American Studies Concentration

American studies - a field that traces its history in the academy to the early 20th century - is an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the people, society, institutions and cultures of the United States (often called "America") past and present. At Salem State our program is marked most notably by a focus on

  • Cultural diversity and identity formation
  • Place-making, memory and power
  • "America" and "Americans" as part of a global system
  • Civic engagement and social change.

In courses and through individual research activities and publically-engaged projects with museums, cultural sites, social service and governmental organizations, American Studies students use and integrate methods, theories and scholarship from a wide range of disciplines in the humanities, social sciences and arts. Throughout the program students consider the various ways in which "American" identities have been and continue to be constructed, contested, and transformed through formal and informal means in all areas of human activity.

At Salem State we offer American studies as both a major (BLS/American studies concentration) and minor. American studies is excellent preparation for graduate work or employment in any number of fields including law, journalism, education, history, literature, social sciences, publishing, social services, museums, business, public service and public policy. Students may also choose to pursue an MA degree or PhD in American studies.

American Studies Newsletter [PDF]