Welcome to the Program in American Studies at Harvard. This has been a year of reflection, change, and celebration for us: the oldest American Studies program in the country, we are marking our 75th anniversary with this new website and a special outreach to our distinguished alumni. Over the past year we have also completed the long-anticipated change of our name from History of American Civilization to American Studies.

Although our new name is intended to align us more clearly with the broader American Studies community in the U.S. and abroad, we remain committed to our historical reputation as a distinctive, even unusual, American Studies program. We have uncommon strengths in the study of early America, the history of religion, the history of capitalism, African-American studies, and several other areas of study. Our students are encouraged to anchor their work with rigorous training in a single core discipline. From that core, they assemble an interdisciplinary program of study that may take virtually any shape. While historically the program’s energies were focused around combinations of history and literature, students now draw upon faculty from across the divisions and departments of the University, creating constellations of expertise that enable new forms of interdisciplinary research and understanding.

The true character of our Program, however, cannot be conveyed in this brief introductory message. It lives and evolves in the work of our students and faculty. I encourage you to explore the new website and learn more about the groundbreaking projects that have been launched from our program in the past, and that will continue to shape American Studies in the future.

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Jennifer L. Roberts, American Studies Chair
Elizabeth Cary Agassiz Professor of the Humanities, Department of History of Art and Architecture
Harvard College Professor