From the Director
If you’ve ever wanted to analyze the role of comedy clubs in a city like Nashville, American studies is for you. If you’ve ever wanted to explore the intersection of politics, migration, and food, our program will be a perfect fit. If you’ve ever wanted to create an interactive media showcasing the history of female athletes at Vanderbilt, join us in American studies. These are all innovative, exploratory projects that American studies students have undertaken.
Our students have interests in everything from local transit systems to global-level climate change, from scholarship on happiness to the social possibilities of new technologies. What unites them is the desire to craft their own program of study—and a recognition that grasping something as complex as “American cultures” or “American identities” requires a multi-disciplinary toolkit.
Current students love the program’s flexibility. We offer courses on culture, race, gender, politics, sports, the environment, America in the world, and much more. We also allow students to take courses in other departments that relate to their individual interests and use those courses to fulfill the American studies major or minor.
In addition, we believe some of the best education happens in experiential, hands-on projects outside of the classroom. That’s why we get students walking around the city, going on road trips around the region, and immersing themselves in their passions.
Director, Program in American Studies
Professor of Communication Studies