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 UN2478
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 UN2478
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. 3 points.

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 46/70

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 0/10

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
Room TBA
Roosevelt Montas 4 0/18
AMST 3930 002/16629 Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
Robert Pollack 4 0/18
AMST 3930 003/70209 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
Caroline Miller 4 0/18
AMST 3930 004/13115 Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
Paul Grimstad 4 0/18
AMST 3930 005/77521 M 6:10pm - 8:00pm
Room TBA
Benjamin Rosenberg 4 0/18
AMST 3930 006/15904 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
Luke Mayville 4 0/18

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 18/20
AMST 3931 002/16769 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
317 Hamilton Hall
Casey Blake 4 14/18
AMST 3931 003/62127 Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
317 Hamilton Hall
Michael Hindus 4 15/18
AMST 3931 004/77029 M 2:10pm - 4:00pm
319 Hamilton Hall
Tamara Mann Tweel 4 5/18
AMST 3931 005/62697 M 4:10pm - 6:00pm
317 Hamilton Hall
Valerie Paley 4 9/18
AMST 3931 006/12096 W 12:10pm - 2:00pm
317 Hamilton Hall
Lynne Breslin 4 14/18

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.