The Department of American Studies offers a multidisciplinary and cross-cultural approach to the study of American life, leading to the BA, MA (Plan A, thesis and Plan B, non-thesis), and PhD degrees. The department also offers a graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation.
The department pursues a dual mission. On the broad level, it is committed to the traditional concept of American studies which involves an exploration of American culture in its entirety-its popular and high culture in relation to its environment, its institutional structures and issues, its systems of thought and belief, and the nature of its relationships across ethnic, cultural, gender, racial, and political lines both domestically and internationally-from literary, historical, social-scientific, and other methodological perspectives. On a more specific level, the department is also committed to an exploration of the role of Hawaii, the Pacific, and Asia within the American experience, an objective unique in the American Studies field but tied closely to the general mission of the university.
Courses in the department are divided into four major areas of program emphasis: American arts and environment, American institutions, American thought and belief, and American international and intercultural relations. Some courses have a holistic orientation, while others are topical, sub-cultural, or cross-cultural in focus.
The graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation offers a program ranging from the history and theory of house museums, through outdoor museums, historic districts, landscape and rural preservation, archaeology, to the social, legal and economic issues of rehabilitation and adaptive use.
Preservation philosophies may be applied locally and internationally to identify both a sense of place, and the value of the achievements of past generations as contributors to the environmental sense of place today and tomorrow.
By definition, American Studies is a multidisciplinary and cross-cultural program. It draws heavily on history, art, architecture, anthropology, film, literature, political science, philosophy, religion and sociology; on the area collections of Hawaii, the Pacific and Asia; and on the holdings of the Government Documents Collection.
Hawaiian Collection The Hawaiian Collection acquires duplicate copies of heavily used titles for BHSD, often in close consultation with appropriate selectors.
Pacific Collection The Pacific Collection acquires duplicate copies of heavily used titles for BHSD.
Asia Collection The Asia Collection is responsible for collecting materials about Asia written in English and the vernacular languages.
Wong AV Center Audiovisual material is selected by the Wong AV Center in close consultation with the American Studies selector.
Language: Primarily English, but also Asian and Pacific languages.
Chronological: No limitations, but emphasis is on the American colonial period to the present.
Geographic: No limitations. Specifically included are Americans overseas and the American international experience, especially with Asia and the Pacific.
Date of Publication: No limitations, but emphasis is on current material.
Types/Formats of Materials Collected: No limitations, but the emphasis is on books and serials, including reprints. Dissertations are obtained only upon specific request. Extensive use is made of media.
Treatment: All treatments, including popular.
The Certificate in Historic Preservation has required the retrospective purchase of publications of pertinent professional organizations, as well as material on such subjects as law, economics and taxation of interest to historic preservation. Preservation related audiovisual material for teaching and research is also needed.
A joint program with the Library and Information Science Program allows students to earn a MA in American Studies and a Master of Library & Information Science (MLISc).
Date compiled: 7/01 Compiler: Jodie Mattos