College of Arts and Sciences, Interdisciplinary Program
 John Roach Center for the Liberal Arts (JRC) 339, (651) 962-5649
Contact: Kanishka Chowdhury 

Department Web Site:

American Culture and Difference is an interdisciplinary minor that offers students a critical perspective on the diversity of “American culture.” Students consider ways in which music, film, advertisements, folklore, literature, television, and art shape daily life in the United States, form cultural and national identity, construct racial and ethnic identity, and create a sense of “high” and “low” culture. Drawing on perspectives from a number of participating departments and programs (e.g. Art History, Communication and Journalism, English, History, Music, Political Science, Sociology, Theater, Theology, and Women’s Studies), the American Culture and Difference minor examines the symbols, practices, and histories which contribute to the complexity and variety of the “America” experience. In addition to making connections among disciplines, students will be encouraged to engage in analysis that discovers linkages and tensions between vernacular and elite culture, as well as among diverse and multiple cultural identities and affiliations.

The minor re-examines representations of mainstream American culture and the productions of alternative and oppositional cultures, highlighting the experiences and struggles of communities that have been historically marginalized because of their class, gender, racial or sexual identities. Put simply, American Culture and Difference emphasizes diversity as a defining element of American culture. Given its emphasis on the diversity and multiplicity of cultural experience and its interdisciplinary focus on the various strands that comprise the fabric of a given culture, the minor in American Culture and Difference is particularly suited to provide students with the critical framework necessary to be effective and ethical participants in an increasingly globalized civic and economic environment.

Minor in American Culture and Difference

  • ACST 200 Introduction to American Culture and Difference (4 credits)
  • ACST 450 American Culture and Difference Capstone (0 credits)


  • Twenty additional credits (at least four credits from each of the categories below and no more than eight credits from a single department):

American Cultures: History, Society, Politics

  • GEOG 340 Geography of the U.S. and Canada (4 credits)
  • HIST 117 Latin America in Global Perspective (4 credits)
  • HIST 207 Slavery in the Americas (4 credits)
  • HIST 303 History of Modern Brazil (4 credits)
  • POLS 301 Political Identity and Participation (4 credits)
  • SOCI 251 Race and Ethnicity (4 credits)
  • SPAN 332 Survey of Latin American Culture and Civilization (4 credits)

American Cultures: Literature and the Arts

  • ARTH 284 Arts of the African Diaspora (4 credits)
  • ARTH 321 The Art and Culture of Modern Mexico (1824-1940) (4 credits)
  • ENGL 215 American Authors II (4 credits)
  • ENGL 373 Contemporary American Literature (4 credits)
  • ENGL 395 Issues in Literature, Language, and Culture (4 credits)
  • MUSC 216 Jazz in America (4 credits)
  • MUSC 217 Music of the Americas (4 credits)
  • THTR 223 American Theater (History of Theater III) (4 credits)

American Cultures: Mass Culture, Popular Culture, and Communication Media

  • COJO 326 Modern American Rhetoric (4 credits)
  • COJO 328 Communication of Race, Class, and Gender (4 credits)
  • COJO 334 Literary Journalism (4 credits)
  • COJO 338 Political Communication (4 credits)
  • COJO 340 Television Criticism (4 credits)
  • COJO 430 Society, Culture, and the Media (4 credits)
  • COJO 432 Media Structure and Power (4 credits)
Course Number Title Credits
ACST  200 Intro to Amer. Culture & Diff. 4
ACST  243 Individual Study 2 OR 4
ACST  269 Research 2 OR 4
ACST  389 Research 2 OR 4
ACST  393 Individual Study 2 OR 4
ACST  450 Amer. Culture & Diff. Capstone 0
ACST  491 Research 2 OR 4
ACST  495 Individual Study 0 TO 4