Jul 22, 2024  
Course Catalog 2023-2024 
Course Catalog 2023-2024 [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.  

Note(s) on Requirements

  • Majors are strongly encouraged to complete at least one 300-level CAST course prior to enrolling in CAST 500 .

Declaring the Major

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 Planning Document for CAS Majors , 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. 

Honors in Comparative American Studies

Senior comparative American studies majors may conduct independent, original research or a creative project through the Honors Program in Comparative American Studies. Consideration for admission to the honors program takes place during the second semester of the junior year, by invitation of the department faculty or by self-nomination. Honors students must enroll in CAST 501 /502 CAST Senior Honors II  (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:

arrow See the handbook for more detailed information about the honors program.

Detailed Major Requirements

Comparative American Studies Major Course Lists

Methodological Breadth

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Students must meet a methodological breadth requirement by completing at least one course in each of the following areas: Cultural Studies and Theory, History, and Social Science.

This requirement must be satisfied through three separate courses. A course may count to only one methodological breadth area, even if that course could satisfy more than one area.

Cultural Studies and Theory Courses

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History 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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Histories and Practices of Social Change Courses

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