American Studies

Mission Statement

The Department of American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin is dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of the myriad historical and contemporary cultures of the United States, in both domestic and transnational settings. We endeavor to produce sophisticated cultural analysts who are able to navigate a wide range of cultural texts and diverse sources--from Puritan sermons to reality television shows--to gain holistic insights into complicated and often disparate cultural phenomena and trends. As part of our desire to cultivate a thoughtful and engaged citizenry, we train our students to become solid writers, persuasive speakers, and expansive critical thinkers. We seek to instill in our students a broad understanding of our multicultural society's political, economic, cultural, and social complexity. We are committed to studying the influence of other nations and cultures on our society, and the impact of the United States--economically, politically, and especially culturally--on other nations and people. American Studies is devoted to promoting a central trend among major research universities and one that is emphasized in the 2005 Report of the Task Force on Curricular Reform: the critical integration of knowledges that cut across the different disciplines, while maintaining its central core of the study of American society and culture, past and present. Through innovative teaching and cutting edge research, American Studies promotes the belief that an informed citizenry is essential for a well-functioning democratic society.