American Studies

Bachelor of Arts

The American Studies major at AIC offers an interdisciplinary education covering a broad range of issues in contemporary American society.

As part of the major, you’ll examine our country’s historical heritage, the social and cultural issues that affect our national identity, and America’s economic and political systems, especially as they relate to our country’s standing in world.

As a graduate of the program, you’ll have the skills and knowledge needed for a variety of advanced degree programs and careers, including:

  • Government, such as politics or social policy
  • Cultural agencies, such as museums and historical societies
  • Journalism
  • Education
  • Law
  • Sociology

The American Studies major provides students with both breadth, in exposing them to several disciplines, and depth, via its focus on American culture. It’s an ideal major for students who are interested in almost any aspect of American life.

Dr. Julie Walsh
Associate Professor of Political Science and American Studies

In the classroom. In the workforce.

What you’ll learn

What you’ll learn

As part of the major, you’ll examine our country’s historical heritage, the social and cultural issues that affect our national identity, and America’s economic and political systems.

Future Studies

Future Studies

The program helps prepare you for a variety of graduate degree programs, including political science, sociology, or law.

Career Opportunities

Career Opportunities

As a graduate of the program, you’ll have the skills and knowledge needed for careers in government, journalism, cultural agencies, and museums

Major Requirements

  • ENG3400: Advanced American Literature I
  • ENG3410: Advanced American Literature II
  • HST1510: United States History I (to 1877)
  • HST1520: United States History II (since 1877)
  • ECO1400: Introduction to American Politics
  • POL2400: State and Local Government
  • POL3700: American Political Thought
  • ASM4800: American Studies Seminar (repeatable every semester but at least one per year for a minimum of three completions)

Plus at least four additional courses from the following:

  • Any of the courses listed above but not taken as a requirement above
  • Any literature or cultural study offered under the auspices of the Department of Modern Languages and related to multicultural studies in the U.S.

Elective Courses

  • ECO1401: Principles of Economics I or
  • ECO1402: Principles of Economics II
  • ENG2520: African-American Literature
  • ENG3200: Topics in Literature, when topic is American literature
  • HST3500: The Supreme Court in American History
  • POL2420: Presidency and Congress
  • POL2620: Public Law
  • POL2630: Civil Liberties
  • POL2450: Political Parties
  • POL2500: Presidential Election: Strategies, Tactics, and Issues
  • POL3400: Public Administration
  • POL3402: American Foreign Policy
  • SOC3243: Race and Ethnic Relations

 

Course Descriptions

This course is a historical survey of American literature and its relation to American culture from its beginnings in 1492 through the Civil War. Authors studied may include Bradford, Bradstreet, Edwards, Franklin, Jefferson, Poe, Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Douglass, Melville, Whitman, and Dickinson.

This course is a historical survey of American literature and its relation to American culture from the Civil War through the present. Authors studied may include Twain, Chopin, Frost, Hemingway, Faulkner, O’Neil, Williams, Updike, and Walker.

A survey of the evolution of the United States from its colonial origins to the end of Reconstruction, this course explores the significant social, economic, intellectual, and political developments, including state history of Massachusetts.

A survey of the evolution of the United States from the late 19th century to the early 21st, this course explores the significant social, economic, intellectual, and political developments during “the American Age” of global history, including state history of Massachusetts.

This course focuses on the politics, institutions, and policy processes of state and local governments. State and local governments provide essential services, suchas education and policing, and are considered the building blocks of democracy. In this course, comparisons will be made among states but much attention will be paid to the state of Massachusetts and city of Springfield.

This course studies American political thought from its Puritan origins to present day. The course is organized around defining moments of political thought, such as the Revolution, Constitutional Founding, Civil War, Great Depression, and Civil Rights Movement, with selections from mainstream and radical voices in each period. Readings include selections from James Madison, John Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Emma Goldman, Eugene Debs, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

A weekly seminar for American Studies majors, with readings, discussion, and research/writings on topics that explore the interdisciplinary connections among the various courses taken for the program during individual semesters. Course is repeatable for additional credit when topics vary.

This course is devoted to the study of the fundamental principles and processes of an economic system, with special emphasis on the coordination and control of the United States economy. Emphasis is on the macroeconomic approach.

This course examines individual decision making in various applied economic environments. Areas of application include international trade, market structures, labor markets, and various U. S. institutional environments, both public and private. Basic emphasis is on the microeconomic approach.

This course surveys highlights of African American literature. Writers include Douglass, Washington, DuBois, Hurston, Toomer, Bontemps, Hughes, Walker, Wilson, and Morrison.

A series of courses that concentrate on a single significant topic in literature. Representative topics include: In Search of the American Dream, Nobel Prize Winners in Literature, and the City in Literature.

A study of the historical role of the U. S. Supreme Court and its impact on American society, including an examination of issues of political theory and major court cases.

The powers, function, and inherent conflicts of the Congress and the presidency are examined with emphasis placed on the historical development of institutions.

This course is the study of nature, function, and power of the Supreme Court in the American political system via study of its decisions. Emphasis is placed on cases about separation of powers, federalism, and economic liberties.

effectiveness of the legal system in protecting and promoting individual rights are examined and discussed via a reading of constitutional case law. Special attention is given to rights of the accused, freedom of speech and religion.

This course is a study of the organizations, characters, bases, and operations of party systems with emphasis on the United States. The historical development of the parties is investigated.

This course examines the structure of both presidential and congressional elections and the resultant consequences of those structures. The historical development of elections is emphasized. A case study of either the presidential or congressional midterm election will be analyzed with special attention given to campaign strategies.

A study is made of the politics and problems of implementing governmental policies with particular emphasis on organization, management, personnel, finances, responsibility, and bureaucracy.

In this course a study is done of the aims, instruments, and conduct of American foreign relations, with particular reference to contemporary problems. Students will participate in case studies.

This course is an intensive study of selected ethnic and racial groups and subcultures in their structural and cultural aspects. Students will study how these affect their lifestyles in relation to dominant groups within the social system. Both classical and contemporary models of minority-dominant relations will be considered for their relevance toward an adequate understanding of contemporary social systems.

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