American Studies

Examine race—the central dimension of U.S. social, political, cultural, and economic life.

Featured photo: "Flag is Bleeding," Faith Ringgold.

American studies serves as the academic focal point for the study of race and ethnicity in a national and transnational frame.

Whose story is being told, ignored, modified, marginalized, reimagined? American studies provides an interdisciplinary approach to the study of racial categories and racialized experiences in the United States by encouraging close and systematic examination of a wide range of cultural and political narratives, and by creating structured opportunities to apply theory in real-life community settings.

Majoring in American studies will prepare you for a wide variety of career opportunities including the legal profession, government, the media, post-secondary education, and academia.

Why study at Macalester?

American studies teaches you how to build a broad, comparative, and applied framework for understanding the racial dimensions of American national identity. Students will gain an appreciation for the significance of race in their own lives and in the general world around them.

What is American Studies? It’s not the same as U.S. civics or U.S. history. Our courses respond to lived social experience. They emphasize a critical approach to race and culture—in film, theater, literature, education, history, and politics. We’re interdisciplinary, and we put the knowledge and experiences of marginalized people at the center of our curriculum. Course titles include: Black Public Intellectuals; Bruce Lee, His Life and Legacy; Indigeneity, Politics, and Visual Culture; Critical Prison Studies; Latinx in the Midwest.

Our civic engagement component—a required seminar and community-based experience during your junior year—is essential, and encourages you to deal with real-world complexities of racial difference and inequality.

Life after Macalester

American Studies in the cities

200+

Number of internship sites near campus, including Admissions Possible, Indigenous Tourism Rights International, and Breaking Free


61

Number of courses at Macalester that partner with businesses and organizations nearby




Explore the Minnesota African American Heritage Museum & Gallery, a bus ride away to downtown Minneapolis



Join our community

  • American Studies Conference: Held every February during Black History Month, our conference highlights the links between scholarship, activism, and civic engagement by bringing internationally renowned scholars to campus to present their work and engage with faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members.
  • El-Kati Lectureship: Held every other year, this lectureship celebrates the life and work of Mahmoud El-Kati by bringing distinguished scholars to campus for an extended engagement with students and the community.
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