American Cultural Studies: Mission
The American Cultural Studies (ACS) Program is devoted to the interdisciplinary study of diversity in American society, providing students and faculty with opportunities to apply social and cultural theories to examine concepts such as race/ethnicity, social and cultural theory, social economic class, gender and sexual orientation, religions, and abilities while thinking about the formation of identities and societies over time.
As a result of their engagement in ACS learning options, which range from taking an ACS class as part of the student’s General Undergraduate Education requirements to majoring in the ACS Program, students emerge able to identify and discuss complex issues in American society from critical interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary perspectives.
Outcomes for ACS students
All students who take ACS classes as a part of the General Undergraduate Education requirement, as part of a minor, and/or as an ACS major are able to:
- Articulate what it means to be a knowledgeable resident of and participant in American society.
- Describe the Americanization process and American cultural institutions and American cultural values.
- Identify the meaning of a pluralistic society.
- Articulate social and cultural understandings that facilitate working and living in a pluralistic society.
- Identify their own and other multicultural contributions to the larger society.
- Articulate an understanding of identity formation that is not based solely in personal experience.
- Examine their own cultural selves and identities.
- Engage in civil dialogue and support their positions on issues related to racial, ethnic, cultural, sexual, religious, ability, and class diversities in American society.
- Examine relationships that are shaped by inequalities of power and identities such as race, national origin, gender, and sexualities within and between cultural groups.
- Read and write more effectively by identifying and analyzing the meanings of diverse cultural expressions and perspectives.
Students who are ACS Program majors may also develop additional competencies, including the ability to:
- Use the concepts of privilege and power to examine and challenge structural inequalities in the American democracy.
- Articulate a personal commitment to social change to create a more equitable society.
- Critically think about what it means to work for social change and progress.
- Articulate how forms of discrimination such as racism, sexism, homophobia, classicism, and ableism work together and reinforce each other in order to find meaningful ways of exploring their intersections and deconstructing their influence.
- Articulate how power develops within the intersections of social categories such as race/ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation, etc.
- Develop advanced oral and writing skills to describe and explain these power dynamics.
- Apply relevant methodologies to research and projects that contribute to the field of American cultural, ethnic and multicultural studies.
- Plan a rich undergraduate background by combining the social sciences with humanities for advance study or work in law, domestic social services, public service, government service, education, ethnic studies, and other social sciences at the graduate level.