American Studies

The American Studies Program is consistently one of the top-five majors among the undergraduates of Trinity College. Our courses attract students who are interested in a wide array of scholarly approaches from history, policy, and culture to law, economics, and education. Through texts, images, and sounds, the major provides a rich, multidisciplinary exploration of the American experience at home and abroad.

American Studies majors are sharp critical thinkers and skilled researchers who deliver astute analysis in person and in print. Over the years, the American Studies Program at Trinity has served as a foundation for professional training (in law, business, medicine, or media) and graduate work (in the humanities or social sciences). The intimate size of the program fosters close intellectual and personal contact between students and faculty. Situated in Hartford, the one-time home of such luminaries as J. P. Morgan, Mark Twain, and Harriet Beecher Stowe, students in the program are encouraged to take advantage of the unique historical, literary, and artistic resources available.  

The Faculty

Trinity's American Studies Program derives its excellence from its faculty of notable professors, many of whom enjoy national reputations and all of whom are active scholars. Engaged and enthusiastic, they enjoy working with students whether in or outside of the classroom. ​

The core faculty include Davarian Baldwin, Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of American Studies, who is a historian and cultural critic of urban America. American Studies Director and Associate Professor Scott Gac writes on a variety of 19th-century cultural topics from music to violence. Assistant Professor of American Studies Jack Gieseking, a cultural geographer and queer theorist, investigates digital and material environments to understand urban communities and public dialogues. Cheryl Greenberg, Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of History, tackles issues of race and religion in 20th-century America. Associate Professor of English Chris Hager is an expert on 19th-century literature and literacy. He is the winner of the 2014 Frederick Douglass Book Prize for Word by Word: Emancipation and the Act of Writing. Christina Heatherton, Assistant Professor of American Studies, explores the global resonance and legacy of social movements in the twentieth century. Charles A. Dana Professor of History Joan Hedrick studies gender, feminism, and the nineteenth century. She won the 1995 Pulitzer Prize in Biography for Harriet Beecher Stowe: A Life. Associate Professor of English and American Studies Diana Paulin, winner of the 2013 Errol Hill Award for her book Imperfect Unions, focuses on African-American literature and disability studies. Tom Wickman, Assistant Professor of History and American Studies, engages Native American and environmental history in colonial America.  Please click on the faculty and staff tab for a complete list of the faculty affiliated with the American Studies Program.

American Studies Student Profile

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Kelly Vaughan

Read Kelly's latest post “She was an American Girl”: Why I Chose to Major in American Studies

Upcoming Events

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The Latest in American Studies

Profile: Emily Leonard (MA, American Studies).​

Interview: Davarian Baldwin on Archibald Motley's Gettin' Religion (1948), a new acquistion @ The Whitney. 

Publication: Davarian Baldwin, "'I Will Build a Black Empire': The Birth of a Nation and the Specter of the New Negro," The Journal of the Progressive Age and Gilded Era, 14.4 (October 2015): 599-603.​

Award: Chris Hager, Public Scholars Program Grant, National Endowment for the Humanities.

Distinction: Christina Heatheron, finalist for the Constance M. Rourke Prize, American Studies Association prize for best article in ​American Quarterly. 

Publication: Davarian Baldwin, "'The 800-Pound Gargoyle': The Long History of Higher Education and Urban Development on Chicago's South Side," American Quarterly, 67.1 (March 2015), 81-103.

Distinction: Jack Gieseking, Community Learning Initiative (CLI) Grant to develop AMST 409 The Digital Image of the City.

Distinction: Chris Hager2015-2016 Nancy Schaenen Endowed Visiting Scholar of Ethics, Prindle Institute for Ethics, DePauw University.

In Hartford and Beyond: Davarian Baldwin @ the Wadsworth Athenuem, in USA Today, and in podcast for the Schomburg  Center in New York.

Distinction: Chris Hager, NEH summer stipend, support for "The Epistolary Culture of the U.S. Civil War."

Publication: Scott Gac, "Slave or Free? White or Black? The Representation of George Latimer," New England Quarterly, 88.1 (Mar. 2015), 73-103.

Publication: Tom Wickman,“Winters Embittered with Hardships”: Severe Cold, Wabanaki Power, and English Adjustments, 1690–1710," William and Mary Quarterly, 72.1 (Jan. 2015), 57-98.

Distinction: Davarian Baldwin elected to the Board of Directors of the Urban History Association.

WHY  are you an American Studies major? The Phi Beta Kapa Society has some answers (hint: you'll earn a higher salary in the long run.) Visit: Know the Facts--Arts and Sciences are Key.

AWARD!! Chris Hager, Frederick Douglass Book Prize for Word by Word (Harvard, 2013). Full details here.

Publication: Christina Heatherton, "University of Radicalism: Ricardo Flores Magón and Leavonworth Penitentiary," American Quarterly, (Sept. 2014): 557-582.

In Hartford! Scott Gac at the Wadsworth Atheneum, Sept. 20, 2014, at 2 PM. Maculinity, race, and violence in the early American art collection.

Congratulations! Frederick Douglass Prize Finalist: Chris Hager for Word by Word (Harvard, 2013), his brilliant work on American emancipation and literacy.

Welcome! Christina Heatherton, assistant professor of American Studies. See "Today Marks First Day of New President, Five Faculty."

Publication: Scott Gac, "The Republican Statesman: William Henry Seward," Reviews in American History 42.2 (June 2104): 285-290. 

Congratulations! Lincoln Prize Finalist: Chris Hager for Word by Word (Harvard, 2013) a brilliant workon emancipation and African American literacy.

On the Voice of America: Scott Gac, "Temperance Marked U.S. War Against Drinking," 17 Dec., 2013.

On the BBC: Joan Hedrick,"The Legacy of Uncle Tom," 25 Nov. 2013.

Publication: Davarian Baldwin and Minkah Makalani, eds., Escape From New York: The New Negro Renaissance Beyond Harlem (Minnesota, 2013).

Congratulations!: Madeleine Dickinson ('14), named as President's Fellow for outstanding work as an American Studies major.

Congratulations!: Diana Paulin, whose book, Imperfect Unions: Staging Miscegenation in US Drama and Fiction (2012), has won the 2013 Errol Hill Award for outstanding scholarship in the field of African-American theatre from the American Society for Theatre Research.

Publication: Scott Gac, "Was the Civil War a Mistake? Fifty Years of Edmund Wilson's Patriotic Gore," Reviews in American History (June 2013).

Publication: Tom Wickman,  “Arithmetic and Afro-Atlantic pastoral protest: The place of (in)numeracy in Gronniosaw and Equiano” in Abolitionist Places, eds. Jared Hickman and Martha Schoolman (London: Taylor & Francis, 2013).