Mission & Goals

Mission Statement

To develop valuable critical skills and diverse perspectives in the study of American culture past and present. As a unique interdisciplinary field of study with a long intellectual tradition, American studies seeks to empower students with combinations of useful analytical tools for exploring the complexity and diversity of American culture.

Statement of Educational Goals

  1. Active, student-centered learning in discussion-based classes where students share significant responsibility for the day-to-day work of the class.
  2. Writing-, reading-, and speaking-intensive courses in a rigorous liberal arts tradition.
  3. Students conduct original research and engage primary source materials, learning and practicing stages of research, original production, and revision.
  4. Students explore and work analytically with texts, cultural and historical contexts, and relevant theoretical frameworks.
  5. Classes stretch and expand the definition of readable texts and traditional definitions of “America(n).” This includes an expanded understanding of the United States in multiple global contexts.
  6. Classes incorporate outside activities—field trips, speakers, film screenings, on-site research, and opportunities for practical applications of skills in the local community.
  7. Students are asked to encounter and employ more than one disciplinary perspective or methodology in their own original work.
  8. Instructors model multi- and interdisciplinary approaches to complex problems, topics, and questions.
  9. The program adds to the broader campus culture through its programmatic support and active collaboration with individuals and groups.
  10. The program strives to model for its students and for the College as a whole the inherent possibilities, meanings, and value of interdisciplinary education.

Contact Us

Steven Belletto
Chair
204 Pardee Hall
Lafayette College
belletts@lafayette.edu