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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  

Professor of comparative ethnic studies and American Studies and Culture, Mary Bloodsworth-Lugo’s research and teaching interest areas span 9/11 cultural and rhetorical production, race and racism, U.S. popular culture and film, body theory, contemporary continental philosophy, and the modern global food system and food justice.

  Joshua Bonzo

Clinical associate professor of German and American Studies and Culture, 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 extensive backgrounds in second language acquisition and foreign language pedagogy. Bonzo 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.

Samuel Ginsburg

Assistant Professor Samuel Ginsburg specializes in 21st century Caribbean and Latinx science fiction, looking at how authors, filmmakers and artists have negotiated histories of techno-colonialism and techno-authoritarianism. He also does research on Afro-Futurism, Cold War rhetoric and literature, eco-criticism, and the intersections between technology and popular culture.

  Lisa Guerrero

Associate professor of comparative ethnic studies and American Studies and Culture, 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

Associate professor of Spanish and American Studies and Culture, Michael Hubert’s general areas of research interest include second language acquisition with special emphasis on language production, second/foreign language teacher training, Spanish phonetics, phonology and dialectology, Spanish applied linguistics, translation studies, and the teaching of translation in society. Professor Hubert’s current projects include a longitudinal study of the development of foreign language speaking and writing proficiencies among university students, a survey of foreign language learner avoidance strategies and the instructor practices that enable this behavior, and a study of the reasons why foreign language students abandon their studies before completing the university major or minor.

  David Leonard

Professor of comparative ethnic studies and American Studies and Culture, 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.

  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.

Alejandro Ramírez (Starting August 16, 2021)

Alejandro Ramírez’s research agenda examines migration and diaspora in urban literature and culture in Mexico, Latin America and U.S. Latinx communities in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. He scrutinizes how urban narratives (literature, graphic novels, films, music and public art) portray migratory flows of people and ideas in the city, crisscrossing the political limits of nation-states, creating transnational geographies and cross-border environments in the historical period of global neoliberalism.

John Streamas.  John Streamas

Associate professor of comparative ethnic studies and American Studies and Culture, John Streamas’s research and teaching interest areas include ethnic studies; Asian Pacific American studies and literature; Trans-Pacific cultures; nuclear politics and Pacific wars;  Pacific Islands cultures;  race and depression; theories of race and ethnicity and technologies of time and space; racism; poverty; narrative; and social justice.




Degree Offered

Ph.D. in American Studies and Culture

Learn more

Visit the WSU Graduate School website for
prospective student information


Contact the American Studies and Culture Graduate Acting Director:
Carmen R. Lugo-Lugo
Phone: 509-335-6173