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Our ProgramĀ 

We, in American Studies, understand that applying to graduate school is a significant life decision.  We appreciate that individual and familial sacrifices may be necessary to earn an advanced degree.  In this regard, we take your interest in our program very seriously.

We talk about the American Studies program as our program.  What this means is that we can only do meaningful intellectual, social, and political work as a collective.  From the moment graduate students enter our program, you are seen as a colleague and not as a student who needs to be "taught" by faculty.  We are excited that you will bring new knowledge and experiences to our collective work.  In many ways, our program embraces the ideals posited by Pierre Lévy in his work on collective intelligence.  We believe that all of our work is better because we are all here together.


Areas of Study

In recent years, students in the American Studies program have gravitated towards the following academic concentrations for their coursework and research: 

  • Activism, Resistance, and Social Movement Studies
  • Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies
  • Design and Material Cultural Studies
  • Gender, Sexuality, and Queer Studies
  • New Media and Popular Cultural Studies
  • Science, Technology, and Environment Studies
  • Transnational American Studies

American Studies Dissertations

In recent years, American Studies students have written the following dissertations: 

  • Philathia R. Bolton, "Making Dead & Barren: Black Women Writers on the Civil Rights Movement & the Problem of the American Dream"
  • Mark R. Bousquet, "Driftin': Round the World in a Blubber Hunter"
  • W. Neal Gill, "'When We Got Beat': The WWII Era Labor Camp Origin of the Beat Movement"
  • Shivohn N. Garcia, "Fiddling About: The Life and Love of Pura Teresa Belpre and Clarence Cameron White"
  • Heidi R. Lewis, "'She still missed her daddy sometimes': Black Women's Post-Civil Rights Father-Daughter Narratives"
  • Heather C. Moore, "I'm the One You Needed to be Worried About': The Archetypal Representatives of Black Male Students"
  • Kathleen S. Mullins, "'Let Women Build Houses': American Middle-Income, Single-Family Housing in the 1950s & the 1956 Women's Congres on Housing"
  • Mindy H. Tan, "Canvas Politics: Norman Lewis and the Art of Abstract Resistance"
  • Kendra R. Unruh, "'Jubilant Spirits of Freedom': Representations of the Lindy Hop in Literature & Film from the Swing Era to the Swing Revival"
  • Christopher A. Warren, "The Price of Post-Racialism: Educational Genocide vs. Culture-Affirming Methodology"

Support for Research

Finally, students in American Studies are offered travel funds every year to support their research and presentations at academic conferences. Students also serve in elected positions on the American Studies Steering Committee. As well, students compete for annual awards: The Chester Eisinger Award for Outstanding Essay in American Studies; the American Studies Innovation in Teaching Award; the Paul and Eslanda Robeson Award for Transnational Scholarship; the American Studies/Women's Studies Outstanding Achievement Award, and the American Studies Social Justice/Community Service Award. 

To learn more about graduate students and graduate student activity in American Studies at Purdue, please contact Andrea Furrer (, the current Graduate Coordinator.