An interdisciplinary introduction to American culture and society,
past and present

The Department of American Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences provides an interdisciplinary introduction to American culture and society, past and present. The department offers a Bachelor of Arts degree and an undergraduate minor in American Studies, as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree and an undergraduate minor in Sport Studies. All course offerings and more detailed requirements are available in the UI General Catalog.

American Studies

Courses and seminars in American Studies focus on significant cultural problems that traverse traditional departmental lines. Students acquire a broad familiarity with the dynamics of cultural experience and explore aspects of American life, including:

  • Popular and fine arts
  • Institutions and social processes
  • Artifacts
  • Values, customs, and ideals
  • The everyday experience of Americans
  • Regional, racial, ethnic, class, or gender identities
  • Nature and culture
  • Sport and popular entertainment

Sport Studies

Sport Studies is an interdisciplinary field of study that grew out of departments of physical education in the 1960s. The University of Iowa was a pioneer in this area. Graduates from the program go on to further graduate study in the field or to careers in education, journalism, administration, coaching, and sport management.

Bachelor of Arts in American Studies

The Bachelor of Arts in American Studies provides broad training in cultural analysis and communication. Students take courses that make sense of the contemporary world, both nationally and internationally, using a variety of approaches to the study of culture, including film, the digital humanities, art, theater, and literature. Faculty members have particular strengths in racial and ethnic studies, gender, sport studies, journalism, American literature, history, and American popular culture.

Learning Outcomes

Students are expected to demonstrate:

  • a deepened knowledge and critical understanding of American history, cultures, and society;
  • the ability to interpret a range of sources and to integrate those sources into a persuasive argument about American culture; and
  • the ability to explain one’s own perspective on American identity and to place that identity in the diverse, global context of our time.

Want to get started?

Learn more about the program, including courses, curriculum, and requirements here.

Bachelor of Arts in Sport Studies

The Bachelor of Arts in Sport Studies examines sport in its historical and contemporary cultural contexts. Course work provides students with the critical skills necessary to understand the cultural significance of sport as it relates to the media, the economy, the political system, and the educational system. A focus on the race, class, and gender differences in the sport experience is central to the major.

Learning Outcomes

Students must demonstrate an understanding of:

  • contemporary U.S. sport’s relationship to institutions and contexts including media, politics, and the economy;
  • the diversity of sport experiences in the U.S., including how opportunities for and the nature of participation are influenced by social class, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexuality, age, and ability/disability;
  • the historical and cultural forces that shape U.S. sport from the 19th century to the present;
  • how U.S. sport relates to global sport and the historical, political, and social factors that impact it; and
  • the theories and research methods that allow students to forge their own well-informed and clearly communicated critical studies of sport.

Want to get started?

Learn more about the program, including courses, curriculum, and requirements here.

Minor in American Studies

The minor in American Studies provides the opportunity to develop both broad training in cultural analysis and emphasis of particular interests within the study of American culture.

Learning Outcomes

Students are expected to demonstrate:

  • a deepened knowledge and critical understanding of American history, cultures, and society;
  • the ability to interpret a range of sources and to integrate those sources into a persuasive argument about American culture; and
  • the ability to explain one’s own perspective on American identity and to place that identity in the diverse, global context of our time.

Want to get started?

Learn more about the program, including courses, curriculum, and requirements here.

Minor in Sport Studies

The minor in Sport Studies examines sport in its historical and contemporary cultural contexts. Course work provides students with the critical skills necessary to understand the cultural significance of sport as it relates to the media, the economy, the political system, and the educational system. A focus on the race, class, and gender differences in the sport experience is central to the minor.

Learning Outcomes

Students must demonstrate an understanding of:

  • contemporary U.S. sport’s relationship to institutions and contexts including media, politics, and the economy;
  • the diversity of sport experiences in the U.S., including how opportunities for and the nature of participation are influenced by social class, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexuality, age, and ability/disability;
  • the historical and cultural forces that shape U.S. sport from the 19th century to the present;
  • how U.S. sport relates to global sport and the historical, political, and social factors that impact it; and
  • the theories and research methods that allow students to forge their own well-informed and clearly communicated critical studies of sport.

Want to get started?

Learn more about the program, including courses, curriculum, and requirements here.