The concentration in American Culture at Michigan offers undergraduate students a wide range of courses that engage the rich cultural and social facets of the United States, both as the U.S. lives in the global world, and as the global world lives within the U.S. One of the top American studies departments in the world, Michigan's Department of American Culture finds its uniqueness and strength in a dialogue among its three ethnic studies programs, and with the interdisciplinary concerns of the field.
Our courses integrate a full array of materials, themes, and approaches from many fields: not only historical and literary study, but also visual studies, musicology, film/media, and gender/sexuality studies, among others. The American Culture curriculum emphasizes the diversity of American society, paying particular attention to ethnic, gender, economic and other forms of social difference and inequality. At the same time, it emphasizes the importance of studying U.S. citizenship and national belonging, including Americans' (sometimes conflicting) ideals, as well as the range of different experiences of what it has meant — and continues to mean — to be American. Our courses explore these issues in both historical and contemporary settings.
Based on a five-course core, a flexible breadth requirement, and a set of open electives, the concentration lets students chart their own path through the curriculum's intellectual diversity, while gaining a critical set of skills and competencies in cultural analysis and context. Since American Culture is a popular second concentration for those electing to double major, the Department aims to foster a friendly community of interest, in which concentrators share the opportunity for intensive study, conversation, and research about American society and culture. With small courses, excellent and committed faculty, and award-winning advising, American Culture offer students a challenging and rewarding interdisciplinary "village" within the larger College and University experience.