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An exterior shot of Buttrick Hall

From the Director

American studies is the place where intellectual creativity, rigorous scholarship, and experiential learning come together.

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.

Explore our course offerings, our major and minor, our events, and our people.  And feel free to contact me or the director of undergraduate studies if you want to learn more.


Paul Stob
Director, Program in American Studies
Professor of Communication Studies