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.

Affiliated Faculty

  • Rachel Adams (English and Comparative Literature)
  • Casey N. Blake (History; American Studies)
  • Jeremy Dauber (Germanic Languages)
  • Andrew Delbanco (English and Comparative Literature; American Studies)
  • Robert A. Ferguson (Law; English and Comparative Literature)
  • Eric Foner (History)
  • Todd Gitlin (Journalism; Sociology)
  • Farah Griffin (English and Comparative Literature)
  • Alice Kessler-Harris (History)
  • Shamus Khan (Sociology)
  • Rebecca Kobrin (History)
  • Roosevelt Montás (Core Curriculum)
  • 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.

Two seminars in American Studies
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 Freedom and Citizenship in the U.S. AMST UN3930 sec 4
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 in the fall of the senior year.

Concentration in American Studies

A minimum of 7 courses is required to complete the concentration:

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 Freedom and Citizenship in the U.S. AMST UN3930 sec 4
Additional Courses
Select five additional courses drawn from at least two departments, one of which must be in History.

American Studies

AMST UN1010 Introduction to American Studies. 3 points.

Not offered during 2017-18 academic year.

An introduction to fundamental themes and debates that span four centuries of American culture. Beginning with Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America, we will explore themes such as the question of national character, immigration, assimilation and the color line, opportunity and the pursuit of property, self-making, meritocracy, consumerism, Americans at work and leisure, American religion and spiritual life, educational ideals, and Americans at war. A partial list of authors includes: John Winthrop, Hector St. Jean de Crevecoeur, Thomas Jefferson, Frederick Douglass, R. W. Emerson, H.D. Thoreau, Abraham Lincoln, W.E. B. DuBois, Andrew Carnegie, Horatio Alger, Theodore Roosevelt, John Dewey, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Upton Sinclair, Sinclair Lewis, Thorstein Veblen, Nella Larsen, and Gish Jen. Conducted as a lecture/discussion, with weekly discussion sections.

Spring 2018: AMST UN1010
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AMST 1010 001/75011 M W 4:10pm - 5:25pm
602 Hamilton Hall
Maura Spiegel, Casey Blake 3 50/60

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 2017: AMST UN3920
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AMST 3920 001/18206  
Casey Blake 1 6/18

AMST UN3930 Topics in American Studies. 4 points.

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

Fall 2017: AMST UN3930
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AMST 3930 001/71446 M 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
Andrew Delbanco 4 8/18
AMST 3930 002/27392 M 6:10pm - 8:00pm
317 Hamilton Hall
Benjamin Rosenberg 4 14/18
AMST 3930 003/22188 T 10:10am - 12:00pm
317 Hamilton Hall
Hilary-Anne Hallett 4 12/18
AMST 3930 004/70797 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
317 Hamilton Hall
Roosevelt Montas 4 9/18
AMST 3930 005/74321 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
317 Hamilton Hall
Ross Posnock 4 10/18
AMST 3930 006/27818 Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
607 Hamilton Hall
Robert Pollack, Craig Blinderman, Jenny Davis 4 15/18

AMST UN3931 Topics in American Studies. 4 points.

Please refer to the Center for American Studies for section descriptions

Spring 2018: AMST UN3931
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AMST 3931 001/87899 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
317 Hamilton Hall
Andrew Delbanco, Roger Lehecka 4 17/20
AMST 3931 002/16769 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
317 Hamilton Hall
Casey Blake 4 0/18
AMST 3931 003/62127 Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
317 Hamilton Hall
Michael Hindus 4 0/18
AMST 3931 004/77029 M 2:10pm - 4:00pm
319 Hamilton Hall
Tamara Mann Tweel 4 6/18
AMST 3931 005/62697 M 4:10pm - 6:00pm
317 Hamilton Hall
Valerie Paley 4 0/18
AMST 3931 006/12096 W 12:10pm - 2:00pm
317 Hamilton Hall
Lynne Breslin 4 0/18

AMST W3990 Senior Research Seminar. 4 points.

Open to American Studies seniors doing a research project.

Prerequisites: AMST W3920

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 2018: AMST W3990
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AMST 3990 001/28795  
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 2017: AMST UN3997
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AMST 3997 001/26050  
Casey Blake 1-4 4/8

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

Fall 2017: HIST UN2478
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HIST 2478 001/76474 M W 4:10pm - 5:25pm
301 Pupin Laboratories
Casey Blake 3 84/120

American Studies Core Courses