Interdisciplinary American Studies program takes as its subject the cultures that have developed in what is now the United States, understanding “American culture” as the interplay of material practices and the realm of ideas.

Director Mark Brilliant
Director Mark Brilliant

It considers technology, economy, urbanism, and ecology, as well as literature, the arts, and political and geographic history.  American Studies takes a particular interest in cultural hybridity, cultural layering, and in American culture exported abroad.


The goal of the Interdisciplinary American Studies program is to utilize the enormous and varied resources of the institution to teach students how to ask and answer scholarly questions, to formulate and undertake a focused interdisciplinary course of study, and to design and execute a substantial integrative research project. In doing this, we build upon several generations of scholars across disciplines who have advocated the critical study of race, class, gender, sexuality, and mass culture, as well as the examination of America as part of an increasingly globalized world. Read More

Student Academic Advising

Laura Spautz, MPH

The Student Academic Advisor's job is to guide students and faculty as they navigate University, College, and Major Program policies. Laura is an experienced advisor who is available to serve as a sounding board for ideas and concerns as they arise. Office hours and contact information are located here.

Graduate Profiles

Sarah Sexton - Race and Gender in American Music and Film

Sarah Sexton is the owner & co-founder of OIM Records, an independent record label based out of Oakland, CA. She has spent the last 8 years as a talent buyer for a variety of Oakland music venues, a go-to curator for music festivals and crawls through the East Bay area, and as a minion for music industry greats such as AEG Live and High Road Touring. Since finishing her Bachelor’s degree in UC Berkeley’s American Studies program in 2019, she was hired to open, staff, and manage the music streaming platform Bandcamp’s premier record store and performance space in the heart of downtown Oakland’s entertainment district. Sarah currently resides part time in Oakland and part time in Maui, Hawaii where she plans to open an artist-in-residency program on the island. When she’s not starting record labels or booking artists, she’s off causing trouble, trying not to get caught, and never saying sorry. Get it Kitty.

Thesis: Radicalizing The Mainstream: An Analysis of Boots Riley's Film Sorry To Bother You through the lens of Oakland Social Movements from 2009 to 2018

GSI Jobs

Graduate Student Instructors (GSI) and Reader Positions listed here.


Donate to American Studies through the Give to Berkeley Website.

Faculty and Staff

Click here to see contact info and office hours for our contact Faculty, Staff and Directors

Administrative Office
Laura Spautz
265 Evans Hall
(510) 642-9320

UGIS Office