American Studies


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The American studies program is designed to provide students with a basis for graduate study in fields such as history, journalism, and law, as well as other professional careers.

The program offers an interdisciplinary major, a B.A., and minor.


If you'd like to view a full listing of our course options in American Studies or any other subject, please visit the Online Course Catalogue.

Click for the Course Catalogue


Requirements for the Major (B.A.)

interdisciplinary, 11 courses

AMST 101, 201; two courses from the American Studies Foundations group, one in each stream; five elective courses, one in each of the five clusters: Inequalities and –Isms; Arts and Cultural Production; Structures and Institutions; Borders and Empires; Theories and Approaches; one cross listed elective and AMST 465. All courses must be passed with a grade of C- or higher. No more than two credit/no credit courses can be counted towards the major. No more than four courses can be taken in one department outside of American Studies.

Requirements for the Minor

interdisciplinary, 5 courses

AMST 101; one Foundations course from either stream; three elective courses, drawn from three different clusters. All courses must be passed with a grade of C- or higher. No more than one credit/no credit courses can be counted towards the minor. No more than three courses can be taken in one department outside of American Studies.


Our students choose from a variety of introductory and advanced courses, each designed to provide students with strong critical thinking and analytical skills.

Below you'll find a sampling of some of our most popular classes, as well as suggestions for making American studies a part of your larger interdisciplinary experience at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

AMST 101 Myths and Paradoxes


Trace the origins of American culture, history, nationalism, and imperialism, while examining a series of core American concepts and ideals. Then, advance your own ideals in PHIL 120 Critical Thinking and Argumentative Writing, by developing critical thinking and writing skills and learning how to formulate an argument.

ENG 261 Popular Fiction


Consider the politics of taste and hierarchies of literary value embedded in popular reading practices. Read the literary works cast as pop, pulp, or "trash" alongside historical documents and contemporary scholarship in order to illuminate the pleasures and anxieties of reading. Then, through an interdisciplinary interpretation of literature, music, art, film, pop fiction, and cookbooks, investigate Asian American expressive cultures in AMST 221 Immigrant Arts.

POL 222 Political Parties


Examine the historical and contemporary functions of American political parties in the context of the wishes of the American public, the desires of political officials, and the needs of the nation. Also learm about the operational, functional, and electoral factors that shape the American party system, as well as the role and challenges of third parties in the U.S. Next, study the relationship between ethnic minority and majority groups in the American political system in POL 215 Racial and Ethnic Politics.


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.