The Department of American Culture (AC) promotes socially and publicly engaged scholarship and teaching aimed at understanding the complexity of the United States. In particular, we seek to illuminate the significance and lived experience of race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexuality, and religion, within the U.S. and extending beyond national borders in a transnational and interdisciplinary way. American Studies—which have historically negotiated between history, literature, and the social sciences—epitomize the creative crossing of multiple disciplines and are at the forefront of knowledge creation. Our faculty members have joint appointments in units ranging from Afroamerican and African Studies, History, and English, to Romance Languages and Literatures, Sociology, and Film, Television, and Media. AC students engage traditional and emergent fields such as indigenous studies, popular culture studies, ethnic studies, LGBT studies, and digital studies and critically analyze issues of nationalism, memorials, empire, poverty, activism, culture, performance, and social change. The Department of American Culture stands as a leader in American Studies nationally and internationally
Your Gifts at Work.
“The American Culture/Ethnic Studies Department has been the most influential part of my experience at the University of Michigan. From my ramblings about the future to all the research questions/topics I was interested in, I received so much support and encouragement from my professors and fellow classmates who were all so passionate about what they were doing. Especially while writing my senior honors thesis, the department has helped me realize how much I love research and want to continue to further in my studies. More importantly, I was able to learn so much more about myself as an Asian American. None of this would have been possible without the supportive staff, faculty, and fellow students!”
—Lisa Ryou (American Culture major, Ethnic Studies sub plan, honors student, Class of 2023)
“The American Culture Department allowed me to explore my interest in mixed-race studies while learning about my own social identities. Through the Ethnic Studies sub-concentration, I took classes that made me think critically about race, gender, religion, and culture. I was also able to do an independent study that allowed me to bring my project idea of a mixed-race literature database into fruition and learn more about how I can combine all of my interests into the work of American Culture. Most of all, the faculty and staff of American Culture are some of the kindest people I have ever met and they made my experience that much better.”
—Jasmin S. Lee (American Culture major, Ethnic Studies sub plan, Class of 2023)
Our strategic fund is critical to our ability to pursue new opportunities and enrich ongoing activities. It allows our department and its four constitutive ethnic studies units to enhance our curriculum, strengthen our programming, support students and faculty, expand our visibility and engagement with the community, collaborate with other programs and departments, and provide resources for new initiatives.
Named in honor of long-time instructor and department advisor, gifts support awards for outstanding essays in American studies by undergraduate students who have declared a major or minor in American Culture.
Public Scholarship Activities
Funding for public scholarship allows us to invite speakers and organize conferences and workshops; build capacity to master new methodologies (ethnography, exhibition, digital humanities, etc.); learn about different forms of public scholarship; familiarize ourselves with the work of non-academic centers of reflection, theory-building, and action; and enhance our understanding of trends in public scholarship in pertinent fields.
Undergraduate and Graduate Research Fellowships
Fellowships provide the resources for undergraduate and graduate students to attend workshops and conferences for networking and training opportunities, support an undergraduate or graduate student’s work on a public scholarship project in the planning, pilot, or implementation phase, or supply funding for the planning, writing, and producing of collaborative publications that grow out of the student’s community-engaged scholarship.
Thank you for supporting American Culture!