Applied Research

An Engaging Major

You will be hard-pressed to find an American Studies class in which you only read articles and take exams. In fact, you’re much more likely to find yourself curating an exhibit for a local museum, conducting off-campus interviews, creating a documentary film or collection, or presenting your research at the A&S Student Symposium. In the process, the major allows you to take advantage of all the best opportunities that UR has to offer, from hands-on projects to SSIR courses to in-depth research.

Course Projects

American Studies works through interactive seminars where students often go deeper into a particular project or problem. This allows our students to develop unique academic work and skill sets. American Studies course projects have included a museum exhibit called “RIDE: Public Transportation in Richmond Since 1888,” a mural on social change and the James River, a digital archive of a U.S. Congressman’s and UR Law grad’s papers, and an online journal called Digital America.

National & International Experience

The American Studies major is enriched even further by travel both within the United States and around the world. In particular, there are many cross-listed American Studies courses within the Sophomore Scholars in Residence program that travel as part of their curriculum. The “Disaster, Memory, & Popular Culture” SSIR will travel to New York City and New Orleans to examine how disasters like 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina shape the human experience. The “Documenting a Changing Neighborhood: A Richmond Community Project” SSIR will travel to cities like Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. to deepen their learning about neighborhood mobilization and complement their community-based project in Church Hill. The “Post-Blackness in the UK” SSIR travelled to London, England to view, hear, and experience post-black art, as well as connect with British and American expatriates who are doing post-black work. These are just a few examples of the many ways that students can use national and international experiences to enrich their American Studies education.

Student Research

American Studies students can dive even deeper into their academic passions through unique research opportunities. Many AMST students have taken advantage of independent study classes with a faculty mentor or through the Arts & Sciences Summer Research Fellowship program. In recent years students have explored topics that ranged from Japanese internment, to cyberutopianism, comic strips, the James River, and African-American life in the Upper south.