Aug 13, 2022  
Course Catalog 2020-2021 
Course Catalog 2020-2021 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Comparative American Studies Major

The major consists of a minimum of 9 full courses (or the equivalent).

Note: Students must earn minimum grades of C- or P for all courses that apply toward the major.

arrow View the catalog page for the Comparative American Studies department.   

Comparative American Studies examines the range and diversity of experiences, communities, and identities in the United States. Through inter and multi-disciplinary study, students explore social, political, economic and cultural processes relating to the production and contestation of power and inequality, and consider the United States locally, nationally, and globally.

Students wishing to declare a Comparative American Studies major should meet with a potential advisor on the CAS faculty (may include courtesy faculty) or the department chair. In consultation with the advisor and using the forms available online here, students will propose a program of study for review by the chair.

Cross-Referenced Courses and Petition Process

As Comparative American Studies is an inter- and multi-disciplinary field, we encourage students to take courses in other departments that can enhance and deepen their studies in the major/minor. Many courses in History, English, Sociology, and Politics, for example can be counted, and a comprehensive list can be found here. This resource indicates which concentration and methodological areas courses count for, and should be consulted carefully as students plan their course schedules. 

If a student is enrolled in or completed a course with substantial American Studies content that is not listed in the resource, they can petition to apply the class toward their major or minor. The process involves filling out the form found here as well as providing a syllabus to the department chair. Students should bear in mind that these requests are not always granted, so if they have any questions about particular courses, they should seek to resolve them before enrolling in the class or well before they complete it. Petitions should be filed no later than the end of the term after which they student has completed the class they wish to count. 


Senior Comparative American Studies majors may conduct independent, original research or a creative project through the Honors Program. Consideration for admission to the Honors Program takes place during the second semester of the junior year, by invitation of the Comparative American Studies faculty or by self-nomination. Honors students must enroll in CAST 501 /502 Senior Honors  (both semesters) and are exempt from the Research Seminar (CAST 500 ) requirement.

Students accepted for honors must normally have a 3.00 GPA in the college, and a 3.25 major average at the beginning of the second semester of the junior year. They must have completed the following by the start of their senior year: Introductory course requirement (100 or a 200-level CAST course) and CAST 200 Theories and Methods in American Studies .

arrow Find more detailed information about the honors program, see the handbook here.

Comparative American Studies Major Course Lists

Methodological Breadth

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Students must complete a methodological breadth requirement by completing courses in the following areas: Cultural Studies/Theory, History, and Social Science.

This requirement must be satisfied through three separate courses. For classes that straddle more than one methodological approach, students can only count these toward one of the categories.

Cultural Studies and Theory Courses

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History Courses

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Social Science Courses

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Concentration Area

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Students must also fulfill a concentration area requirement with a minimum of 4 courses. 

Within the concentration, students create an individual focus area on a topic, theme, or question. Students select classes that address their interests within a framework of course offerings designed to build conceptual and practical skills. 

Concentrations in the Comparative American Studies represent distinct conceptual and scholarly directions within the field. They are:

  1. Identity and diversity
  • Examines categories of race, indigeneity, class, gender, sexuality, and/or ability
  • Examines diversity within a single category, through categories like race, class, gender, sexuality and ability
  • Uses theoretical concepts that emphasize a comparative understanding of social and cultural formation, like “racialized sexualities” or “racial formation”  
  1. Globalization, transnationalism and nation
  • Uses the concepts of globalization and transnationalism to examine social and cultural diversity in the United States
  • Situates U.S. in a global context through analysis of concepts such as empire or diaspora
  • Explores the relationship of transnational social and cultural formations to state power and nationalism in relationship to the United States
  1. Histories and practices of social change
  • Evaluates pedagogy, research, and cultural production as catalysts for social change
  • Examines race, class, gender, sexuality, indigeneity, ability and nation in relationship to efforts to affect social change
  • Considers histories and strategies of particular social movements

Identity and Diversity Courses

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Globalization, Transnationalism and Nation Courses

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Histories and Practices of Social Change Courses

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