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The Department of American Studies

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What is American Studies at UMBC?

American Studies is the interdisciplinary study of American culture, past and present. It is interdisciplinary, because it draws on insights from a variety of perspectives - history, literature, sociology anthropology, political science, economics, psychology and the arts - and connects them to understand the complex forces that shape our culture.

There are over 240 American Studies programs and departments nationwide. UMBC has one of the oldest established and most innovative American Studies departments in the country, and offers the only Bachelor of Arts in American Studies in the Baltimore metropolitan area by a department with its own faculty. At UMBC all majors take the same core corses which are taught by professors whose primary commitment is to American Studies. At the same time, majors are free to pursue their own interests through the emphasis, building a program that best fits their needs.

American Studies at UMBC puts you at the center of the learning experience. It begins with everyday life - family, neighborhood, work, school, personal possessions, popular culture - a fertile source of clues to the social and cultural forces that shape our lives.

It entails critical analysis, examining and questioning our culture because the consequences of prevailing values, beliefs, and social structures are important to our future as individuals and as a nation.

It teaches valuable skills. You will learn to analyze and interpret a wide variety of social and cultural objects, documents and events. Above all, you will learn effective research and writing skills.

It provides a basic understanding of our culture for those who want to help shape our future in positive and constructive ways -- in careers, civic and public life, community, homes, and personal lives.

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The Department of American Studies

1000 Hilltop Circle • 453 Fine Arts Building • Baltimore, Maryland 21250
(410) 455-2106 • (410) 455-1027 fax
american.studies@umbc.edu