American Studies

 

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At Mary Baldwin University, students explore the American way of life through a variety of lenses. American Studies examines, from several perspectives, the development and expressions of a national culture and subcultures, exploring diverse aspects of the American experience locally, nationally, and globally. American Studies considers life in the United States of America by encouraging students to analyze the American past and present, to synthesize their knowledge, and to develop the critical habit of mind needed for cultural understanding. Such skills are essential for the formation of a knowledgeable and politically engaged citizenry. The major is an excellent choice for aspiring teachers, journalists, community leaders, and public servants.

Why American Studies at Mary Baldwin?

American Studies is an interdisciplinary field that focuses on the study of the cultures of the United States, including transnational, global, and comparative perspectives, and culminates in an interdisciplinary thesis in one of the concentrations: American Studies for Educators; American Ethnicity, Culture, and Race; Global America; American Public Life; and American Arts and Letters. Students can earn a major, minor, or certificate in American Studies.

Students who choose American Studies often hope to pursue a career in public life; enjoy the study of history, social sciences, literature, art, and music; or are looking for a major to complement a minor in psychology, the natural or social sciences, humanities, or other related fields.

International students may be particularly interested in American Studies to broaden their understanding of the American way of life. For exchange students who plan to be on campus one year, the Certificate in American Studies is an excellent way to enhance the value of their time studying in the U.S.

Designed for aspiring teachers, American Studies for Educators examines, from several perspectives, the development and expressions of a national culture and subcultures, exploring diverse aspects of the American experience locally, nationally, and globally. American Studies considers life in the United States of America by encouraging students to analyze the American past and present, to synthesize their knowledge, and to develop the critical habit of mind needed for cultural understanding. Such skills are essential for the formation of a knowledgeable and politically engaged citizenry.

What we do at Mary Baldwin University: American Studies is an interdisciplinary field that focuses on the study of the cultures of the United States, including transnational, global, and comparative perspectives. The disciplines that constitute this major are History, English, Political Science, Economics, and Anthropology.

What you learn through American Studies for Educators:
American History, Literature and Politics are the disciplines that form the foundation of this major. American Studies for Educators also prepares students in:

  • Virginia history
  • Human geography
  • Micro- and macroeconomics
  • The workings of government at the federal, state , and local levels

Students in this major will complete the teacher education program, resulting in a minor in education and a Virginia teaching license, and for a capstone project will complete an interdisciplinary senior thesis in an aspect of education in the United States.

Our resources in the community: Mary Baldwin University is well-situated to afford students in American Studies for Educators the opportunity to hone their skills in area educational institutions. For students in the College for Women and Baldwin Online and Adult Programs students at the Staunton/Weyers Cave regional centers may work with one of the following:

  • Staunton Public Schools
  • Waynesboro Public Schools
  • Augusta County Public Schools
  • The Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind
  • The Pygmalion School
  • The Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center

RESOURCES IN THE REGIONAL COMMUNITY
Mary Baldwin University’s main campus is in downtown Staunton, Virginia in the central Shenandoah Valley — an area abounds with music, theatre, film, and the visual arts. In fact, all our regional centers have access to an abundance of cultural resources.

Most Mary Baldwin regional centers are within driving distance of Washington, D.C., Jamestown, Williamsburg, Civil War sites, and historic reminders of the European immigration to Virginia, the African slave trade and the original native peoples of Virginia.

Mary Baldwin University is uniquely situated to afford students in American Studies the opportunity to engage with expressions of American life through internships, applied research, and field work. Some of the many options for students in the Staunton/Weyers Cave/Charlottesville area:

The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library
http://www.woodrowwilson.org/

The Museum of American Frontier Culture
http://www.frontiermuseum.org/

Annual African-American Heritage Festival
http://www.staunton.va.us/community/african-american-heritage-festival/

The R.R. Smith Center for History and Art
http://www.rrsmithcenter.org/

The P. Buckley Moss Museum, celebrating one of American’s most popular artists
http://www.pbuckleymoss.com/

The homes of three presidents –
Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello http://www.monticello.org
James Madison’s Montpelier http://www.montpelier.org
James Monroe’s Ash Lawn-Highland http://www.ashlawnhighland.org/

The Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center
http://www.lewisandclarkeast.org

The Crossroads Heritage Center
http://www.vbmhc.org/

The Blue Ridge Parkway with access to the Appalachian Trail
http://www.blueridgeparkway.org/

Faculty

Community

Abigail Wightman

Associate Professor of Anthropology; BA, Miami University; MA, PhD, University of Oklahoma...
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Laura A. Van Assendelft

Professor of Political Science; BA, University of the South; PhD, Emory University...
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Amy J. Tillerson

Associate Professor of History; BA, MA, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; PhD,...
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Edmund D. Potter

Assistant Professor of History; BA, College of William & Mary; MA, University of Virginia;...
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Brenci Patiño

Associate Professor of Spanish; BA, University of Texas; MA and PhD, University of Illinois...
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Kristen Egan

Assistant Professor of English; BS, Le Moyne College; MA, State University of New York at...
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