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Graduate students in American Studies, a concentration within the Department of English, engage in an interdisciplinary approach to American literature and culture. Two core seminars on models and methods for interdisciplinary study, plus courses from other relevant departments, provide the groundwork for students to pursue theoretically informed, integrative research into their special interests. The concentration allows maximum flexibility in planning an individual program of study; from the start, students are encouraged to forge their own combinations of courses, subject matter, and perspectives. While our program familiarizes students with a range of disciplinary tools and discourses, it provides depth in one area--namely, literary studies, literary theory, and cultural studies--which gives students a professional identity in American literature and American studies augmented and enriched by perspectives from other fields.
Located in western Massachusetts, the University of Massachusetts Amherst offers broad resources, including access to the libraries and museums of Amherst, Smith, Mount Holyoke, and Hampshire colleges. Students may also take advantage of the international, intercultural, and critical ethnic studies curricula initiated through various Five College Programs, namely: Crossroads in the Study of the Americas, Asian/Pacific/American Studies, Latin American Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, and Native American and Indigenous Studies. In addition, there are opportunities for the study of material culture at nearby Historic Deerfield and for historical research at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester. Finally, the college communities offer a rich array of film showings, music, dance, and performance.
Graduate students in the American Studies Concentration regularly attend and present at the national and regional American Studies Association Conferences, the Futures of American Studies Institute at Dartmouth College, the Northeastern Modern Language Association Annual Conference, and the College English Association Conference.