What does it mean to be American?

Students in this interdisciplinary major reflect on this question in multiple ways. American cultural studies core courses ponder the changing meanings of nation and citizenship in both the United States and in the Americas. They consider how groups of Americans see themselves and each other, and investigate how institutions have constructed such differences as race, gender, class, and sexuality.

These discussions assume that what has been deemed natural or inevitable is in fact dynamic and changeable, and that what has been socially invisible must be brought to light. All American cultural studies students are grounded in African American studies and use this method of inquiry to better understand the meaning of belonging, privilege, and exclusion. Among current American cultural studies courses are those that focus on cultural geography and cultural politics, borderlands, disaporas, film and media, gender, history, literature, music, performance, queer theory, and race theory.