The program in American studies offers the undergraduate student an opportunity to study the whole civilization of the United States – its fundamental ideas, institutions, and symbolic expressions as these have developed over time.

American Studies

An interdisciplinary major, American studies requires students to become familiar with approaches used in the social sciences, humanities, and arts. By drawing together these different perspectives, American studies enables students to attain a broad vision of the civilization, while deepening their understanding of what is both unique and universal about the United States. It is excellent preparation for any career where intellectual flexibility and an ability to respond imaginatively to situations are required.

  • Students have great freedom in choosing the topic for their required independent study project, for which research grants are sometimes available.
  • Students may concentrate their studies in a particular area such as English, history, or political science.
  • Numerous off-campus study opportunities include the Washington Semester Program, the Lutheran College Washington Consortium, the Chicago Arts Program, and the Chicago Urban Semester.
  • Students can earn academic credit for internships conducted over the summer or through the Chicago Urban Semester.

Resources

Valparaiso University has special resources for the student in American Studies. Among these are the Library of American Civilization, containing more than 15,000 volumes of American materials on microfiche; American Women’s Diaries (90 microfilm reels); Black Abolitionist Papers (17 microfilm reels); Early American Imprint Collection (49,000 items; The War of the Rebellion: official records of the Union and Confederate Armies (130 volumes); Bulletin of the Bureau of American Ethnology (199 volumes); The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents: Travels and Explorations of the Jesuit missionaries in New France, 1610-1791 (73 volumes); and the Brauer Museum of Art.

B.A. with a Major in American Studies

A minimum of 48 credit hours is required for the B.A. with a major in American studies. Specific required courses are listed below.

The student and the chair of the committee, who is adviser for all students in the program, may select courses that fulfill individual academic or career objectives. Courses not included in the list of approved electives may be substituted in some instances if they are approved by the chair of the committee. Students are encouraged to undertake independent-study projects. Honors work may be undertaken in American studies with appropriate approval. Students should register for AMST 497: Honors Work in American Studies, and 498: Honors Candidacy in American Studies.

Program Core: 24 credits
ENGL 401 American Literature I 3 credits
ENGL 402 American Literature II 3 credits
HIST 220 The American Experience to 1877 3 credits
HIST 221 The American Experience in the Modern World 3 credits
POLS 120 The Government of the U.S. 3 credits
THEO 324 Christianity in America 3 credits
AMST 495 Independent Study 3 credits
One course from the following options:
ART 320 American Painting 3 credits
ART 321 American Art & Architecture 3 credits
Electives: 24 credits
Twenty-four credits from the following options:
ART 311 Topics in the Theory and History of Art 3 credits
CC 300 Seminar 3 credits
CC 325 Seminar (with approval of committee chair and consent of the dean of Christ College) 3 credits
ECON 233 The Economics of Race and Gender 3 credits
ENGL 365 Studies in American Literature 3 credits
ENGL 390 Topics in Literature (with the approval of the committee chair) 3 credits
Note: The Department of English offers courses under both 365 and 390 that are applicable to the American Studies Program. Recent offerings include The Novel of Social Criticism in American, American Literary Realism, and Fiction by American Women.
GEO 274 North American Indian on Film 3 credits
GEO 301 Regional Geography: United States and Canada 3 credits
GEO 474 Historical Geography of the U.S. 3 credits
HIST 225 Alternative Perspectives of United States History 3 credits
HIST 321 The American Revolution, 1763-1789 3 credits
HIST 323 Civil War and Reconstruction 3 credits
HIST 324 Depression and War: The United States, 1929-1945 3 credits
HIST 325 The Age of Anxiety: United States Since 1945 3 credits
HIST 390 Topics in History 3 credits
HIST 394 Beats and Hippies 3 credits
HIST 492 Reading and Discussion Seminar 3 credits
HIST 493 Research Seminar (with the approval of the committee chair) 3 credits
Note: The Department of History frequently offers seminars under 390, 492 (see above), and 493 that are applicable to the American Studies Program. Recent offerings include Slavery in the Americas, History of the American South, American Environmentalism, Pearl Harbor, American Immigration History.
PHIL 290 Philosophical Topics (with the approval of the committee chair) 3 credits
POLS 220 State and Local Politics in the U.S. 3 credits
POLS 320 Politics of Urban and Metropolitan Areas 3 credits
POLS 325 Problems in American Politics 3 credits
POLS 326  The Presidency 3 credits
POLS 327  Congress 3 credits
POLS 340 Constitutional Law I 3 credits
POLS 341 Constitutional Law II 3 credits
POLS 355 Problems in Political Philosophy (with the approval of the committee chair) 3 credits
SOCW 260  Vulnerable Populations: Color, Gender, and Orientation 3 credits
SOC 325  Urban Sociology 3 credits
SOC 347  Race and Ethnic Relations 3 credits
SOC 390   Issues in Sociology (with the approval of the committee chair) 3 credits
THTR 337  American Theatre 3 credits
THEO 320   Topics in Christian History: History of Lutherans in America 3 credits
THEO 368   Native American Religions 3 credits

Area Minor in American Studies

A minimum of 24 credit hours is required for an area minor in American Studies. Interested students should schedule a visit with the committee chair.

Program Core: 12 credits
Twelve credits from the following options:
ENGL 401 American Literature I 3 credits
ENGL 402 American Literature II 3 credits
HIST 220 The American Experience to 1877 3 credits
HIST 221 The American Experience in the Modern World 3 credits
POLS 120 The Government of the U.S. 3 credits
THEO 324 Christianity in America 3 credits
AMST 495 Independent Study 3 credits
One course from the following options:
ART 320 American Painting 3 credits
ART 321 American Art & Architecture 3 credits
Electives: 12 credits
Twelve credits from the following options:
ART 311 Topics in the Theory and History of Art 3 credits
CC 300 Seminar 3 credits
CC 325 Seminar (with approval of committee chair and consent of the dean of Christ College) 3 credits
ECON 233 The Economics of Race and Gender 3 credits
ENGL 365 Studies in American Literature 3 credits
ENGL 390 Topics in Literature (with the approval of the committee chair) 3 credits
Note: The Department of English offers courses under both 365 and 390 that are applicable to the American Studies Program. Recent offerings include The Novel of Social Criticism in American, American Literary Realism, and Fiction by American Women.
GEO 274 North American Indian on Film 3 credits
GEO 301 Regional Geography: United States and Canada 3 credits
GEO 474 Historical Geography of the U.S. 3 credits
HIST 225 Alternative Perspectives of United States History 3 credits
HIST 321 The American Revolution, 1763-1789 3 credits
HIST 323 Civil War and Reconstruction 3 credits
HIST 324 Depression and War: The United States, 1929-1945 3 credits
HIST 325 The Age of Anxiety: United States Since 1945 3 credits
HIST 390 Topics in History 3 credits
HIST 394 Beats and Hippies 3 credits
HIST 492 Reading and Discussion Seminar 3 credits
HIST 493 Research Seminar (with the approval of the committee chair) 3 credits
Note: The Department of History frequently offers seminars under 390, 492 (see above), and 493 that are applicable to the American Studies Program. Recent offerings include Slavery in the Americas, History of the American South, American Environmentalism, Pearl Harbor, American Immigration History.
PHIL 290 Philosophical Topics (with the approval of the committee chair) 3 credits
POLS 220 State and Local Politics in the U.S. 3 credits
POLS 320 Politics of Urban and Metropolitan Areas 3 credits
POLS 325 Problems in American Politics 3 credits
POLS 326  The Presidency 3 credits
POLS 327  Congress 3 credits
POLS 340 Constitutional Law I 3 credits
POLS 341 Constitutional Law II 3 credits
POLS 355 Problems in Political Philosophy (with the approval of the committee chair) 3 credits
SOCW 260  Vulnerable Populations: Color, Gender, and Orientation 3 credits
SOC 325  Urban Sociology 3 credits
SOC 347  Race and Ethnic Relations 3 credits
SOC 390   Issues in Sociology (with the approval of the committee chair) 3 credits
THTR 337  American Theatre 3 credits
THEO 320   Topics in Christian History: History of Lutherans in America 3 credits
THEO 368   Native American Religions 3 credits


Administrative Committee

Larry Baas
Professor of Political Science and International Relations
Tel: 219.464.5226
Email: Larry.Baas@valpo.edu

Mike Longan
Professor of Geography
Tel: 219.464.6874
Email: Mike.Longan@valpo.edu

John Ruff
Professor of English
Tel: 219.464.5284
Email: John.Ruff@valpo.edu

Edward Uehling
Professor of English
Tel: 219.464.5263
Email: Edward.Uehling@valpo.edu

Gretchen Buggeln (chair)
Phyllis and Richard Duesenberg Chair in Christianity and the Arts, Associate Professor of Art History and Humanities
Tel: 219.464.5152
Email: Gretchen.Buggeln@valpo.edu