The six-course (18 or more credits) American Studies minor allows you to take classes centering on American culture in English, History, Sociology, Fine Arts, Political Science, Psychology, Theater, and other departments, as well as cross-listed classes in other minors, such as Women's Studies and African and African Diaspora Studies.
As this list suggests, the Minor is rigorously interdisciplinary, meaning that it requires one to think beyond the disciplinary range of any single department. Under the general rubric of analyzing American culture past and present, American Studies minors investigate such overarching subjects as the effect of city life on cultural expression and social organization; the historical interaction of class, gender, race, and ethnicity; how forms of high culture, popular culture, and mass media interpret and shape historical transformation; the character of mass migration within and across national borders; the development of borderlands, and the problem of American empire.
The introduction to culture-shaping and often hotly contested issues in American life afforded by the American Studies Minor provides a student with a good preparation for careers in law, teaching, government, journalism, and many other professions. Since interdisciplinary work is now a standard feature of graduate education, this minor also provides an essential preparation in working in cultural analysis across the humanities and social sciences.
The University offers an independent major program for which American Studies has, in the past, provided advisement. Normally you need a 3.5 GPA; you plan a program of 12 courses, ten of which must be upper-division courses, spread over no more than three departments. Proposals must be submitted to the Dean’s Office before March 1 of the student’s sophomore year; the proposal will then be submitted to the university’s Educational Policy Committee for approval. Among the proposals approved by the Education Policy Committee in recent years are interdisciplinary independent majors in American Studies concentrating in the study of gender and culture, urban planning, and immigrant cultures.
As the field of American Studies grows more transnational and American culture grows ever more global in its reach and origins, international study becomes a more significant part of the discipline. We also provide advisement for study abroad at foreign universities with strong American Studies programs. For more information, contact the Director of American Studies and/or BC's Office of International Programs.