American Studies News

A Message from Professor Thomas Doherty, Program Chair

Welcome back. I hope you enjoyed a summer of tear-stained teen romances and bloated movie sequels.   As we experience re-entry, I thought this might be a good time to say a few words about what is on the menu for the American Studies Program this year. (Read more here).

Noteworthy News

On September 3rd, 2014, Jillian Powers was the guest expert on "The Morning Shift," WBEZ Chicago's morning program at 10:20 a.m. Powers spoke on the topic of "America, Traditions, and New Immigrants. Click here to listen to the program and find out more! Powers's segment begins at 31:00.

Richard Gaskins was teaching in The Hague during the past Spring and Summer.  Students from Brandeis and other US universities come to The Hague for intensive studies of global justice and human rights.  The diverse international courts found in The Hague serve as our learning laboratory, especially the International Criminal Court (ICC).  We saw trials and hearings dealing with international crimes committed in the Balkans, Kenya, the Congo, and Lebanon.  Spring students held internships in various Hague courts and NGO’s, while the summer students engaged with judges and lawyers in a series of mock legal exercises.  Our cozy host city of Leiden is an historic university town, which came alive in June to cheer on the Dutch soccer team in the World Cup.   Find additional faculty updates here.

A Statement from the American Studies Program on the recent move by the American Studies Association to boycott Israel:

It is a with deep regret that we in the American Studies Program at Brandeis University have decided to discontinue our institutional affiliation with the American Studies Association.  We view the recent vote by the membership to affirm an academic boycott of Israel as a politicization of the discipline and a rebuke to the kind of open inquiry that a scholarly association should foster.  We remain committed to the discipline of American Studies but we can no longer support an organization that has rejected two of the core principles of American culture-- freedom of association and expression.

American Studies

American Studies

The American Studies program offers an interdisciplinary approach to the myths, values, symbols, institutions and behavior of the peoples of the United States and to the questions raised by the influence of the United States in shaping the modern world. The American studies major is designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of the history and major features of American civilization.


Students anticipating careers in law, business, public policy, communications, education, journalism, teaching and careers as professors of American Studies, history and literature have typically enrolled in the department.

As a sponsor of programs in law, journalism and environmental studies, the department welcomes students who seek active engagement with the contemporary world through firm grounding in a sound liberal arts education.

Please visit our Upcoming Events page for more information about everything the American Studies Program has to offer!

The American Studies Program Remembers Blanche Linden

It is with sadness that we post this obituary of our former colleague, Blanche Linden, who taught in Brandeis’ American Studies Department from 1979-85, and then again from 1993-94. A scholar of American history and culture, Blanche also served as the President of the New England Studies Association.

Blanche Marie Gemrose Linden, 68, died unexpectedly July 31, 2014, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She was born July 4, 1946, in Battle Creek, Michigan, the beloved daughter of the late George and Lauretta Gemrose. A longtime resident of Watertown, Massachusetts, she moved to Fort Lauderdale following her retirement and had been a Florida resident for almost twenty years. Continue reading more here.