American Studies

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

Director: Prof. Hilary Hallett, 321 Hamilton; 212-854-6698; hah2117@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

Roger Lehecka

Paul Levitz

Roosevelt Montas

Valerie Paley

Robert Pollack

Ross Posnock

Cathleen Price

Benjamin Rosenberg

James Shapiro

Maura Spiegel

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 UN2478US INTELLECTUAL HIST 1865-PRES
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 UN2478US INTELLECTUAL HIST 1865-PRES
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.

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 2021: AMST UN1010
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AMST 1010 001/10378 M W 10:10am - 11:25am
Online Only
Maura Spiegel, Roosevelt Montas 4 38/80

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

Spring 2021: AMST UN1011
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AMST 1011 001/20465 W 12:00pm - 12:50pm
Online Only
Amanda Lowe 0 10/20
AMST 1011 002/20466 W 1:00pm - 1:00pm
Online Only
Amanda Lowe 0 8/20
AMST 1011 003/20467 F 10:00am - 10:50am
Online Only
Matthew Fernandez 0 9/20
AMST 1011 004/20468 F 11:00am - 11:50am
Online Only
Matthew Fernandez 0 10/20

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.

Spring 2021: AMST UN3920
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AMST 3920 001/11725  
1 0/10
Fall 2021: AMST UN3920
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AMST 3920 001/11053  
Hilary-Anne Hallett 1 3/10

AMST UN3930 Topics in American Studies. 4 points.

Please refer to the Center for American Studies website for course descriptions for each section. americanstudies.columbia.edu

Fall 2021: AMST UN3930
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AMST 3930 001/11234 M 6:10pm - 8:00pm
317 Hamilton Hall
Benjamin Rosenberg 4 0/18
AMST 3930 002/11261 T 10:10am - 12:00pm
317 Hamilton Hall
James Shapiro 4 8/15
AMST 3930 003/11270 M 2:10pm - 4:00pm
317 Hamilton Hall
Hilary-Anne Hallett 4 20/18
AMST 3930 006/13516 M 4:10pm - 6:00pm
317 Hamilton Hall
Mark Lilla 4 10/18

AMST UN3931 Topics in American Studies. 4 points.

Please refer to the Center for American Studies for section descriptions

Spring 2021: AMST UN3931
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AMST 3931 001/10181 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Online Only
Casey Blake 4 16/18
AMST 3931 002/10182 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Online Only
Roosevelt Montas 4 15/18
AMST 3931 004/10183 W 12:10pm - 2:00pm
Online Only
John McWhorter 4 12/18
AMST 3931 005/10185 M 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Online Only
Andrew Delbanco, Roger Lehecka 4 15/18
AMST 3931 006/10186 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Online Only
Cathleen Price 4 14/15
AMST 3931 007/10187 Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Online Only
Michael Hindus 4 14/18
AMST 3931 009/10458 Th 12:10pm - 2:00pm
Online Only
Ross Posnock 4 7/18

AMST UN3935 Indigenous Peoples of New York and New England. 4.00 points.

This course provides an interdisciplinary perspective on Native peoples of present-day New York and New England and on their interactions with settler colonial societies (French, Spanish, British, US). Most of the reading will be by Native authors. In order to provide a firm historical foundation for understanding the dynamics of Indigenous and colonial history our emphasis will be on the period between European settlement and the nineteenth century. Coverage will not be exhaustive; there are too many Native nations in this region for that to be possible. Our focus rather will be on major turning points in Native history which have become flashpoints for controversy among scholars and in the broader public sphere: the relationship between Indians and Pilgrims, King Philip’s War, the so-called Indian Great Awakening, and others. We will also familiarize ourselves with present-day debates in Indigenous Studies including those pertaining to the idea of “ethnographic refusal”—i.e., the idea that Indigenous peoples should resist sharing information about their traditional cultures with non-Indian outsiders especially in academic spaces, where the study of Native Americans has often worked against Indigenous interests. The course should appeal broadly to students interested in Native history, literature, religion, and legal studies

Fall 2021: AMST UN3935
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AMST 3935 001/14003 W 10:10am - 12:00pm
317 Hamilton Hall
Ryan Carr 4.00 11/18

AMST UN3990 SENIOR RESEARCH SEMINAR. 4.00 points.

Open to American Studies seniors doing a research project.

Prerequisites: AMST UN3920
Prerequisites: AMST UN3920 A seminar devoted to the research and writing, under the instructors supervision, of a substantial paper on a topic in American studies. Class discussions of issues in research, interpretation, and writing

Spring 2021: AMST UN3990
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AMST 3990 001/10380  
Casey Blake 4.00 6/10

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.

AMHS GU4462 Immigrant New York. 4 points.

Not offered during 2021-22 academic year.

For the past century and a half, New York City has been the first home of millions of immigrants to the United States.  This course will compare immigrants' encounter with New York at the dawn of the twentieth century with contemporary issues, organizations, and debates shaping immigrant life in New York City.  As a service learning course, each student will be required to work 2-4 hours/week in the Riverside Language Center or programs for immigrants run by Community Impact. Field(s): US

Fall 2021: AMHS GU4462
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AMHS 4462 001/14968 M 12:10pm - 2:00pm
317 Hamilton Hall
Rebecca Kobrin 4 8/12

HIST UN2478 US INTELLECTUAL HIST 1865-PRES. 4.00 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