American Studies

Nancy Stula, executive director, leads state legislators and aides on a tour of the Mark and Rosalind Shenkman Collection of American Political Flags and Textiles on display at the William Benton Museum on Dec. 16, 2016

The American Studies Program explores those seemingly simple, but fundamentally complex, questions of how Americans come to be American. American Studies requires each student to consider American-ness from different core academic disciplines: History, Literature, Political Science, Economics, and Anthropology. Through diverse course options, students develop their own personal definition of the American experience.

“The common thread in American Studies, much like our country, is a student’s desire for opportunity, and the many ways to take advantage of the opportunity to fulfill our individual goals.” – Evan Mitchell, class of 2015.

Matthew McKenzie, American Studies Program Coordinator
matthew.mckenzie@uconn.edu

Note: as of July 2015, students may need to finish some coursework on the Storrs campus.

Frequently Asked Questions

Student Profiles

Lindsey Webber-LaPalme

Current American Studies student at Avery Point

The American Studies major at Avery Point equips students with the tools and the knowledge to find their place, no matter where that place may happen to be. This is invaluable to me as a student and as a military brat because my surroundings were constantly shifting and I had desire for some sort of permanence. With the American Studies major, I was able to view America and all of the places I have been in a completely different light. Through the lenses of different disciplinary studies, I am able to approach problems of everyday life and bring solutions into my field of vision. The American Studies major can give a student the bearing necessary to navigate in today’s shaky waters.

Tim Plugins

Class of 2011 Investment Solutions Representative at Fidelity Investments

The American Studies degree, being set up into “Tracks”, is awesome. It was a great conversation starter when networking, and especially in interviewing. The close communication with professors is also a great aspect of the program. American Studies was instrumental to my success in my career so far. It was not just one class that prepared me, but it was the ability to ask questions of professors and to challenge the status quo. The simple fact of knowing a professor by name and being able to speak to them, one on one, helped craft my communication skills that are needed each and every day in my current job. If I can stress one thing it is for future graduates to be open to all possible career paths. If I thought my future careers had to fit into the Political Science, Economics, and Law track I never would be in the career I am in now. Also when a future employer asks why you chose American Studies you want to be able to clearly articulate the unique experience you were able to have and how the “Tracks” set up allowed you to receive a diversified education all wrapped into one degree.

Elizabeth Sistare

Graduate Student in American and New England Studies at the University of Southern Maine.

American Studies is, by its nature, a very interdisciplinary subject – because of that I felt free to take whatever class that I wanted to. I focused on the Political Science track of American Studies because I was already majoring in History. Through the American Studies program I was able to take classes that I wanted to take – across several disciplines- and I was able to get practical experiences through several amazing internship opportunities and was able to study abroad. Because of my connections at Avery Point I was able to intern at Connecticut River Museum, the Mashantucket Pequot Museum, and Mystic Seaport. Through these opportunities I was able to gain professional contacts, as well as experience the field I wished to work in. I enjoyed all of my classes at Avery Point, but these internship opportunities made my AVPT AMST education mean so much more. In my opinion, experiential education is far more valuable than traditional classroom learning. My internships, as well as studying abroad allowed me to get out of the classroom and experience the American Studies field in a new way.

Alicia Goncalves

Current American Studies student at Avery Point

To be completely honest, I did not come into Avery Point planning on majoring in American Studies. In fact, I didn’t even know it existed until I got here and took the Introduction to American Studies course. What interested me in this major was the approach it took to looking at history. You don’t get the same old “this happened in this year” and “that happened in that year”. In American Studies, you look into the minds of the people in the past and try to imagine what they were thinking as these events, revolutions, wars, etcetera, were occurring. You look at how the environment, animals, and natural resources affected people, and how people’s mind-frames have changed over time. Looking at personal testimonies through journals, books, and movies is something very common in the American Studies major. Overall, you take a multi-dimensional approach to looking at American history that you wouldn’t get in a normal history class, and this is what drew me to major in American Studies.

Early College Experience (ECE)

Information For High School Teachers

Welcome to teaching an ECE course in American Studies. Please feel free to peruse some syllabi that other faculty have taught, and let us know if you’d like to share a syllabus that you’ve designed. For discussions with other faculty about teaching AMST 1201, please contact Laurie Wolfley, laurie.wolfley@uconn.edu, to be added to the AMST Faculty HuskyCT page.

For questions about these materials, please contact UConn’s American Studies ECE coordinator, Laurie Wolfley, laurie.wolfley@uconn.edu, or Avery Point’s American Studies Program Coordinator, Matt McKenzie, matthew.mckenzie@uconn.edu. For more information about teaching ECE courses, please see UConn Early College Experience.