American Studies

The purpose of the American Studies program at Fairfield University is for students to engage the idea of America as it has been culturally imagined and contested throughout history, both within and beyond U.S. national borders. Students also consider their own place, engagement, and responsibilities as participants in the unfolding narratives of America within a global context. Interdisciplinary in its goal, the program draws from a wide range of courses in the arts, humanities, and social sciences in order to help students develop the ability to read America, in all its manifestations, as a rich and dynamic cultural artifact.

Offered as both a major and minor, our course variety allows you to create your own line of study, or a double major – combining American Studies with a traditional academic discipline – giving you some extra advantages towards future careers in business, law, education, public service or graduate studies.

AS 0200 Roots of American Culture3 Credits

Prerequisite: One American Studies Gateway course.

This course provides an introduction to the study of American culture. In familiarizing students with the variety of interdisciplinary ways to approach American Studies, students will examine the diverse experiences, intellectual traditions, and cultural touchstones that make American life a rich and fascinating object of study. Using a variety of sources, students will survey the following themes: race, ethnicity and immigration; expression and imagination; values and ethics; gender; institutional power and politics; and America as a global identity.

AS 0201 The American Intellectual Tradition3 Credits

A seminar on major ideas and themes that have helped shape American life, this course makes a conscious effort to demonstrate the interaction between intellectual, social, and cultural dynamics in the formation of America.

AS 0350 Internship1-3 Credits

The internship program allows students to gain on-site access experience in a wide variety of fields, including, but not limited to, law, marketing, magazine publishing. These positions are available upon recommendation of the program intern supervisor, under whose guidance the students assume the jobs, which require 10-15 hours a week. Students may take one internship for credit toward the American Studies major. Students may take a second internship for elective credit. Enrollment by permission of the program intern supervisor only.

AS 0361 American Civil War: Myth and Reality3 Credits

Attributes: ASHI American Studies: History

This course exposes students to an interdisciplinary method of learning. While using standard historical texts to establish the facts regarding the American Civil War, this course explores the sometimes confusing and contradictory versions of the Civil War as depicted in literature, photography, feature films, documentary films, music, painting, and other modes of expression.

AS 0383 America in the 1930s: A Decade of Change3 Credits

Attributes: ASHI American Studies: History

The Great Depression represents the catalytic agent in America's extraordinary transformation in the 1930s, a decade during which the changes in the economic and political sectors provided the matter for American cultural life. This course acquaints students with the complexities of this pivotal period in American life through feature films and documentaries, popular and serious fiction, the American theatre of the time, popular music, public and private art, and mass circulation and little magazines, while introducing them to an interdisciplinary methodology.

AS 0389 Literature and Religion: The American Experience3 Credits

This course surveys the relationship of literature to religion in the history of American letters. Beginning with the moral didacticism of early Puritan literature, American writers have manifested a persistent concern with religio-ethical matters as well as with the impact of religious institutions in shaping our social and cultural environment. Using literary texts by major American writers, the course evaluates the critical perspective and relevance of the imaginative writer's treatment of religious questions.

AS 0399 Independent Research Project3 Credits

During their senior year, each American studies major writes a research paper under the supervision of several participating faculty members. Students integrate different intellectual disciplines in the design and execution of their projects.


Bayers (English)


Alphonso (Politics)
Bucki (History)
Carolan (Modern Languages and Literatures)
Downie (Politics)
Eliasoph (Visual and Performing Arts)
Garvey (English)
Hohl (History)
Lawrence (History)
LoMonaco (Visual and Performing Arts)
McFadden (History)
Nash (Visual and Performing Arts)
Nguyen (Religious Studies)
O’Driscoll (English)
Orlando (English)
Petrino (English)
Schlichting (Sociology and Anthropology)
Torff (Visual and Performing Arts)
Umansky (Religious Studies)
Willsky-Ciollo (Religious Studies)