American Studies

The American Studies major invites students to explore the rich history and culture of the United States and, where possible, the role of the concept of "America" for various and diverse communities within and outside of the United States. An interdisciplinary major within the liberal arts, American Studies prepares students for careers in a myriad of fields such as law, social service, teaching, journalism, business, library science, and the making of public policy, as well as for graduate and professional degrees. The flexible academic program allows students to design an individualized course of study drawing on a wide variety of disciplines, including history, political science, criminal justice, and government; art, film, theatre, journalism, and literature; sociology, religious studies, and others. Virginia Wesleyan's American Studies program is located near many of the important places where history was made and continues to be made: Jamestown, Williamsburg, Washington, D.C., and by the homes of historical figures such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Robert E. Lee. It offers students an important and exciting educational experience both in and out of the classroom.

AMST 200 ("Introduction to American Studies")
Introduces students to the interdisciplinary field of American studies and exposes them to a variety of approaches to understanding American national experiences, values, and ideals as they are reflected in verbal, visual, and material artifacts and human interactions. Investigates the myths and cultural narratives associated with these artifacts that have shaped our definition of what it means to be American and general perceptions about American culture.

AMST 400 ("American Studies Thesis")
Provides students with an opportunity to explore in-depth a topic related to American studies. Students enrolled in AMST 400 will, in consultation with the program director, be assigned a thesis director who will work with the student to develop a topic, outline a program of research and reading, oversee the development of the agreed-upon topic, and assist in the training in the appropriate scholarly theory/method in the exploration of the topic. Theses will be presented and defended to a committee of three faculty members: the thesis director and two other faculty members affiliated with American Studies. A student writing a thesis for a major in addition to American Studies may, with the permission of the program director, submit that thesis in lieu of AMST 400, but must have a faculty member affiliated with American Studies on the thesis committee.