AMST 480 (“Approaches to American Studies”)is a research preparatory course that surveys an array of different research methods in American Studies scholarship. Students will learn how to read secondary sources and analyze primary sources in preparation for their own research project. At the end of the semester, students will produce a research proposal to implement in the spring semester.
AMST 481 (officially called “Senior Research Seminar”) is the culminating course for our majors. In it, students produce a senior thesis project based on their research proposal from AMST 480. In this Writing Intensive course, students conduct original research on a topic of their choice, culminating in a minimum 20-page paper.
For their senior thesis projects, students are encouraged to choose topics which interest them and/or which will help them in their future plans. For example, a research project on Hawai‘i US history curricula would help a student planning to be a Social Studies teacher explore the field of his/her choice. A student interested in law might examine a particular treaty or law that is particularly compelling to them: such a project would make a good writing sample for law school.
AMST 482 (officially called “Senior Capstone Project”) is the option for students who want to use their experience in the arts (dance, drama, studio arts, music, film, etc.) to produce a creative senior thesis project. Examples include a film documentary of the history of the contemporary Hawaiian music scene, and a memoir of father-son relationships. Such projects must be backed with the same depth of research as a traditional written senior thesis, but have the additional challenge of expressing its argumentation through an appropriate creative medium.