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 California State University, Fullerton

American Studies at Cal State Fullerton is an independent department which takes as its primary subject American culture in its historical development. Our courses examine American cultural life in the past and present, always with the aim of helping students better understand their experiences and their society. We study how Americans have thought about and experienced such matters as gender, ethnic, racial, and regional identities, humor, religion, crime and violence, childhood, family, the built environment, community, mental health and sickness, cultural ideals, and cultural criticism.

We are a department of engaged, energetic professors from a range of backgrounds and disciplines. In an American Studies class you will encounter a wide range of cultural sources for study. You may read one or more novels or autobiographies, examine movies and television as cultural documents, consider the visual arts and music, or view examples of the built environment. You will also be exposed to the most recent scholarship in the rapidly developing interdisciplinary field of American culture studies.

Critical thinking and writing skills are the warp and woof of all our courses. All exams in American Studies are essay exams. All classes emphasize discussion and classroom dialogue rather than pure lecture. Students regularly write response papers in which they critically evaluate and synthesize what they have read and discussed. Students regularly conduct library and ethnographic research and write up the results of that research in ways which integrate their own findings with ideas and evidence presented in the classroom.

In our General Education courses, you will study the broader dimensions of American culture, as it developed in the past and as it exists in the present. Our upper-division electives are open to all students with an interest or background in the specific topic. These courses reflect the research or interest specialty of the faculty giving the course, so you will receive the benefit of both the professor's specialized knowledge and his or her enthusiasm for the topic. 

To learn more about our department:

News & Headlines

  • The department was represented well at the mid-April "Welcome to Fullerton" weekend on campus.  See
  • At the Faculty-Graduate Student Colloquium on Saturday evening, March 15, 2014, Emeritus Professor Allan Axelrad made a compelling presentation on James Fenimore Cooper and Mark Twain.  Incredibly, Twain himself showed up.  See 
  • The 2013-2014 edition of the American Papers is now available online!  Read it here.
  • American Studies lecturer Trista O'Connell assumes new role as Coordinator of CSUF's Supplemental Instruction Program. Read more here!
  • Check out an advance copy of the 2014 CASA Conference Program, then head to Berkeley April 24-25 for the conference. 
  • The 2013-2014 volume of the American Papers is now available! Visit the AMST office (UH 313) to pick up your free copy.
  • The department is proud to announce the creation of a new Community College Advisory Board. Read about the Board and its founding members here.
  • Professor Terri Snyder has won the A. Elizabeth Taylor Prize from the Southern Association of Women Historians for Best Article in Southern Women's History for her article, "Marriage on the Margins: Free Wives, Enslaved Husbands, and the Law in Early Virginia," Law and History Review, vol. 30 (2012): 141-172.
  • American Studies MA alum Eri Tsuji has been selected to translate a wonderful new volume on stuttering into Japanese. 
  • Professor Carrie Lane describes her research among professional organizers in a 3-part series in the OC Register. Read the first article here. 
  • Professor Erica Ball's To Live an Anti-Slavery Life  has been included alongside the works of other preeminent scholars on the Historians against Slavery Suggested Reading List
  • Check out Professor Adam Golub's article, "All I Needed to Know about College Teaching I Learned as a High School Teacher."
  • Submit a proposal for the upcoming CASA conference in Berkeley! Read the Call for Papers here.
  • CSUF DC Internship Program now seeking applications for Spring 2014 semester. Learn more here!
  • Check out photos of AMST grads and faculty at the CSUF American Studies Alumni Facebook page!
  • AMST Fulbright students highlighted in recent news piece. Read more here!
  • Professor John Ibson receives inaugural Harvey Milk Award from the LGBT and Queer Studies Center, Read more here:
  • We are proud to announce the publication of Professor Mike Steiner's newest book, Regionalists on the Left. 
  • Professor Terri Snyder earns H&SS Award for Outstanding Scholarship!
  • Professor John Ibson celebrates 40 years at CSUF! Read more here.
  • AMST grad student Ian Barraza has been awarded the 2012 Giles T. Brown Thesis Award for his work on Deaf culture. Read more here.
  • Read about Professor Erica Ball's new book,  To Live an Antislavery Life.