The only route to honors in the major is writing a thesis and passing an oral examination. To be admitted to the thesis program, a student must have a grade point average of at least 3.5 in all work related to the major field above the 100 level; the department may petition on her behalf if her GPA in the major is between 3.0 and 3.5. To see some topics on which past American Studies majors have written honors theses, please see the section on Student Research.
Ethel L. Hersey Prize
The Hersey Prize is a monetary award given annually to the best essay written on an American topic. The prize considers exceptional essays written in any of the many contributory disciplines of American studies, with a preference for an interdisciplinary approach. Winning essays embody superlative research, analysis, argumentation, style as well as knowledge of U.S. History and Political Science, in their exploration and illumination of American topics.
Read the most recent essays to receive this award:
2022 Winner: Meredith Youngblood "Gender in Flux: Queerness and its Implications in the California Gold Rush" written for HIST 311
2021 Winner: Dominique Mickiewicz "Captivated Collectors:Analyzing the Private Demand for World War II Artifacts in the United States and the Implications of Personal Ownership of Physical Pieces of War Memory" written for HIST 302
2020 Winner: Charlie Kasper "Clashing American Geographies: Investigating Colonial-Native American Diplomacy Through a Cartographic Powder Horn" written for ARTH 318
2020 Honorable Mention: Avery Lumeng "Public Sentiment About Medicare, Medicaid and State-Based Medicaid Systems on Twitter" written for POL1 317
2019 Winner: Esa Tilija "Indigenous Leaders' Nineteenth-Century Encounters with U.S. Women's Colleges: Non-Ministrari sed Ministrare" written for HIST 312
2019 Honorable Mention: Sianna Casey "Waving the American Flag in the Gym: CrossFit and American Nationalism" written for AMST 120
2018 Winner: Angela Coco "The Occupation of Alcatraz (1969): Occupation, Legislation, and Sensation" written for HIST 253
2018 Honorable Mention: Sianna Casey "Making a Pattern for the American Woman" written for HIST 220 and Irene Galarneau
2011: Winner: Anna Weick "The 1978 “A Lesbian Show” Exhibition: The Politics of Queer Organizing around the Arts and the Fight for Visibility in American Cultural Memory" written for AMST 350
2010: Winner: Emily Zia "Eminem: Minstrel, White Negro, or American Hero?" written for AMST 315