American Civilization

The Major in American Civilization offers a framework for those students who wish to take an interdisciplinary approach to American culture. As it developed in the years following World War II, the American studies movement here and abroad included literary scholars who gave new weight to the historical context of the texts they read, as well as historians eager to move beyond the main lines of political and economic historiography into other fields of endeavor and forms of expression.

To these early forays were added contributions of art historians and musicologists, folklorists and specialists in material culture. This mix of disciplines, methods and objects has prompted earnest (and much debated) attempts to develop a unified methodology, and, at best, has elicited from American studies specialists an unusual degree of methodological self-consciousness. We hope to instill our interdisciplinary majors with a clear and responsible sense of the ways in which one may study American culture.

Much of the work of American Civilization takes place in the History and English Departments.

  • Two lower level courses from HIS 151, 152, 153, 212, 216 or 240
  • Two upper level courses from HIS 311, 312 or 322
  • Four courses from ENG 210, 380, 384, 385, 386, THR 388 or certain sections of ENG 235 (consult with Professor Pankratz)
  • One from Philosophy or Religious Studies
  • One additional course: ART 107; ECO 105, 335, or 336; PHI 216; POL 101, 210, 231/331, 322 or 334; REL 261 or 262; or SPA 308

American Civilization Majors with an emphasis in Literature:

  • ENG 399 or 491

American Civilization Majors with an emphasis in History:

  • HIS 493

American Civilization Majors interested in historical museum studies should take HIS 311 or 312 and complete a supervised internship at either the Landis Valley Farm Museum near Lancaster or the William Penn Museum in Harrisburg.

Students interested in this major should consult Professor Pankratz in the History Department.


What Can I Do With a Major in
AMERICAN-CIVILIZATION