Interdisciplinary American Studies majors are expected to develop a solid grounding in the cultural history of the United States and scholars’ debates about that history. Because the past is a condition of the present, we cannot understand who we are, where we are, what we care about, nor the lives we live without exploring what the sociologist George Herbert Mead called the “doings and sufferings” of those who came before us. To understand more fully contemporary American culture, society, politics, we must return to the past—to that which “marks out and in a sense selects what has made the present possible.”
For students admitted to American Studies in Fall 2003 or later, one of the courses taken to complete the American Studies major (either upper- or lower-division) must be a course focusing on U.S. history, culture, and/or politics before 1900. Students should check with an American Studies faculty advisor or the American Studies Student Academic Advisor to ensure that the course they take satisfies this requirement.