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University Catalog

Office of the Registrar

American Studies

Frieda E. Knobloch, Director
Cooper House
Phone: (307) 766-3898, FAX: (307) 766-3700


JOHN D. DORST, B.A. Oberlin College 1974; M.A. University of California-Berkeley 1977; Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania 1983; Professor of American Studies 1996, 1989.
FRIEDA E. KNOBLOCH, B.A. Cornell University 1985; Ph.D. University of Minnesota 1994; Professor of American Studies 2014, 1997.
B.A. University of Notre Dame 1970; M.A. University of Iowa 1976; Ph.D. 1977; Director of American Studies 1982; Professor of American Studies 1994, 1982.

Associate Professors

BETH LOFFREDA, B.A. University of Virginia; M.A. Rutgers University; Ph.D. 1997; Associate Professor of American Studies and Creative Writing 2014, 1998.
ULRICH ADELT, Magister Artium, University of Hamburg 2000; M.A. University of Iowa 2005; Ph.D. 2008; Associate Professor of American Studies 2015, 2009.

Assistant Professor

LILIA SOTO, B.A. University of California-San Diego 2000; M.A. University of California-Berkeley 2003; Ph.D. 2008; Assistant Professor of American Studies and Latina/o Studies 2012, 2010.

Academic Professional Research Scientist

Andrea Graham

Adjunct Faculty

(see Catalog section following name for academic credentials)

Catherine Connolly, Gender and Women's Studies
R. McGreggor Cawley,
Political Science
Colleen Denney, Art
William J. Gribb, Geography
Michael Harkin, Anthropology
Jeanne Holland, English
Philip J. Roberts, History
David Romtvedt, English
Audrey Shalinsky, Anthropology

American Studies

American Studies is an interdisciplinary field emphasizing the integration of the humanities, fine arts, and social sciences in the study of American experiences, past and present. Our program places special emphasis on studying American cultures through course work, field experiences, and internships so that  each student can apply academic knowledge to real-life circumstances. Our program highlights international perspectives, as well as the transnational context of American impacts and experiences, in coursework and in exchanges available to American Studies students. American Studies also highlights opportunities in the public sector, including historic preservation of buildings, neighborhoods, or landscapes. American Studies puts people, ideas, places, artifacts, images, and histories together in programs of study preparing students for specific career goals in K-12 education or work in the public section (e.g. museums, collections, historic sites, interpretive centers), or for further education in professional schools and graduate study.

Undergraduate Major

Through its core of American Studies courses, the program frames and develops each student’s individual research interests, and in consultation with an American Studies advisor, allows students to include courses from virtually any program and department at UW that sustain a student’s engagement with their particular focus. Most coursework outside American Studies draws on programs and departments in the College of Arts and Sciences. Individual programs of study are as varied as out students. Examples of possible concentrations (drawing on courses outside American Studies) include ethnic studies, sustainability, museum studies, philosophy of science, public health and social justice, environment and society, and the U.S. in international perspectives. Each student develops a concentration of study in consultation with their American Studies advisor with ample room to combine courses and interests into a coherent undergraduate education.
Because American Studies is both an international field with scholars all over the world, and the U.S. has transnational significance, we strongly encourage students to take 2 years of language study to achieve meaningful access to skills as readers, scholars, and travelers, and consider participating in an international exchange. Some languages currently in demand by American Studies students include Spanish, Arabic, and Japanese.

Through the following curriculum, students develop individual programs of study, with their advisors, to understand and engage American cultures.

1. Foundation (12 credits):

  • AMST 2010 and AMST 2110
  • Two courses at the 1000- or 2000-level in interdisciplinary fields, optionally including one in American History, from programs and departments such as African and American Diaspora Studies, American Indian Studies, Environment and Natural Resources, Global and Area Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, Latina/o Studies, Religious Studies, or appropriate courses transferred from other institutions, to be named in the program of study in consultation with an American Studies advisor.

2. Concentration (27 credits)

Core. Each student must take three AMST courses at the 3000-4000 level, excluding the senior seminar. These seminars are designed to maintain an interdisciplinary view of American culture and to foster an American Studies community (9 credits).

Theme. An American Studies theme is devised, in consultation with the student's advisor, and is presented to the American Studies core faculty in writing as a proposed course of study. This proposal is usually made at the end of the second year of study (or upon completion of 60 hours of course work toward graduation), since the document guides the student through an exploration of American culture. Typical themes include: American diversity, environment and society, material culture and everyday life, visual culture and media, American cultural history, American institutions and public culture, the United States in international perspective. The theme must include a minimum of 6 credits and a maximum of 9 credits in a single discipline. Up to 3 credits can be granted for courses at the 1000-2000 level (18 credits). 3.

3. Capstone (6 credits): Senior seminar plus an individual project stemming from either AMST 4010 (independent study) or AMST 4970 (internship).

Students pursuing Program honors should also write an undergraduate thesis.


The internship experience is essential for students specializing in public sector American studies. The program has an active program of paid internships that can place students in work environments in Wyoming, other parts of the U.S., or in selected foreign countries.


The program has established semester or academic year exchanges with universities in Great Britain, the Netherlands, Denmark and New Zealand in order to encourage an international understanding of American culture. The Elaine Kay Clatterbuck Fund supports majors who are spending this valuable time abroad.

Financial Aid

The William Roberston Coe Fellowship supports undergraduate tuition. The Long-Findeisen Fund supports individual research or exhibition projects. The Elaine K. Clatterbuck Fellowship assists students engaged in an international exchange. The internship program provides students with a stipend while engaged in a program-approved internship.

Teacher Education

Teacher certification in elementary or secondary (social studies) is available by arrangement with the College of Education. Students will be assigned an adviser from the College of Education, as well as from American Studies.


The certificate program allows students to choose from undergraduate and graduate courses in American Studies, literature, geography, music, art, history, philosophy, sociology, folklore, anthropology, American Indian studies, political science, environmental studies, and media studies. The program encompasses two semesters of full time work: a total of at least 24 semester hours, or approximately 8 courses. Of these, 6 hours (2 courses) must be selected from the following list:

AMST 2010 or 2110 (3 hours)
AMST 4300, 5550 or 4020 (3 hours)

An additional 18 hours (6 courses) are chosen in consultation with an American Studies faculty adviser. The final 3 credit hours, completed during the summer months, are devoted to an internship (AMST 4385) or field experience in American culture (AMST 4990).

Undergraduate Minor

Students may minor in American Studies through a program of 24 credits of study, some which may be matched with major requirements in related disciplines and fields.

For details, see the list of eligible courses at

Graduate Major

The program offers an interdisciplinary course of study leading to the Master of Arts degree. The program also supports a historic preservation concentration that involves studio courses and field experience. Other specific paths through the American Studies curriculum are tailored to the needs of the students. Semester exchange programs reinforce an international perspective on American culture.

Program Specific Admission Requirements

A significant writing sample (usually a seminar paper or, for those coming from technical fields, a major report) that demonstrates potential for graduate study.

Program Specific Degree Requirements

Degree requirements based on university minimum requirements.  Sucessful completion of the following: AMST 5500/5510 with a grade of "B" or better, three additional American Studies courses, and a Thesis or Plan B (non-Thesis) project.

American Studies (AMST) Courses

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