Department of American Studies

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. 


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