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

Graduate studies in Comparative Ethnic Studies

Program in American Studies

The American studies graduate program is housed in the Department of Critical Culture, Gender, and Race Studies, whose faculty serve as the core teaching faculty of the graduate program.

Students in our program explore interdisciplinary analyses of the United States as a multiethnic, multiracial, multigendered, and multicultural society shaped by transnational forces. Our program has particular strengths in the critical analysis of comparative ethnic studies, feminist studies, environmental justice cultural studies, global indigenous studies, popular culture, social movement analysis, and the cultural study of digital technologies.

In addition to taking our own American studies courses, students can take graduate courses in other departments across the campus and synthesize these into their programs of study. Rather than an exam structure, students prepare a portfolio of publishable papers for their preliminary exams.

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.

About the Program

The American studies 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 and culture, combining the best intellectual insights from cultural anthropology, literature, history, women’s studies, ethnic studies, environmental studies, global indigenous studies, and the social sciences.

Student Learning Outcomes

Student learning outcomes for the graduate program in American studies include the following:

  1. Demonstrate broad, critical, and interdisciplinary knowledge of American culture (i.e., historically, in the contemporary period, in global context).
  2. Synthesize knowledge from several disciplinary perspectives.
  3. Think critically about limits of disciplinary knowledge domains.
  4. Analyze documentary (primary source) evidence from written, visual, and oral genres.
  5. Identify and employ primary and secondary source materials located through library and online scholarly research tools.
  6. Design and complete original research in the discipline and an interdisciplinary area of specialization.
  7. Write clear, publishable analytic prose scholarship.
  8. Contribute critically to professional and to public conversations about American culture.
  9. Teach undergraduate curriculum effectively.