American Studies

Welcome to American Studies

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 Andrew Shanken

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.

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

Tyana Cullen - Social Inequality in the American Schooling System

After graduation Tyana moved back to San Diego and is completing a Master’s in Teaching at Point Loma Nazarene University, where she will also receive a Multi-Subject and Mild/Moderate Disability Credential. Additionally, Tyana also serves as an Academic Coach in the High Tech High schooling system, where she is responsible to ensure that students with disabilities and learning differences have full access to the general education curriculum by providing tutoring, small group instruction, and one-on-one support. After completing the Master’s, Tyana plans to teach elementary school and eventually pursue a doctoral degree.

Thesis: Visual Aid or Visual Distraction?: Multimodality and Classroom Theming as Methods of Immersion

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

UGIS Office