Colby College established the first undergraduate major in the field of American studies in 1944. Today its highly interdisciplinary and transnationally oriented American Studies Program provides students with the tools to examine critically the stories about America that are typically taken for granted—from early beliefs in Manifest Destiny that drive imperial expansion, to the contemporary elevation of capitalist competition as the sole model for society.
The American Studies Program offers innovative courses in the areas of social justice, cultural geography, environmental humanities, visual and popular culture, race and ethnicity, Indigeneity, and gender and sexuality. Redesigned in 2020, the major and minor offer students strong foundations in the theories and methods of American studies as well as an exciting array of electives that include experiential learning and civic engagement. Recent graduates from the program have pursued successful careers in diverse areas, including media, education, law, and social services.