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Welcome from the Chair of American Studies
American Studies is one of the most exciting and challenging of all the humanities and social science disciplines. Founded in 1963, American Studies at Saint Louis University today carries forward a long tradition of excellence in teaching and scholarship. Our American Studies community is a freestanding, autonomous academic department with its own full-time faculty and carefully designed, developmental curricula at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
The American Studies Department provides a systematically interdisciplinary approach to the study of the cultures of the United States and to the critical analysis of their historical and contemporary evolutions. Our department trains students in the skills of clear thinking, writing, and speaking, as well as the abilities associated with interpreting literary texts, evaluating historical documents and artifacts, applying humanistic and social scientific methods and theoretical approaches, and reflecting ethically about the problems and issues raised in the classroom. The department's mission includes advancing knowledge in the field through significant research and publication as well as training future scholars and teachers. The department also educates undergraduate and graduate students for professional futures in education, government, humanities institutions, public service, law, and other areas, and it seeks to prepare them for participation as thoughtful citizens in the multicultural nation and world in which they will live and work.
Our department is swiftly growing—in enrollments, faculty, and opportunities for students. Over recent years, the department has expanded to reach six full-time faculty positions while hiring truly the best available candidates nationwide. American Studies undergraduate classroom enrollments have more than doubled over the past half decade, and the department continues to develop exciting new options in career mentorship, internships, and other activities. Meanwhile, participants in our doctoral program, who now number about thirty-five, consistently win grants, prizes, and other recognitions for their research. So whether you are a major or minor, a student with an interest in the field but not wanting to major, or an applicant seeking the finest graduate-level training, you'll find SLU's American Studies Department to be a vibrant and dynamic community of teachers, scholars, mentors, and peers.
Heidi Ardizzone, Ph.D.