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Encyclopedia > American Studies

American studies or American civilization is an interdisciplinary field dealing with the study of the United States. It incorporates the study of economics, history, literature, art, the media, film, urban studies, women's studies, and culture of the United States, among other fields. Interdisciplinarity is a type of academic collaboration in which specialists drawn from two or more academic disciplines work together in pursuit of common goals. ... The United States has the worlds largest GDP, $13. ... “American history” redirects here. ... American literature refers to written or literary work produced in the area of the United States and Colonial America. ... Americas first well-known school of painting—the Hudson River School—appeared in 1820. ... Categories: American cinema | Cinema by country ... This article needs cleanup. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... This article serves as an overview of the customs and culture of the United States; for the popular (pop) culture of the United States, see arts and entertainment in the United States. ...

American civilization may also mean the United States, and its culture and people.


Founding notions

Vernon Louis Parrington is often cited as the founder of American studies for his Pulitzer Prize-winning Main Currents in American Thought, which combines the methodologies of literary criticism and historical research. In the introduction to Main Currents in American Thought, Parrington described his field: Vernon Louis Parrington (1871–1929) was an American historian and football coach. ... The Pulitzer Prize is an American award regarded as the highest national honor in print journalism, literary achievements, and musical composition. ... Literary criticism is the study, discussion, evaluation, and interpretation of literature. ...

I have undertaken to give some account of the genesis and development in American letters of certain germinal ideas that have come to be reckoned traditionally American--how they came into being here, how they were opposed, and what influence they have exerted in determining the form and scope of our characteristic ideals and institutions. In pursuing such a task, I have chosen to follow the broad path of our political, economic, and social development, rather than the narrower belletristic.

The "broad path" that Parrington describes formed a scholastic course of study for Henry Nash Smith, who received a Ph.D. from Harvard's interdisciplinary program in "History and American Civilization" in 1940, setting an academic precedent for present-day American Studies programs. Harvard University is a private university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, and a member of the Ivy League. ...

The first signature methodology of American studies was the "myth and symbol" approach, developed in such foundational texts as Smith's Virgin Land and Leo Marx's The Machine in the Garden. Myth and symbol scholars claimed to find certain recurring themes throughout American texts that served to illuminate a unique American culture. Later scholars such as Annette Kolodny and Alan Trachtenberg re-imagined the myth and symbol approach in light of multicultural studies. Leo Marx is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an author known for his works in the field of American studies. ... Annette Kolodny is the author of The Lay of the Land: Metaphor as Experience in American Life and Letters and The Land Before Her: Fantasy and Experience of the American Frontiers, 1630-1860, both feminist re-interpretations of American frontier mythology, and Failing the Future: A Dean Looks at Higher... Alan Trachtenberg is Neil Gray, Jr. ...

Begining in the 1960s and 70s, earlier approaches were criticized for continuing to promote the idea of American exceptionalism -- the notion that the US has had a special mission and virtue that makes it unique among nations. Several generations of American Studies scholars have critiqued this ethnocentric view, and have focused critically on issues of race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality, and transnational concerns. Progress of America, 1875, by Domenico Tojetti American exceptionalism (cf. ...

Institutionally, in the last decade the American Studies Association has reflected the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of the field, creating particularly strong connections to other interdisciplines such ethnic studies, gender studies, cultural studies and post- or de-colonial studies. Another major theme of the field in recent years has been internationalization -- the recognition that much vital scholarship about the US and its relations to the wider global community has been and is being produced outside the United States.

American Studies outside of the U.S.

Following World War II and during the Cold War, the U.S. government promoted the study of the United States in several European countries, helping to endow chairs in universities and institutes in American history, politics and literature in the interests of cultural diplomacy. Many scholars and governments in Europe also recognized the need to study the U.S. The field has become especially prominent in Britain and Germany. Richard Pells, a historian, concludes that 'the American Studies movement in Europe... did not result in a transplantation of American values. Instead, European scholars used American Studies for their own purposes, reinterpreting American history and literature in terms that were relevant to European problems. In the end, American Studies became a lens through which Europeans could more clearly see and understand themselves'.[1] Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... For other uses, see Cold War (disambiguation). ...

For many years, strong critiques from within the field have been leveled against the political abuse of "American Studies" as an arm of US foreign policy. This has premitted far richer and more skeptical interactions with the field around the world. Currently vital American Studies work from outside the US, especially in the Global South, is playing an ongoing role in limiting US ethnocentrisim and understanding the negative impact of American political and cultural imperialism.

See American Studies in Britain and American Studies in Germany. This article lacks information on the importance of the subject matter. ...

European centres for American studies include the Center for American Studies in Brussels, Belgium and most notably the John F. Kennedy-Institute in Berlin, Germany. Other centers for American Studies in Germany include the Bavarian America-Academy, the Heidelberg Center for American Studies (HCA) and the Zentrum für Nordamerikaforschung in Frankfurt (ZENAF). Founded in 1992, the Center for American Studies at the University of Southern Denmark now offers a graduate program in American Studies. In the Netherlands the University of Amsterdam, the University of Leiden and the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen also offer a graduate program in American Studies. The tower of the old Royal Library of Brussels were now the modern edifice of the Albertina is constructed, drawing by Léon van Dievoet. ... Nickname: Map showing the location of Brussels in Belgium Coordinates: Country Belgium Region Brussels-Capital Region Founded 979 Founded (Region) June 18, 1989 Government  - Mayor (Municipality) Freddy Thielemans Area  - Region 162 km²  (62. ... The HCA Logo Founded in 2003 as newest institute of Germanys oldest university, the University of Heidelbergs Heidelberg Center for American Studies (HCA) serves as an interdisciplinary institute for higher education, as a center for advanced research, and as a forum for public debate on topics related to... University of Southern Denmark The University of Southern Denmark was formed in 1998 by the merger between Odense University, Southern Denmark School of Business and Engineering and South Jutland University Centre. ...

Further reading

  • Locating American Studies: The Evolution of a Discipline, edited by Lucy Maddox, Johns Hopkins University Press 1998, ISBN 0-8018-6056-3
  • The Futures of American Studies, edited by Donald E. Pease and Robyn Wiegman, Duke University Press 2002, ISBN 0-8223-2965-4
  • American Studies in a Moment of Danger, George Lipsitz, University of Minnesota Press, 2001, ISBN 0-8166-3949-3

Associations and scholarly journals

The [American Studies Association] was founded in 1950. It publishes American Quarterly, which has been the primary outlet of American Studies scholarship since 1949. The British Association for American Studies supports American Studies in Britain and publishes the Journal of American Studies. [American Studies http://www2.ku.edu/~amerstud/], sponsored by the Mid-America American Studies Association, is, alongside American Quarterly, the second major American Studies journal There are now American Studies programs and associations around the world.] 1950 (MCML) was a common year starting on Sunday. ... 1949 (MCMXLIX) was a common year starting on Saturday (the link is to a full 1949 calendar). ... This article lacks information on the importance of the subject matter. ...

See also

Contents   Overviews   Academia   Topics   Basic topics   Glossaries   Portals   Categories // This is a list of academic disciplines. ... This article very generally discusses the customs and culture of the United States; for the culture of the United States, see arts and entertainment in the United States. ... Pre-Colonial America For details, see the main Pre-Colonial America article. ... American literature refers to written or literary work produced in the area of the United States and Colonial America. ... This article lacks information on the importance of the subject matter. ...

External links

  Results from FactBites:
American Studies (4429 words)
American studies is an interdisciplinary major that focuses upon life and culture in the United States, past and present, using the resources, techniques, and approaches of a variety of disciplines.
Students majoring in American studies plan, with faculty advisors, a program of study that reflects their interests in American society and culture: history, the arts, music, literature, government, economics, social structures, sociology and anthropology, institutions, education, and philosophy and religion.
After studying the cultural, social, and economic importance of the sea in American life, the course returns to the biology of the sea through student research projects on current environmental problems, as well as national and international laws and regulations, which protect the ocean as a commons for the world.
UMass Lowell American Studies:UML American Studies (289 words)
American Studies allows students to combine a number of scholarly disciplines to better comprehend the many facets of American life.
By completing courses from a variety of disciplines, students in American Studies not only sharpen their analytical powers and critical insights, but will, in the long term, be well prepared for employment in education, government, social services, business, and other professions.
Because of its flexibility, the American Studies major is a good choice for students who are unsure about their ultimate career choices, but who seek a foundation in the humanities, social sciences, and fine arts.
  More results at FactBites »



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