American Studies (AMST) is an interdisciplinary program that examines American society and culture, both past and present. Through a study of American history, literature, philosophy, religion, media, social science, and fine arts, students critically analyze the richness of the American experience.
American Studies majors also learn to deconstruct various American narratives that are embedded in formal and popular culture and that reveal a deeper understanding of race, ethnicity, class, gender, and of America’s place in the world. In this sense, students become “cultural critics” who, in seeing connections across academic disciplines, are able to apply an interdisciplinary perspective in assessing the dominant assumptions about power and identity in everyday life.
A central feature of the AMST program at La Salle is its emphasis on the city. The three required AMST integrating courses (AMST 100, 200, and 400) all include, in varying degrees, a focus on the role of the city. This emphasis is enriched by guest speakers, field trips, research projects, and creative interpretation.
Students are required to fulfill a three-course concentration within American Studies. This may be three courses in a traditional discipline (e.g., American literature; American history), or it may be a selected grouping of courses based on one theme or topic (e.g., race and ethnicity in America; gender in America)
American Studies majors also have an opportunity to do an internship, a field-based experience that helps them link theory to practice through the application of AMST courses and research strategies to real-life problems. Typical internship sites include the Betsy Ross House, Franklin Institute, Cliveden Historical House, Germantown Historical Society, National Park Service, the Philadelphia Criminal Justice System, etc.
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The Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies prepares students for numerous careers that require a broad-based understanding of American culture, critical thinking and writing, and interdisciplinary perspectives and applications. Such careers include law, journalism, business, public service, social work, education, museum studies, and graduate school, just to name a few.