American Studies

Introduction to the Major

Faculty members talk about what you can learn and what makes this major special.

Mission Statement

The interdisciplinary field of American studies experienced major growth within the United States after the 1970s.

The interdisciplinary field of American studies experienced major growth within the United States from the 1970s. Meanwhile, it also involves a strong element of area studies with the United States as the subject area. The United States is a unique country in that it did not have a feudal system, aristocratic society or a medieval period, but rather began as a modern civil society that included the institution of slavery, and is composed primarily of migrants. To study such a country demands approaches different from those taken in traditional academic disciplines. Without such approaches, it is impossible to comprehend the culture and society that has been established in the United States by the middle class and is centered on popular culture.

With a liberal arts curriculum that is not partitioned into discrete colleges and departments, ICU provides the ideal environment for full engagement with American studies. The unique characteristics of the United States can be brought into clear view by connecting and integrating a number of fields, for example, politics and society, religion and culture, music and the economy. Students of this interdisciplinary major are required to take foundation courses consciously from a broad perspective. They should also take inventive approaches to specific problems from a variety of standpoints in order to discover elements unique to the United State.

Learning Goals

Students use their Liberal Arts education, English language education, exchange programs and other opportunities provided by ICU to the full in order to understand the origins and characteristics of the United States of America both objectively and empirically.

The major begins with the Principles of American Studies course, which facilitates a broad understanding of the origins and characteristics of the United States. This is followed by foundation courses such as Issues in American Culture, History of the United States , and History of American Literature, which introduce students to interdisciplinary research methodology. At the same time, students take specialized courses that introduce American religion, education, language, and ethnicity, such as Society and Culture in the U.S.A. , American Prose, and American Poetry. Finally, they decide on a senior thesis topic and write their thesis in English.

Students may also participate in the ICU's student exchange programs and take courses relevant to American Studies at a university in the United States. This is an extremely worthwhile addition to their studies in the major.

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