As you explore U.S. civilization and culture across disciplines, you may come to look at the country in a way you hadn’t imagined, for instance from the perspective of art history, theatre, government or Africana studies.

About the Major

American studies uses the methods and perspectives of several disciplines, in particular history and literature, as lenses through which the nation and its cultural heritage may be examined. In this way, the program represents the most enduring liberal arts traditions and principles. Yet American studies is highly innovative. Its interdisciplinary approach fosters creativity and originality, encouraging students to work closely with faculty members to develop and pursue individual plans of study.

My favorite class my freshman year that I took here was Lydia Hamessley’s ‘Music in American Film,’ and there were trends in that course that were overarching themes in American values and American cinema. And so that got me going onto this path of identity and Americans.

Allie Goodman ’15 — American studies major

At the center of the American studies curriculum are an introductory course and an intensive seminar, taken in the junior or senior year. In the intro course students explore recurring historical themes and learn the research methods used in the field. In the American studies seminar they focus on a particular topic or era.

Careers After Hamilton

  • Sales Planning Manager, Time Inc.
  • Business Analyst, Northern Trust Bank
  • Staff Writer, South Philly Review
  • Senior Associate Director of Content, University of Chicago
  • Marketing Manager, Terra Resort Group
  • Assistant Professor, New York University
  • Architectural Historian, New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission

Contact Information

American Studies Program

198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323

Meet Our Faculty

A Sampling of Courses

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Roots Music to Country Music: The Making of an American Sound 117

Study of country music from its roots in cowboy songs, fiddle tunes, blues, bluegrass, and gospel hymns to current artists like The Dixie Chicks, Taylor Swift, and Brad Paisley. Artists include the Carter Family, Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Lynyrd Skynyrd, & Garth Brooks. Study of the musical elements, social class, gender roles, and cultural contexts of styles such as Western Swing, Honky-Tonk, Rockabilly, the Nashville Sound, Southern Rock, and Alt-country. Includes films such as Coal Miner’s Daughter, Nashville, and O Brother, Where Art Thou?

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Introduction to History and Theory of New Media 125

What makes new media “new”? How do new media compare with, transform or incorporate earlier media? Examines the production, circulation, and reception of visual and sonic media, with emphasis on how consumers and artists shape the uses and values of media. Covers key issues raised by new media through close study of critical essays and creative texts. Examples of old and new media include the phonograph, radio, film, turntable, social networks, fantasy sports and gaming, podcast, MP3, Auto-Tune, hypertext literature and digital poetry.

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Native American Spiritualities 129

In order to develop a broad understanding of the religious lives of Native Americans, we explore diverse practices and worldviews. We begin with an examination of how Native American worldviews are unique and differ from modern-Western worldviews. With this grounding, we delve into explorations of the multifaceted history of Native American traditions including the Ghost Dance, the Sun Dance, religious freedom issues pertaining to the use of peyote, struggles over sacred places, and complex native engagements with Christianity.

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Americanism, Ballots, and Consumption: The ABCs of American Religion 134

This course explores a variety of roles religion has played in American culture(s) and some of the ways that American culture has influenced Americans’ religious practices. We will focus on three areas: identity (Americanism), politics (Ballots), and economics (Consumption). In particular, we will consider how religion is involved in the construction of American identity and the exclusion of some people from American polity; how religion is (and is not) intertwined with our political system; and how religion affects – and is affected by – Americans’ economic practices

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Video Game Nation 205

Investigates how to critically interpret and analyze video games and the roles they play in visual and popular culture, and how to test the application of these approaches to various issues in gaming and digital media culture more generally. Topics and themes include genre and aesthetics, the game industry, spectatorship, play, narrative, immersion, gender, race, militarism, violence and labor. Writing-intensive.

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Journalism: Ethics and Credibility 310

A thorough understanding of critical and analytic journalistic practices supports one’s engagement in the democratic process. This course focuses on developing critical and ethical information literacy. Students will: (1) identify and access diverse information sources; (2) retrieve information from sources; (3) evaluate sources and information for credibility; (4) challenge their assumptions and biases; and (5) summarize and synthesize the information they obtain into a cohesive argument.

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