American Studies


Why Learn American Studies at K?

As people living within the United States, we may not be fully aware of the nuances of American tradition as it is so ingrained in our daily lives. Concentrating in American Studies at K gives you the chance to critically reflect on the U.S.’s culture, politics and history. 

As an American studies student, you will draw upon multiple disciplines—such as history, literature, psychology, sociology, political science, religion, art and music—to learn about the U.S.’s complicated history, culture and government. 

You will gain this knowledge through courses in history (e.g., Unsettling Colonial America), literature and fine arts (e.g., American Realisms: U.S. Literature 1865-1914), politics (e.g., United States Foreign Policy), and society (e.g., Religion and Masculinity in the U.S.). In these classes, you will learn how to trace the evolution of American culture and politics over time and uncover how different the American experience is for folks across racial, gender and class lines. 

Having a better understanding of American history, culture and systems will give you the context and knowledge to better navigate your life and career within the States. Notably, our alumni have been able to utilize their American Studies concentration throughout their careers as lawyers, historians, writers and policymakers. 

What can you do with an American studies concentration?

Below are some of the careers, employers, and graduate schools of our American studies alumni.


  • Legislative Aid
  • Attorney
  • Librarian
  • Campaign Manager


  • Wisconsin Historical Society
  • AmeriCorps
  • Archives of Michigan
  • The New York Times

Graduate Schools

  • University of Michigan
  • University of Southern California
  • Wayne State University
  • Harvard University

Meet the Current Departmental Student Advisor

Lauren Crossman, American Studies student

Lauren Crossman (She/Her)

Major: Political Science

Minors: History and English

Concentration: American Studies

What is the best thing about being part of this department?

American Studies is a great concentration because you can earn credits from so many different departments.

What has been your favorite class at K? Why?

One of my favorite classes at K was U.S. Women’s History Since 1870 with Dr. Boyer Lewis. I loved this class because it challenged me to become a better reader and writer while also learning about an important group in American history that is commonly only brushed over.

How have you taken advantage of the open curriculum or experienced breadth in your education?

I think the American Studies concentration is a perfect example of how I have taken advantage of the open curriculum at K because it required me to explore other subject areas outside of my major. I ended up adding my two minors because of the classes I took to earn my American Studies concentration.

What is your Senior Integrated Project [SIP]?

I will be writing about an aspect of my summer internship where I will be working to help businesses in Kalamazoo create more sustainable practices.

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?

I hope to find a job that combines politics (policy or activism) and my passion for sustainability after graduating in June 2023.