Sponsored by the five undergraduate Claremont Colleges (Pomona, Scripps, Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd and Pitzer), American Studies is an interdisciplinary major that encourages students to think critically and creatively about the histories and cultures of the United States from local, national and transnational perspectives, as well as about questions of social and economic justice, rights, and equality. The American Studies Program is coordinated by an intercollegiate faculty whose aim is to introduce students to the complexity of the American experience. Majors take courses in a variety of disciplines such as literature, history, sociology, anthropology, political science, music, media studies, and the visual arts. In addition, majors take multidisciplinary courses that use materials from different disciplines to explore particular issues relevant to life in the U.S. Recent graduates have used this interdisciplinary major to pursue many career paths, including: education, law, library science, journalism, business, museum administration, electoral politics, health care, and the non-profit sector.
Core Coursework in American Studies
Each year, the introductory course American Cultures (AMST 103) is team-taught by two or three professors from different fields, including English, history, art history, music, anthropology and sociology. The class covers consumer culture, the frontier, religious beliefs, civil rights and other topics using evidence such as fiction, film, works of art and historical texts to explore both the distinctiveness and the diversity of U.S. culture. A junior seminar and senior seminar are also offered each year in which majors are introduced to theoretical problems in an interdisciplinary field of study and are guided in the writing of their senior theses. Required classes in history and ethnic studies form a foundation on which students build an individual program of study. American Studies majors enjoy a close advising relationship with their faculty advisors and benefit from regular gatherings of faculty and students.