What does it mean to be American? How do Americans form and express identity? While American studies delves into the political founding and social complexities of this nation, it also explores the impact of diversity in art, entertainment, and literature.

Why American Studies at Sewanee?

American studies is an interdisciplinary major that fosters an understanding of past and present American culture. Typically, you’ll study from the fields of history, literature, anthropology, politics, religion, and art history. The junior seminar for majors will introduce you to important methodological and theoretical problems in the study of American culture.

You’ll be able to make cultural comparisons with older civilizations and identify both the similarities to and differences from American culture. Explore the varied traditions, perspectives, and institutions that combine to make America what it is today.

First Destinations: American Studies Majors

Sewanee graduates secure positions in a variety of fields. Some you would expect, others, are a bit of a surprise. Sewanee prepares you for your profession and your passion. Below is a sampling of recent graduates' first job.

  • Internal production assistant, Above Average Productions, New York City, New York.
  • Interpretive ranger, Student Conservation Association, Charlestown, New Hampshire.
  • Lead singer/artist, Boy Named Banjo, Nashville, Tennessee.
  • Americorps member, City Year, Washington, D.C.
  • Alumni coordinator, Episcopal High School, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Unearthing the Muckers

American Studies Professor Woody Register’s deep dive into a noted social reformer’s archive uncovers a fascinating and long-forgotten account of life in a children’s street gang in 19th-century New York City.

When Professor of History Woody Register, C’80, began investigating Progressive-era reformer Thomas Osborne about five years ago, he stumbled across another compelling character in a young friend of Osborne’s, William Dapping, whose first-person account of life on the New York City streets in the 1890s has now been published in The Muckers, a book edited by Register. The book offers readers, for perhaps the first time, the chance to hear directly and powerfully from a member of a fascinating group of overlooked children of the 19th century.

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A Sampling of Courses

American Studies


Requirements for the Major in American Studies

Approved electives for American Studies

Meet some professors


sean patrick o'rourke, ph.d., j.d.
professor and chair of rhetoric and american studies
co-director of the center for speaking & Listening


Gailor Hall 122 / ext. 1252

News & Events

Connecting the Dots