Department of American Studies


Creative thinkers,
historians and Researchers

Understanding the United States and its role in the world


Who We Are

The Department of American Studies at the George Washington University is committed to fostering a dynamic, interdisciplinary learning and research environment focused on understanding the culture, beliefs, policies, politics, urbanization and history of the United States and its role in the world.

Through a rigorous curriculum, we challenge our students to uncover fresh perspectives on how we live and engage with one another. Our long-standing ties with the Smithsonian Institution and other organizations within the nation’s capital further immerse students in unique experiences relating to historic preservation, museum curation, social politics and more. And our alumni have achieved success in a variety of fields, making their mark in virtually every sector of the economy.

Talib Hudson


"I found American Studies refreshing. It wasn’t a sugar-coating of American history. I felt that it gave a more honest depiction, that it really told the story of people on the ground."

Talib Hudson
BA '04

Core Research Strengths



Learn About Our Research


Our Highlights


Department Headlines

Professor Elisabeth Anker sits with a “Dune: Part Two” popcorn bucket and other movie snacks.

Best for fun class: Politics and Film

Politics and Film, an American Studies course, tackles the intersection between filmmaking and dominant American political concepts like liberty, neoliberalism and individualism.


Born to Run—for President

Luther Rice Fellow Maureen Rafter, an American Studies major, delves into the connections between Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen, exploring their journey to political unity.



Faculty Books


Cover of Ashley Brown's book "Serving Herself"

Serving Herself: The Life and Times of Althea Gibson

In this comprehensive biography, Ashley Brown narrates the public career and private struggles of Althea Gibson (1927-2003).

Alt Text

Ugly Freedoms

In Ugly Freedoms, Elisabeth R. Anker reckons with the complex legacy of freedom offered by liberal American democracy, outlining how the emphasis of individual liberty has always been entangled with...