Student Experience

A welcoming + vibrant community

Our department offers a close-knit professional home base within a campus that features remarkable research opportunities across every discipline. We offer opportunities to study, develop your abilities as a teacher and researcher, give presentations, and prepare for diverse career paths, including academia.

The work of our graduate students has the potential to impact public debate, policy, and decisions concerning our understanding of the various cultures of the Americas. While focused on American Studies, we emphasize the value of a transnational approach, putting our work into a global context. We also consider the history of our discipline, all the while envisioning new directions for inquiry and collaboration.

Graduate spotlight: Nzingha Kendall

Nzingha Kendall is a post-doctoral fellow at the Carter G. Woodson Institute at the University of Virginia. She’s working on a research project that analyzes how experimental filmmaking allow for moments and spaces for liberation in a world that constrains black women’s expression and their ability to live. Titled “Imperfect Independence: Black Women & Experimental Filmmaking,” this project looks at black women across the diaspora, from the late 20th century to the present, who use experimental techniques and practices. She argues that experimental filmmaking practices offer black women fleeting, yet profound sources of freedom; these moments of freedom constitute instances of imperfect independence.

Read about Nzingha

Student spotlight: Alex Chambers

Learn why Alex, a doctoral candidate in American Studies, decided to pursue American Studies at IU. Alex decided to pursue a Ph.D. in American Studies after taking the course Race and the Global City. “I was excited by the types of scholarship and the questions around power, politics, and culture from a variety of perspectives. I feel lucky to have discovered this community of scholars across many borders.”

Read about Alex

Giselle Cunanan

With a few other graduate students, I presented one of my papers at the Spring 2017 Critical Ethnic Studies symposium. I appreciated this opportunity because I received feedback and connected with scholars doing similar work outside of IU. This event was particularly useful to me because the comments I received helped me complete and defend my dissertation prospectus. It is because of events like this that I am able to also collaborate with other Ph.D. students who aim to build something long-lasting and tangible with our research.

Giselle Cunanan, graduate student