UMBC logo
Undergraduate Catalog 2011

American Studies


View Faculty Details


Warren J. Belasco


Warren J. Belasco

Associate Professors

Theodore S. Gonzalves
Jason Loviglio
Patrice McDermott


Kathy Bryan
Duncan Campbell
Michael Hummel
Christine Muller
Debrina Taylor

Assistant Professors

Tamara Bhalla
Paula Nicole King
Kimberly Moffitt

Professor Emeritus

W. Edward Orser

Courses in this program are listed under AMST.

The American Studies Program encourages and enables students to develop their understanding of the social structures and cultural values of the American experience (past, present, and future) from local, regional, and global perspectives.

The program provides a broad overview of key themes in the field and engages students in research, field experience, and community projects, using materials and methodologies from various disciplines. The core courses in the major emphasize learning through seminar experiences and independent projects. Students are also encouraged to examine their own backgrounds, assumptions and values as participants in American culture.

Career and Academic Paths

Through the combination of the learning experiences American studies provides, students are prepared for many vocations, including teaching, public history, law, public policy, social service, public relations and communications, as well as for graduate school in numerous fields. Specially designed dual program possibilities for students include dual majors and minors with American Studies and Education, Media and Communication Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, and Social Work. In each of these instances, courses in the American studies program are directly applicable or complementary to work in the second field. Students may also elect to double major or combine a major and minor in other departments.
Back to Top

Major Program

The American Studies major leading to a B.A. degree consists of 39 credits, including 18 credits of American Studies core courses, 18 credits of course work distributed across 3 core themes, and 3 credits of applied experience (internship, student teaching, service learning, applied/action research). There is a dual major/certificate program for students seeking teaching certification in early childhood, elementary, and secondary education. A minor program is available for students majoring in other fields who wish to complete a concentration in American Studies. All courses applicable to the major or minor must carry a grade of C or above. Students seeking to substitute courses other than those listed in the requirements for the Core Themes must provide a written rationale and receive approval from the department; such exceptions shall not constitute more than 6 credits.

American Studies Foundational Core (18 credits)

The American Studies Core provides a foundation in the key research and writing practices of the discipline. Two lower-level courses introduce students to fundamental American Studies concepts. Students build knowledge and engage in professional writing and research practices in an upper-level gateway course, two advanced seminars, and a capstone research seminar.

  • AMST 100 Introduction to American Studies
  • AMST 200 Multicultural America
  • AMST 300 Approaches in American Studies
  • Two 400-level seminars
  • AMST 490 Senior Seminar

Core Themes. Six upper-level credits in each of the core themes listed below, for a total of 18 credits. Students select two courses exploring each theme from the following lists:

A. U.S. Social Structures: American Regions, Institutions, and Communities.

Courses in this category focus on particular institutional structures and practices that shape and are shaped by the experiences of individuals and social groups in American society.

  • AMST 310 Gender and Inequality in U.S. Society
  • AMST 320 Television in American Culture
  • AMST 321 Radio in American Culture
  • AMST 327 Sports and Media
  • AMST 350 Critical Decades
  • AMST 356 Special topics in U.S. Social Structures
  • AMST 380 Community in America
  • AMST 382 Perspectives on the Family
  • AMST 384 Perspectives on Childhood
  • AMST 388 American Environments
  • AMST 392 Studies in U.S. Society
  • AMST 410 Seminar U.S. Social Structures
  • AMST 422 Preserving Places, Making Spaces in Baltimore
  • AMST 424 Theories of Space and Place
  • AMST 480 Community Research Seminar*.*

B. Global America: The U.S. in the World, The World in the U.S.

Courses in this category explore the relationships of America with other countries and cultures, including globalization, migrations, immigration, diasporic experiences in America, and transnational cultures.

  • AMST 303 Ethnography in America
  • AMST 324 The Road Movie in America and Abroad
  • AMST 352 American Culture in Global Perspective
  • AMST 357 Special Topics in Global America
  • AMST 372 American Food
  • AMST 375 Studies in Asian American Culture
  • AMST 430 Seminar in Global America
  • AMST 460 Black Hair and Body Politics
  • AMST 474 Theorizing Identity in Contemporary American Culture

C. American Signs: U.S. Literary, Visual, and Material Culture.

Courses in this category provide interdisciplinary analysis of oral, written, visual, and material representations of American life and culture and the historical and social contexts in which they are produced and consumed.

  • AMST 322 American Culture in Film
  • AMST 323 Baltimore in Film
  • AMST 325 Popular Culture
  • AMST 344 Made in America
  • AMST 358 Special topics in American Signs
  • AMST 374 Things to Come: Perspectives on the Future
  • AMST 391 Studies in American Culture
  • AMST 420 Seminar in American Signs
  • AMST 464 Immigration Nation: Examining Narratives of Immigration to the U.S.
  • AMST 466 Seminar in Media Literacy
  • AMST 476 Theories of Media and Culture

Applied Experience (3 credits: P/F or Regular Credit)

includesinternships, service learning, undergraduate research, student teacher praxis, and AMST courses designed as applied research. Students in dual programs may fulfill this requirement by taking an approved applied experience course in the second department.


Students seeking teaching certification in early childhood, elementary, and secondary education complete the Foundational Core and the requirements listed below.

Early-Childhood Education

Three courses from the following list and three additional courses:

  • AMST 200 Multicultural America
  • AMST 310 Gender and Inequality in America
  • AMST 380 Community in America
  • AMST 382 Perspectives on the Family
  • AMST 384 Perspectives on Childhood and Adolescence
  • AMST 452 Seminar in Education, Policy and Culture

Elementary Education

Social Studies Courses

  • HIST 101 AND 102
  • GEOG 102
  • Non-U.S. History: World history OR Non-Western History

Advanced emphasis in American Institutions: (one course from each of the following categories; one course substitutes for the 300-/400-level course requirement in the core):


  • AMST 382 OR 384 Multicultural Perspectives
  • AMST 200 OR 352 Community and Diversity
  • AMST 310 OR 380

Secondary Education (Social Studies)Social Studies Courses

  • GEOG 102 OR 110
  • POLI 100
  • ECON 101 OR 102
  • HIST 101 AND 102

World Culture Courses

  • World history OR Non-Western history

Advanced emphasis on American Institutions (one course each from two of the following categories; one course substitutes for the 300-/400-level course requirement in the core):


  • AMST 310 OR 382


  • AMST 380 OR 480

Mass Media

  • AMST 320, 325 OR 420

Back to Top

American Studies Minor

The American studies minor consists of 18 credits, 6 credits in the American Studies Core, and 12 credits of upper-level courses selected by the student in consultation with his advisor.

  • AMST Core
  • AMST 100
  • AMST 200
  • 4 additional upper-level AMST courses

Back to Top

Honors Program

A departmental honors program offers qualified senior students the opportunity for in-depth study. Close discussion between faculty and students and student research projects characterize this program. Information and application forms are available in the department office.
Back to Top

American Studies Council of Majors

American studies students are welcome to join the American Studies Council of Majors. This departmental club hosts informal student-faculty gatherings on issues related to American culture.
Back to Top