The Department of American Studies and Ethnicity integrates humanistic and social scientific perspectives and brings them to bear on an examination of the United States with a particular emphasis on comparative study of the peoples, cultures, history, and social issues of the Western United States. The program offers four separate majors in American Studies and Ethnicity, African American Studies, Asian American Studies, and Chicano/Latino Studies; and minors in American Studies and Ethnicity, American Popular Culture, and Jewish American Studies.
Drawing upon the cultural resources of a cosmopolitan city on the Pacific Rim, and upon the strength and diversity of departments in the USC College of Letters, Arts & Sciences and of USC's professional schools, these degree programs provide a richly interdisciplinary curriculum that is unique for its constitution of American Studies and Ethnic Studies as a comparative and interethnic program that takes as its focus a region — Los Angeles, California, and the West — marked by challenging social and cultural changes.
American Studies & Ethnicity (ASE) at USC is unique because of its new approach to both American Studies and Ethnic Studies by bringing them together within one department. ASE includes multiple academic disciplines in both the humanities and social sciences to critically examine American culture and racial, ethnic, and gender inequalities towards social change and social justice. ASE emphasizes comparative work to examine these issues within the diversity and complexity of the United States, North America, and the Western Hemisphere.
The learning objectives of the ASE majors include:
The department offers a two-semester honors program for qualified students, first identified in ASE 350 or by the program advisor. Students spend their first semester in the honors program in an honors senior seminar, ASE 492, focused on developing their research and methods for the honors thesis. During the second semester, all honors students are required to take ASE 493, in which each completes a thesis project on a topic of his or her own choosing under faculty direction. Contact the program advisor for further information. To graduate with honors, program majors must successfully complete an honors thesis and have a minimum GPA of 3.5 in their major course work.