American Studies

Program Office: 319-321 Hamilton; 212-854-6698
http://www.columbia.edu/cu/amstudies/

Director: Prof. Casey N. Blake, 321 Hamilton; 212-854-6698; cb460@columbia.edu

Associate Director: Prof. Robert Amdur, 311 Hamilton; 212-854-4049; rla2@columbia.edu

Assistant Director: Angela Darling, 319 Hamilton; 212-854-6698; amd44@columbia.edu

Administrative Assistant: Laken King, 319 Hamilton; 212-854-6698; lk2639@columbia.edu

American studies offers students the opportunity to explore the experience and values of the people of the United States as embodied in their history, literature, politics, art, and other enduring forms of cultural expression. The program seeks to prepare students to confront with historical awareness the pressing problems that face our society. The program takes advantage of Columbia's location by involving students with the life of the city—working with community service organizations such as the Double Discovery Center, which serves New York City high school students; and by inviting leading figures in the local political and cultural scene to participate in colloquia, public conferences, and classroom discussions. It is an interdisciplinary program designed to be open and flexible while taking seriously the challenge of striving for a liberal education that helps prepare students for responsible citizenship.

Advising

Each American studies major or concentrator is assigned an academic adviser who monitors their progress through graduation. With at least ten advisers for each academic year, students are assured of individual attention and guidance. Advisers meet with students at least twice a semester.

Departmental Honors

Students with a 3.6 minimum GPA in the major and an outstanding senior project are considered for honors. Normally no more than 10% of graduating majors receive departmental honors in a given year.

Department Faculty

Casey N. Blake

Lynne Breslin

Andrew  Delbanco

Todd Gitlin

Hilary Hallett

Michael Hindus

Thai Jones

Adam Kirsch

Roger Lehecka

Paul Levitz

Roosevelt Montas

Valerie Paley

Robert Pollack

Ross Posnock

Cathleen Price

Benjamin Rosenberg

James Shapiro

Maura Spiegel

Tamara Tweel

Affiliated Faculty

  • Rachel Adams (English and Comparative Literature)
  • Courtney Bender (Religion)
  • Casey N. Blake (History; American Studies)
  • Jeremy Dauber (Germanic Languages)
  • Andrew Delbanco (English and Comparative Literature; American Studies)
  • Eric Foner (History)
  • Todd Gitlin (Journalism; Sociology)
  • Farah Griffin (English and Comparative Literature)
  • Frank Guridy (History)
  • Ira Katznelson (Political and History)
  • Alice Kessler-Harris (History)
  • Shamus Khan (Sociology)
  • Rebecca Kobrin (History)
  • Roosevelt Montás (Core and American Studies)
  • Ross Posnock (English and Comparative Literature; American Studies)
  • Wayne Proudfoot (Religion)
  • Jonathan Rieder (Sociology, Barnard)
  • Maura Spiegel (English and Comparative Literature)

Guidelines for all American Studies Majors and Concentrators

Declaring the Major or Concentration

Although students generally declare their major or concentration in the spring of their sophomore year, students may want to take electives early on in areas that interest them but that later connect with the American studies major.

Grading

A grade lower than C- cannot be counted toward the major or concentration in American studies. A grade of C- can be counted only with the approval of the director or associate director. Pass/D/Fail courses do not count toward the major or concentration unless the course was taken before the student declared the major or concentration.


Major in American Studies

A minimum of nine courses is required to complete the major.  Please note that as of January 2018 Major requirements have changed, beginning with the Class of 2020.  Please consult with the department if there are any questions.

Two American Studies Core courses.
The following two courses are ordinarily required:
AMST UN1010Introduction to American Studies
HIST UN2478U.S. Intellectual History, 1865 To the Present
or AMST UN3930 Topics in American Studies
Please note, the AMST UN3930 section MUST be Freedom and Citizenship in the U.S. to count towards the core course requirement
Two seminars in American Studies
AMST UN3930Topics in American Studies
AMST UN3931Topics in American Studies
Additional Courses
Four courses drawn from at least two departments, one of which must be in History and one of which must deal primarily with some aspect of American experience before 1900. (A course in U.S. History before 1900 would fulfill both requirements.)
Senior Research Project
The final requirement for the major in American Studies is completion of a senior essay, to be submitted in the spring of senior year. Alternatively, students may fulfill this requirement by taking an additional seminar in which a major paper is required or by writing an independent essay under the supervision of a faculty member. Seniors who wish to do a senior research project are required to take the Senior Project Colloquium AMST UN3920 in the fall of the senior year.

Concentration in American Studies

A minimum of 7 courses is required to complete the concentration.  Please note that as of January 2018 Concentration requirements have changed, beginning with the Class of 2020.   Please consult with the department if there are any questions.

Two American Studies Core courses.
The following are ordinarily required:
AMST UN1010Introduction to American Studies
HIST UN2478U.S. Intellectual History, 1865 To the Present
or AMST UN3930 Topics in American Studies
Please note, the AMST UN3930 section MUST be Freedom and Citizenship in the U.S. to count towards the core course requirement
Additional Courses
Select five additional courses drawn from at least two departments, one of which must be in History, and one of which must deal with the period before 1900.

American Studies

AMST UN1010 Introduction to American Studies. 4 points.

This course is an interdisciplinary exploration of the values and cultural expressions of the people of the United States since the late nineteenth century.  We will examine a variety of works in literature, history, cultural and social criticism, music, the visual arts and the built environment with an eye to understanding how Americans of different backgrounds, living at different times and in different locations, have understood and argued about the meaning and significance of American national identity.  Our goal is to make connections between different genres of expression and consider how different cultural forms have served as opportunities to ponder the meaning of modern life in the United States.  Lectures and readings will give particular attention to the sites—real and imagined--where Americans have identified the promise and perils of American life. Discussion section required: AMST UN1011

Spring 2019: AMST UN1010
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AMST 1010 001/85941 M W 4:10pm - 5:25pm
Room TBA
Maura Spiegel, Casey Blake 4 70/70

AMST UN1011 Disc. Sec. Intro. to American Studies. 0 points.

Corequisites: AMST UN1010

This is the required discussion section for AMST UN1010 Intro to American Studies

AMST UN3920 American Studies Senior Project Colloquium. 1 point.

Required for American studies students who intend to do a senior research project

This course is for American studies majors planning to complete senior projects in the spring. The course is designed to help students clarify their research agenda, sharpen their questions, and locate their primary and secondary sources. Through class discussions and a "workshop" peer review process, each member of the course will enter spring semester with a completed bibliography that will provide an excellent foundation for the work of actually writing the senior essay. The colloquium will meet every other week and is required for everyone planning to do a senior research project. Application due June 15. See American Studies website.

Fall 2018: AMST UN3920
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AMST 3920 001/64573  
Casey Blake 1 4/10

AMST UN3930 Topics in American Studies. 4 points.

Please refer to the Center for American Studies for the course descriptions for each section.

Fall 2018: AMST UN3930
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AMST 3930 001/70115 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
317 Hamilton Hall
Roosevelt Montas 4 13/18
AMST 3930 002/16629 Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
607 Hamilton Hall
Robert Pollack, Craig Blinderman, Brigid Connelly 4 16/18
AMST 3930 003/70209 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
317 Hamilton Hall
Caroline Miller 4 18/18
AMST 3930 004/13115 Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
401 Hamilton Hall
Paul Grimstad 4 9/18
AMST 3930 004/13115 W 6:10pm - 8:00pm
317 Hamilton Hall
Paul Grimstad 4 9/18
AMST 3930 005/77521 M 6:10pm - 8:00pm
317 Hamilton Hall
Benjamin Rosenberg 4 16/18
AMST 3930 006/15904 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
317 Hamilton Hall
Luke Mayville 4 15/18

AMST UN3931 Topics in American Studies. 4 points.

Please refer to the Center for American Studies for section descriptions

Spring 2019: AMST UN3931
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AMST 3931 001/60559  
4 0/18
AMST 3931 002/26016 W 12:10pm - 2:00pm
317 Hamilton Hall
John McWhorter 4 0/18
AMST 3931 003/73460 Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
317 Hamilton Hall
Michael Hindus 4 0/18
AMST 3931 004/25565 Th 12:10pm - 2:00pm
317 Hamilton Hall
Tamara Mann Tweel 4 17/18
AMST 3931 005/26391 M 2:10pm - 4:00pm
317 Hamilton Hall
Andrew Delbanco, Roger Lehecka 4 19/20
AMST 3931 006/61006 M 10:10am - 12:00pm
317 Hamilton Hall
James Shapiro 4 14/15
AMST 3931 007/92748 T 12:10pm - 2:00pm
317 Hamilton Hall
Lynne Breslin 4 0/18

AMST UN3990 Senior Research Seminar. 4 points.

Open to American Studies seniors doing a research project.

Prerequisites: AMST UN3920

A seminar devoted to the research and writing, under the instructor's supervision, of a substantial paper on a topic in American studies. Class discussions of issues in research, interpretation, and writing.

Spring 2019: AMST UN3990
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AMST 3990 001/65527  
Casey Blake 4 0/18

AMST UN3997 Supervised Individual Research. 1-4 points.

For students who want to do independent study of topics not covered by normal program offerings, or for senior American studies majors working on the Senior Honors Project independent of 3990y. The student must find a faculty sponsor and work out a plan of study; a copy of this plan should be submitted to the program director.

Fall 2018: AMST UN3997
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AMST 3997 001/27290  
Casey Blake 1-4 1/8

HIST UN2478 U.S. Intellectual History, 1865 To the Present. 3 points.

This course examines major themes in U.S. intellectual history since the Civil War. Among other topics, we will examine the public role of intellectuals; the modern liberal-progressive tradition and its radical and conservative critics; the uneasy status of religion ina secular culture; cultural radicalism and feminism; critiques of corporate capitalism and consumer culture; the response of intellectuals to hot and cold wars, the Great Depression, and the upheavals of the 1960s. Fields(s): US