The Department of American Studies was the first Department to offer the PhD at the University of New Mexico. The Department promotes critically-engaged innovative academic research and teaching, and is a vital center for recruitment of diverse undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty.

American Studies is a formal academic discipline that began more than seventy years ago as the United States was undergoing a series of crises over the meaning of the nation. Then, as now, American Studies has posed critical questions to Americans about the meaning of the United States in a global society. UNM's program, one of the first four American Studies programs in the nation, remains a dynamic place of critical inquiry, as well as a leading resource for scholarly explorations of the Southwest and New Mexico in particular.

Foremost, among the American Studies Department’s many areas of distinction in research and teaching are: 1) Transnationalism, Globalization, and Colonialism; 2) Critical Regionalism and Southwest Studies; 3) Critical Race and Class Studies; 4) Environment, Science and Technology Studies; 5) Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies; and 6) Comparative Cultural and Popular Culture Studies. Students have the opportunity to develop an interdisciplinary approach to their specific areas of interest, and receive training in a broad range of historical, literary, visual, and ethnographic theory and methods.

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