Purdue University’s American Studies Department

Purdue UniversityThe American Studies program at Purdue University was created in 1964 and allows for broad interdisciplinary work at the undergraduate and graduate level.

About American Studies at Purdue
The American Studies program, founded in 1964, examines the cultural and political history of the United States through a variety of lenses. The courses covered in an American Studies major at Purdue relate to the exploration of writings, institutions, customs, and histories as they relate to their socio-political context.
As an interdisciplinary field, American Studies is flexible and includes cross-over with other disciplines. Students are encouraged to explore a variety of courses within the major requirements. The American Studies degree program is often part of a double major in history, English, political science, or sociology.
American Studies faculty include Bill Mullen, Jay Stein, Mel Stanfill, and Aria Halliday.

Notable Achievements
The American Studies department is a well-regarded part of the Purdue College of Liberal Arts. There are several aspects that make it unique:
•    The Purdue University American Studies program is considered one of the first in the country. Alumni of the program are professors at a number of universities including University of New Orleans, Harvard University, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Sam Houston State University, and others.
•    This major offers more than 130 courses in over 16 disciplines, which allows students to focus on the aspects of the field that interest them most. This interdisciplinary approach combines theories and practices from different areas.
•    The American Studies program includes 30 professors from more than ten departments who are affiliated with the goals of the department.
•    Four current Purdue American Studies faculty were Fulbright scholars, connecting the program with global campuses. The program also maintains an American Studies program at East China Normal University in Shanghai.

Career Paths
The American Studies program at Purdue equips graduates with analytical thinking skills, a global perspective, and a solid foundation in the field. A bachelor’s degree in American Studies often leads to the following careers:
•    Teaching
•    Law
•    Management
•    Museum and Archival Studies
•    Marketing and advertising
•    Journalism
•    Graduate school

American Studies Research
The Purdue University America Studies program also includes multiple possibilities for in-depth research studies. The program included the following areas between 2014-2015:
–    Transational American Studies
–    Gender, Sexuality, and Queer Studies
–    Design and Material Cultural Studies
–    New Media and Popular Culture
–    Activism, Resistance, and Social Movements
–    Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies
–    Science, Technology, and Environment Studies
Currently, individual research publications count towards these concentrations. In the future, Purdue aims to include room for collaborative research projects.
The 2014-2015 academic year saw the first annual colloquium in the program. It brings together faculty and students, exposing them to new work in the field and allows for networking opportunities with scholars. The following speakers were featured at the opening year colloquium:
–   Terence Keel, assistant professor of Black Studies and History at UC Santa Barbara. Author of “The Strange Career of American Polygenism: From Christian Naturalism to the Progressive Era.”
–    Nitasha Tamar Sharma, associate professor of African American and Asian American Studies at Northwestern University. Author of “Black Hawaiian Hapas: Race and Indigeneity in the Black Pacific.”
–    Fiona I.B. Ngo, associate professor of Asian American Studies and Gender and Women’s Studies at University of Illinois. Author of “Structures of Sense: Aesthetics, Ethics, and the Law.”
–    Mimi Thi Nguyen, associate professor of Asian American Studies & Gender and Women’s Studies at University of Illinois. Author of “Time, and the Promise of Beauty.”
–    Juana Maria Rodriguez, professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at UC Berkeley. Author of “Pornographic Encounters and Interpretative Possibilities: Reading Racialized Sexuality Queerly.”

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