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Department of American Studies

Saint Louis University’s Department of American Studies balances rigorous training in the core theories and methods of American studies with a flexible range of courses and experiences tailored to your individual interests.

american studies student


Founded in 1963, the department carries forward a 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 curricula at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Our programs emphasize a breadth of coursework taught by our award-winning faculty, and opportunities for community engagement both within specific classes and through internships.

Degrees in American Studies at Saint Louis University

Why Major in American Studies?

American studies is one of the most exciting and challenging of all the humanities and social science disciplines. The field of American studies provides a systematic interdisciplinary approach to the study of the cultures of the United States. We look at a topic or question about past or present themes, events, or conflicts and use a variety of methods and sources to address that issue. Our department trains students in the skills of clear thinking, writing, and speaking, as well as interpreting literary texts, evaluating historical documents and artifacts, applying humanistic and social scientific methods and theoretical approaches, and reflecting ethically about the problems and issues raised in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.

American studies as a field serves the mission of SLU by addressing historical and contemporary patterns of discrimination and social hierarchy, as well as movements for social justice and equity. The analysis of race, class and gender are central to the field. Our classes and our students directly engage the community around us through vibrant and longstanding connections to local institutions. These connections include opportunities at cultural institutions like the Missouri History Museum, where students placed in internships have gone on to careers, where we bring classes to learn, and from where alumni museum professionals have been guests in our classes. Additionally, students have worked with nonprofits like ArchCity Defenders, which hosts internships and comes to campus to meet with students.

Strengths of Our Program

The unique character of American studies as interdisciplinary field practiced at Saint Louis University is reflected in the diversity of our faculty interests, which include transnational American studies, ethnic studies, intellectual history, gender studies, environmental humanities, urban studies and postwar American culture.

About Our Faculty

Giving to the Department

Gifts from alumni and friends of the Department for American Studies allow for significant enhancements to the department's teaching, research and mentoring activities.

Such contributions help us expand our community engagement and outreach, fund graduate and undergraduate research travel, bring leading practitioners in the field to campus for dynamic workshops and lectures, offer career-exploration events for majors and minors, and develop other vibrant activities that might not otherwise be possible.

Generous support from contributors has funded student trips to conferences and archives, led to the establishment of the annual Blixen Lecture Series in American Studies named for alumni donors Mary Blixen (Ph.D., American Studies, 2000) and John Blixen, and funded an undergradate summer internship tuition scholarship that supports students with financial need.

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