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Introduction from Graduate Chair

Welcome to the graduate program in American Studies at the University of Hawai‘i in Mānoa! We think you’ll find our program to be unique in its transnational focus and range of faculty expertise in Indigenous Studies, Film and Media Studies, Gender and Sexuality, American Social Movements, Ethnic Studies, Comparative Slavery and Diaspora Studies, and Cultural Studies.  Our location in Hawai‘i provides valuable perspectives on themes such as U.S. imperialism, especially in Hawai‘i and the Asia-Pacific; the intersection of tourism and militarism; the experience of Japanese Americans; the intertwined stories of racism and incarceration in America; and religion in American public life. 

M.A. and Ph.D. students in American Studies can also earn certificates in widely recognized programs in Museum Studies and Historic Preservation that are housed in our department.  Other students choose to pursue a dual degree in Library and Information Science, or enroll in certificate programs outside the department in International Cultural Studies or Women’s Studies.

The broad training that American Studies provides in history, literature, politics, media and the arts open the door to wide range of careers.  Former students have landed positions in university teaching and research, politics and public administration, historic preservation, social services, journalism, museum curation, and media and the arts; others have gone onto professional training in fields such as education and law. 

Civil Defense at Diamond Head by Laura Ruby

“Civil Defense at Diamond Head” by Laura Ruby

In the American Studies community, we are committed to the kind of scholarship that intervenes constructively in public life. Among our faculty and students are many who have changed the world in ways large and small—whether exposing injustices against Native Hawaiians, challenging the prison system, reforming the education budget, creating public art and performances or preserving precious historical sites. It’s our hope that, for you too, what you learn in the classroom can move the world. And vice versa—your vision of the world will inform and enliven what you as a student bring to the classroom.

While your primary guidance on a semester-to-semester basis should come from your assigned faculty advisor and your chosen faculty mentors, I will assist you at many points along the way. I’ll make you aware of financial resources that may be available to you, and of jobs for which you might apply. As Graduate Chair, I am responsible for handling grievances and mediating disputes involving graduate students. In consultation with your advisor, I will monitor your progress toward the degree. As you progress in your coursework, I will approve your field lists and your thesis or dissertation committee. And, when the time comes, I will certify that you have completed all degree requirements.

I look forward to working with you as you pursue an advanced degree in American Studies.