American Studies

Program Description

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, and 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.

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 researchstrategies to real-life problems. Typical internships sites include the Betsy Ross House, Franklin Institute, Cliveden Historical House, Germantown Historical Society, National Park Service, and the Philadelphia criminal justice system.

American Studies Program Link

Why take this major?

The Bachelor of Arts in American Studies prepares students for numerous careers that require 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.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Apply an interdisciplinary perspective in analyzing the role of race, ethnicity, gender, and class in American society;
  • Deconstruct various American narratives that are embedded in formal and popular culture;
  • Conduct independent research, gather evidence, evaluate such evidence, and offer conclusions in written arguments that are grammatically, mechanically, and rhetorically correct;
  • Identify, deconstruct, and analyze the American narrative through a variety of primary and secondary sources;
  • Develop and present digital productions that break down and/or interpret the various points of view contained in the readings, class discussion, location visits, and interdisciplinary connections;
  • Develop a refined level of critical reading, thinking, writing, and speaking skills that promote ethical understanding and the ability to view issues from multiple perspectives including global perspectives, preparing for a range of careers and profession - from law, journalism, and education, to public service, business, and graduate school;
  • Deconstruct various American narratives that are embedded in formal and popular culture as embodied in the oral and written presentation of the capstone course and paper;
  • Analyze the role of the city in modern life, construct informed interpretations and conclusions as well as integrate them into written, digital, and oral observations about the city and its citizens, especially as they relate to the course themes.

 

Program Contact Information

Francis X. McKee, Director

Hayman Hall

mckeef@lasalle.edu

(215) 802-6198

Degree Earned

B.A.

Number of Courses Required for Graduation

Major: 14

Total: 38

Number of Credits Required for Graduation

Major: 42

Total: 120

GPA Required for Graduation

Major: 2.0

Cumulative: 2.0

Progress Chart

Level One - Core Courses

12 courses and 2 modules required

Universal Required Courses (4 Courses)

Students must complete the following 4 courses.

ILO 8.1: Written Communication

ENG 110 - College Writing I: Persuasion

ILO 5.1: Information Literacy

ENG 210 - College Writing II: Research

ILO 1.1: Understanding Diverse Perspectives

FYS 130 - First-Year Academic Seminar **

NOTE. The following students use Level 2 Capstone Experience in Major instead of FYS 130: Honors, BUSCA, Core-to-Core, Transfer, and Non-Traditional/Evening.

ILO 2.1: Reflective Thinking and Valuing

REL 100 - Religion Matters

Elective Core Courses (4 Courses)

Students must complete 1 course in each of the following 4 ILOs.

ILO 3.1a: Scientific Reasoning

Choose course within ILO

ILO 3.1b: Quantitative Reasoning

Choose course within ILO

ILO 6.1: Technological Competency

Choose course within ILO

ILO 8.1a/12.1: Oral Communication/ Collaborative Engagement

Choose course within ILO

Distinct Discipline Core Courses (4 Courses)

Students must complete 1 course in each of the following 4 ILOs. Each course must be from a different discipline. (A "discipline" is represented by the 3- or 4-letter prefix attached to each course.)

ILO 4.1: Critical Analysis and Reasoning

AMST 100

ILO 9.1: Creative and Artistic Expression

Choose course within ILO

ILO 10.1: Ethical Understanding and Reasoning

Choose course within ILO

ILO 11.1: Cultural and Global Awareness and Sensitivity

Choose course within ILO

Universal Required Modules (2 Courses)

Students must complete the following 2 non-credit modules.
The Modules are not required for Transfer Students, Core-to-Core Students, or BUSCA Students. BUSCA students are required to take modules if/when they pursue a bachelor’s degree.

ILO 7.1a

Health Literacy Module

ILO 7.1b

Financial Literacy Module

Major Requirements

Major requirements include 4 Level Two ILO requirements, fulfilled through the major.

Students in this major must complete 38 courses in total in order to graduate. 14 courses will be from this major program.

Level Two (4 Courses)

Students must complete 1 course/learning experience in each of the 4 commitments.

ILO 2.2: Broader Identity (Capstone Course/Experience)

Fulfilled within major

Choose one ILO from 3.2a, 3.2b, 4.2, 5.2, 6.2, 7.2a, or 7.2b: Expanded Literacies

Fulfilled within major

ILO 8.2b: Effective Expression (Writing-Intensive Course)

Fulfilled within major

Choose on ILO from 10.2, 11.2, or 12.2: Active Responsibility

Fulfilled within major

All Other Required Courses

AMST 100
AMST 200
AMST 360
AMST 400
One American History course
One American Literature course
One American Art course
One American Social Science course
One American Philosophy course
One American Media or Film course

One free elective dealing with the American experience

Three course concentration -- three courses in one academic discipline dealing with the American experience (e.g. American literature, American history, or American philosophy) or three courses based in one American theme or topic (e.g. Gender in America).

Free Electives

In addition to the requirements listed above, students must take enough courses to the fulfill graduation credit requirements for their School and major.

Dual Major Requirements

Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts in American Studies as a Dual Major: 10 courses

Three Integrating Courses:

  • AMST 100: Introduction to American Studies
  • AMST 200: Themes and Topics in American Culture
  • AMST 400: Capstone Seminar in American Studies

Three courses in American topics core American Studies areas:

  • One American history course
  • One American literature course
  • One American art course

Three controlled electives:

  • One Foundations of American education course
  • One American Religion course
  • One American Philosophy course

Free elective:

  • One free elective dealing with the American experience

Minor Requirements

Requirements for the Minor in American Studies: 6 courses

  • AMST 100: Introduction to American Studies
  • AMST 200: Themes and Topics in American Studies
  • Once course in American history
  • One course in American literature
  • Two AMST electives

AMST Majors and Double Majors should take the integrating American Studies courses in the following sequence:

  • AMST 100: Introduction to American Studies
  • AMST 200: Themes and Topics in American Studies
  • AMST 400: Capstone Seminar in American Studies

Students may take AMST 360: Internship after having at least completed AMST 100 and AMST 200.

Course Descriptions

AMST 100 - American Dreams: Amer Themes

This course introduces students to interdisciplinary modes of analyzing American culture. Core readings across disciplines will be supplemented by instruction and practice in various research strategies, including oral history, use of AMST-related data bases, and critical deconstruction of primary sources, that focus on the intersection of race, ethnicity, class, and gender. Readings, films, field trips, and activities will also emphasize the use of myths, symbols, and images in analyzing the American experience. Open to non-majors; no prerequisites.

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

How Offered: Face-to-Face, Online, Hybrid

ILO Met: ILO 4.1 - Critical Analysis and Reasoning

AMST 200 - Themes in American Culture

This course focuses on one American theme or topic (e.g., "The Family in American Culture," "The City in American Life") and examines it from the perspectives of multiple academic disciplines. The course builds on and refines the analytic skills presented in AMST 100, and it provides opportunities for students to draw on, integrate, and synthesize content from AMST core discipline courses, as well as from AMST controlled electives. (May be repeated for credit as topic varies.)

Number of Credits: 3

AMST 360 - Internship

Workng under a professioinal supervisor, students expand their understanding of American culture and society through hans-on participation at a professional site. The internship requires meetings with the faculty supervisor, reflection journals, a majot paper, and an evaluation by the site supervisor.

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Fall, Spring

How Offered: Hybrid

Restrictions: AMST Majors, AMST Double Majors, and AMST Minors

Prerequisites: AMST 100: Introduction to American Studies; AMST 200 Themes and Topics in American Studies

AMST 400 - Capstone Seminar in American Studies

This seminar, limited to 18 students, requires core readings on a selected theme as well as refinement of research skills relevant to the completion if a major research paper. Sample topics have included: The American City, Food and Drink in America, Medicine in America, Bob Dylan and the Sixties, The Fifties in American Culture, and The American Family.

Number of Credits: 3

When Offered: Fall, Spring

How Offered: Face-to-Face

Restrictions: AMST Majors, AMST Double Majors, and AMST Minors

Prerequisites: AMST 100: Introduction to American Studies; AMST 200 Themes and Topics in American Studies