American Studies Major
One of the relatively younger disciplines in higher education, American Studies is in its third decade at Franklin College. It is a lively and creative interdisciplinary field, promoting an understanding of the social, economic, cultural, and intellectual forces that have shaped the experiences of various Americans.
Since its inception in the late 1930’s and its first period of dramatic growth a decade later, American Studies has been founded on the important assumption that a culture should be investigated in its entirety and that breadth of study leads to a depth of understanding. In keeping with these assumptions, American studies has been a natural interdisciplinary field.
American Studies integrate the content and perspectives of the fields of history, English, art, political science, philosophy, religion and sociology. Its goal is to enable the student to understand America’s rich and multi-faceted culture.
As an American Studies major, you will examine our nation’s experience from colonial times to today. You will come to an understanding of the nature and character of America and of its unique heritage, writings, philosophies, and institutions. You will also learn how to apply this knowledge in a variety of careers.
Students should understand the reasoning and importance behind the American Studies major. American Studies is not blind patriotism, but rather a critical examination of our history, thought, and culture.
American Studies Seeks:
- To promote the student’s understanding of those factors that have shaped the society in which he or she lives.
- To give the student a better understanding of the social and cultural forces that have influenced the world.
- To present in a logical, meaningful pattern those writings of importance that have shaped Americans and the America of today.
- To foster and cultivate the awareness of the rich heritage that is uniquely American.
- To stimulate a lively interest in and a sympathetic understanding of the development of the differing philosophies that have produced a diversity of American thought.
- To demonstrate clearly, through the arts and letters, the inter-relationships among the institutions that create our complex 21st-century civilization.
American Studies majors have had internships in a wide variety of settings including:
- Indiana Historical Society
- Johnson County Museum and similar agencies in other counties
- Indiana State Museum
- Indianapolis Children’s Museum
- Historic Preservation work
- Indiana State House
- Law firms in Indianapolis and other communities.
As an American Studies major, you can prepare for the ever-changing world of work. Your training will be cross-disciplinary and thus flexible in its career options.
American Studies graduates have held such diverse positions as curator at the Indiana Historical Society, juvenile court judge of an Indiana county, broker-owner of an Indianapolis real estate firm, librarian at the Johnson County library, director of the James D. Lanier House in Madison, Indiana, and development officer at the Indiana University School of Nursing. In addition, a growing number of the program’s graduates serve as attorneys across the country.
Career opportunities include:
- Secondary, college, and university teaching
- Museum work as a director, curator, registrar, researcher, designer, or librarian.
- Governmental jobs such as the United Nations, and Vista, positions in parks and at historical sights, information specialist, and political consultant.
- Social services
- The Peace Corps
- Historical administration and preservation