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.

Recent News & Events

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

Robert Cancio - Economic Effects of Immigration

Robert Cancio is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Loyola Marymount University, and he is the Head of the Veteran and Military Family Research Laboratory, a grant-funded lab that focuses on the intersection between the social and behavioral pathways underpinning resilience and susceptibility to adverse health conditions that disproportionately affect racial/ethnic priority in military populations and communities of color. Robert is also the Principle Investigator for the Tobacco Research Team, which collaborates with a variety of community-based organizations to inform social change through applied community-based, geographic, and health-related research. He was recently awarded $853,800 for three years from The University of California, Office of the President, Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program, for a project titled Youth Vaping in Los Angeles: Youth’s Perceptions, Behaviors, and Outlet Density.

Thesis: Robert Cancio : - "Migration Los Angeles: The Story of a Cultural Landscape" (Class of 2013)

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