Congratulations Carper Prize Winners!

Congratulations to the 2013-14 winners of The Elsie M. Carper Prize for Outstanding Senior Research Essays, Rachel Holbreich and Taryn Ferguson!

Read about their outstanding essays here

About Us

The Department of American Studies at The George Washington University is one of the nation's most rigorous and intellectually innovative departments devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and society. Internationally recognized for its research, our faculty is also committed to fostering a dynamic learning environment where undergraduate and graduate students work together with faculty to better understand the culture, politics and history of the United States and its role in the world. 

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Graduation 2014!

This year’s graduation was a series of wonderful celebrations. The MA students were feted first, on May 16. At the MA celebration for Columbian College, our own Maggie Unverzagt Goddard was the Distinguished Student Speaker, where she offered a tour-de-force of American Studies analysis of popular culture! Then we toasted our undergraduate majors at a gathering on Saturday, May 17, just before the CCAS celebration in the Smith Center. The party was delightful, and provided a chance for faculty to meet the proud parents—and for the parents to ask us to please explain, seriously now, what is American Studies? We were honored that one of our majors, Brandon Aversano, was the Distinguished Student Speaker at the first celebration of the afternoon. Brandon’s talk was a passionate call for graduates to commit themselves to social justice, fighting for the rights of all. And Professor McAlister was the faculty speaker at the second celebration—which she described as an extraordinary honor and also quite a challenge. “I speak regularly to audiences of 200 or so,” she says, “but I had never faced an audience of 2,500! Still I just looked over at the smiling faces of our majors, who were supportive and already beside themselves with joy to be headed out into the world with their GW degree—and their American Studies tools.”

Jeffrey C. Kasch Foundation Makes a Significant Donation to American Studies

We are delighted to announce that the Jeffrey C. Kasch Foundation has pledged a generous donation to our department to support student research.

The donation was made at the request of Libby Ellsworth-Kasch. Libby received her BA in American Studies at GW in 2008 and, after a stint working in D.C., returned to our department for her MA (2014). Libby has been an enthusiastic student of the politics of popular culture both as an undergraduate and graduate student. The Jeffrey C. Kasch Foundation, established by her late father, supports education, and Libby is working with the foundation to underwrite research by students in American Studies. In particular, the foundation’s yearly donations for the next five years will go to helping graduate and undergraduate students who have travel or other expenses related to their original research projects.

These projects will include things like MA students carrying out additional archival work to turn research seminar papers into articles; PhD students doing oral histories for their dissertations; or undergraduate majors traveling to archives for their senior theses. In other words, this donation is an extraordinary contribution to American Studies at GW, and will allow us to advance the kinds of rigorous, cutting-edge research that our students and faculty are known for. Our warmest thanks to Libby and the Jeffrey C. Kasch Foundation!

Summer 2014 Letter from the Chair

Want to know what's new in American Studies? Check out the Letter from the Chair that Prof. Melani McAlister wrote for our Spring e-newsletter. You can see all of our newsletters here

AMST Abroad!

American Studies major Hailey Murphy spent the spring semester studying abroad in Prague and was kind enough to share her experiences with us here.

How Sex Shaped American Literature

PhD student Scott Larson designed and taught the spring course Sexuality in Early American Literary Culture. He discusses his experiences here.