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American Studies

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Director: Brett Mizelle

Department Office: Faculty Offices 2 (FO2), Room 109

Telephone / FAX: (562) 985-4424 / (562) 985-5431


Affiliated Faculty: Elyse M. Blankley (English/Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies), Patricia A. Cleary (History), Sharon D. Downey (Communication Studies), Linda N. España-Maram (Asian and Asian American Studies), Araceli Esperza (English), J. William Gibson (Sociology), George Hart (English), Ann Johnson (Communication Studies), Maulana Karenga (Black Studies), Karen Kleinfelder (Art), Dennis Lopez (English), Eileen Luhr (History), Brett Mizelle (History), Charles Noble (Political Science), Daniel J. O'Connor (Liberal Studies), Carlos R. Piar (Religious Studies), Charles Ponce de Leon (History), Karen Rasmussen (Communication Studies), Maythee Rojas (Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies), Max Rosenkrantz (Philosophy), Anna Sandoval (Chicano and Latino Studies), Sarah Schrank (History), Nancy Strow Sheley (English/Liberal Studies), Craig R. Smith (Communication Studies), Jon R. Stone (Religious Studies), Dean S. Toji (Asian and Asian American Studies), John N. Tsuchida (Asian and Asian American Studies), Frederick Wegener (English), Hugh Wilford (History)

Career Possibilities

Advertising • Entertainment • Journalism • Management • Marketing • Mass Media (film, radio, television) • Politics • Professional Writing and Editing (creative or technical) • Public Relations • Publishing • Historian • Administrator in Historic and Cultural Preservation • Teacher • Museum Curator • Multimedia Specialist • Preservation and Environmental Law • College Instructor • Environmental Public History Review Specialist • Human Resources Manager • Systems Analysts • Insurance Broker (Some of these, and other careers, require additional education or experience. For more information, see

What is an American? How and why is culture important to our lives and identities? How do we represent the past and what importance—and limitations—do these representations have? How and why does culture—including popular culture, the arts, and literature—serve as a site of social struggle? How do diverse groups within the Americas imagine their identities and their relation to the United States? What happens when we look at our world(s) from a variety of perspectives? These are some of the questions that are addressed in American Studies, an interdisciplinary approach to American history, life, and culture.

American Studies is a vital, malleable, and growing academic enterprise, one known for the new questions it has posed, the new perspectives it has brought to the study of the cultures of the United States, and the new information it has introduced into scholarly and public conversations about national identity and experience. Students in this interdisciplinary program play an active role in their own education, working with the program director to design their own plan of inquiry into various aspects of American society and culture.

The American Studies Program offers a major leading to the bachelor's degree and a minor. Students are strongly encouraged to meet with the program director at an early stage in their studies for general education and preparatory course recommendations. The program director also provides ongoing advising and career information for American Studies students.

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