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

Rachel Molho

Rachel Molho (She/Her)

Major: Anthropology and Sociology

Concentration: American Studies

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

American Studies encompasses a broad spectrum of topics. There’s truly something for everyone!

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

I have tried to challenge myself to take a class or two every year that has nothing to do with my major, or that is just out of my comfort zone. As of recent, I have taken a class on Gender in Colonial Latin America as well as a New Media Art History course. While I came into both of these classes feeling like I had little understanding of the subjects, I ended both of the classes with a newfound understanding and interest in the topics.

What is your Senior Integrated Project [SIP]?

My SIP will be a collection of oral histories from small Western Michigan growers and farmers. I hope to reveal stories, lessons, and skills from these community members. I endeavor to learn more about our community members who have intimate relationships with the land.

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?

Like many of my peers, my post-K plans are hazy…but I’m interested in continuing to pursue food justice and food sovereignty work. I have enjoyed my time working hands-on with the land, so I see myself perhaps working on a sustainable farm for a while. I’m interested in pursuing further education whether that be more school or by simply pursuing my interests outside of academia.