About the AMCS Program

American Culture Studies (AMCS) is a program in Arts & Sciences at Washington University that supports the cross-disciplinary study of American culture. This support takes many forms, including the staging of lectures, workshops, symposia and other programing; the hosting of a multidisciplinary curriculum that introduces students to rich cultural subjects and methodologies, and also to pressing issues in American society; and the offering of place- and fieldwork-based learning opportunities, such as the bi-annual On Location: Exploring America travel seminar.

Our approach is inclusive, emphasizing the enormous diversity within American society, and the many models available to the student of culture. We are especially concerned with the political, social and material dimensions of American culture––past and present––and also with issues of race, gender, sexuality, and class that spur so much cultural debate and expression, but our curriculum presses into other areas as well. The AMCS Major includes a series of concentration areas that express our multiple foci, including ‘Popular Culture’; ‘Social Thought and Social Problems; ‘A Sense of Place: Community, Region and Landscape’; ‘The Construction of Race and Ethnicity in American Life’; ‘Visual, Material and Digital Cultures’ etc.

Both the MA program in University College and the PhD Certificate program offer similarly diverse curricular emphases and opportunities for cross-disciplinary study, and mentoring from faculty in different fields who can support students’ intellectual growth.

In conjunction with the above, AMCS hosts the Harvey Graduate Fellows and Harvey Undergraduate Scholars programs, and supports a series of Program Initiatives, three- to five-year endeavors centered on themes and issues that bring together faculty members from many disciplinary backgrounds and fields of study to collaborate on projects (publications, conferences, jointly-curated archives and exhibitions, team-taught courses, etc.).

Above all else, our aim is to foster intellectual growth and community amongst students of American culture at all levels.

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