Monday, August 31, 2009

The American Studies Experience

We, students, are frequently asked by our friends, family members, co-workers, etc., what our college major is. Whenever I tell people I’m an American Studies major, I either get puzzled faces staring back at me, or responses such as, “Oh, so you want to be a teacher?” Explaining the major in detail, as well as the wide range of careers it can prepare one for (not only teaching), usually takes some time.

Though the American Studies major doesn’t seem to be too popular, it should be! It allows people like myself (who tend to be indecisive, and sometimes scatter-brained) to avoid having to take 36 credits in just one academic discipline. The interdisciplinary approach allows students to learn about our country from a multitude of angles. American studies majors are never bored!

While the program as a whole is broad in scope, each major is required to choose a specific thesis topic. I am just beginning this exciting, yet challenging, process!

I am very interested in the arts, predominantly music and dance, and am therefore considering doing my thesis in that field. I am also fascinated by the cultural diversity of the United States, and more specifically, New York City.

I have been reading about the development of various ethnic musical genres in the US, such as Latin-jazz, mambo, salsa, merengue, samba, and reggae. I am intrigued by the relationship between these genres and immigrant self-identity. I look forward to further researching the styles’ transnational influences as they flow across geographic boundaries.

In addition to the three required American Studies classes I am taking this semester, the music class I am taking at the Rose Hill campus, “Feeling the Funk,” will certainly supplement my research.

I am very excited to meet new American Studies majors this year and learn about their interests. I’m sure this year will be a rewarding one!

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