American Cultural Studies

Introduction

American Cultural Studies is an interdisciplinary field of critical inquiry that investigates power dynamics, inequality, and agency, at the intersection of race, gender, status, religion, class, and ability.

Our courses place particular emphasis on minoritizing and other exclusionary practices shaping limits to national belonging, and how those experiences are lived. We pay attention to the roles of institutions, policies, discourse, and other socio-cultural processes. We educate students in historical and social inquiry, textual analysis and interpretation, and critical theory and practice. We expose students to theoretical foundations in Settler Colonialism, Queer and other Feminisms, Critical Race Theory, Borders, and Transnationalism.

Students majoring in American Cultural Studies will develop a critical understanding of the ideas, norms, and institutions that produce and reproduce structures of power in relation to national belonging. The program prepares students for graduate work in American Studies, Ethnic Studies, Gender Studies, Education, and the Social Sciences. It also prepares our students to pursue careers with non-profits, the public sector, journalism, education, and the law.

For further information and advisement about the program contact the director of the program, Dr. Lourdes Gutiérrez Nájera, AW 312.

Our mission statement >

Degree Options

Students working within the American Cultural Studies program have multiple options available to them, including ACS majors and minors as well as the TESOL Certification. Students do not have to be admitted to Fairhaven College to major in ACS, and likewise admitted Fairhaven students may choose to complete a traditional WWU Major or Minor, including ACS. WWU Catalog >

American Cultural Studies, BA

American Cultural Studies allows students and faculty to address issues such as race/ethnicity, educational equity, social and cultural theory, socio-economic class, as well as gender and sexual orientation while analyzing the formation of identities in societies. The program in American Cultural Studies concentrates on the Americanization process, American character, American cultural institutions and/or cultural values, particularly as these shape our concepts and society. ACS serves those students and faculty who are interested in the study of such questions, but find that important aspects of cultural theory, artifacts and values are not fully revealed by the course of study within a single department or college. The program allows students the opportunity to study issues arising specifically from the cultural diversity in American society. Whenever possible, the program takes advantages of the rich curricular offerings of the various departments and colleges within the university.

Program of Study>

American Cultural Studies Minors

Program of Study >

Contact Dr. Lourdes Gutiérrez Nájera Director of the American Cultural Studies program, for approval and more information about the American Cultural Studies minor.

American Indian Studies

The minor in American Indian Studies is designed to provide students with an in-depth study of the cultures and traditions, histories and arts of indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere. The minor is recommended for students who plan to collaborate with American Indians in research, educational, environmental, creative and political projects. The concentration is interdisciplinary and allows students to combine it with many major designations.

Program of Study >

For more information contact the Coordinator of the American Indian Studies Minor concentration: Dr. Dolores Calderon, or Dr. Lourdes Gutiérrez Nájera, Director of the American Cultural Studies program.

Asian American Studies

The program in Asian American Studies provides for a coherent, integrated and concentrated investigation of peoples of Asian American heritage in North America. It also examines separate experiences of Asian Americans and their positions as ethnic minorities in American society and politics. This is accomplished through concentration on Asian American history and its place in North America, situating the literatures and other cultural publications of Asian Americans in a broad context, and engaging contemporary issues with appropriate analytical tools.

Program of Study >

For more information contact Dr. Midori Takagi, coordinator of the Asian American Studies minor concentration, or Dr. Lourdes Gutiérrez Nájera, Director of the American Cultural Studies program.

African American Studies

The program in African American Studies provides students with an interdisciplinary approach to the history, culture and politics of peoples of African descent. In addition, this program offers a closer examination of Black leaders, activists, feminists, writers, artists and scholars and their contributions to the development of the United States. Courses range from in-depth studies of specific African American topics to classes on comparative political and cultural issues that give context to the Black experience in America. This minor program can be combined with many major designations.

Program of Study >

For more information, contact Dr. Michael Schulze-Oechtering, Coordinator of the African American studies minor concentration. Dr. Lourdes Gutiérrez Nájera, Director of the American Cultural Studies program.

Latinx Studies Minor

The program for Latinx Studies is designed to educate students about Latinx cultures and communities. It will provide in-depth study of history, culture, traditions, politics and experiences. This program is recommended for students interested in working with/learning about Latinx peoples in the United States. The minor requires 25-30 credits, of which 12 will be required and the remainder, elective. It is recommended that the electives come from the social science, history, literature and language offerings below, though other courses may be chosen under advisement of the Latinx Studies minor coordinator. Students also have the option of framing an Independent Study Project with the approval of the minor coordinator.

Program of Study >

Students also have the option of framing an Independent Study Project with the approval of the minor coordinator. For ISP guidelines, contact Dr. Lourdes Gutiérrez Nájera, Director of the American Cultural Studies program.

Queer Studies

The program in Queer Studies is an interdisciplinary program designed to educate students about the diversity within the GLBT community in the United States, as well as to explore the GLBT contributions to shaping U.S History, culture, literature, and politics.

Program of Study >

For more information, contact: Dr. Raine Dozier, coordinator of the Queer Studies minor or Dr. Lourdes Gutiérrez Nájera, Director of the American Cultural Studies program.