Comparative American studies uses interdisciplinary perspectives to guide students in their study of social, political, economic, and cultural processes within the United States as well as explore the role of the nation in a global context. Our program particularly emphasizes critical thinking, writing, and communication as aspects of civic engagement.

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Faculty

Our faculty are both scholars and teachers who devote their careers to making important contributions to their disciplines through writing and research. They are committed to undergraduate education and teach everything from first-year seminars to advanced courses. Faculty interests and research includes visual culture studies, comparative feminist theories and methodologies, human rights, environmental justice, green economies, and immigration.

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Program Overview

Comparative American studies (CAS) examines the range and diversity of American experiences, identities, and communities. From interdisciplinary perspectives, students study social, political, economic, and cultural processes within the United States as well as explore the role of the nation in a global context. By placing the United States in a transnational and comparative framework, the program invites students to consider the relationship of different communities to the nation-state, ranging from issues of colonialism and empire building to social justice movements. Courses investigate power, inequality, and agency through the analysis of intersecting structures of race, gender, class, sexuality, and citizenship. Central to these studies are examinations of the relationship of theory and practice within the scope of historical and contemporary contexts.

Comparative American studies faculty approach the study of the United States with expertise drawn from many interdisciplinary fields, including American studies, ethnic studies, gender and sexuality studies, and media studies. The program has particular strengths in transnational approaches to Asian American studies, feminist studies, Latina/o studies, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer studies.

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Curriculum Overview

The CAS program encourages students to personalize the major by choosing an individual focus within one of three concentrations. Students select classes that address their interests within a framework of course offerings designed to build conceptual and practical skills. The program particularly emphasizes critical thinking, writing, and communication as aspects of civic engagement. Concentrations in the CAS program include:

  • Identity and diversity
  • Globalization, transnationalism, and nation
  • Histories and practices of social change

Students acquire the skills to participate in projects addressing diversity issues and put theory into practice in order to build community awareness, activism, and involvement. Graduates choose employment in a wide range of fields including social service, education, public health, arts and media, psychology, and public administration. CAS majors have also sought graduate education in social work, public health, American studies, and ethnic studies.

Comparative American Studies News

downtown oberlin ohio

Q&A with “What is Sanctuary?” Panelists

February 8, 2018
The concept of sanctuary is often part of today’s discussions about immigration, but the idea of providing sanctuary has ancient roots. Learn about the different meanings and practices during “What is Sanctuary?” on Tuesday, February 13.
photo of KJ Cerankowski

A Conversation with KJ Cerankowski

January 11, 2018
KJ Cerankowski, assistant professor of gender, sexuality, and feminist studies (GSFS) and comparative American studies (CAS), discusses one pivotal experience in a feminist bookstore, asexuality, and the value of GSFS and CAS in a variety of careers.