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American Studies Major

The American Studies major explores the values of the peoples of the United States and the Americas through cultural expressions—their history, art, folklore, politics, social mores, and literatures.

In American Studies, we emphasize an interdisciplinary perspective: drawing on traditions of thought and action from the humanities and social sciences and exploring diverse peoples, theories, methods, materials, texts, and resources.

The major probes assumptions about “nationalism,” investigates what it means to be “American,” and considers how national identities are expressed.

The interdisciplinary curriculum prepares students to be creative problem-solvers by incorporating many perspectives and using multiple tools for analysis.

The variety of courses develops skills in critical thinking, research, writing across the disciplines, and the handling of diverse forms of evidence—skills vital for effective communication and decision-making in many professional contexts, including business, psychology, education, social services, science, law, medicine, research, and communications.

American Studies offers students opportunities to explore a wealth of careers as educators, historians, lawyers, doctors, politicians, business leaders, policy analysts, government and arts administrators, advocates, writers, editors, and information managers, to name but a few.

At Cabrini University, the American Studies major works especially well with a double-major in History, Political Science, Religious Studies, or English, as well as with majors in the professions of Education, Graphic Design, Communcation and Social Work.

The major includes specially designed introductory and upper-level courses taught by faculty committed to the use of wide-ranging and interdisciplinary sources in examining the American experience—the drama and diversity of America’s past and present, as well as its values, habits, character, and forms of artistic expression.

Before graduation, students should take two of the following five classes as part of their core requirements: HIS 107, HIS 108, ENG 351, REL 221, or SOC 215.

Students must take HIS 109 Introduction to American Studies, HIS 336 Engaged Ethnography, and HIS 487 Historiography (or a major Capstone course in consultation with department chair).

Requirements for the major in American Studies
(all courses 3 credits unless noted)

  • HIS 109 - Introduction to American Studies 
  • HIS 336 - Engaged Ethnography
  • HIS 487 - Research Capstone or a major Capstone course in consultation with department chair 
  • Electives from the following lists
    • at least 12 credits at 300-level or above
    • at least 3 credits from each category

Total credits for major: 27


Electives

American Institutions

  • AST 378 - Sports and American Society
  • ENG 216 - Folklife Studies
  • ENG 335 - Images of Women in Literature and Media
  • H-HIS/PHI 309 - Honors History/Philosophy: 
    Baseball and the American Tradition
  • H-HIS 315/HIS 315 - The Civil War
  • HIS 409 - American Colonial History
  • HIS 410 - Twentieth Century United States History
  • HIS 419 - Women and History
  • HIS 420 - United States Military and Diplomatic History
  • REL 214 - The Catholic Church in America
  • REL 223 - Church and State: A U.S. Perspective
  • SOC 215 - Introduction to Sociology: Race, Class, & Gender
  • SOC 302 - Race and Ethnic Relations
  • SOC 311 - Marriage and the Family
  • SOW 301 - History of Social Policy and Services
  • SOW 402 - Social Welfare Development, Policy and Services

Cultures of the Americas

  • AST 317 - Modern American Popular Culture
  • ENG 229 - Immigrant Authors: The Literature of Transition
  • ENG 290 - Literary Theory and Cultural Studies
  • ENG 351 - Nineteenth Century American Literature
  • ENG 358 - Harlem Renaissance
  • ENG 365 - The Beat Movement: Writing and the New Revolution
  • HIS 124- Introduction to Black Studies
  • HIS 211 - African-American History from 1619 to 1877
  • HIS 212 - African-American History from 1877 to the Present
  • HIS 251 - Latin American History from Colonization to 1800
  • HIS 252 - Latin American History from 1800 to the Present
  • H-LAN/ SPA 301 - Honors Language/Spanish: 
    Don Quixote and the Art of Imagination (taught in English)
  • PHI 220 - American Political Philosophy
  • REL 306 - African-American Religions
  • REL 312 - Sects and Cults in American Religion
  • SOW/PSY 250 - Multiculturalism in the Helping Profession
  • SPA 303 - History of Spanish Civilization (taught in Spanish)
  • SPA 304 - History of Spanish American Civilization (taught in Spanish)
  • SPA 307 - Survey of Spanish American Literature I (taught in Spanish)
  • SPA 308 - Survey of Spanish American Literature II (taught in Spanish) 

American Stories, Beliefs, & Thoughts

  • AST 217 - Dreams in Popular Culture
  • AST 396 - Black Folklore and Folklife
  • H-ENG 330/ENG 330 - Theorizing Beauty in Literature and Culture
  • ENG 351 - Nineteenth Century American Literature
  • ENG 358 - Harlem Renaissance
  • FNA 206 - American Music
  • FNA 305 - American Art History
  • H-PHI 310 - Honors Philosophy: American Philosophy
  • POL 213 - Constitution of the United States
  • POL 316 - The American Presidency
  • POL 317 - American Political Parties
  • POL 318 - The Federal Judiciary
  • REL 111 - Faith and Justice
  • REL 215 - Religion and the Civil Rights Movement
  • REL 221 - Religion in America
  • REL 225 - Catholic Social Thought and Practice
  • REL 305 - Contemporary Issues in American Catholicism
  • REL 318 - Thomas Merton: Man, Mystic, Prophet
  • REL 319 - Spirituality of Mother Cabrini
  • SOC/REL 330 - Sociology of Religion
  • SOW 240 - Child Welfare 

Everyday Arts and Labor

  • AST 335 - Spike Lee’s America
  • AST 401 - Martial Arts Experience
  • ENG 219 - Contemporary African-American Literature
  • ENG 254 - African-American Literature
  • ENG 336 - African-American Women Writers
  • ENG 339 - Toni Morrison
  • ENG 350 - Early American Literature
  • ENG 352 - Modern American Literature
  • ENG 353 - Contemporary American Literature
  • FNA 208 - Jazz and Its Heritage
  • FNA 209 - Art of Philadelphia
  • HIS 335 - Spike Lee’s America
  • H-REL 220 - Honors Religious Studies: Religious Folklife
  • SOW 210 - Introduction to Social Work

There is no minor in American Studies.

Special Requirements
QPA of 2.33 (C+) required in American Studies courses for the major

Learning Outcomes
American Studies majors will:

  • display an understanding of the importance of the plurality of cultural expression in the shaping of American cultures
  • articulate, orally and in writing, an understanding of the theories of interdisciplinarity and interdisciplinary research
  • display a working knowledge of the values and limitations of both primary and secondary sources in conducting historical research and be able to apply critical-thinking skills to discern between “legitimate” and “superfluous” sources
  • demonstrate an understanding of how heritage affects the daily lives ofAmericans
  • demonstrate an ability to discern among the major “schools of thought” used by American Studies scholars and to use a variety of schools of thought to analyze and interpret cultural data and information

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