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 program welcomes students who seek active engagement with the contemporary world through firm grounding in a sound liberal arts education.

Important Dates

July 19: Registration Begins
August 30: Classes Begin
September 4: Labor Day (no classes)
September 13: Last Day to Add Class
September 21: Rosh Hashanah (no classes)
September 22: Rosh Hashanah (no classes)
October 3: Brandeis Thursday (Thursday class schedule in effect)
October 5: Sukkot (no classes)
October 9: Indigenous Peoples' Day (Classes in session, AMST Office Closed)
October 12: Shmini Atzeret (no classes)
November 1: Registration Begins for Spring Term 2018
November 22-24: Thanksgiving Break (no classes)
December 8: Last Day of Class
December 12-19: Exams

Contact Us:

Maura Jane Farrelly
(781) 736-2224

Charity Adams-Brzuchalski
Academic Administrator
(781) 736-3030

Click to view the faculty directory

A Statement from the American Studies Program on the decision 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 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.

What's Going On

What's Going On

Register NOW for Fall 2017 Courses
American Studies is offering a new course: AMST 120A The Social and Theological Development of the Black Church in America.  This course is taught by AMST's newly appointed post-doc fellow Cory Hunter.  The Black Church—in all of its various denominational, theological, and liturgical forms—has been a critical institution in the upward social, political, educational, and economic mobility of African-Americans. It has also nurtured the development of some of the most important musical, rhetorical, and artistic contributions that black Americans have made to the American cultural landscape. Come join us as Dr. Hunter introduces students to the complex development of black Christianity in America. Topics include the emergence of various denominations; the development of particular theological, liturgical, and musical traditions; and the impact the black church has had on the political lives of African-Americans. 

Paula Musegades Appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Music and the American Studies Program
Paula MusegadesDr. Paula Musegades is a musicologist with a special interest in Hollywood film music. She will be teaching for both the Music department and American Studies program. She received her Ph.D. in musicology from Brandeis University, and her current research examines American composer Aaron Copland and his role in Hollywood film music.

For the fall 2017 semester, Dr. Musegades will be teaching AMST/MUS 38a American Music: From Psalms to Hip Hop.  This course explores the many varieties of folk, popular, and art music in American culture. It focuses on the stylistic development of select repertoires beginning with 18th century New England Psalm singing and African American traditions and continuing on through folk, jazz, art, pop, rock, and hip hop music. Throughout the course, music serves as a lens to examine diverse aspects of American culture and history with an emphasis on America’s shifting definition of identity. All students are invited to join this class; no musical background is required.

Thomas Doherty

Professor Doherty's 2017 Graduation Speech Featured on Inside Higher Ed
This year's faculty remarks at the diploma ceremony for American Studies, Education, and Environmental Science Programs were given by Professor Thomas Doherty. Graduates and guests listened attentively to Professor Doherty's retelling of a beloved professor from his freshman year.  His remarks were recently published on Inside Higher Ed. Read

2017 Carrie ('83) and Gail ('88) Fisher Award in American Studies
Leah Newman and Jessie Shinberg were awarded the 2017 Carrie ('83) and Gail ('88) Fisher Award in American Studies. The American Studies faculty honored Leah and Jessie because of their academic achievement, appreciation of intellectual depth and curiosity, articulateness, enthusiasm for learning and their writing ability.  This award is given yearly to graduating seniors majoring in the American Studies program.
Stephen Whitfield & Jessie Shinberg
Pictured above: Professor Stephen Whitfield and Jessie Shinberg