American Studies emerged as an academic movement shortly after World
War II. With the United States suddenly thrust upon the world stage
as a relatively young leader and with growing specialization fragmenting
knowledge and communication, various American scholars felt compelled
to integrate information and insights from many sources in an effort
to understand what was "American" about America.
The American Studies program operates on the assumption that all aspects
of America's intellectual, artistic, and material culture, and its vernacular
tradition as well as its cultivated tradition, are valuable sources
of information and insights about American civilization. American Studies
is interdisciplinary in nature because it draws from a number of academic
disciplines covering all facets of American civilization in the pursuit
of an understanding of American culture.