Jun 21, 2018  
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog 
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog

American Studies

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Core Faculty

Denise Khor, PhD, University of California, San Diego

  • Asian American History
  • Comparative Ethnic Studies
  • Film History and Visual Culture

Aaron Lecklider, PhD, Boston University

  • Gender and Sexuality
  • US Cultural History
  • Nineteenth and Twentieth Century American Literature
  • Art and Performance

Jeffrey Melnick, PhD, Harvard University

  • Global Circulation of US Culture
  • The Culture Industries
  • Black-Jewish Relations
  • Immigration and Migration Culture Studies

Bonnie Miller PhD, Johns Hopkins University

  • Nineteenth Century US Cultural History
  • Visual Culture
  • History of Race, Gender, and US Empire

Marisol Negrón (Latino Studies), PhD, Stanford University

  • Latino Literary and Cultural Studies
  • Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Caribbean Literature
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Popular Culture and Commodification

Rachel Rubin PhD, Yale University

  • American Popular Musics
  • Ethnic Literatures
  • American Literature and the Left

Judith Smith PhD, Brown University

  • Twentieth Century US Social and Cultural History
  • Historical Construction of Race and Ethnicity
  • Cultural History of Mass Media
  • Women’s History

Lynnell Thomas (American Studies Department), PhD, Emory University

  • African American Studies
  • American Literature and Culture
  • New Orleans Culture and History


Affiliated Faculty

Peter Kiang (Asian American Studies Program, College of Education and Human Development), EdD, Harvard University

  • Asian Americans and Education
  • Asian American Studies
  • Urban Immigrant Communities

Betsy Klimasmith (English Department), PhD, University of Washington

  • American Literature
  • Women Writers
  • Urban Literature and Culture

Shirley Suet-ling Tang (Asian American Studies), PhD, State University of New York at Buffalo

  • War, Race, and Migration
  • Southeast Asian American Community Studies
  • Comparative Ethnic Studies
  • Cultural Community/Youth Development

Susan Tomlinson (English Department), PhD, Brown University

  • African American Literature
  • American Literary History
  • Gender and Modernism

Paul Watanabe (Institute for Asian American Studies, Political Science Department, Director of American Studies Summer Institute), PhD, Harvard University

  • American Foreign Policy
  • Political Behavior
  • Ethnic Group Politics
  • Asian American Studies

Julie Winch (History Department), PhD, Bryn Mawr College

  • African American History
  • Antebellum Free People of Color
  • Maritime History
  • Early American Republic

The Program

The Master of Arts Program in American Studies serves

  • students interested in the study of historically contested meanings of culture, community, democracy, citizenship, politics, race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality in the United States;
  • continuing and returning students seeking further grounding in American studies and its interdisciplinary methods, including students seeking admission to PhD programs in American studies and related fields;
  • professionals in education and government;
  • journalists, community leaders, and organizers searching for an historical and cultural understanding of their own society.

The program provides the intellectual tools and theoretical background in historical and cultural analysis to enable students to reflect critically on historical and cultural changes and controversies in the US. The interdisciplinary core courses ask students to pay close attention to the interplay between political and social discourse and literary, artistic, and cultural expression; and to how public life and culture have been shaped by many groups with differing access to social and political power and cultural legitimacy.

Research Institutes

The William Monroe Trotter Institute for the Study of Black Culture; the Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy; the Institute for Asian American Studies; the Center for the Study of Humanities, Culture and Society; and the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy all sponsor ongoing research which may offer special opportunities for graduate student research experience.

American Studies Summer Institute

A cooperative venture of the John F Kennedy Library and the American Studies Program with support from the Lowell Institute, this intensive two-week summer course is offered over a two-week period. Topics vary from year to year, and the course can be taken more than once. It is designed to appeal to teachers and citizen activists outside the American studies graduate program as well as to matriculated students within the program. The course serves as an elective for those seeking the MA degree, and either graduate standing or the permission of the instructor is required.


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