Mission Statement

American Studies at the University of Kansas is an interdisciplinary department whose faculty and students think critically about community, identity, and social justice in American culture, politics, and society. We study the multiple and contested meanings of “American” both nationally and transnationally, in terms of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, class, region, age, and sexuality. To prepare students to engage a diverse and globalized society, we must learn from and about communities who have been too often marginalized in society and in the academy.


Such an inclusive definition of “American” requires an equally capacious understanding of scholarship. Recognizing the critical impact of difference and power on the formation of traditional scholastic disciplines, American Studies embraces research methods that combine, cross, and stretch conventional academic boundaries. We encourage scholars to advance civic discourse at the local, national, and global levels. Through rigorous analysis of historical and current events, encompassing official institutions, social and religious movements, popular and media culture, and other areas, we illuminate the complex formations of American community and identity, both within and beyond US borders.


American Studies produces undergraduate and graduate students who are global citizens and understand the meanings of America and its populations, its cultural and social history and diversities, and its dynamic place among other nation-states. Our undergraduate majors and minors develop practical and intellectual skills that support their careers in a range of public sector and private sector areas such as public humanities, advocacy and non-profit organizations, marketing and human resources, education, mediation, social services, and the law.  Our graduate students go on to varied and successful careers as university faculty members and administrators, as well as staff members and directors of non-profit organizations such as museums and historical societies.

American Studies Bylaws

  • Congratulations to Ph.D. candidate Hannah Bailey for being awarded the 2017 Graduate Studies Summer Scholarship.
  • Ph.D. candidate, Rachel Schwallerhas been awarded the Hall Center's Sias Fellowship for Spring 2018.  Congratulations, Rachel!
  • KU Special Education Department: With Ray Pence
  • Seizing Freedom: With David Roediger and Peter St. Clair
  • Tribute Or Tribulation? How do we commemorate history? What is the best way to remember a conflicted and painful past? And who gets to decide? Listen here »
  • CLAS names 1st associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion (KU News link)
  • Congratulations to Ph.D. student Marilyn Ortega for being selected as one of the inaugural National Humanities Without Walls Predoctoral Fellows for 2017.
  • Ben Schmack won the Best Ph.D. Paper Award at the 2016 Northern Illinois University History Graduate Student Conference.  Congratulations, Ben!
  • Congratulations to Kathryn Vaggalis who received the Center for Migration Research Graduate Student Grant.
  • Ph.D. student Gamze Kati was one of the winners of the second annual IEHS graduate student blog competition this year.  Congratulations, Gamze!
Upcoming Events
Nichole T. Rustin-Paschal
​"'The Kind of Man I Am': Jazzmasculinity and the World of Charles Mingus"
Thursday, March 2, 2017 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Murphy Hall Room 238

Hall Center Humanities Lecture Series
A forum for interdisciplinary dialogue between renowned speakers, the university and the surrounding communities.
Schedule of Lectures


One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times
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