Person looking at a wall map of the USA, states are outlined in neon lights

On Location: Exploring America

an in-depth experience by American Culture Studies

What is "America?"

What does it mean to be "American?"

AMCS travels to new locations to explore fundamental questions of identity through the study of interdependent relationships between cultures and places.  By visiting cities, landmarks, historic sites, museums, and popular culture venues -- sites incisively understood through direct engagement with rich material, historical, political, and social meanings -- students become immersed observers and learners within diverse local populations and communities.

While specific content changes annually, the distinctive On Location model is always the same: participants visit historical and cultural sites, engaging with them in a multidisciplinary way.  Students learn from faculty in different fields and meet experts and collaborators who provide historical background, explain a given community’s investment in the sites in question, or otherwise contextualize critical questions and issues.  Students also learn by “doing,” gathering data through participation in a variety of rich local sources, such as public events, extended tours, cultural landscapes, and art and museum exhibits.

Angel Oak Tree on Johns Island, SC

May 16 - June 4, 2023

On Location 2023: Performing the Past: Black History and Collective Memory in Charleston and the Sea Islands

This region is extraordinarily historically and culturally vibrant. Every aspect of Charleston and South Carolina's past and present--as well as its contemporary tourist economies--is informed by racial violence and resistance. How can such traumas be represented? What is at stake in making these pasts visible, and what how do different modes of commemorating the past--museum exhibition, performances, cooking, crafting, and more--invite witnesses and observers to reckon with the past while prompting the reparative work necessary for a more equitable and racially just future?

Click here to find out more about On Location 2023.
View of Portland Oregon at sunset with Mt. Hood in the background

Beyond providing inspiration for my thesis, On Location strengthened my passion for American Culture Studies. The class also encouraged me to explore my interests in creative, analytical formats that adhere to my personal values and desire to be an inquisitive, engaged citizen and student.

―Paige Steinberg2018 participant, Portland, Oregon