Mission Statement

Established in 1953, 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

  • Listen to Margaret Kelley discuss it's not just fear of violence or belief in the second amendment and gun rights prompting gun ownership.  On this episode of WhenExpertsAttack she explains that concerns about Armageddon and "supernatural" evil also are at play.  
  • Congratulations to Bobby Cervantes for being awarded the Harry Middleton Fellowship in Presidential Studies!
  • Read about Afro-Puerto Rican illustrator Eric Velasquez in this piece written by William García-Medina for Teaching For Change.
  • Geoffrey Newman did a podcast for the journal Kansas History that was broadcast on 91.9 KSDB-FM.  It is available online here.
  • Congratulations to Sam Steuart for being named KU's 20th Truman scholar!
  • This article, written by Geoffrey Newman, was published in the August edition of the Kansas History Journal. Congratulations Geoffrey!
  • Congratulations to Ph.D. candidate Kathryn Vaggalis for being awarded the American Studies Association's 2018 Gene Wise-Warren Susman Prize!
  • KU-AUMI InterArts was recently featured by the Commons in a video on improving inclusive communities at KU. You can watch the video, which features our own Sherrie Tucker amongst other founders of the movement at KU, and learn more about AUMI here!
  • Congratulations to Professor Robert Warrior on being elected to a member of the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
  • This articlewritten by Ph.D. candidate Hannah Bailey, was published in the latest edition of Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal. Congratulations, Hannah!
  • We would like to recognize Patrick Sumner, 2005 alumni, for his work in this article about the defacement of the John Brown memorial in the Quindaro area of Kansas City, Kansas.
  • Please read this article about Professor Robert Warrior titled: Native scholar uncomfortably at home in American studies field.
  • Congratulations to Daniel Carey-Whalen, an alumni that was recently promoted as UTEP's Centennial Museum director.
  • Congratulations to Josh Parshall, an alumni who was recently featured in this article.
  • How a motion-tracking musical software is breaking down barriers for people with disabilities: click here to read more about the Adaptive Use Musical Instrument (AUMI), a one-of-a-kind piece of inclusive technology that promotes musical improvisation. The article recognizes Professor Sherrie Tucker, who started AUMI jam sessions and helped to bring the grant and symposium for it to Lawrence. Written by Omar Sanchez
  • KU Special Education Department: With Ray Pence
  • 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 »
Upcoming Events
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
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times
Follow us:

Twitter Facebook


Far Above - The Campaign for KansasGive to American Studies

KU Today