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School of Languages, Cultures, and Race College of Arts and Sciences

American Studies and Culture Graduate Program


Washington State University offers a doctoral degree in American Studies and Culture. Students in our program explore interdisciplinary analyses of the United States as a multiethnic, multiracial, multigendered, and multicultural society shaped by transnational forces.

The American Studies and Culture graduate program at WSU was founded in 1962 and is one of the recognized leaders in this field in the Northwest. Since its inception, it has continued to offer a rich, rigorous approach to analyzing American society, culture, and history, combining the best intellectual insights from different fields and disciplines. As an inter- and transdisciplinary field, American Studies at WSU offers particular strengths in textual analysis, race and race relations, diaspora and nationality, gender and sexuality, popular culture, and linguistics.

In addition to taking our own American studies courses, students can take graduate courses in other departments across the University and synthesize these into their programs of study.

While most of our graduate students enter careers in university and college teaching, an advanced degree in American Studies can also be utilized as a useful preparation for community activism, museum and archive work, traditional and electronic publishing, and government service, among other careers.

Core Faculty in American Studies and Culture

The core faculty in the American Studies and Culture program has strengths in the following areas: critical analyses of race and ethnicity; cultural studies; diaspora and nationality; empire; eco-critical studies; food justice and sovereignty; gender; literatures; popular culture; theories of the body; and cultural texts and linguistics.


  Mary K. Bloodsworth-Lugo  

Mary Bloodsworth-Lugo’s research and teaching interest areas span 9/11 cultural production, race and racism, U.S. popular culture and film, constructions of citizenship, body theory and embodiment, contemporary continental philosophy, and food sovereignty and food justice.


  Joshua Bonzo

Joshua Bonzo’s research interests focus primarily on foreign language writing and how output is influenced both autonomously as well as by instructional convention. His studies include second language acquisition and foreign language pedagogy. He is also deeply interested in comparative and historical Germanic linguistics. His publications have focused most recently on both student writing production and teacher writing training and methods.


  Lisa Guerrero

Lisa Guerrero’s research and teaching interest areas include African American masculinity, literary traditions/movements, satire and humor traditions, race and American popular culture, cultural studies, commodification of racial identities/representations, gender and sexuality, ethnic studies, and intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality in social identity formation.


  Michael Hubert

Michael Hubert’s general areas of research interest include second language acquisition and language production (his primary area of research), general Spanish linguistics, and translation studies. He is working to develop an autonomous theory of foreign language writing, since U.S. high school and university foreign language teaching currently has no writing theories of its own.


  David Leonard

David Leonard’s research and teaching interest areas include African American studies, video games, popular culture/racialized representations, comparative ethnic studies, cultural politics of sport, race and sport (NBA), black popular culture (film, television, and hip-hop), social movements, black freedom struggle, and the prison industrial complex.


  Xinmin Liu

Xinmin Liu’s teaching and research deal with subjects of ethical, aesthetic, and environmental importance. His book on themes intersecting personal growth, education and ethnic and cultural identities of modern China is under contract with Brill. He has lately undertaken ecocritical studies of literature, art, and culture in the context of global development. His recent publications have focused on the processes interfacing the human subject with local communal living and biophysical environs.


  Carmen R. Lugo-Lugo

Carmen R. Lugo-Lugo’s research and teaching interest areas include Puerto Rican and Latina/o studies, race and gender in popular culture, Latina/o literature and constructions of ethnicity and gender, colonialism/imperialism and empire, post-9/11 cultural and rhetorical productions, and race relations in the United States.


  Francisco Manzo-Robledo

Francisco Manzo-Robledo’s research interests include Spanish and Latin American literature, cinema, and culture. His published works include a short novel, a collection of short stories, Homophobic Discourses in Mexican Literature, Colonial Discourses, From Spanish Romance to Mexican Corridos, Hernán Cortés and his (second) Trial of Residency (English and Spanish version), The 1692 pulque Tumult in Mexico City, and Translation: Albert Einstein’s life. At present, he is writing a book about the Pecado Nefando in colonial Latin America.


  Vilma Navarro-Daniels

Vilma Navarro-Daniels’s research interests focus on the relationship between political, social, cultural, and economic transformations and their literary and cinematic representations. She has published on Peninsular Spanish novel, short fiction, film, and theater, as well as on Latin American film and television. Her approach to cultural products includes theories about gender, ethnicity, human rights, religion, dictatorship, transition to democracy, and late capitalism, among others.


Rory Ong  Rory J. Ong

Rory Ong’s teaching and research interests intersect rhetorical studies, race and ethnicity studies, cultural and critical theory, with globalization, transnationalism, and diaspora studies.  Dr. Ong teaches undergraduate coursework in Ethnic Studies, Asian American Studies, as well as graduate coursework in American Studies.  His research has been concerned with the production and intersection of knowledge within racial, gendered, historical, social and political contexts.  His work considers the entanglements of complex social locations with uneven power dynamics that often dominate, regulate, and make everyday life contradictory.


  Ana María Rodríguez-Vivaldi

Ana Maria Rodriguez-Vivaldi’s research interests include contemporary Latin American literature, film, and culture; and Spanish film and culture. She has published and lectured internationally on film and literature, theater, and hybrid genre topics.


John Streamas.  John Streamas

John Streamas’s research and teaching interest areas include ethnic studies; Asian Pacific American studies and literature; Asian Pacific American women, culture, and power; theories of race and ethnicity and technologies of time and space; racism; poverty; narrative; and social justice.



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Degree Offered

Learn more

Visit the WSU Graduate School website for
prospective student information


Contact the American Studies graduate program director:

Mary Bloodsworth-Lugo
Phone: 509-335-8825