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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

Miriam Perales - Healthcare in the U.S.

During her last semester before graduating, Miriam Perales studied health seeking behaviors in the small community of Mae Sot, which lies at the border between Thailand and Myanmar. This experience coupled with her senior thesis research on curanderismo confirmed her decision to pursue a career in medicine to work specifically with communities of color that lack sufficient health services. Miriam is currently employed as a medical technician at Eye Physicians of the East Bay where she interacts with patients, works alongside optometrists and opthamalogists, and learns about ocular health complications and diseases. She is also applying to post-baccalaureate-pre-med programs with the ultimate plan of serving her community as a doctora.

Thesis: Miriam Perales : - Have Women Healers Disappeared? : From Traditional Healing to Modern White Male Medicine (Class of 2017)

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
231 Evans Hall
(510) 642-0108