Jacqueline Drayer wins the Luther Rice Fellowship!

Congratulations to Jacqueline Drayer (BA '15), who was recently awarded a Luther Rice Undergraduate Research Fellowship

Jacqueline describes her research plans: "I plan to explore the relationship between old alley and tenement housing and modern day micro apartments and tiny houses. Although the specific architectural forms have changed, minuscule dwellings are again popping up in cities like New York City, San Francisco, Washington DC, and London. Yet the homes' occupants and surrounding culture, as well as the architecture itself, has changed drastically. The image of micro housing previously and currently provides an alternate lens for viewing contemporary urbanism, and perhaps a glimpse of things to come."

Recent Alumni Publications

Several PhD and MA alums published books in 2013. These books covered a broad range of topics—from the politics of how hate crimes are covered in the news media to the development of our understandings of the internet. They give some sense of the diversity of our department’s interests, as well as the impressive publication record of our community.

Clara S. Lewis, Tough on Hate?: The Cultural Politics of Hate Crimes (New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 2013).

Shelly McKenzie, Getting Physical: The Rise of Fitness Culture in America (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2013).

Katherine Campbell Mead-Brewer, The Trickster in Ginsberg: A Critical Reading (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2013). 

Stephanie Ricker Schulte, Cached: Decoding the Internet in Global Popular Culture (New York: New York University Press, 2013). 

            Stephanie was also recently featured in The GW [alum magazine]. 

You can see more alumni publications by clicking 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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In Memoriam: Phyllis Palmer

Dr. Phyllis Palmer, Professor Emeritus of American Studies and Women’s Studies, died quietly in her home on April 13th, after a year-long battle with cancer. Phyllis was a valued and committed faculty member at GWU from 1977 to 2009. She was deeply interested in issues of race, gender, and social justice, both in her writing and her teaching. Phyllis authored many articles and two books, Domesticity and Dirt: Housewives and Domestic Servants in the United States, 1920-1945 (1990) and Living as Equals: How Some White Americans Created Interracial Connections during the Civil Rights Era (2008). In addition, she was a pioneering member of the Urban Food Task Force at GW.  Phyllis was also an extraordinary colleague and leader. She directed the Women’s Studies program for more than ten years, from 1977 to 1989, and served as chair of the American Studies department from 1994 to 1999, and again 2002-06. As chair of American Studies, she transformed what had been a small unit of accomplished scholars into a significantly larger program that became one of the most successful American Studies departments in the country. She also served the university in numerous ways, chairing the steering committee of GW’s Decennial Middle States Accreditation Review in 1995, and acting as interim dean of CCAS in 1995, among other contributions. Most importantly, Phyllis was a mentor and advisor to several generations of students, and a friend and ally to her colleagues. Her energy, generosity of spirit, and commitment to social justice, as well as her honesty and courage in the last year of her life, remain an inspiration to those who knew her. 

Mergen-Palmer Distinguished Lecture

This annual lecture is named in honor of Professors Bernard Mergen and Phyllis Palmer. Barney and Phyllis are both professors emeriti of American Studies, and each played a major role as a scholar and teacher at GW. These two scholars shared a broad interest in American Studies as a field, and specific interests in sustainability, food studies, and the environment.

Read more about the lecture series here.

Donate to the fund here

Introducing Dara Orenstein

This past fall, the department was pleased to welcome its newest faculty member, Dara Orenstein, who received her PhD in American Studies from Yale University in 2012.  

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Alumni Highlight: Natalie Zelt

Natalie Zelt is a PhD student in the department of American Studies at the University of Texas where she studies photography's intersections with American culture.  After graduating from GWU in 2008, she became the curatorial assistant for photography at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston where she co-curated and co-authored WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath.  The exhibition is currently on display at the Brooklyn Museum in New York. She recently completed work on an exhibition for the Houston Center for Photography entitled See Food: Contemporary Photography and the Ways We Eat, which opened in November 2013. 

Photo of Natalie Zelt