Master of Arts in American Studies

 

Graduate Director: Professor Paul Lauter

Associate Director: Professor Mary (Mel) McCombie

 
Trinity College offers a Master of Arts in American Studies intended for

  • College graduates aiming for careers as museum specialists, curators, or educators
  • Secondary school teachers
  • Professionals in law, business, or other areas who desire to study how American culture shapes our thinking and our society
  • College or university graduates considering a Ph.D. in a related field
  • College or university graduates desiring personal enrichment

 Courses are offered during the evening in the fall and spring terms and during two summer terms.
 

You have a choice of three tracks:

 American Culture Studies

This track employs interdisciplinary approaches to illuminate the American experience. Using methods and materials from history, art, architecture, literary studies, etc., the track enables an understanding of American life and culture that no single discipline can provide. In this track, you are encouraged to combine classroom learning with research and internships in the excellent libraries, museums, archives, and other institutions in the Hartford region (see below). The program gives special attention to artists and intellectuals who resided in Hartford, to ethnic communities of the region, to the experience of women, and to topics that can be explored in depth by using research collections in or near Hartford.

 Museums and Communities

Museums have become venues of mass entertainment and education, not merely centers of display and enjoyment for a small cultural elite. Accordingly, museums and other cultural organizations need larger staffs and volunteer corps and must reflect a broader understanding of their new roles in a changing cultural environment.

 The track in Museums and Communities responds to these changing needs. As a student in this track, you will not only receive a solid grounding in American Studies and research methods, but also learn how museums and related institutions actually function. Courses are often directly related to exhibitions and other resources in the greater Hartford area. You will also undertake an internship at a museum or archive in the area as well as a thesis or research project related to the concentration.

 New England and the Nation: Historical Perspectives

Within American Studies, this track provides students a focus in American history, often through the lens of regional history. The track prepares the successful student to read critically and analytically, using both primary and secondary sources; to master regional history and through it, national history; and to present professional conference-style papers. It is particularly suited for historians and teachers of history.

 All tracks are multidisciplinary, drawing upon fields such as history, literary studies, cultural studies, art history, and museology.

 
Tracks at a Glance

 American Culture Studies – 10 credits, as follows:

  • AMST 801, Approaches to American Studies (1 credit, offered in the fall)
  • AMST 802, Primary Research Methods (1 credit, offered in the spring)
  • One elective course emphasizing historical approaches (1 credit)*
  • One elective course emphasizing literary or cultural approaches (1 credit)**
  • One elective course emphasizing art, architecture, or museum studies (1 credit)***
  • Three elective courses for AMST credit(3 credits)
  • Either AMST 954-955, Thesis (2 credits) or AMST 953, Independent Research Project (1 credit)
    • Students choosing AMST 953 must take one additional elective course (1 credit)

 Museums and Communities – 10 credits, as follows:

  • AMST 801, Approaches to American Studies (1 credit, offered in the fall)
  • AMST 802, Primary Research Methods (1 credit, offered in the spring)
  • AMST 825, Museums, Visual Culture &Critical Theory (1 credit)
  • AMST 835, Museum Exhibition (1 credit, offered in the fall), or AMST 821, Museum Exhibition Development (1 credit, offered in the summer 2013)
  • One elective course emphasizing historical approaches (1 credit)*
  • One elective course emphasizing literary or cultural approaches (1 credit)**
  • One elective course (1 credit)
  • AMST 894, Museums and Communities Internship (1 credit)
  • Either AMST 954-955, Thesis (2 credits) or AMST 953, Independent Research Project (1 credit)
    • Students choosing AMST 953 must take one additional elective course (1 credit)

 New England and the Nation: Historical Perspectives – 10 credits, as follows:

  • AMST 801, Approaches to American Studies (1 credit, offered in the fall)
  • AMST 802, Primary Research Methods (1 credit, offered in the spring)
  • AMST 803, Historiography and Historical Research (1 credit, offered in the spring)
  • Four elective courses emphasizing historical approaches (4 credits)*
  • One elective course emphasizing literary or cultural approaches (1 credit)**
  • Either AMST 954-955, Thesis (2 credits) or AMST 953, Independent Research Project (1 credit)
    • Students choosing AMST 953 must take one additional elective course (1 credit)

 *Courses emphasizing historical approaches include

AMST 816, Why We Fight
AMST 822, History of Hartford
AMST 823, History of American Sports
AMST 826, Nuclear America
AMST 828, New England and The Black Atlantic
AMST 838, America Collects
AMST 844, The Gilded Age, 1865 – 1920
AMST 849, Culture of Americanism in the 20th Century
AMST 850, Social Conscience and American Photography, 1839-1946
AMST 851, World of Rare Books
AMST 854, Remembering Pearl Harbor|
AMST 859, African Americans and Slavery
AMST 868, American Labor and Cultural Politics
PBPL 812, Women and Politics
PBPL 862/AMST 862, American Religion and Public Policy

 **Courses emphasizing literary or cultural approaches include

AMST 827, Body Art in Fiction, Film and Practice
AMST 838, America Collects
AMST 843, Spectacle, Social Control, and the Spaces of Display
AMST 850, Social Conscience and American Photography, 1839-1946
AMST 853, Advertising the American Dream
AMST 865, American Pop Music, 1920s – 1950s
AMST 867, American Pop Music, 1950s - 1990s
AMST 871, Science Fiction and American Society
ENGL 821, Immigration Stories
ENGL 832, Turns in the South
ENGL 846, American Auteurs
ENGL 877, The Sixties in Fiction, Film, and Poetry
ENGL 839, Filming the City
ENGL 808, American Realism & Urban Life
ENGL 839, Special Topics in Film
ENGL 865, Media and the Presidential Election

***Courses emphasizing art, architecture, or museum studies

AMST 821, Museum Exhibition Development
AMST 825, Museums, Visual Culture &Critical Theory
AMST 835, Museum Exhibition
AMST 825, Visual Culture and Critical Theory
AMST 843, Spectacle, Social Control, and the Spaces of Display
AMST 850, Social Conscience and American Photography, 1839-1946
AMST 851, World of Rare Books
AMST 853, Advertising the American Dream
AMST 870, Native American Pictorial Narrative
AMST 894, Museums and Communities Internship

Graduate courses from other departments can also fulfill specific requirements. Consult the program director for advice and approval.

For availability of courses during each academic term, consult the Registrar’s official Schedule of Classes.


Community Resources

 
The following are among the resources available to you in the American Studies program:
Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum  (Wethersfield)
 
In addition, you may secure permission from the American Studies program director to take relevant graduate courses from other programs at Trinity College or from cooperating institutions (Hartford Seminary, Rensselaer of Hartford, Saint Joseph’s College, and the University of Hartford) belonging to the Hartford Consortium of Higher Learning. You may transfer up to 2 relevant courses from graduate programs at other institutions. Please be sure to secure permission in advance to apply courses taken elsewhere toward degree requirements at Trinity College.