American studies

From Academic Kids

American Studies is a distinct interdisciplinary field that promotes a broad humanistic understanding of American culture past and present. American Studies is both multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary in character (incorporating elements of economics, history, literature, sociology, and art history, among others), and encourages scholars from diverse disciplines to exchanges ideas on scholarship as it relates to the American experience.

Founding notions

Vernon Louis Parrington is often cited as the founder of American studies for his Pulitzer Prize-winning Main Currents in American Thought, which combines the methodologies of literary criticism and historical research. In the introduction to Main Currents in American Thought, Parrington described his field:

I have undertaken to give some account of the genesis and development in American letters of certain germinal ideas that have come to be reckoned traditionally American--how they came into being here, how they were opposed, and what influence they have exerted in determining the form and scope of our characteristic ideals and institutions. In pursuing such a task, I have chosen to follow the broad path of our political, economic, and social development, rather than the narrower belletristic.

The "broad path" that Parrington describes formed a scholastic course of study for Henry Nash Smith, who received a Ph.D. from Harvard's interdisciplinary program in History and American Civilization (1940), setting an academic precedent for present-day American Studies programs.

Associations and scholarly journals

The American Studies Association was founded in 1950. It publishes American Quarterly, which has been the primary outlet of American Studies scholarship since 1949.

External links

de:Amerikanologie

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