American Studies Program
Program Statement on #BlackLivesMatter
This past month chants of “Say Their Names” filled the streets of every state in the U.S., demanding this country acknowledge the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, Tony McDade, and so many other black people at the hands of police violence. As faculty of American Studies, we recognize these deaths are a part of the broader structures of white supremacy that informs colonialism, slavery, incarceration, and U.S. militarism.
The American Studies program stands in solidarity with those seeking to end state violence. Our teaching and research regularly unpacks white supremacy in history, law, art, and culture. Our senior seminars (AMST 498), for example, have already, and will continue to provide our students with the opportunity to explore the deep historical roots of over-policing and state-sanctioned violence. These courses situate Black Lives Matter within the long history of black communities’ efforts to liberate themselves and others, and analyze the future of racial and social justice from interdisciplinary lenses.
We remain committed to countering anti-black racism and centering intersectional analysis of race, class, gender, and sexuality as a way to challenge all systems of oppression. We support our students in the fight for racial and social justice, the graduation requirement of Ethnic Studies at the CSUs, ACA 5 to revoke Prop 209, and the local and national calls to defund the police and invest in community needs.
-The AMST Faculty
Important Note Regarding Office Closure & Fall 2020 Classes Due to Covid-19:
The American Studies program has adjusted courses and student services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the 2020 Summer Session and Fall Semester, AMST courses will be taught via “alternative modes of instruction” and will require no in-person activities. Students must be available for possible required synchronous activities during scheduled course days and times, but students in AMST courses will not need to come to campus. All of our community-building American Studies events—pizza nights, movie club meetings, walking tours, guest lectures—are also currently on hold, unfortunately.
During the period of suspended in-person instruction at CSULB, the American Studies faculty and staff are happy to help you. Please email the department chair, Dr. Brett Mizelle, with any questions you might have about the American Studies Program at Brett.Mizelle@csulb.edu.
He is always happy to talk about AMST courses and degree programs, what one can do with an American Studies major or minor, and the significance of American Studies as a way of thinking about and engaging with our world in our current moment of intersecting challenges. To make an appointment for advising via phone or Zoom, please email him at the address above. The College of Liberal Arts (CLA) ATLAS Network is also available for online advising services. You can contact an ATLAS advisor at http://www.cla.csulb.edu/atlas/advising/.
What is American Studies?
As noted American Studies scholar George Lipsitz explains, American Studies is an interdisciplinary field that examines American life and culture.The work of American Studies takes place both on campuses and in communities. American Studies scholars investigate where the ideals of American democracy are at their finest and where they remain incomplete. We ask key questions like: What is an American? What are the lived experiences of people who inhabit our nation? For more, read our program description.
Why Choose American Studies?
American Studies students receive a broad liberal arts education focusing on American culture, traditions, artistic and material production, ideas, identities, and spaces. The major in American Studies offers a solid background for careers in law, journalism, public service, business, and education. The program also provides the foundation for graduate work in American Studies and related fields. In other words, the knowledge and skills our majors acquire prepares them to succeed in just about any field.