American Studies, Minor

The undergraduate minor in American Studies at Rutgers University-Newark explores American politics, culture and society in Newark, northern New Jersey and around the world.  Our courses embrace interdisciplinary methods and draw on disciplines ranging from English to sociology to history.

Our students conduct research in traditional academic settings and also learn to interpret American culture as it is expressed in cities and suburbs, cultural institutions, and everyday life. Research, analysis and writing are central to our major, but we also encourage students to work in the public humanities in ways that encourage dialogue between our university and the public around us.

Students who minor in American Studies are required to take both introductory and advanced courses in a broad range of academic disciplines so that they can analyze American culture in interdisciplinary ways. While the entry-level course in the minor is specific to the interdisciplinary field of American Studies, students are also required to take core courses in American history and American literature before moving on to take three upper-level courses in an area of concentration of their choosing. Courses in an area of concentration are taken in programs and departments affiliated with the American Studies program: English; History; Political Science; Arts, Culture and Media; Sociology/Anthropology; Philosophy; Spanish and Portuguese; African and African American Studies; and  Women and Gender.

The minor consists of 9 elective credits beyond the prerequisite courses listed below:
 

21:050:200 Introduction to American Studies *Note--This course fulfills the general education requirement for undergraduate studies. 

21:512:201,202 History of the United States

One upper-level American literature course from the English department at the 300 or 400 level (3 credits)

Three upper-level courses, at the 300 or 400 level, chosen with the program director's approval from courses regularly offered by programs and departments affiliated with the American studies program: English; history; political science; art, culture, and media; sociology/anthropology; Spanish and Portuguese studies; African American and African studies; and women and gender studies. (9 credits)

21 credits total

Note: If a history major chooses to minor in American studies, the student should take either the English department's Survey of American Literature (21:352:323 and 324) or two upper-level courses chosen with the program director's permission to complete the requirements of the minor.

Declaration Form

 

Learning Goals:

Learning Goal 1:  Train students in the interdisciplinary study of American culture and develop research skills enabling them to produce essays and cultural productions that illuminate and analyze American culture.

Assessment of student achievement of Goal 1.

Students who minor in American Studies are required to take both introductory and advanced courses in a broad range of academic disciplines so that they can analyze American culture in interdisciplinary ways.

While the entry-level course in the minor is specific to the interdisciplinary field of American Studies, students are also required to take core courses in American history and American literature before moving on to take three upper-level courses in an area of concentration of their choosing. Courses in an area of concentration are taken in programs and departments affiliated with the American Studies program: English; History; Political Science; Arts, Culture and Media; Sociology/Anthropology; Philosophy; Spanish and Portuguese; African and African American Studies; and  Women and Gender. A total of 21 credits is required for the minor.

Grades and written evaluations in coursework.

Role of the program in helping students to achieve Goal 1.

Writing and research are integrated into “Introduction to American Studies.” When a student needs assistance to learn effective strategies for writing and research, the instructor may refer the student to the Writing Center for help.

To focus their studies, students who minor in American Studies are required to organize their elective courses in American Studies around an area of concentration of their choice.

Learning Goal 2: Foster student research that explores American civilization's heterodox identities, institutions, and cultures.

Assessment of student achievement of Goal  2.

Students write essays and exams that require them to produce analytical arguments grounded in evidence found in libraries, archives, cultural institutions and communities around our campus.

Students meet with their professors to discuss the state of their work.

Role of the program in helping students to achieve Goal 2.

Introduce students to research strategies starting in Introduction to American Studies.

Visits to archives and other collections of sources in our region in both coursework and independent trips.

The program brings scholars to campus for lectures and seminars to introduce students to leading scholars and research topics in American Studies.

Learning Goal 3: Encourage the original, creative, and academically substantial  work in public history and public humanities that engages diverse audiences and questions.

Assessment of student achievement of Goal 3.

Students may take a course or internship in public humanities that will introduce them to key themes and practices in the field.

Students are encouraged to conduct for-credit independent study or fieldwork, under faculty supervision, to produce works of public history and public humanities.

Role of the program in helping students to achieve Goal 3.

Where appropriate, faculty members encourage students to produce work in the public humanities as part of their coursework.

The program supports lectures, conferences, performances and presentations relevant to American Studies on campus.